Local News

  • Garcia Richards declares candidacy for state land commissioner

    State lawmaker Stephanie Garcia Richard, a Democrat from Los Alamos, confirmed Wednesday she would be running for state land commissioner following an announcement by Democrat Ray Powell that he would be withdrawing from the race.

    Garcia Richard, who represents District 43 in the state House of Representatives, said Powell called her to ask that she get back in the race. Powell had been state land commissioner for several terms. He announced that he would be stepping away due to health problems from an auto-immune disease.

    Garcia Richard said she had contemplated running for the statewide post that oversees state trust lands for educational institutions earlier this year, but had decided to not pursue it when Powell announced he would run.

    His announcement Wednesday changed that.

    “He called me up and asked me to reconsider. This seat gives me a good opportunity to advocate for education funding, renewal energy resources and conservation,” Garcia Richard said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

    An educator with three terms in the Legislature under her belt, Garcia Richard said she would have a unique opportunity to challenge the public’s perspective of “what the land commissioner is.”

  • Ex Sandia Labs employee indicted on fraud, money laundering

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Authorities say a former Sandia National Laboratories worker used her position and created a phony company to defraud the facility of more than $2 million.

    A federal grand jury indicted 55-year-old Carla Sena of Albuquerque on Wednesday on 11 counts including wire fraud, major fraud against the U.S. and money laundering.

    Most of the lab's work involves research, development and maintenance of nuclear weapons.

    A former procurement officer, Sena was tasked in 2010 with overseeing the bidding for a $2.3 million contract for moving services.

    The indictment said Sena prepared a bid for a company under someone else's name and leveraged other bidders' information to ensure herself the winning bid.

    Sena is also accused of diverting at least $640,000 between December 2011 and April 2015 to her father's businesses.
    It was not immediately known if Sena had an attorney.

  • Powell ends bid for New Mexico State Land Office; Garcia Richard to run

    Staff and Wire Report

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Democrat Ray Powell is ending his bid for New Mexico land commissioner after finding out he has a rare auto-immune condition that affects the communication between nerves and muscles.

    Powell made the announcement Wednesday on social media, saying there's a good probability he can live an active life with treatment but that if he were elected, he wouldn't be able to sustain the intense effort required by the office.

    Powell has endorsed Democrat Stephanie Garcia Richard, a state lawmaker from Los Alamos. Garcia Richard confirmed with the Los Alamos Monitor she will run for the state land commissioner, forgoing running for her third term as state reporeseatative for Dist. 43.

    Democratic Sen. George Munoz of Gallup and Garrett VeneKlasen with the New Mexico Wildlife Federation are also running.

    Powell served as land commissioner from 1993-2002 and again from 2011-2014. He narrowly lost the 2014 general election to Republican Aubrey Dunn.

    The land commissioner oversees management of millions of mineral and surface acres.

  • Small prescribed burn planned for SF watershed

    Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest are planning to take advantage of unseasonably favorable conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality, forecasted winds and weather, to conduct a one-day prescribed burn in the Santa Fe Watershed on Thursday.

    The 248-acre treatment area is approximately four miles east of the City of Santa Fe on the east end of the McClure Reservoir and adjacent to the western boundary of the Pecos Wilderness.  Impacts from the hand and aerial ignitions are expected to be minimal due to the location and small size of the treatment area.

    Historically, low- to moderate-intensity wildfires burned through southwestern dry conifer forests like the SFNF every seven to 15 years on average as part of a natural cycle that removed leaf litter, eradicated disease and thinned the understory, making room for new growth. 

    Prescribed fires are one of the most effective tools available to resource managers for restoring fire-adapted ecosystems like the SFNF by applying low- to moderate-intensity fire to the landscape under specific conditions within predetermined boundaries.

  • Honor, Duty and Sacrifice
  • Sanchez-Gagne seeks state district court judge post

    Maria Sanchez-Gagne, an attorney who served as director of state Attorney General’s Border Violence Division for ten years, has announced her candidacy for a state district court judge post in the First Judicial District.

    The judicial district encompasses Santa Fe, Rio Arriba and Los Alamos counties. Sanchez-Gagne, a Democrat, has thrown her hat into the ring for the district court judge post in Division 2, which was recently vacated by District Judge Sarah Singleton and filled with an appointment by Gov. Susana Martinez of Gregory S. Shaffer. Shaffer had been the Santa Fe County attorney.

    Shaffer is seeking election to the post.

    With a primary in June, party-selected candidates then face off in November of next year during a general election.
    Sanchez-Gagne has been in public service for more than two decades, including a post as an assistant attorney general as a prosecutor of felony child abuse and sexual assault cases, according to a press release issued by her election committee.

    She began her career as an assistant district attorney in the First Judicial District Attorney’s office as a prosecutor from 1996 to 2000. Her cases included domestic violence and child abuse.

  • Missing cat, best friend

    She was so much a part of Imogene Dison’s house and heart, there was no need to take a photograph of the medium-sized white cat with the bluish-green eyes.

    But the cat, a 14-year-old “gift” from a grandson’s former girlfriend, may have slipped out of the house on Nov. 5.
    After a visitor came into the house and then left, the cat disappeared from the home on Pueblo Street across from Los Alamos High School a week ago Sunday, she said.

    “I’m afraid she’s gone. I can’t sleep at night. I get up three or four times a night to call her, but she hasn’t found her way home,” said Dison.

    Dison said she would be grateful if her cat was found. And returned.

    She is hoping other people will look out for the cat and report back to her.

    “She is my very best friend and companion, and I’m her’s,” Dison said.

    The cat’s name is Zenn, but the cat may not respond to her name.

    The cat is extremely friendly, Dison said, and has lived her entire time with Dison without leaving the house.

    “She’s never wanted to leave it. I’m afraid she’s gone down the canyon,” next to Dison’s house, she said.

  • Homebuyer Assistance Program launches today

    Income-qualified homebuyers needing assistance to make a down payment on a home are invited to apply for Los Alamos County’s new Homebuyer Assistance Program starting today.

    The county has contracted with Los Alamos Housing Partnership to oversee the program, which is funded by the County Council for $150,000 for the first year.

    The housing program is designed to help income-qualified homebuyers purchase a home by providing a loan for a down payment using county funds, without adding to monthly mortgage costs.

    The homebuyer makes no payments until the home is sold or vacated. Homebuyer education and counseling will also be provided. The minimum down payment loan amount has been established at $8,000 with a maximum loan amount of $25,000. The average down payment loan amount is anticipated to be approximately $15,000.

    The Housing Partnership lists its Board of Directors as Karl Hjelvik, president; Denise Terrazas, vice president; Carol Clark, treasurer; Craig Wehner, secretary; and members Charles Rennick, Lesley Harleson and Katherine Korkos.

  • Rivera remains in jail following hearing

    SANTA FE – A Los Alamos woman accused of slashing her sister’s boyfriend and leaving him for dead will remain in jail, according to a ruling by a state district judge on Tuesday.

    Andrea Rivera, 30, was arrested Nov. 4 after police found Cory Kershner, 28, severely injured from a wound to his abdomen at the apartment Kershner shared with Rivera’s sister, Sara Cooper. Cooper suffered a laceration on her hand.

    State District Judge T. Glenn Ellington, during the hearing, noted past cases involving Rivera where charges against her alleging violence – in one case stabbing her mother with a pair of scissors – had been dismissed or lowered to less serious offenses.

    “I count 12 different cases… She continued with a pattern of behavior. I’m also concerned about the failure to prosecute. Hindsight is perfect 20/20,” Ellington said.

    She is charged with two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, two third-degree felonies, stemming from the alleged attack on Kershner and her sister. She is also charged with a fourth-degree felony of tampering with evidence. Each third-degree felony carries a jail sentence of three years in jail and $5,000 fine; a fourth-degree felony carries an 18-month jail sentence and $3,000 fine.

  • Lane closures on all Diamond Drive intersections Friday

    Los Alamos County Traffic sign crew will install “Yield to Pedestrian” signs on traffic signal arms at the following intersection locations:

    • Diamond Drive at West Road (all traffic signals)

    • Diamond Drive at 38th Street and Arkansas (all traffic signals)

    • Diamond Drive at Trinity (all traffic signals)

    • Diamond Drive at Canyon Road (all traffic signals)

    • Diamond Drive at Orange Street and Sandia (all traffic signals)

    There will be lane closures as they install these signs on each traffic signal. Motorists are asked to slow down and proceed through these work zones with caution.

    The project will begin at 8 a.m. Friday and continue until 3 p.m.