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Local News

  • Whistleblower settles lawsuit

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The state has agreed to settle a lawsuit with a whistleblower who accused the New Mexico Department of Health of nepotism and financial irregularities.
    The Albuquerque Journal reports that under a settlement agreement made public last week, former state Department of Health manager Diane Moore received $225,000 and agreed to resign and never seek reinstatement.
    She filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the agency in 2010 but continued working there as the employees she complained about filed internal grievances against her.
    Moore’s allegations involved the Health Department during former Gov. Bill Richardson’s administration, but the state’s decision to fight the case continued through the first year of Gov. Susana Martinez’s tenure.
    In the settlement agreement of last October, the department denied liability and denied all of Moore’s allegations.
    The agreement was made public last week after attorneys for the Journal challenged the state Risk Management Division’s decision to keep it confidential at least until the end of the year.
    Moore, who earned about $39,000 a year, spent a month on paid leave before the settlement. She no longer lives in New Mexico.

  • Bandelier moves to fall/winter hours

    Bandelier National Monument announced the start of its fall and winter schedule this week.

    For the month of September, the visitor center is open from 9 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Oct. 1, the visitor center closes at 4:30 p.m. through the winter. Park trails are open from dawn to dusk.

    Hours for the Atomic City Transit Bandelier Shuttle will continue from 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. through the end of September. From Oct. 1 through Nov. 17, the service will run from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    Beginning Sept. 6, personal vehicles will be allowed into Frijoles Canyon after 4 p.m. Trailheads outside Frijoles Canyon are accessible by car at all times.

    Vehicular traffic to Frijoles Canyon resumes Nov. 18, when shuttle service closes for the winter, and continues until transit service resumes early in March.  

    The shuttle service is free, but visitors must either present one of the national park access passes or pay $6 for individual entrance or $12 for groups of two or more upon arrival at the visitor center.

    The monument hosts its Fall Fiesta Sept. 29. Follow the Los Alamos Monitor for more on this event.
    More information about Bandelier can be obtained online at nps.gov/band, or call the Bandelier Visitor Center at 672-3861, ext. 517.

  • Correction 09-05-12

    Correction

    In “Code Talkers altered course of WWII” published Sept. 2, it was incorrectly stated that the Navajo Code Talkers were awarded Congressional Medals of Honor. They were instead awarded Congressional Gold Medals, which are the “highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions” and Congressional Silver Medals that “recognize citizens for noteworthy actions.”
    The Medal of Honor is the nation’s highest award for military valor.
     

  • Local Courts: On the Docket 09-05-12

    Aug. 16

    The Los Alamos Magistrate Court found Ricardo Navarro guilty of driving while under the influence of liquor or drugs with a blood alcohol level of .08. The original charge was aggravated first-degree DWI.

    Navarro was ordered to undergo supervised probation for 364 days and pay a court fee of $241.

    Conditions of probation include obeying all laws and keep from being arrested while on probation. Navarro must also comply with all conditions of probation, which include not possessing or drinking of alcohol or entering an establishment where liquor is served.

    Navarro cannot possess a firearm or any other weapon or destructive device while still on probation. Navarro must meet with a probation officer within seven days of his sentence and maintain contact with the officer throughout his probation.
    Navarro must also perform 24 hours of community service within three months of his undergoing probation.

    Navarro must also participate in a drug and alcohol treatment program that must include at least six sessions, as well as screening. He must also complete DWI school within 90 days.

  • Half Marathon set for Sept. 15

    The second annual Santa Fe to Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon will draw runners from across North America the weekend of Sept. 15.

    The USATF-certified race starts at 8 a.m. Sept. 16 in downtown Santa Fe and will end in the Rio Grande Valley at the Pueblo of Pojoaque’s Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino.  

    The race will bring runners and families from around the country to New Mexico and will give athletes the opportunity to test their fitness and endurance at high altitude.

    “We’ve created a destination race with top runners who will enjoy our beautiful scenery and rich culture,” said race director Joseph Karnes of Global Running Culture. “We have entries from 26 states, Canada and Mexico. We hope to grow this into a ‘must run’ race that provides participants with an unforgettable experience.  There’s still time to register at santafethunder.com.”

    Santa Fe to Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon will honor legendary Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Mills, Steve “King of the Mountain” Gachupin, double U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier, Nike N7 Ambassador Alvina Begay and World Record Steeplechaser Peter Koech.

  • School district talks bonds
  • 'Sunshine' page aims for more transparency

    In a move designed to increase the transparency of local government, county officials last week debuted what’s called a “sunshine” page on its website.

    “This is born of both state initiative and, probably more importantly, council’s direction in their strategic plan about building trust within the community,” County Administrator Harry Burgess said. The goal is to increase openness and transparency.

    The sunshine page not only provides links to key documents on the county website, it also makes more government documents available online.

    New documents include a monthly “checkbook register” showing payments made to vendors.
    There is also a new link showing all active Requests for Proposals and Bids and another showing compensation for all county positions.

    The webpage also links to frequently requested documents such as the adopted budget, the annual financial report and the municipal code. These have been online for a number of years, but users have complained that they are not easy to find.

  • Weeks tops Tuesday's pace race as top predictor

    Bob Weeks was only 3 seconds off his prediction at Tuesday’s pace race.
    There were many good predictions in the weekly Tuesday pace race in Pajarito Acres.  There were 28 people who competed.  The course was a fairly-flat 1-mile paved-loop mainly on Estante Way.
    One could run any number of loops but with a requested predicted time of 45 minutes or less.  All distances from 1 to 5 miles were done.  Most did 1 or 3 miles.
    The fastest for 1 mile were Duncan Fuehne (6:49), Sue Kinkead and Lynn Kluegel (both 13:43).  The faster 3-mile runners were Roxana Candia (23:47) and Zach Media (23:48). Nikol Strother and Ted Romero both did 5 miles in 37:13.
    The differences between predicted and actual times were adjusted by distance to 3 miles.  The better predictors (with their distances and adjusted delta times, in seconds) were Bob Weeks (1 mi, 9 s), Zach Media (3, 12), Karen Thorn (4, 16), Roxana Candia (3,17), Inez Ross (1, 24), James Clifford (3, 26), Roy Cope (1, 30), Duncan Fuehne (1, 33), and David Kratzer (5, 37).
    Next Tuesday’s Pace Race will start near 4710 Quemazon off North Road.  For more information, please call 672-1639.

  • Natural gas outage affects 1,000 at North Mesa -- updated

    More than 1,000 Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities’ customers on North Mesa lost natural gas just before noon Wednesday.

    Gas construction work in the Kwage Mesa area, specifically a pipeline tie-in, unexpectedly depressurized the gas line feeding the North Mesa neighborhood.

    Efforts to restore gas service began Wednesday afternoon.  DPU employees went door-to-door to shut off gas valves to each and every North Mesa customer, pressurize the gas lines, and then revisit each home to turn gas back on and relight appliances.  As of Thursday morning, gas was restored to half of the affected homes. 

    Door tags are being left for customers that are not home when crews attempt to turn natural gas back on.    Those customers are encouraged to call the 311 Customer Care Center at 662-8333 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.  After 5 p.m. customers should call Police Dispatch at 662-8222.

    DPU Officials advise that employees are responding to customers as quickly as possible.  However, due to the volume of residences affected, DPU personnel are not able to provide a definitive time of arrival. 

  • Raw Video: 7.6 Quake Reported in Costa Rica

    A powerful, magnitude-7.6 earthquake shook Costa Rica and a wide swath of Central America on Wednesday. There were no immediate accounts of injuries, but communications were down in many areas.