Local News

  • Council approves sewage rate increase

    The second major item on Tuesday night’s council agenda was a request from the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) for a 10 percent increase in the sewage service rate schedule.

    Utility Manager John Arrowsmith explained that rate increases were necessary to repay the loan on the new sewage treatment plant and for maintenance on the 50- to 60-year-old infrastructure.

    Arrowsmith anticipated objections to the above average rates Los Alamos residents pay, explaining that the terrain requires high-cost infrastructure, including 27 pump stations. He cited a request to extend the system to DP Road as an example.

  • Daring Helicopter Rescue During Wildfire

    Dangling from a rope attached to a hovering helicopter, an emergency medical technician was lowered to the ground in jagged terrain to rescue a Hot Shot firefighter injured while battling the Las Conchas Fire last month.

    Bree Myers, 24, with the National Park Service, is assigned to a helitack crew normally stationed on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

    She and her helitack crew came to Los Alamos last month to help battle the largest wildfire in New Mexico history. They were managing a dip site when the accident occurred.

    The firefighter Myers rescued was injured while working with other firefighters to prepare lines for a burnout.

  • Stocks plunge as economic, Europe worries continue

    NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market is in the midst of its biggest retreat since the financial crisis.

    The Dow Jones industrial average plunged as many as 400 points Thursday afternoon. It is now down more than 1,200 points since July 21. The Standard & Poor's 500 index is down 3 percent, bringing it nearly 11 percent below its recent high of 1,363 reached on April 29. A decline of 10 percent or more is considered to be a market correction.

    The Vix, a measure of investor fear, shot up nearly 25 percent. It is up 77 percent for the quarter, which began July 1.

  • Unemployment aid applications tick down to 400K

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking unemployment benefits dipped last week, a sign the job market may be improving slowly.

    Weekly applications for unemployment benefits edged down 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 400,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's the lowest level in four months. The previous week's figure was revised upward from 398,000 to 401,000.

    The four-week average, a less volatile figure, dropped for the fifth straight week to 407,750. That suggests there is a downward trend in layoffs.

  • Health law windfall for Massachusetts hospitals

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Hospitals in Massachusetts will reap an annual windfall of $275 million through a loophole enshrined in the new health care law. Hospitals in most other states will get less money as a result.

    The disclosure was buried in a regulation that Medicare issued late last week. Hospital association executives in other states are up in arms over the news, which comes at a time when they are girding for more cuts under the newly signed federal debt deal.

    "If I could think of a better word than outrageous, I would come up with it," said Steve Brenton, president of the Wisconsin Hospital Association.

  • More to FAA shutdown than air service subsidies

    WASHINGTON (AP) — On the surface, the partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration is about whether to cut $16 million in air service subsidies, a pretty small amount in this town. Underneath are layers upon layers of political gamesmanship that, at its heart, is about whether Democrats or Republicans get to call the shots in Congress.

    The immediate price is high. Already, 4,000 FAA employees have been furloughed, more than 200 construction projects have been halted and an estimated 70,000 other private-sector workers affected. Air traffic controllers and safety inspectors have remained on the job because the agency still has money from another pool of funds to pay them.

  • Bandelier Opens to Visitation

    Jason Lott, Superintendent of Bandelier National Monument announced today, "Bandelier National Monument is open for business and visitors are rediscovering mesa-top areas of the park. The Monument has relaxed most fire restrictions and visitors may also enjoy campfires at Juniper Campground."

    The sight of visitors at the Tsankawi District and driving through the main entrance station is a promising sign to park staff and local businesses. In addition to the Tsankawi District, visitors may hike along the Tyuonyi Overlook Trail to view the Frijoles Canyon cultural sites, and along Burnt Mesa Trail to see the rapid greening-up of an area affected by the Las Conchas Fire.

  • NM 4 at 501 intersection reopens in both directions after rock, mud slides

    NM 4, which was closed for a couple of hours Thursday because rock and mudslides in the area, reopened around 5:30 p.m., said Phil Taylor of the Office of Emergency Management.

    The road was closed by the 501 intersection, which was the back gate to the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The road was closed in both directions heading to and out of the Jemez Mountains.

    Earlier in the day, NM 501 was closed when a  thunderstorm rolling through the area caused some flooding with debris on the roadway on West Jemez (NM 501) at Water Canyon at mile marker 2.

    The road was closed west bound but by 3:30 p.m. crews were letting cars through that were traveling east bound on 501 and a few minutes later, the road was reopened in both directions.

  • Update 08-03-11

    Movie in the park

    Los Alamos County’s Recreation Department will host “Tangled” (rated PG) tonight at Urban Park. The movie is free and starts at approximately 7:45 p.m., weather permitting.

    Bandelier walk

    Bandelier National Monument is offering a free Tsankawi evening walk at 6:30 p.m. Thursday Reservations are required. Call 672-3861, ext. 517.

    Bulk item pickup

    Items will be picked up July 25-Aug. 5 in White Rock. Items must be curbside by 8 a.m. each day.

    T-board meeting

  • NCRTD search committee recommends Mortillaro as executive director

    Former Los Alamos County Administrator Tony Mortillaro moved one step closer this week to having the interim tag removed from his title as North Central Regional Transit executive director.

    The NCRTD’s search committee, headed by Santa Fe City Councilor Rosemary Romero, conducted a conference call Monday and made a recommendation to the board that Mortillaro become the agency’s permanent executive director.

    Mortillaro, a former county administrator, worked as a consultant for the NCRTD until Josette Lucero retired as the executive director. Mortillaro then was named the interim director.