Local News

  • Los Alamos National Bank warns of ATM data skimmers

    SANTA FE (AP) — Los Alamos National Bank employees have found scanning devices used to steal bank card information at two drive-thru ATMs in Santa Fe.

    The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that bank officials say the two so-called "skimmer" devices have been removed from the ATMs. Police also removed cameras that had been installed above the machines to record customers entering their PIN numbers.

    Los Alamos National Bank President and CEO John Gulas said Wednesday that he believes the scam began last week, though it's unclear when the skimmers were installed.

    Police have identified a suspect based on surveillance video. Anyone with information about the skimmers is asked to call Santa Fe police.

  • UNM regents delay Los Alamos campus tuition hike decision

    The University of New Mexico Board of Regents has postponed the decision to grant a 4-percent tuition increase at the Los Alamos campus indefinitely because of state education budget uncertainty, university officials said Wednesday.

    A UNM budget summit scheduled for Thursday was canceled because university officials are concerned that Gov. Susana Martinez will veto House Bill 2, a bill that distributes funds to the state’s colleges and universities, according to a memo sent to the university’s community.

    “The UNM Budget Summit scheduled for April 7 has been canceled due to the possibility of House Bill 2 being vetoed and a special session being called,” the memo said.

    UNM-LA officials reached Tuesday said they plan to go forward with a budget review for 2017, even though it looks like the proposed tuition hike has been postponed indefinitely.

    All decisions made by the UNM-LA Advisory Board must be approved by the UNM Board of Regents, which includes tuition increases and annual budgets.

  • Two dogs involved in attack on smaller dog captured

    Los Alamos Animal Control Officers located and seized two dogs Tuesday that are suspected of killing a smaller dog, according to the Los Alamos Police Department.

    The owner of two shepherd-type dogs has been cited, according to LAPD Commander Preston Ballew. The attack happened March 29 on Acoma Lane.

    “Charges have been filed through the Los Alamos Magistrate Court,” Ballew said Wednesday.

    The owner, Leslie Sherman, was cited with three counts; two are dangerous dog acts, one for each dog, and the third count is a petition to court for the seizure of the dogs, according to the police report.

    Los Alamos Dispatch received a call at 1:17 p.m. March 29 about a possible dog attack, so Los Alamos County Police Corporal Sheldon Simpson and Senior PSA Officer Robert Aragon went to the residence to investigate the reported dog attack, according to the report.

    “…A witness observed (two) large dogs, one brown and the other black, come into the yard where a smaller dog was,” according to Ballew. “The (two) large dogs killed the smaller dog and left the area.”

  • New Mexico, Texas seek licenses to store spent nuclear fuel

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The race for what to do with spent fuel generated by the nation's nuclear power plants is heating up as backers of a plan to build a temporary storage site in New Mexico made the rounds in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday in hopes of gaining support for their proposal.
    Holtec International and a coalition of local leaders from southeastern New Mexico first announced plans two years ago to construct a state-of-the-art, below-ground space for temporarily housing the tons of spent fuel that has been piling up at reactors around the U.S.
    The company recently submitted its application for licensing to the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, starting what will be a yearslong review process. It will take federal regulators 60 days to determine if the application is complete and then the more in-depth work will begin.
    The agency is already reviewing an application from a West Texas company that treats and disposes of radioactive waste in a remote area not far from the New Mexico border. Waste Control Specialists has proposed storing some 5,000 metric tons of spent fuel.
    Federal officials have long acknowledged that the future of nuclear energy in the U.S. depends on the ability to manage and dispose of used fuel and high-level radioactive waste.

  • On the Docket 4-5-17

    March 6
    Ashley Martinez  pleaded no contest in Los Alamos Municipal Court to speeding 11-15 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant’s sentence deferred until June 3. Defendant also sentenced to defensive driving school. Defendant must pay $65 in court costs.

    March 7
    Gordon Runer pleaded no contest in Los Alamos Municipal Court to speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit and failing to appear in court. Defendant was sentenced to defensive driving school and fined $25.  Defendant’s sentence deferred until May 4. Defendant must also pay $65 in court costs.

    Ruben Griego was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of speeding 16-20 miles an hour over the speed limit. Sentence deferred until May 5. Defendant was also sentenced to defensive driving school. Defendant must also pay $65 in court costs.

    Russell Dupre  was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of careless driving and not having a proper driver’s license. Defendant must pay $65 in court costs. Defendant also sentenced to defensive driving school. Defendant must also pay $130 in defensive driving costs.

  • LAMC deals with OB-GYN shortage

    A temporary shortage of OB-GYNs in Los Alamos County has had some residents wondering about whether they will be covered, and if their Blue Cross, Blue Shield insurance will pay for it.
    Officials with the Los Alamos Medical Center said the public’s needs are being met, and they are working on hiring more OB-GYNs.
    The medical center is also accepting Blue Cross and Blue Shield without any problems. Another local OB-GYN, Dr. Danielle Bridge, a physician that has a private practice in town, also accepts Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance.
    “We’ve got several providers that are pulling locum duties, which means every day, we have coverage within the hospital. If someone needs to give birth, we have a physician here.” LAMC CEO John Whiteside said. “...We have 24-7 coverage for maternity, that’s our commitment to the community.”
    “Locum” duties means other the providers can step in to provide the duties of an OB-GYN when necessary.
    The physicians are also holding “clinic days,” when women can get checkups.
    “We have every day, through June, covered,” Whiteside said. “Hopefully, we’ll have two providers in here sooner than later.”
    The two will replace OB-GYN Dr. Patrick Dawson, who recently left Los Alamos.

  • 4 LAHS students win spots to science, engineering fair

    Four Los Alamos High School students won coveted spots last weekend to compete at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) May 14-19, 2017, in Los Angeles.
    The winners include Sophia Li in 11th grade, Lillian Peterson, ninth grade, and team project of Priyanka Velappan and Alex Inokov, also in 11th grade.
    This is the 13th year that LAHS students have competed in the prestigious international fair. Along with that honor, they also received all-expense-paid trips to the Intel Fair.
    The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), a program of Society for Science and the Public (the Society), is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition.
    Each year, about 1,800 high school students from more than 75 countries, regions and territories are given a chance to showcase their independent research and compete for on average $4 million in prizes.
    Today, millions of students worldwide compete each year in local and school-sponsored science fairs. The winners of these events go on to participate in society-affiliated regional and state fairs from which the best win the opportunity to attend Intel ISEF.

  • ‘I love what I do and I’m always finding new ways to teach ideas’

    Naly Ramirez, 31, had a job she loved, teaching Spanish at a private language institute in Albuquerque.
    Even as she and her husband moved to Los Alamos a year ago, she kept commuting because she loved teaching.
    When her child’s pediatrician in Los Alamos needed Spanish lessons before a move to California, she began to see the possibility that she could bring her love of teaching to her new home.
    What started as individual lessons among health care and technical workers has now sprung into small classes of adult students, called Se Habla Español (Spanish is Spoken Here).
     “I love what I do and I am extremely positive about it. I learn every day and I’m always finding new ways to teach ideas,” she said.
    The four, weekly two-hour classes, cost of $110, and offer interaction, brain workouts, games, music and a grasp of the language almost from the moment you walk in the door, she said. The goals for a new beginner’s class, which begins April 12 and continues each Wednesday until May 3 from 6-8 p.m., include learning the pronunciation of about 100 words, exposure to talking about future activities, and other basics. Her classes are held at project Y in Los Alamos.

  • Border wall contractors brace for hostile environment

    SAN DIEGO (AP) — One potential bidder on President Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico wanted to know if authorities would rush to help if workers came under “hostile attack.” Another asked if employees can carry firearms in states with strict gun control laws and if the government would indemnify them for using deadly force.
    With bids due Tuesday on the first design contracts, interested companies are preparing for the worst if they get the potentially lucrative job.
    A U.S. official with knowledge of the plans who spoke on condition of anonymity because the details haven’t been made public said four to 10 bidders are expected to be chosen to build prototypes.
    They will be constructed on a roughly quarter-mile (400-meter) strip of federally owned land in San Diego within 120 feet (37 meters) of the border, though a final decision has not been made on the precise spot, the official said. The government anticipates spending $200,000 to $500,000 on each prototype.
    The process for bids and prototypes are preliminary steps for a project that will face deep resistance in Congress and beyond.

  • Deadline nears for Gov. Martinez to act on legislation

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez isn’t backing down from threats not to sign measures that would increase taxes in New Mexico as the deadline nears for her to take action on a host of bills passed during the recent legislative session.
    Her office on Tuesday reiterated that tax hikes are off the table.
    The political standoff between the two-term Republican governor and the Democrat-controlled Legislature leaves uncertainty about the $6.1 million budget approved during the session that ended March 18.
    The spending plan for public education and other government programs is built upon a package of proposals aimed at plugging a shortfall with roughly $350 million in new taxes and fees on gasoline sales, retail sales over the internet, trucking permits and nonprofit hospital operations.
    Martinez has said the tax increases amount to burdens on working families. But Senate Democrats argue that the budget and new taxes are a reasonable option for pulling the state out of a fiscal crisis stemming a stagnant economy and a downturn in the oil and gas industry that has reduced state revenue.