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Local News

  • Today in history June 10
  • Prescribed burn scheduled for Wednesday at Pajarito Ski Area

    The Los Alamos Fire Department, weather permitting, is scheduled to conduct a prescribed burn at the Pajarito Ski Area Wednesday.
    The burn is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. and end around 2 p.m.
    The LAFD plans to burn a three-acre meadow, with a fireline constructed around the area. Traffic should not be affected. Smoke will also be visible from Española, Santa Clara and Santa Fe. The smoke from the burn will also be seen from State Highways 502 and 285.
    Fire officials expect some smoke to affect Los Alamos, depending on wind direction. The LAFD advises residents with respiratory conditions to avoid the area and stay indoors. For those residents with respiratory conditions, the LAFD recommended visiting nmtracking.org/fire for information and tips.
    Wildland Division Chief Ramon Garcia said the prescribed burn will also be a training exercise for LAFD firefighters.
    “This is going to give us an opportunity to train in a supervised, safe environment,” Garcia said.

  • No glitches in primary elections

    According to Los Alamos County Clerk Sharon Stover, the community seems pleased with how primary elections were run this year.
    Stover and her staff have heard positive feedback on the new polling location at the White Rock Library and the decision to move the municipal building vote center from the boards and commissions room to council chambers. A candidate thanked Stover for providing screens with scrolling results on election night and citizens have praised both poll workers and the clerk’s office staff.
    “First and foremost, we need to thank and recognize the 42 poll workers that worked throughout those 28 days of early voting and also on Election Day. They spent about 300 hours doing that,” Stover said. “And I’ve heard this at the grocery store and talking to people, they were dedicated, friendly and extremely helpful to each individual voter.”
    Stover cited one example of the extra effort the poll workers take. During early voting, someone with a disability was unable to get into the polling station.
    “So someone from both parties – because you have to have party balance – went out there and the person voted their ballot in the car,” Stover said. “They really go out of their way to make sure that we get every voter – as much as we can – to vote.”

  • projectY: New cowork space caters to entrepreneurs, startup companies

    ProjectY opened its doors on Wednesday in Central Park Square. The new collaborative cowork space is meant to serve as a hub for connecting startups, freelancers and others to like-mind entrepreneurs, business experts, investors and mentors who will help them achieve their personal and professional goals.
    The name pays homage to one of the Manhattan Project’s code names. projectY is a collaborative effort between Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation (LACDC), Los Alamos County, Los Alamos National Laboratory’s (LANL) Richard P. Feynman Center for Innovation and its Community Relations and Partnerships Office and Central Park Square owner Philip Kunsberg.
    “project Y is a fairly unique collaboration between many different organizations. It’s a collaboration and a partnership that I’ve not seen in 13 or 14 years, that’s as formal and aligned as what we have here,” LACDC Executive Director Patrick Sullivan remarked during the ribbon cutting ceremony. “It’s the bringing together of several different entities to help spur entrepreneurship and creativity in Los Alamos.”

  • Child porn trial delayed

    He may have allegedly downloaded child porn, but did he know it and did he look at it? David Rael’s defense attorney put that question forward to First Judicial Court Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer Wednesday during a docket call.
    Rael, 38, was arrested in May of 2014 by Los Alamos police after a year-long investigation conducted by a special crimes unit attached to the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office.
    Rael was charged with allegedly downloading child porn videos onto his computer. The videos, which police said numbered about six, allegedly depicted boys and girls, ages 10 to 16, allegedly engaging in various sexual activities with adults.
    During an interview with police at the time, Rael said he was drunk at the time the downloads allegedly occurred, and didn’t know what he was doing.
    He also said that he has poor eyesight.
    “When (Special Agent) Pena asked him about specific files on his computer that contained child pornography he stated that he may have unintentionally downloaded them. He said some of the illegal child pornography downloads may be attributed to his poor eyesight (he stated he is blind in his left eye) and to him being intoxicated while intending to download legal pornography. Mr. Rael was evasive in his responses to direct questions,” according to a police report.

  • Obamas headed to Carlsbad, Yosemite for Father's Day weekend

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is taking the first family on a mini-vacation to Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico and Yosemite National Park in California during Father's Day weekend.

    The White House notes the trip is taking place as the National Park Service nears its 100th birthday. The administration is using the trip to highlight Obama's efforts to preserve land through the creation of new national monuments.

    Yosemite has been a part of the National Park Service since it was established, with more than 4 million people visiting in 2015.

    Carlsbad was established as a national monument in 1923 and contains more than 119 caves.

    The White House is announcing the trip with a Facebook video of the president visiting Yellowstone and other national parks earlier in his presidency.

  • Court: No right to carry concealed weapons in public

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Dealing a blow to gun supporters, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday that Americans do not have a constitutional right to carry concealed weapons in public.

    In a dispute that could ultimately wind up before the Supreme Court, a divided 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said local law enforcement officials can place significant restrictions on who is allowed to carry concealed guns.

    In a 7-4 vote, the court upheld a California law that says applicants must supply a "good cause" to obtain a concealed-carry permit. People who are being stalked or threatened, celebrities who fear for their safety, and those who routinely carry large amounts of cash or other valuables are often given permits.

    The ruling overturned a decision by three-judge panel of the same court that said applicants need only express a desire for personal safety.

    The 9th Circuit's rulings are binding in nine Western states. Only two other federal appeals courts have taken up the issue — in cases out of New York and Maryland — and both ruled the way the 9th Circuit did.

    The National Rifle Association called the ruling "out of touch" and said the dispute could ultimately be determined by the Supreme Court, which has so far declined to take up the issue.

  • Today in history June 9
  • Gov. Martinez disagrees with Trump comments on judge

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is joining a chorus of Republicans in criticizing Donald Trump for his claim that a federal judge is not qualified to preside over a case because of his Mexican heritage.

    Martinez spokesman Chris Sanchez says the governor is concerned by and strongly disagrees with the presumptive GOP presidential nominee's claim that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel cannot preside fairly over a case involving Trump University because the judge is of Mexican heritage and Trump wants to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Republicans including U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan have strongly criticized Trump's remarks.

    Martinez is at the forefront of GOP efforts to help elect Republican governors in fall elections, as the chairwoman of the Republican Governors Association. Martinez has not endorsed Trump.

  • LANL waste violations carry civil penalties

    SANTA FE (AP) — The Los Alamos National Laboratory mishandled hazardous waste and should expect to face civil penalties, according to a violation notice issued by the state of New Mexico.

    The New Mexico Environmental Department found 12 violations during a June 2015 inspection, including open waste containers, failure to label containers as hazardous waste, not describing what was inside certain waste drums and failure to properly package drums containing free liquids, The New Mexican reported.

    The report also noted that receptacles for newly-generated waste were often too far from the place where the waste was generated. In addition, the lab had incomplete emergency contact sheets and didn't share its emergency plans with first responders.

    A failure to promptly correct the problems is also a violation of the lab's waste management permit, according to the violation notice.

    Lab managers were notified in the June 1 letter that further lapses could result in legal action or a fine of $10,000 per day. The Environment Department also said a civil penalty would be issued because of the lab's "past history of noncompliance."