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Local News

  • Woman charged with shoplifting; turns up high in court

    Aleah Stahl, 30, of Los Alamos was seen before Magistrate Court Judge Pat Casados Wednesday morning and she admitted to the judge she was “high” in court.

    Stahl was charged on April 12 with shoplifting $250 or less, tampering with evidence and possession of a controlled substance, the last two of which are a fourth-degree felony.

    Casados asked Stahl to take a drug test prior to her preliminary hearing, but Stahl refused.
    Probation Officer Linda Pena said, “Your honor, she is unable to submit but it is my professional opinion that she is actually high right now,” and then informed Casados that Pena had observed “fresh injection marks” on her arm.

    Defense attorney Mary V. Carmack-Altwies stated her client had not made this admission in her presence, but Stahl eventually admitted before the judge to ingesting THC that morning.

    Casados decided to wait for urine analysis to confirm, but Stahl was taken into custody.

    The judge informed Stahl that she would remain in the Los Alamos Detention Center “until we get a clean sample.”

    State attorney Kent Wahlquist asked for supervision of Stahl upon release and Casados agreed.

  • Police offering training in ‘active shooter’ scenarios

    Five minutes. That’s the average amount of time victims will have to spend alone during a mass shooting before help arrives. It’s also the timeframe when most people are killed or injured, according to the Los Alamos Police Department.

    To help counter that grim statistic, the LAPD is offering a free class to any business or organization on how to survive those first five minutes.

    “If you don’t think this can happen anywhere in the world, then you haven’t been paying enough attention to recent events,” said Active Shooter Training LAPD Sgt. Chris Ross.

    Ross, along with Cpl. Jack Casias and Sgt. Daniel Roberts taught a refresher course at the County Municipal Building Wednesday.

    Cpl. Jack Casias, Sgt. Chris Ross and Sgt. Daniel Roberts taught a group of county employees what to do and not do during an active shooter situation using videos and hands-on scenarios.

    The employees learned how to disrupt an attacker by using “OODA (observe, orient, decide, and act) Loop” and other techniques to defend themselves.

    The officers also equipped some of the employees with Nerf guns and told the others to fight them off as best they can to see the techniques in action.

  • Safety Town graduates 70 students

    On Friday afternoon, parents gathered at Mountain Elementary Gymnasium to celebrate the 70 students who participated in this year’s Safety Town. 

    The two-week program was created for incoming kindergarten students in the school district to learn how to traverse the town in a safe manner with regards to walking, taking the bus or riding a bike.

    Kids are introduced to bus drivers, teachers, police officers, fire fighters, animal control officers and other local organizations, all of who discuss safe ways for children to interact in their environments.

    The kids brandished their homemade police hats as they began the graduation ceremony by performing songs about safety on stage.

    After the students shuffled off stage, Mountain Principal Jennifer Guy recognized the police officers that helped out with Safety Town every day, which were Adele McKenzie, Chris Ross and Robert Stephens. “They did a fantastic job.”

    She also thanked the teachers, staff and every person that helped to make Safety Town such a success.

    Proud parents and younger siblings got the chance to relive the highlights of the last two weeks with a slide show of pictures depicting the kids involved in different activities.

  • Bigger, better Fourth of July event planned

    Residents can expect more boom for the bucks this year at the annual Kiwanis Los Alamos Fourth of July Fireworks Celebration.

    The chapter has added 700 shells to the fireworks show, which starts at 9:15 p.m. Tuesday at Overlook Park, just as the sun goes down.

    “This year, we’ve managed to have over 4,000 shells, which is 700 more than last year,” Kiwanis Fourth of July Festivities Chairman Steve Boerigter said. “We want to provide the community a little bit more excitement, as we got a good deal on our purchase. We’ve decided to up the game.”

    The one exciting moment the crowds will not get to experience this year is the skydiving “flag jump,” usually performed by the Habanero Sky Dive Team. Longtime White Rock resident and Army veteran Roger Handrahan usually spends months planning the skydive, but this year, family issues and a foot injury will prevent him from participating.

    “I’ve got a couple of issues to deal with,” Handrahan said. “My dad just turned 91 and he’s got dementia, and I don’t have anybody to look after him while I do this, and it’s an all-day event.”

  • State veterans agency takes over management of memorial

    ANGEL FIRE (AP) — Management of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in northern New Mexico is being transferred from the State Parks Division to the state Department of Veterans Services.

    Officials are gathering at the memorial near Angel Fire on Monday for a ceremony to mark the transition. Veterans and their families were also invited.

    A bill was passed during the recent legislative session based on an agreement among Gov. Susana Martinez's office and the two state agencies to pave the way for the change.

    The State Parks Division has owned and managed the memorial since 2005, but supporters say the premise is that the memorial isn't a park but rather a sacred place of reflection.

    The Veterans' Services Department plans to construct a federally supported national veterans' cemetery adjacent to the memorial in the coming years.

  • Celebrate the Fourth of July on the SFNF

    The Santa Fe National Forest reminds visitors who plan to celebrate the Fourth of July in the forest to heed the Stage 1 fire restrictions in place.

    The SFNF remains in Stage 1 fire restrictions. Campfires are allowed only in developed campgrounds and picnic areas with established fire rings and grills.

    Smoking is restricted to enclosed vehicles or buildings, developed recreation sites and areas cleared of all flammable materials.

    Fire prevention teams will be patrolling, and anyone who violates Stage 1 restrictions will be ticketed.

    Fireworks are always prohibited on national forests and grasslands. No exceptions, even for America’s 241st birthday on Tuesday.

    Law enforcement will be patrolling, and again, violators will be cited.

    Businesses that cater to SFNF visitors on both the east and west sides of the forest are open and ready for a busy summer weekend.

    All campgrounds are open, including the Jemez Falls and Redondo Campgrounds which were closed during the recent Cajete Fire.

    A segment of the Las Conchas Trail (No.137) remains closed between the last bridge coming from the Las Conchas Trailhead (before the trail ascends) and the East Fork Trailhead.

    The Gilman Tunnels are closed for remedial rock work.

  • White Rock Artist Market returns Saturday

    The White Rock Artist Market returns Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. outside the White Rock Visitor Center.
    This market will feature some of the regular artists and artisans, but will also include some new faces.
    Saturday, the artists will sell local and international gemstones and crystals, fused and stained glass art, paintings, jewelry, mosaics, gift cards and bags, hand-woven pine needle baskets, natural body products, hand sewn children’s toys, along with several different types of handmade wooden products.
    The White Rock Visitor Center is located at 115 NM State Road 4 and is open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    The White Rock Artist Market’s will continue to be held on the first Saturday of each month in August and September.

  • Man nabbed for pot distribution

    Update: A call from Det. Wolking today clarified the amount of marijuana to be approximately 3 grams.

    Patrick Barela, 29, of Truchas was arrested June 22 on a magistrate court warrant for the distribution of over 100 pounds of marijuana or synthetic cannabinoids.

    A warrant for Barela’s arrest was issued June 15 at the request of the prosecuting officer, Los Alamos Police Department Det. Ryan Wolking.

    In the week of April 23 through 30, Wolking directed a Confidential Informant (CI) to complete a controlled purchase of marijuana from Barela in Los Alamos.

    To set up the buy, the CI texted Barela, in which Barela refers to a “dub.”

    “According to my training experience, I know (a dub) refers to $20 worth of narcotics, but specifically, marijuana,” said Wolking in his report.

    The CI was given cash to purchase the drugs and audio equipment in order to record the transaction. The exchange was successful and Wolking stated that the purchase “looked and smelled like marijuana.”

    Wolking later used the audio and video recordings to confirm that Barela provided marijuana to LAPD’s CI.

  • Barranca staff eyes new design

    Parents, staff and community members gathered Tuesday evening at Barranca Mesa Elementary School to take a look at the proposed designs for the renovation of the school.

    About 20 to 25 people were in attendance, including Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus and members from the school board.

    The purpose of the community meeting was to present design options and receive feedback.

    District Construction Coordinator Herb McLean explained that part of the process of designing a building is to gather what the needs are, which has been done.

    “We’re in the schematic design process, which means we’re trying to figure out what the school’s going to look like and about where the buildings will go,” McLean said.

    Now the architects, with the help of the community and staff, will decide on one of those designs or elements of those designs.

    “We’d love to get your feedback on all of this,” McLean said.

    The presentation was handed over to FBT Architects, which was represented by President Arthur Tatum, Principal Sonjay Engineer and Intern Architect Rathi Casey.

    Engineer went over a quick summary of facts in regards to Barranca Mesa.

    For instance, the first building was built in 1962 and the school sits on about 12.2 acres.

  • Eagle installation may be up in air

    A local shopping center owner and developer are hoping to keep a well-known eagle sculpture installed for the past two years at Central Avenue and Main Street from being reclaimed.

    Philip Kunsberg, along with friend and artist Richard Swenson are hoping a local individual or group comes forward soon to buy the sculpture, called the “Eye in the Sky.”

    They have been having conversations with certain people and organizations around town to buy it and keep it in Los Alamos.

    The sculpture, which is of an eagle with outstretched wings and talons, has been on loan to the Central Park Square Shopping Center since 2015 from the Shidoni Art Gallery in Santa Fe.

    “I do not have the resources right now to buy it, and I did not want to see the county lose it, so we thought of this alternative,” Kunsberg said.

    According to the Shidoni Gallery Manager Jeremy Hasted, the gallery has been trying to sell the sculpture for $75,000. The deal to display the sculpture was made through Shidoni Gallery President Scott Hicks.

    “I know he’s (Hicks) been kind of pressuring the city a bit to buy it because they’ve had it for a long time,” Halsted said.