Local News

  • Authorities prepare for religious pilgrimage to Chimayo

    CHIMAYO (AP) — Authorities are preparing for the thousands of people who are expected for the annual Good Friday pilgrimage to El Santuario de Chimayo.
    Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputies will increase traffic patrols beginning Thursday when the majority of pilgrims begin walking to the northern New Mexico shrine.
    Deputies are urging walkers to make themselves visible by using reflective tape, safety vests or glow sticks.
    New Mexico State Police, Santa Fe police and tribal officers also will be patrolling the area throughout the Easter weekend.
    State transportation crews will be installing message boards along roadways in the area as well as temporary stop signs, portable lights and trash cans.
    Chimayo is a national historic landmark. Some 200,000 people are estimated to visit each year, with the bulk occurring during Holy Week.

  • LAFD forms EMS bike response team

    The Los Alamos Fire Department has formed an EMS Bike team.  
    This new team will enable the EMTs to quickly reach patients who may be located in an area not easily accessible by ambulances.  
    LAFD first got the idea for the team by observing the police bike team working the July 4 celebration at Overlook Park last year. While the department faced delays and access issues getting to patients due to the crowds, LAPD was able to quickly and safely maneuver throughout the event area and respond where they were needed when they were needed.
    EMS bike teams were first developed in the 1980s and today there are more than 300 Bike Medic teams across the country staffed by fire departments, private ambulance services and public EMS providers.
    These teams respond to any event that would present challenges to traditional motorized response.  
    The fire department’s team’s capabilities will include basic and advanced level care for response in crowds, and off-road trail response.
    Each bike will carry an AED, first-line drugs, trauma supplies and oxygen to manage respiratory, cardiac, trauma and environmental emergencies. The team will have eight to 12 EMT/Firefighters who are comprehensively trained based on the International Police/EMS Mountain Bike Association program.

  • Moody’s reaffirms state’s credit rating

    SANTA FE (AP) — A credit ratings agency is reaffirming a top grade for New Mexico general obligation bonds as the state grapples with declining revenues from the oil and natural gas industry.
    The state Department of Finance and Administration on Thursday announced the triple-A bond rating from Moody’s Investor Services.
    Moody’s says the rating reflects the state’s conservative financial management practices, and relatively stable, adequate reserves.

  • AG’s office seeks to revoke Real’s plea deal

    David Rael, 38, of Los Alamos, is due to appear in First Judicial District Court April 6 for a motion hearing set by the state.
    Assistant Attorney General Jason Yamato has filed a motion requesting the court to revoke all or part of a prior plea agreement it made with Rael over sexual exploitation of a minor. Police originally charged Rael in 2014.
    The attorney general’s office did not say why he sought to revoke the deal. Rael was charged for driving while intoxicated Feb. 8. Rael was due to be sentenced for the sexual exploitation charges Feb. 24.
    In the plea agreement Rael’s attorneys worked out with the state, Rael would be charged with one count of sexual exploitation of a child (manufacture, second-degree felony).
    Also as part of the deal, Rael would be incarcerated up to five years for the crime. He would also be registered into the national sex offender database. He was due to be sentenced for probation for a period between five and 20 years.
    Before the plea deal, Rael was to be charged with three other counts of sexual exploitation of a child. For each of those counts, Rael could face up to nine years in prison and a $10,000 fine for each of the counts.

  • On the Docket 3-25-16

    Keith L. Abbott was found guilty in Los Alamos Magistrate Court of driving while under the influence of liquor and/or drugs (.08 or above, first offense). The original charge was aggravated driving while under the influence of liquor and/or drugs open count, misdemeanor.
    Defendant was sentenced to 364 days of supervised probation. Defendant must also pay $241 in court costs.
    Conditions of probation include obeying all laws and not be arrested or convicted of any other offense while on probation. Defendant will comply with all conditions of probation. Defendant will also enter and participate in all alcohol and drug screening programs, with at least six sessions recommended. Defendant shall also participate and complete DWI school within 90 days. The defendant shall also enter and successfully complete the Victim Impact program within 90 days.
    Defendant must also pay $25 a month in probation fees to the Los Alamos Municipal Court.
    The defendant shall also obtain an ignition interlock license and have ignition interlock devices installed on all cars defendant will be driving for one year.

  • Police Beat 3-25-16

    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.

    March 14
    7:48 a.m. — A 34-year-old Española man reported to police he was the victim of criminal damage to property (less than $1,000) at Camino Entrada

    9:47 a.m. — Police reported that a 78-year-old Los Alamos woman was the victim of fraud (more than $250, less than $20,000) at Trinity Drive.

    11:59 a.m. — Adam Martinez, 18, of Velarde was arrested for marijuana possession at Diamond Drive.

    11:59 a.m. — Anthony Chaltraw, 18, of Los Alamos was arrested for marijuana possession at Diamond Drive.

    7:40 p.m. — Joshua Krepps,  23, of Los Alamos was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia at the intersection of 20th Street and Central Avenue.

    March 15
    2:54 p.m. — A 15-year-old Los Alamos female reported to police that she was the victim of battery at Trinity Drive.

    March 16

  • Windy Wednesday

    Los Alamos residents endured a major windstorm Wednesday as winds from the Jemez blew through the area. Wind speeds reached 40 miles an hour, with gusts up to 67 miles an hour, according to national weather reports. The average was 16 miles an hour. Several houses and vehicles were damaged in the storm, with trees falling into homes and cars.

  • Former LAPS groundskeeper leaves jail

    A former groundskeeper for the Los Alamos Public Schools on trial for involuntary manslaughter left a Taos courtroom a free man Feb. 29, after his sentence was commuted for time served.
    Henry Wilton, 50, was sentenced to 18 months in jail for the 2014 death of his girlfriend, Angela Serrano, 41, according to court documents.
    “The court finds defendant gets credit from incarceration/ankle bracelet monitoring (20 months, 10 days). Defendant’s sentence will be commuted,” according to a statement in court documents.
    Upon his release, the Eighth Judicial Court Judge Jeff Foster McElroy said he respected the jury’s verdict and urged Wilton to take their grace to him as a lesson in his future relationships. He also urged Wilton to seek counseling and wished him good luck.
    In 2014, Wilton was arrested for beating his girlfriend to death while on a camping trip to the La Junta campgrounds in Taos on Father’s Day weekend.
    Wilton reportedly beat, stomped and kicked Serrano during and argument. Police also said he was wearing heavy boots at the time of the assault. Serrano then crawled back to the trailer where Wilton locked her inside. He then took her home to Española.

  • Council OKs FEMA grant application for reservoir road

    Los Alamos County Council unanimously approved a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the Los Alamos Canyon Reservoir Road Stabilization in an amount not to exceed $1.75 million.
    The reservoir provides flood control, a nonpotable water source, water for fire fighting and a recreational asset for the community.
    The proposed project will armor the road for a 100-year flood event, equivalent to the September of 2013 flood.
    Deputy Utility Manager for Gas, Water, and Sewer Services Jack Richardson apologized for bringing the request to council so close to the March 31 deadline for publishing the proposed FY 2017 budget.
    “It’s very unusual for us to bring something like this to you at this time,” Richardson said. “However, it’s also very unusual to have FEMA walk in the door and pretty much ask us to put a grant application together because there’s money on the table that they would like to give us.”
    The grant projects are considered on a first-come, first-serve basis.
    Richardson explained that the road has had to be rebuilt three times since the 2011 Las Conchas fire due to flooding. FEMA has spent more than $3 million on those rebuilds, with a county contribution of approximately a half million dollars.

  • Petitioners seek to stop NM 502 roundabout

    The Los Alamos County Council will hear a petition to stop a roundabout planned for the NM 502/Trinity Drive intersection at its April 5 meeting.
    Petitioners gathered 60 signatures for the petition, which asks council to:
    • Stop preparations for the roundabout at Trinity and Central Avenue immediately;
    • Arrange to replace the planned roundabout with a signalized intersection;
    • Adopt a moratorium on roundabout planning for any and all Los Alamos County arterial streets such as East Road, Trinity Road and Diamond Drive for a period of 10 years.
    Petitioners expressed fears that the roundabout would cause congestion and pose safety hazards for drivers and pedestrians. Others expressed concerns about the complexity of the two-lane roundabout being proposed.
    In a discussion that occurred on the Keep it Local, a Los Alamos Facebook page, before the administration removed it, several residents spoke in support of the roundabout. They contended that it would actually improve traffic flow and increase safety.