Local News

  • Police Beat 6-28-17

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department Records. Charges or citations listed in Police Beat do not imply innocence or guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested, served a court summons, or issued a citation.

    May 22
    1:56 p.m. — Los Alamos Police cited an individual for failing to clean up after their animals.

    2:04 p.m. — LAPD cited an individual for failing to vaccinate their animals.

    5:12 p.m. — Johnny Trujillo, 22, of Alcalde was arrested on a district court warrant.

    May 23
    3:45 p.m. — LAPD investigated a case of larceny, which was theft from a vehicle.

    May 24
    6:36 p.m. — Los Alamos Police Department reported an animal bite.

    May 25
    11:46 a.m. — LAPD reported a BB gun that was brought in for destruction.

    5:20 p.m. — Steven Lucero, 35, of Belen was arrested on a district court warrant.

    7:02 p.m. — Jimmy B. Romero, 35, of Española was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, assault and falsely obtaining services.

    May 26

  • House panel backs bill to revive Nevada nuclear waste dump

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A House panel on Wednesday approved a bill to revive the mothballed nuclear waste dump at Nevada's Yucca Mountain, while also moving forward with a separate plan for a temporary storage site in New Mexico or Texas.

    Supporters said the bill represents a comprehensive package to solve a nuclear-waste management problem that has festered for more than three decades. The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the bill, 49-4, sending it to the full House.Republican Reps. Greg Walden of Oregon, Fred Upton of Michigan and John Shimkus of Illinois said in a joint statement the bill is good for taxpayers, communities and ratepayers. Walden chairs Energy and Commerce, while Upton and Shimkus chair energy and environment subcommittees.

    Thirty years after Congress designated Yucca Mountain as the sole site for a permanent repository for nuclear waste, "it's now time for the federal government to fulfill its obligation and permanently dispose of the spent nuclear fuel sitting in our states, alongside our lakes, rivers and roadways," the lawmakers said.

  • New Mexico statehouse districts avoid overall partisan bias

    SANTA FE (AP) — The once-a-decade process of redrawing New Mexico's state legislative districts has provided a relatively unbiased playing field for both major parties.

    A statistical analysis by The Associated Press found Republican-skewed districts are far more common than Democratic ones in U.S. House and statehouse districts nationwide, though not in New Mexico.

    New Mexico's districts were drawn in 2012 by a specially appointed district court judge after the Democratic-led Legislature and Republican Gov. Susana Martinez reached a stalemate.

    The share of seats won by Democrats in the House of Representatives in 2016 — 38 out of 70 — closely corresponds with average vote share in districts across the state.

    Albuquerque-based pollster Brian Sanderoff says the boundaries of the state's three U.S. congressional districts have changed little over the past three decades.

  • Local man faces trial for animal cruelty

    Gabriel A. Wadt, 27, of Los Alamos is going before Judge Donna Bevacqua-Young Wednesday afternoon at the Los Alamos Magistrate Court for a non-jury trial. Wadt has been charged with animal cruelty and failure to vaccinate.

    Public Service Aid Officer Alysha Lenderman reported that on Sept. 23, 2016, a small- to medium-sized female dog was picked up on Camino Uva. The dog was described as a brindle type canine, possibly a pit/heeler mix was roaming with no collar or tags.

    The initial reporting party had an idea of who the owner was, but the officer at the scene was unable to make contact. The dog was then transported to the Los Alamos County Animal Shelter where it was given a temporary name of Casey.

    According to the official report, Casey was approximately 1 year old and weighed 18 pounds. “The dog’s spine was protruding, individual vertebrae were visible,” stated Lenderman in her statement of probable cause.

    She also observed minor muscle atrophy on the head and all four limbs of the canine. The dog appeared to be weak, but was alert and able to eat a few small meals.

  • Audit: N.M. Higher Ed Dept. lacks financial controls

    SANTA FE (AP) — A newly released audit has found that the New Mexico Higher Education Department lacks adequate controls to oversee financial reporting and erroneously is recording investments.
    The audit released Tuesday by New Mexico Auditor Tim Keller claims the department didn’t follow policies and procedures in 2016 and recorded around $3 million in the Lottery Tuition Fund in the wrong year. The audit also says the department overstated federal grants receivables.
    Overall, the audit, conducted with an independent accounting firm, contained 18 findings.
    A spokeswoman for the New Mexico Higher Education Department did not immediately return an email or a phone message.
    State Auditor Tim Keller says recent budget cuts are preventing the department from hiring staff to provide financial oversight.

  • Maple wood from the Old Griffith Gym floor available

    Summertime in Los Alamos includes professional development for teachers and major school building repairs to prepare for the upcoming school year.

    The first day of school for students is Aug.17. 

    LAPS projects for this summer include the Smith Auditorium Lobby, design of the Barranca Mesa Elementary School major remodel, Mountain Elementary School Gym floor, HVAC systems at Chamisa and Piñon Elementary Schools, technology upgrades, and a safety shelter and field house at Sullivan Stadium. 

    All of this work is made possible by Los Alamos people and businesses.

    One project at the high school this summer is replacement of the 50-year-old floor in Griffith Gymnasium. Workers have removed the old maple wood gym floor and are now putting the wood-slats puzzle back together for a beautiful new floor.

    Anyone who would like a piece of history or maple wood for a home project, the old wood slats are free for the taking.
    Some of the slats even have Topper green paint.

    People are cautioned to be careful in collecting the old wood slats as they are filed with nails and splinters.

    The trash bin with maple wood is located in front of Griffith Gym and will be there until this Friday.

  • Crews continue to monitor Cajete Fire

    The Santa Fe National Forest Service gave its final update on the Cajete Fire this week. The fire from June 15 started from an abandoned campfire and reached up to a total of 1,412 acres, although no structures were damaged in the flames.

    According to Santa Fe National Forest Acting Public Affairs Officer Julie Anne Overton, the fire is now 96 percent contained. She said she thinks it will take the remainder of the monsoon season to completely consider the fire out.

    According to Overton, there are about 10 to 15 personnel on the ground and one helicopter doing aerial surveillance.
    Crews and overhead personnel have been demobilized and reassigned to other incidents as the command of the Cajete Fire was transitioned to a type 4 organization on Tuesday.

    There are limited personnel on the ground as the local team is now on more of a monitor status of hot spots. “They are continuing mop up and making sure that fire lines are secure,” Overton said.

    Isolated smoke may be visible as concentrations of heavy fuels smolder within the fire perimeter, though no further fire growth is anticipated.

    Hot and dry conditions persist, with a chance of rain and thunderstorm activity possible for the fire area.

  • LANL shipment investigation draws reactions

    The announcement of an investigation by a government oversight agency over Los Alamos National Laboratory’s latest waste shipment violation has some people questioning what it may mean for the future of the laboratory and its weapons programs.

    “They hardly ever do that,” Los Alamos Study Group Executive Director Greg Mello said of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s response to LANL’s violation.

    The NNSA oversees LANL and the other government facilities responsible for country’s nuclear arsenal.

    “The NNSA said it was serious, and the fact that they put out a press release at all means they do think that,” Mello said. “They’re tired of screw-ups at Los Alamos.”

    NNSA’s investigation is about why LANL failed to follow proper procedures when shipping “special nuclear material” to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Savannah River National Laboratory.

    Instead of shipping the material by commercial ground transportation, the lab instead violated safety protocols by transporting the material, reported to be a small amount, by a commercial shipping company instead.

    In the release, NNSA Administrator Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz called the violation “unacceptable.”

  • Los Alamos County to receive PILT funding

    Counties across New Mexico will receive more than $38.5 million through the 2017 Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, New Mexico congressional representatives announced Tuesday.

    Los Alamos County will receive $88,786 for schools, roads, local police, fire protection and other services.

    Funding for this year's PILT program was provided in the bipartisan budget agreement to fund the government through September, as part of the Interior Department's Fiscal Year 2017 budget.

    PILT provides federal payments to local governments because of nontaxable federal land within their boundaries, such as Bureau of Land Management land, national parks and forests.

    Local governments use PILT funding to help pay for police and fire protection, emergency response, schools, road maintenance, and other crucial services to residents. New Mexico is the third-highest recipient of PILT payments in the country.

  • LANL contract officially up for bid

    The National Nuclear Security Administration announced its intention to start the bidding process for Los Alamos National Laboratory’s multibillion-dollar management and operations contract Tuesday.

    Los Alamos National Security LLC was awarded the contract in 2006. The Department of Energy announced late in 2015 it would go out to bid for a new contract, after LANS failed to meet performance goals set by the DOE.

    This will be the third contract since the laboratory was created to make the world’s first nuclear weapons.
    LANS’ $2.2 billion management and operations contract will end in 2018. LANS LLC is made up of a consortium of private and public companies, including Bechtel National, INC., BWXT Government Group, Inc., the University of California and URS.

    The lab has been under scrutiny recently for several incidents involving safety and violations of safety protocol.
    Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan released a statement to the Los Alamos Monitor Tuesday, saying lab employees must be held accountable for mistakes now and in the future.