Local News

  • ‘Halos’ found on Mars widen time frame for potential life


  • Memorial Day celebration honors those who ‘gave all’

    Not even threatening storm clouds looming in the distance could stop the hundred or so people wanting to pay their respects at Los Alamos’ annual Memorial Day event. Things went off without a hitch Monday in an event that featured a flyover by the Los Alamos Civil Air Patrol, state and county proclamations, rifle salutes from the Navy JROTC, a bagpipes rendition of “Amazing Grace” by Ethan Aulews, and other happenings.

    For others, the main event was just honoring their loved ones, dead and living, who served.

    Barbara Buchen came out to honor her husband, John.

    “It means honoring those who have served our country, especially those that have died,” Buchen said. Her husband served in the Navy in World War II as a radar trainer at Navy Pier in Chicago, located on the shore of Lake Michigan. “He used to joke that no Japanese subs got through on Lake Michigan,” Buchen said. 

    Held at Guaje Pines Cemetery every year by the Knights of Columbus, this year’s speaker was
    U.S. Army Colonel (Ret.) Pryor “Doc” Dougherty.

    Dougherty spent 30 years in the Army, where he served three tours in Vietnam and tours in Somalia, Germany and Korea.

    Dougherty’s talk was about resolve, focus and God.

  • Davis to be sentenced for sex with minor

    Christopher Davis, 24, has been summoned to the First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe on July 6 before Judge Mary Marlowe Summer to be sentenced on four charges of sex with a minor.

    Davis was arrested on June 17, 2014. He pleaded guilty in February to criminal sexual penetration of a child between the ages of 13 and 16, which is a fourth-degree felony.

    The incidents occurred on or between April 20 to May 19 in the county of Los Alamos.

    According to Special Agent Jay Ratliff, a law enforcement officer with the Internet Crimes against Children Task Force of the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office, the case began when the sheriff’s office in Anoka County, Minnesota. Officers there investigated a report of a sexual assault of a 14-year-old female.

    As a result of the investigation, the police recovered a cell phone and internet conversations between the young girl and an adult male identified as Davis.

    Davis was living in Los Alamos at the time. Anoka County then involved the New Mexico Attorney General’s office in furthering the investigation. After Ratliff picked Davis up in Los Alamos on a search warrant, Davis then admitted to sexual encounters with two local under aged girls, according to police.

  • LANL to start work on abandoned wells

    Plans are underway by the Los Alamos National Laboratory to head off a potential threat to an aquifer that lies mostly under Mortandad Canyon.

    The plans call for the  filling and capping of 26 abandoned testing wells in Los Alamos Canyon, Sandia Canyon, Mortandad Canyon, Pajarito Canyon and Tech Area 35. 

    The wells were drilled in from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s. Most of the wells were drilled to test for contaminants in the water and soil.

    Some of the wells sit near known sources of contamination the lab is remediating. By filling and capping the wells, LANL seeks to prevent any further contamination to the area.

    “These wells are now over 40 years old and most are no longer used,” according to a report on the wells in Los Alamos Canyon. “Because these wells may provide a pathway for contamination to move to the alluvial and perched groundwater, the unused wells should be plugged and abandoned.”

    Depths vary from 12 feet to 120 feet and their diameters varied between two and six inches.

    LANL has submitted five plans to the New Mexico Environment Department on how its contractors will proceed. The first step of the plan is to conduct field work this June to see what’s going to be involved.

  • New Mexico lawmakers express relief at budget compromise

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico lawmakers expressed relief Tuesday that a budget agreement has been reached to restore funding to public colleges and universities and shore up state finances for the upcoming fiscal year that starts on July 1.

    Legislators converged on the state Capitol after a three-day recess to complete special legislative session. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez last Friday vetoed proposed tax increases and agreed instead to use severance tax bonds to shore up the state's finances.

    The budget compromise appears likely to quiet a months-long feud between Martinez and the Democrat-led Legislature over how to resolve a budget crisis from a significant drop in state revenue linked to the downturn in the oil sector and a weak state economy.

    Martinez rejected several tax hikes, while vetoing $745 million in annual general fund spending to state universities, community colleges and specialty schools.

    "The one thing that was most important was restoring higher education funding," said Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming.

    New Mexico's state government is expected to finish the coming fiscal year with about $24 million in reserves under legislation signed last week by the governor, state analysts said Tuesday.

  • Sandia Labs reportedly creates mobile app to test for Zika

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Scientists and researchers at the federal government's largest national laboratory have developed an app and mobile device they say can detect Zika.
    The New Mexico-based Sandia National Laboratories says the new app connects to a smartphone-controlled, battery-operated diagnostic device to identify Zika, dengue, and chikungunya within 30 minutes.
    Traditional testing for the mosquito-borne viruses often requires a laboratory and long waits. Officials say the cost for that testing can run $20,000 and make it out of reach for rural clinics in developing countries where the viruses thrive.
    But Sandia scientists say their new device weighs under a pound and costs as little as $100.
    The Sandia team describes its rapid-testing prototype in the journal Scientific Reports .

  • Pueblo applies to rename mesa 20 miles west of Bernalillo

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The people of the Santa Ana Pueblo want to rename a mesa about 20 miles west of the town of Bernalillo as part of an effort to reclaim ancestral lands.

    The Albuquerque Journal reports that the San Felipe Mesa was likely named by Spanish conquerors to honor King Philip II of Spain.

    Under the proposal, it would be known by the name used by used by ancestors.

    The pueblo has applied to have the name changed on all federal maps to Kene-ewa.

    It's a process that requires approval from the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, though local maps can be changed without such a process.

    Nationally, other Native American communities and others have been working to rename locations to fit with their history or overturn cruel or exploitative names.

  • Trash fee increase proposed

    The Environmental Sustainability Board released its proposed trash pick up rate hikes Thursday. Councy Council is set to discuss them at its June 6 meeting.
    For curbside residential, roll cart trash service, the board has proposed a $3 increase from $22 to $25, with extra roll carts per household also going up to $25. The same increases will apply to roll carts for commercial businesses. The commercial recycle pickup fee of $2 goes away, making once-a-week pick up for commercial businesses free.
    The Environmental Sustainability Board also is proposing to make dropping off cardboard at the Eco Station free, instead of having residents mix it all in with other recyclables.
    “When people move here, they usually have a truckload of boxes to bring in. We’re hoping to serve people like that,” said Public Works Department Manager Philo Shelton.
    The board plans to present its entire proposal which include increases to dumpster fees, trash compactor fees and fee increases for special services at the County Council June 6 meeting.
    The board proposed the fee hikes to cover a $300,000 deficit in the Environmental Services budget.
    Inflation from labor costs, contracts and a rise in the price of trash cans are fueling the deficit, as are oil prices.

  • Police Beat 5-27-17

    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.

    April 24
    10:45 a.m. — LAPD investigated a high school student found in possession of drug paraphernalia.

    12:27 p.m. — Shannandoaha D. Lopez, 35, of Alcalde was arrested on a municipal court warrant.

    1:41 p.m. — Casandra Ruybal, 27, of Los Alamos was arrested for driving on a suspended driver’s license and a warrant out of Santa Fe County.

    4:21 p.m. — LAPD investigated a report of a forged check at Smith’s.

    6:06 p.m. — Sarah M. Preteska, 60, of Jemez Springs was arrested for operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

    6:33 p.m. — Garrett J. Eckhart, 35, of Los Alamos was arrested on a magistrate court warrant.

    7:06 p.m. — Russell C. Dupree, 44, of Espanola was arrested on a warrant and for driving on a suspended driver’s license.

    April 25

  • On the Docket 5-27-17

    March 30
    Michelle Frybarger pleaded not guilty to driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs. Defendant was fined $500 and must also pay $290 in court costs. Defendant was sentenced to DWI school, community service and substance abuse assessment.

    Aaron L. Sanchez was found guilty of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs. Defendant must pay $290 in court costs. Defendant was sentenced to DWI school, community service and substance abuse assessment.

    Gerald F. Heck was found guilty to driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs. Defendant was fined $500 and must also pay $290 in court costs. Defendant was sentenced to DWI school, community service and substance abuse assessment.

    Eunjung Park was found guilty of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and must also pay $65 in court costs.

    Lucy Scully was found guilty of menacing behavior and must pay $65 in court costs. Sentence deferred until May 29.

    Janine Sears was found guilty for failing to display a current and valid registration plate. Defendant was fined $50.