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Local News

  • New VA director wants to build trust

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The new director of the Veterans Affairs’ health care system in New Mexico embarked on a tour of the state Tuesday, starting with town halls in Artesia and Alamogordo.
    Andrew Welch has plans to visit several other communities over the next six weeks to meet with veterans and their families as part of an effort to restore trust after VA hospitals and clinics around the country were rocked last year by allegations of mismanagement, delays in care and secret waiting lists.
    Welch tells The Associated Press that the first steps to restoring trust will be ensuring access to timely health care for veterans and making the VA accountable for the services it provides.
    The town halls are aimed at listening to veterans and communities about what’s working within the health care system and what needs to need to fixed, he said.
    “The approach we’re using is to listen,” he said. “That’s the first way we build trust, to listen and act upon whatever the person is telling us. That’s the way every relationship works, whether it’s personal relationships, business relationships or, obviously, relationships most importantly with our veterans.”

  • County Briefs 1-7-14

    Furniture sale is Saturday

    Aspen Elementary will sell off furniture that was used in the old building.
    Various sizes of desks, chairs, file cabinets and more are available. Most pieces will be sold for $10 or less. The sale will be from 8 a.m.-noon Saturday at Aspen’s north parking lot behind the school, weather permitting.
    Proceeds from the sale will go to purchase huge chess pieces to be used on the new playground.

    Reps to be at LWV event

    The League of Women Voters of Los Alamos and the American Association of University Women are hosting a legislative preview from 7-9 p.m. Thursday at Fuller Lodge.
    Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard and Senators Carlos Cisneros and Richard Martinez will be speaking.
    Refreshments will be served at 6:30 p.m.
    Open spaces to be discussed

    The Parks and Recreation board will hear a presentation on the proposed Open Space Plan a 7 p.m. Jan. 14.
    The meeting will be at the Pajarito Environmental Education Center, which is located at 3540 Orange Street.

  • Update 1-7-15

    Play reading

    There is an open play reading for “Avenue Q: The Musical.” 7 p.m. today at the Los Alamos Little Theater green room, 1670 Nectar St. The play will be performed in May as a joint production with Dixon Community Players.

    NCRTD

    A regular meeting of the North Central Regional Transit District will take place at 9 a.m. Friday. The meeting will be at the Jim West Center in Española.

    School board

    The next meeting of the Los Alamos School Board is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Jan. 13. The meeting will be at the Los Alamos Public Schools administration board room.

    Transportation

    A regular meeting of Los Alamos County’s transportation board is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday in council chambers.

    Chautauqua

    Jane Voss and Hoyle Osborne will present “All In, Down and Out: The Great Depression in Song and Story,” Jan. 17 at 2 p.m., at Mesa Public Library.

    Winter Market

    A winter’s Farmers’ Market is scheduled for Thursday at Fuller Lodge. The market will open at 8 a.m. Markets will be held at Fuller Lodge the second Thursday of each month through April.

  • Prescribed burn gets delayed

    The Los Alamos Fire Department announced this morning that its prescribed pile burns that were supposed to start Friday have been delayed.
    The fire department said the burns would be pushed back until at least next week due to current weather conditions. There is no set time for the burns to start.
    Numerous piles of debris have been collected in Bayo Canyon. LAFD, along with fire crews from the U.S. Forest Service, have spent the last few months clearing areas in Bayo Canyon and have arranged dead wood and other flammable debris into 4-by-4 foot piles along the trail. The burn will happen in a well-monitored environment.

  • Council approves audit report

    The new Los Alamos County Council began 2015 with a light agenda on Tuesday.
    New council members Susan O’Leary and James Chrobocinski were welcomed and Kristin Henderson and David Izraelevitz were unanimously elected chair and vice chair for the term.
    The main item of business Tuesday night was the presentation of the yearly audit report, which was conducted by CliftonLarsonAllen LLP.
    Principal Janet Pacheco-Morton reported that the firm’s opinion for both financial statements and the single audit for federal expenditures was unmodified, the highest possible rating.
    “There were no adjustments to the financial statements of the county, which is very significant for a county of this size and complexity, so I’d like to commend management, specifically financial management for keeping good account of their records,” Pacheco-Morton said.
    The only difficulty in performing the audit was obtaining adequate documentation to validate the amount of the capital assets donated to the county by NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization).
    Pacheco-Morton noted that it is extremely unusual to have any difficulties performing an audit of the county, but the experimental nature of the NEDO project made it difficult to find criteria for determining the value of the asset.

  • Today in history Jan. 7
  • Man arrested in officer shooting

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A man suspected of shooting and wounding an Albuquerque police officer during a weekend traffic stop was arrested after a massive manhunt, authorities said Tuesday.
    Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputies took Christopher Cook, 36, into custody without incident around 4 a.m. Tuesday on suspicion of shooting Officer Lou Golso, Albuquerque police said.
    Golson was shot twice, at least once in the torso, as he tried to question Cook early Saturday morning during a stop on suspected drunken driving, police said.
    It was unclear what provoked the driver to open fire on the officer, who shot back before the suspect fled, authorities said.
    Golson is listed in stable condition following surgery, but he will need additional surgeries.
    Online court records do not list a lawyer for Cook but show that charges were filed against him Saturday for motor vehicle theft. It was not known if those charges were related to the Saturday traffic stop.
    Court records also showed that Cook has a lengthy criminal record and has pleaded guilty to burglary.
    Police have scheduled a press conference Tuesday to discuss the case.

  • Update 1-6-15

    County Council

    The next scheduled Los Alamos County Council meeting is 7 p.m. tonight in council chambers.

    NCRTD

    A regular meeting of the North Central Regional Transit District will take place at 9 a.m. Friday. The meeting will be at the Jim West Center in Española.

    School board

    The next meeting of the Los Alamos School Board is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Jan. 13. The meeting will be at the Los Alamos Public Schools administration board room.

    Transportation

    A regular meeting of Los Alamos County’s transportation board is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday in council chambers.

    Chautauqua

    Jane Voss and Hoyle Osborne will present “All In, Down and Out: The Great Depression in Song and Story,” Jan. 17 at 2 p.m., at Mesa Public Library.

    Library board

    Anthony Strain will give an update to the Los Alamos County Library Board on the status of the library construction in White Rock. The meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. Monday at the library’s main branch.

  • Report: DHS should scrap drone plan

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Homeland Security Department’s border drones program costs far more than the government estimates, helps in the arrests of just a fraction of the number of people trying to cross the border illegally and flies far fewer hours than the government claims, an internal watchdog asserted in a report released Tuesday.
    Inspector General John Roth said in his report that the Predator B drones flown along the border by Customs and Border Protection are “dubious achievers.”
    Customs and Border Protection doesn’t have any performance measures, so the agency can’t prove that the program is effective, it said.
    CBP planned to operate four 16-hour drone patrols a day, for about 23,290 total flight hours during the 2013 budget year that ended Sept. 30, 2013. But Roth’s audit found that the planes were actually in the air for about 5,100 hours, or roughly 22 percent of the planned flight time.
    Drones have also led to relatively few apprehensions of people crossing the border illegally. In the two busiest Border Patrol sectors, Tucson, Arizona, and Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, drones accounted for only about 2,270 of the more than 275,000 apprehensions in 2013.

  • Right-to-work bill introduced

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — In what is the latest battleground to transform labor laws across the country, a new proposal in New Mexico would bar private- and public-sector workers from being required to join unions as a condition for employment.
    Three Republican lawmakers announced Monday that they have filed a bill as part of an effort to drastically change New Mexico’s labor laws and make New Mexico a “right-to-work” state.
    “We support anyone who wants to join a union or financially contribute to one,” said Rep. Dennis Roch, R-Logan, one of the sponsors of the new proposal. “However, hardworking New Mexicans should never be forced to join a union or financially contribute to one as a condition of employment. This legislation gives our workers the freedom of choice.”
    The measure goes further than a proposal from Sen. Sander Rue, R-Albuquerque, which only would bar private-sector employees from the union requirement.
    Supporters of the new bill say it would spur economic growth and attract businesses to the state.
    “Not only will this legislation protect our workers from having to join an organization against their will, it will also make New Mexico more competitive and improve our business climate,” said Rep. Andy Nuñez, a Republican from Hatch.