Local News

  • Española prohibits police questioning immigration status

    Española on Tuesday became New Mexico’s latest city to prohibit local law enforcement officials from asking about a person’s immigration status.  The City Council voted unanimously to approve the new procedures as part of a broader bias-based policing policy.  
    The Española policy brings the local police department into compliance with New Mexico’s 2009 bias-based policing law by prohibiting officers from discriminating based on race, ethnicity, color, national origin, language, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, political affiliation, physical or mental disability or other severe physical condition. It also makes clear that department personnel shall not initiate, prolong or expand the scope of an enforcement activity in order to determine or inquire about an individual’s immigration status.   
    Last week, the U.S. Senate rejected a bill meant to withhold funding from cities that establish  “sanctuary” policies restricting cooperation with federal immigration enforcement agencies.

  • Grastataro joins RE/MAX of LA

    Cathy Grastataro has joined RE/MAX of Los Alamos as an associate broker. She is working as a licensed assistant for longtime RE/MAX Realtor Paula Barclay in serving clients in Los Alamos, Santa Fe and the Pojoaque Valley.
    Grastataro is a longtime resident of Los Alamos. She moved to the area in 1989 on a “temporary assignment” for Grumman Aerospace to work as an engineer at Los Alamos National Laboratory. She retired from the lab this March, 26 years after taking that temporary assignment.
    She and her husband, Jim Krone, enjoy living in Los Alamos and are active members of the community. The Los Alamos Mountaineers, Pajarito  Mountain pass holders, Master Gardener Program and the Sheriff’s Posse Lodge are some recent organizations where she has participated.
    She said: “I have had a wonderful and fulfilling career at the Lab, but now it is time to do other things. My retirement has given me the gift of time to actively pursue my curiosities, interests and hobbies. I am so excited about getting my associate brokers license as this is something that I have always wanted to do. Being able to work with Paula and the RE/MAX network is such an advantage. I have their experience, support, and fine reputation as my foundation to best serve clients.”

  • Medical records sought in crash case

    Prosecutors in a criminal case involving a Los Alamos man successfully petitioned the district court for the man’s medical records recently. The suspect, Zachary Sanchez, 31, was involved a car accident Aug. 14, 2014, near Anderson Overlook on NM 502. Sanchez’ car plummeted 200 feet off a ravine. Zachary’s then-girlfriend, Andrea Harvier, 32, was in the car.  
    Harvier survived, but paramedics noted Sanchez had moderate injuries while Harvier, who was found outside the car, had suffered “great bodily injury.”
    During initial interviews with police, Sanchez said Harvier was the driver, saying she had been “acting crazy,” and that when he pulled over to that section of NM 502, she grabbed the wheel and jerked it to the right, saying, “I want to end our lives.”
    However, further investigation by law enforcement found inconsistencies, and in a statement released by the Santa Fe County sheriff, the sheriff’s office gave cause to believe that it was Sanchez who was the driver.  
    “It was determined based on several factors that the driver of the vehicle was Zachary Sanchez and not Andrea Harvier as initially reported,” according to a statement in one of the sheriff’s warrants.

  • Council approves transfer of Smart House to general fund

    After a heated debate Tuesday, the Los Alamos County Council approved the transfer of the Smart House from the Joint Utilities Fund to the General Fund and the forgiveness of a $500,000 loan for the construction of the house.
    The Smart House was the county’s contribution to the Smart Grid project, a joint venture between the Department of Public Utilities and Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology and Development Corporation.
    The $900,000 cost for building and outfitting the house was made possible by the loan from the general fund and an additional $400,000 from the Joint Utilities Fund. DPU was to repay the loan at 3 percent interest when the asset was disposed of.
    NEDO’s contribution totaled $11 million in assets that were transferred to the county after the completion of the research project. The county also received GRT revenues from construction costs.
    Deputy County Manager/Chief Financial Officer Steven Lynne explained why staff was recommending the transfer.

  • County leaders approve panhandling ordinance

    On Tuesday, the Los Alamos County Council voted unanimously to approve a new panhandling ordinance to replace one repealed last year.
    “When we redid the criminal code about a year ago, we recognized that the county’s panhandling regulations were woefully out of date, and that if an officer tried to enforce them as they were written, the county was subject to a great deal of liability,” County Attorney Rebecca Ehler explained.
    Ehler described the new ordinance as “a way to give law enforcement a tool to regulate panhandling but still recognizing the rights of all the citizens to their free speech and the ability to go around and use the public ways.”
    The staff report reads, “This Ordinance was drafted to provide the least restrictive means to ensure the public’s continued safety while continuing to provide outlets for public solicitation, canvassing, polling and speech.”
    As defined in the new ordinance, panhandling does not include a person who “passively stands or sits with a sign or other indication that one is seeking donations, or distributes any written or printed materials without an immediate solicitation for donations.”

  • Passport for LANL entry may be required

    Los Alamos National Laboratory may require visitors to show passports or other forms of identification for entry if New Mexico does not comply with U.S. regulations for driver’s licenses by Jan. 10.
    A spokesman at LANL said Thursday the national research laboratory was closely coordinating with the Department of Energy, which oversees the lab, to ensure that the facility would continue to be in compliance with the REAL ID Act.
    “Should the State of New Mexico not come into compliance with the requirements of the federal REAL ID Act by Jan. 10, Los Alamos National Laboratory will have alternate access control options in place, such as a valid U.S. Passport, for when individuals present IDs from non-compliant states or territories,” the spokesman, who was not authorized to use his name, said.
    Sandia Labs also said they would need an alternative government-issued form of identification.
    The move comes after the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday denied New Mexico an extension from implementing the stricter rules passed in 2005. The decision means state driver’s licenses will no longer be accepted at federal facilities starting Jan. 10.
    The Obama administration also is expected to announce next year that New Mexico driver’s licenses won’t be accepted for security screenings at airports.

  • Today in history Oct. 29
  • LANL eyes options after Real ID decision

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Los Alamos National Laboratory is looking into options after the federal government denied New Mexico an extension from tougher federal requirements on state driver's licenses.

    One of the nation's premiere nuclear weapons research labs said late Wednesday if New Mexico doesn't come into compliance it will begin requiring U.S. passports for entry.

    Sandia Labs also says those planning visits should get an alternative government-issued form of identification.

    The federal government's decision means New Mexico driver's licenses won't be accepted at federal facilities like military bases starting Jan. 10.

    REAL ID Act requirements require proof of legal U.S. residency for holders who want to use them to access certain areas of federal buildings.

    New Mexico state law allows immigrants suspected of being in the country illegal to obtain driver's licenses.

    Read Friday's edition of the Los Alamos Monitor for the latest on this story.

  • New Mexico denied REAL ID deadline extension

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The federal government has denied New Mexico an extension from tougher federal requirements for state driver's licenses and ID cards.

    The decision means New Mexico driver's licenses will no longer be accepted at federal facilities like Kirtland Air Force Base starting Jan. 10. And eventually, state IDs won't be allowed to board commercial flights.

    The letter from the Department of Homeland Security, obtained by The Associated Press, was sent last week to the state Department of Taxation officials about the decision.

    REAL ID Act requirements require proof of legal U.S. residency for holders who want to use them to access certain areas of federal buildings.

    New Mexico state law allows immigrants suspected of being in the country illegal to obtain driver's licenses.

    Republican Gov. Susana Martinez has tried to get the state law repealed.

  • Injury Accident