Local News

  • Part of Main Trail at Bandelier will be closed

    Starting Monday and continuing for approximately four days, parts of the Main Loop Trail at Bandelier National Monument will be closed.
    During the times of closures, helicopters will be carrying sling loads of dirt and gravel for a trail project at the monument. The closure is for the safety of visitors.
    According to a news release from Bandelier, from 6 a.m. Monday until the completion of that portion of the work, which is scheduled to continue until Oct. 27, the Main Loop Trail will be closed from the northern edge of Tyuonyi Pueblo to the top of the stairs at Long House.
    The part of the Nature Trail which parallels Frijoles Creek between the creek and the Main Loop Trail, will also be closed.
    Visitors who wish to visit Long House can use the trail on the other side of the creek, which leads to Alcove House, to access the site and return.
    Bandelier announced the small cavates on the cliffs just above Tyuonyi, the ones with short ladders, would also not be available during this time.  Alcove House, however, will be open.

  • Burke eyes council post for next election

    Los Alamos resident Brady Burke has thrown his hat in the ring for a seat on Los Alamos County Council next year, sensing people are looking for more responsive government.
    “I get the idea that the government has sort of lost touch with the voters. There’s that disconnect, that people feel they don’t have a voice,” Burke said.
    Burke admits in the past he was not politically active, but that all changed in May when county residents voted against the county raising $20 million through a sale of general obligation bonds by a slim margin.
    The money was to go toward funding five projects which included a recreation center in Los Alamos and a splash pad in White Rock’s Piñon Park. The bond came with a property tax increase.
    Though the voters rejected the bond sale, it was enough for Burke to get involved.
    Burke said didn’t like that shortly after the sale, county voted to go ahead and build some of the projects anyway using the additional $13 million the county has in its capital improvement fund.

  • Dark Night set for Saturday in WR

    The Pajarito Astronomers will be holding a County-Sponsored Dark Night on Saturday at Spirio Soccer Field, located at Overlook Park in White Rock.
    The Dark Night will bet at sunset, which is approximately 6:30 p.m.
    The Pajarito Astronomers said the public is invited, weather permitting, to view the skies through the telescopes which will be set up for the event.
    According to the Astronomers, the planets Mercury, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune should all be visible, and possibly some Orionid meteors throughout the evening.
    Also planned for the Dark Night is a tour of the summer and fall constellations, the Milky Way, and telescopic views of double stars, clusters and other celestial bodies.
    Viewing will end before midnight.
    For more information about the Dark Night, you can call 662-3252.

  • Talk with a Councilor is Thursday

    Los Alamos County announced that a pair of members of the County Council will host a booth at the Farmer’s Market on Thursday.
    This is an informal setting open to residents who would like to stop by with comments, concerns or questions. They will be available from 9-11 a.m.  

  • You Can See Clearly Now

    Nick Washington of HEI replaces a lamp in the Smith’s Marketplace parking lot Tuesday morning.

  • State Briefs 10-18-17

    Miners make extra room at WIPP

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Federal contract workers are expected to begin mining operations at the nation’s nuclear waste dump in New Mexico for the first time in three years following a radiation release that contaminated part of the underground repository.
    The U.S. Energy Department announced Tuesday that the work to carve out more disposal space from the ancient salt formation where the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant is located will begin later this fall.
    The contractor that runs the repository says the work is expected to be done in 2020.
    In all, workers will remove more than 112,000 tons (101,605 metric tons) of salt, making way for a total of seven disposal rooms. At 300 feet long and more than 30 feet wide, a room can hold the equivalent of nearly 10,400 55-gallon drums.

    Motorist allegedly tries to run over cop

  • County hires new airport manager

    The county has hired Cameron Humphres to be Los Alamos Airport’s new manager, county officials announced Tuesday afternoon.

    Humphres, who previously who spent 19 months as a manager for Santa Fe Municipal Airport, is very familiar with Los Alamos. His grandfather lived in Los Alamos and built an airplane here.

    “I spent the most impressionable years of my life at the airport with him,” Humphres said in a written statement.  “Those experiences would become the catalyst for a career in airport management and military service.”

    Humphres will begin his new job Nov. 6. Before working in Santa Fe, Humphres worked for eight years as executive director of the Rapid City Regional Airport in South Dakota. Humphres also holds a commercial pilot’s license with multi-engine and instrument ratings.

    Humphres also worked as a B-1 bomber test pilot and as an A-10 mechanic., and has experience as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force. Humphres has accreditation from the American Association of Airport Executives and he also has a master’s degree in aviation business administration.

    Humphres will be replacing Los Alamos Airport Manager David Ploeger, who retired earlier this month.

  • Science standards meeting fills state hearing room

    Hundreds appeared Monday in Santa Fe for the single public hearing scheduled to comment on controversial science standards proposed by the state’s Public Education Department.

    Throughout the morning, no one spoke in favor of PED’s proposal, many saying the department’s rewritten version of the national Next Generation Science Standards, known as Next Gen, were politically motivated.

    The hearing was overseen by Kimberly Ulibarri, a PED hearing officer. Monday was the last day to submit comments.

    Two Los Alamos schools officials, Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus and board member Andrea Cunningham, had signed up to speak, but due to a lengthy interruption from a false fire alarm and problems managing the hearing’s sign-in sheets, the two didn’t speak. A second board member was called on to speak.

    Next Gen science standards were developed in 2013 by a consortium of 26 states, including people in New Mexico, and other organizations, such as National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Research Council.

    Changes made at PED include replacing references to climate change with “temperature fluctuations,” removes mention of the earth’s age as 4.8 billion years, and tweaks instruction on evolution.

  • Supreme Court backs push to remove Ten Commandments monument

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday sided with a lower court that ordered a New Mexico city to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the lawn outside City Hall.

    Civil liberties advocates behind the case called the decision involving the city of Bloomfield a victory for the separation of church and state.

    ACLU of New Mexico Executive Director Peter Simonson said it sends a "strong message that the government should not be in the business of picking and choosing which sets of religious beliefs enjoy special favor in the community."

    However, David Cortman, a senior counsel and vice president of U.S. litigation with Alliance Defending Freedom, said the outcome did nothing to resolve confusion in lower courts involving such monuments.

    "Americans shouldn't be forced to censor religion's role in history simply to appease someone who is offended by it or who has a political agenda to remove all traces of religion from the public square," said Cortman, whose group represented the city of Bloomfield.

    The decision came after attorneys for the city argued that the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ignored previous rulings by the Supreme Court that simply being offended by such a monument did not give someone a legal basis to challenge the monument.

  • New Mexico education secretary defends science overhaul

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's public education secretary is defending new proposed science standards that have been widely criticized for deleting or omitting references to global warming, evolution and the age of the earth.

    State education official are holding their one and only public hearing Monday to gather comments on the proposed standards.

    In a public message published Sunday, Public Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski says the new standards will give teachers and families flexibility and local control around science materials, curriculum and content. He did not specifically address how the standards address the teaching of evolution and climate change.

    Top scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory, science education associations and major New Mexico school districts are asking the state to adopt unedited standards developed by a consortium on states.