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Local News

  • Council votes for sheriff's budget, plus one extra position

    It was a tense but civil discussion Monday night as Los Alamos County Sheriff Marco Lucero addressed his budgetary needs for next year with the Los Alamos County Council. The council is currently reviewing the needs for each county department, and is also considering extra requests each department has made as it gets ready to adopt a county budget for fiscal year 2018. 

    Last year, council voted to transfer many of the sheriff’s duties to the Los Alamos Police Department, and put a referendum out to residents on whether Los Alamos County needs a sheriff, since the town of Los Alamos and the county of Los Alamos are one in the same. 

    Residents voted to keep the sheriff’s office, and Monday night, Lucero made that point clear.

    Many of his “extra” requests had to do with putting back what the council took away last year. 

    Among Lucero’s extra requests was a full-time “office specialist” at $58,911 a year, three part-time deputies at $29,565 a year and an undersheriff at $130,000 a year.

  • Derby Dames hit the big leagues

    The Los Alamos Derby Dames have roller skated into the big time at last. Actually, they’ve always been pros, but the league they were apprenticing in, the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, recently made it official by making the Los Alamos league an official member of the WFTDA. The team started as apprentices in April of this year, and graduated into full membership this year. 

    Part of the requirements included having a mock sanctioned game, which they did with the High Altitude Roller Derby team from Flagstaff. Altitude came up in the ranks with the Dames, and they became full members around the same time. 

    The Dames will be playing them again on the Altitude’s home turf in Flagstaff, Arizona, on Saturday. 

    The game will be the first time the two teams have met since becoming full members.

    “They’re a full member and we’re a full member, and we’re going to have a full, sanctioned game on Saturday,” LA Roller Derby Dames member Michele Holtkamp said. “It’s going to be exciting.” 

  • ‘The more confidence you have, the quicker you’ll go’

    By Wrenn Propp

    Robert Taylor’s advice – delivered in a voice lightly threaded with an Irish brogue and immigrant Australian – is pretty good if you’re riding a pony or poised on horseback.

    “The more confidence you have, the quicker you’ll go,” urged Taylor, an internationally known riding and jumping instructor, during a jumping clinic April 8 at the Rodeo Grounds in Los Alamos.

    It’s also applicable for the rest of us.

    For example, when you’re coming down from a big jump, lean back, or it is certain you will fall.

    “Shoulders forward and it’s not a matter of when, it’s a matter of where,” you will go down, he said.

    About 20 riders participated in activities sponsored by the Los Alamos Pony Club last weekend, including 11 riders for mounted game competition April 8. Taylor, who has lived in the United States for 20 years and operates TaylorMade Stables in Maryland, has taught annual clinics in Los Alamos four times in the past. He also presents clinics in Albuquerque and Taos.

    With an estimated 300 to 350 horses, ponies and other equines in Los Alamos County, his clinics have been popular. And appreciative spectators abound.

  • Second suspect nabbed for Bealls theft

    The second suspect in a March 9 shoplifting incident, where a male bystander was struck by a fleeing vehicle, is now in custody in the Los Alamos Detention Center.

    The shoplifting incident took place early afternoon at Bealls Department Store. 

    Stephanie Garcia, 31, was transported from Española Tuesday to the center. Before being booked, she was charged with shoplifting (more than $250, less than $2,500) and conspiracy. Both charges are fourth-degree felonies. Garcia is being held without bail until her initial hearing before a judge, which is expected to be this week. 

    Police arrested the second  suspect, Ashley Garcia, 23, of Hernandez, March 13. Garcia remains in custody at the LADC pending her preliminary hearing May 4. 

    The two women are not related. Garcia was charged with shoplifting (over $500 but not more than $2,500), aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and failure to give and render aid.

    Ashley Garcia described Stephanie Garcia as a “friend” in an interview with police about the incident. Ashley Garcia was arrested Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s deputies March 14 for the March 9 incident. 

  • DOE outlines priorities for cleanup

    The Department of Energy’s Los Alamos Environmental Management Field Office outlined its immediate priorities for safety and cleanup this week at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    Those projects included the remediation of a chromium plume under Mortandad Canyon, and dealing with the 60 barrels of toxic waste and nitrate salts involved in the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant accident in 2014.
    “The Environmental Management Los Alamos Field Office’s biggest priorities right now are the safety of the workers and the public as we execute our mission,” said Steven Horak, the field office spokesman said in a written statement Thursday.
    Lab to start treatment of barrels this spring
    The 60 barrels of transuranic waste are stored at Area G in an air conditioned and filtered facility that’s kept at a constant 57 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Lab workers have also installed a special filter and venting systems on the barrels’ lids as further prevention against the type of accident that happened at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad in February 2014.
    The 60 barrels were ready to be shipped to WIPP when the accident occurred.

  • Second suspect nabbed for Bealls theft

    The second suspect in a March 9 shoplifting incident, where a male bystander was struck by a fleeing vehicle, is now in custody in the Los Alamos Detention Center.

    The shoplifting incident took place early afternoon at Bealls Department Store. 

    Stephanie Garcia, 31, was transported from Española Tuesday to the center. Before being booked, she was charged with shoplifting (more than $250, less than $2,500) and conspiracy. Both charges are fourth-degree felonies. Garcia is being held without bail until her initial hearing before a judge, which is expected to be this week. 

    Police arrested the second  suspect, Ashley Garcia, 23, of Hernandez, March 13. Garcia remains in custody at the LADC pending her preliminary hearing May 4. 

    The two women are not related. Garcia was charged with shoplifting (over $500 but not more than $2,500), aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and failure to give and render aid.

    Ashley Garcia described Stephanie Garcia as a “friend” in an interview with police about the incident. Ashley Garcia was arrested Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s deputies March 14 for the March 9 incident. 

  • Flow trail plan gets good, bad reviews Thursday

    Dozens of people crowded into a small room at the Los Alamos County Municipal Building Thursday to voice their praise and concerns about a proposed flow trail for mountain bikers to the Parks and Recreation Board.

    The flow trail is being designed by the county’s Parks, Recreation and Open Space Division. Division staff presented an update of the plan to the board. 

    Resident Bruce Warren, the first to speak, didn’t think the trail was needed.

    “One of the great things about living here in Los Alamos is that we have already an existing, amazing trail system. Poorly maintained, but a great trail system,” Warren said. “My recommendation would not be not to build any more trails but maintain and improve what we have.” 

    Resident Brad Nyenhuis, co-owner of Los Alamos’ Fusion Multisport, was in favor of the idea. He said the trail would bring more tourists to town, which he said has a landscape made for mountain biking. 

  • UNM-LA advisory board OK’s proposed budget

    University of New Mexico-Los Alamos Advisory Board met Monday to review the proposed budget for school year 2017-18 at the University Drive campus.
    Chairperson Steve Boerigter opened the meeting with the hope that “everyone in the Los Alamos community attends advisory board meetings, they were elected to serve you.”
    The board tried to gather as much information as possible, build the budget and make the best use of the funds available.
    The first order of business was to give an overview of fiscal year 2018 budget.
    UNM-LA CEO Cindy Rooney explained, “This budget was built on the best information available at the time,” which was that a 1-to-1- and-half percent cut was possible.
    Director of Business Operations Lisa Wismer explained the process of building the budget given the numerous uncertainties. They began by taking the beginning budget of FY 2017 and then integrated the guidelines and prepare a plan for FY 2018. Wismer explained how they made sure to look at key programs that they felt were imperative and how to offer them some stability.
    The goal was to build a budget that would allow some flexibility but also accommodate for the unknown.

  • Change of zip code requirement rustles feathers for White Rock locals

    Last summer, the United States Postal Service required certain White Rock residents to adhere to a new zip code, 87547, which impacted some addresses previously in the Los Alamos 87544 zip code area.
    Although the bulletin from the United States Postal Service did not state residents would have to change the city name to White Rock on their permanent addresses, many residents fear that is exactly what they have to do.
    John Ramsay has been a proud resident of Los Alamos for 64 years and has lived in the White Rock area for 54 years. He said he does not think the change is reasonable.
    “The adoption of a third zip code for Los Alamos is reasonable, the change of the name is not,” Ramsay said in a letter to the Los Alamos Monitor.
    When Ramsay was first asked if surrounding neighbors had voiced similar opinions, the answer was no, but complaints have trickled in since then.
    Others have noticed a city name change on their incoming mail.
    Camille Morrison, a Los Alamos Count resident, said, “Only four pieces of mail I received last week had White Rock in the address.”

  • Dance for a Cure set for tonight at Posse Lodge

    BY WREN PROPP
    Special to the Monitor