Local News

  • Sanchez-Gagne seeks state district court judge post

    Maria Sanchez-Gagne, an attorney who served as director of state Attorney General’s Border Violence Division for ten years, has announced her candidacy for a state district court judge post in the First Judicial District.

    The judicial district encompasses Santa Fe, Rio Arriba and Los Alamos counties. Sanchez-Gagne, a Democrat, has thrown her hat into the ring for the district court judge post in Division 2, which was recently vacated by District Judge Sarah Singleton and filled with an appointment by Gov. Susana Martinez of Gregory S. Shaffer. Shaffer had been the Santa Fe County attorney.

    Shaffer is seeking election to the post.

    With a primary in June, party-selected candidates then face off in November of next year during a general election.
    Sanchez-Gagne has been in public service for more than two decades, including a post as an assistant attorney general as a prosecutor of felony child abuse and sexual assault cases, according to a press release issued by her election committee.

    She began her career as an assistant district attorney in the First Judicial District Attorney’s office as a prosecutor from 1996 to 2000. Her cases included domestic violence and child abuse.

  • Missing cat, best friend

    She was so much a part of Imogene Dison’s house and heart, there was no need to take a photograph of the medium-sized white cat with the bluish-green eyes.

    But the cat, a 14-year-old “gift” from a grandson’s former girlfriend, may have slipped out of the house on Nov. 5.
    After a visitor came into the house and then left, the cat disappeared from the home on Pueblo Street across from Los Alamos High School a week ago Sunday, she said.

    “I’m afraid she’s gone. I can’t sleep at night. I get up three or four times a night to call her, but she hasn’t found her way home,” said Dison.

    Dison said she would be grateful if her cat was found. And returned.

    She is hoping other people will look out for the cat and report back to her.

    “She is my very best friend and companion, and I’m her’s,” Dison said.

    The cat’s name is Zenn, but the cat may not respond to her name.

    The cat is extremely friendly, Dison said, and has lived her entire time with Dison without leaving the house.

    “She’s never wanted to leave it. I’m afraid she’s gone down the canyon,” next to Dison’s house, she said.

  • Homebuyer Assistance Program launches today

    Income-qualified homebuyers needing assistance to make a down payment on a home are invited to apply for Los Alamos County’s new Homebuyer Assistance Program starting today.

    The county has contracted with Los Alamos Housing Partnership to oversee the program, which is funded by the County Council for $150,000 for the first year.

    The housing program is designed to help income-qualified homebuyers purchase a home by providing a loan for a down payment using county funds, without adding to monthly mortgage costs.

    The homebuyer makes no payments until the home is sold or vacated. Homebuyer education and counseling will also be provided. The minimum down payment loan amount has been established at $8,000 with a maximum loan amount of $25,000. The average down payment loan amount is anticipated to be approximately $15,000.

    The Housing Partnership lists its Board of Directors as Karl Hjelvik, president; Denise Terrazas, vice president; Carol Clark, treasurer; Craig Wehner, secretary; and members Charles Rennick, Lesley Harleson and Katherine Korkos.

  • Rivera remains in jail following hearing

    SANTA FE – A Los Alamos woman accused of slashing her sister’s boyfriend and leaving him for dead will remain in jail, according to a ruling by a state district judge on Tuesday.

    Andrea Rivera, 30, was arrested Nov. 4 after police found Cory Kershner, 28, severely injured from a wound to his abdomen at the apartment Kershner shared with Rivera’s sister, Sara Cooper. Cooper suffered a laceration on her hand.

    State District Judge T. Glenn Ellington, during the hearing, noted past cases involving Rivera where charges against her alleging violence – in one case stabbing her mother with a pair of scissors – had been dismissed or lowered to less serious offenses.

    “I count 12 different cases… She continued with a pattern of behavior. I’m also concerned about the failure to prosecute. Hindsight is perfect 20/20,” Ellington said.

    She is charged with two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, two third-degree felonies, stemming from the alleged attack on Kershner and her sister. She is also charged with a fourth-degree felony of tampering with evidence. Each third-degree felony carries a jail sentence of three years in jail and $5,000 fine; a fourth-degree felony carries an 18-month jail sentence and $3,000 fine.

  • Lane closures on all Diamond Drive intersections Friday

    Los Alamos County Traffic sign crew will install “Yield to Pedestrian” signs on traffic signal arms at the following intersection locations:

    • Diamond Drive at West Road (all traffic signals)

    • Diamond Drive at 38th Street and Arkansas (all traffic signals)

    • Diamond Drive at Trinity (all traffic signals)

    • Diamond Drive at Canyon Road (all traffic signals)

    • Diamond Drive at Orange Street and Sandia (all traffic signals)

    There will be lane closures as they install these signs on each traffic signal. Motorists are asked to slow down and proceed through these work zones with caution.

    The project will begin at 8 a.m. Friday and continue until 3 p.m.

  • Las Cruces lawmaker to run for New Mexico state auditor

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A state lawmaker is making a run for the job of New Mexico state auditor.

    State Rep. Bill McCamley announced Wednesday that he will run next year for the position being vacated by newly elected Albuquerque mayor Tim Keller.

    McCamley says he wants to continue Keller's initiatives and grow the state's economy.

    The Democrat, who represents Las Cruces and Mesilla, has served in the Legislature since 2013.

    Keller officially takes the reins as mayor Dec. 1.

    Gov. Susana Martinez must appoint someone to fill the remainder of Keller's term.

  • Shootings at multiple sites in N. Cal. kill 4, wound kids at school

    RED BLUFF, Calif. (AP) — A gunman choosing targets at random opened fire in a rural Northern California town Tuesday, killing four people at several sites and wounding others at an elementary school before police shot him dead, authorities said.

    The gunfire began around 8 a.m. in the community of Rancho Tehama Reserve, about 130 miles north of Sacramento.

    "It was very clear at the onset that we had an individual that was randomly picking targets," Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said.

    Witnesses reported hearing gunshots and children screaming at an elementary school about five miles down a road from where the shooting is believed to have started.

    Several people were wounded at the school, said Jeanine Quist, an administrative assistant with the Corning Union Elementary School District.

    Salvador Tello said the gunman fired at a truck in front of him as he was dropping off his three children. Tello said he was about three blocks from the school when bullets made "big holes" in the truck in front of him.

    He said he forced his children to duck down and slammed his truck into reverse and headed to the children's grandmother's house.

  • Director of the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division resigns

    SANTA FE (AP) — The director of the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division resigned earlier this month for undisclosed personal reasons.

    The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Will Duran submitted his resignation letter last month with it going into effect on Nov. 3. Duran has served as the director since November 2014.

    Duran says in the letter that circumstances have changed in his life making it necessary to make changes in his career.

    Duran did not return the newspaper's messages seeking comment.

    Taxation and Revenue Department officials say Alicia Ortiz is currently the acting director of the division.

    The division continues to face criticism over the stricter requirements on state driver's licenses that came about under compliance with the Real ID Act. Many state residents were forced take additional actions to prove their identities.

  • LAPS Foundation gives another $16,000 to local schools

    The Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation will give another $16,000 to schools starting this month.

    This fall, the foundation accepted applications from district teachers requesting funds for classroom resources, professional development and books.

    In total, the foundation received nearly 40 applications requesting more than $60,000.

    A committee comprised of LAPS Foundation board members reviewed the proposals and made the decision of how to allocate the available funds.

    The grants fall into the following three categories: Great Ideas, Professional Development and Professional Book Groups.

    Grants are awarded to Los Alamos Public School teachers twice a year, in the fall and again in the spring.

    The majority of the total money requested was in the form of Professional Development Grants. Eight teachers from across the district and in different disciplines were selected to receive funding from the LAPS Foundation to attend conferences and seminars around the country. In addition, the LAHS Professional Development Task Force received a grant to provide opportunities available to all high school teachers to engage in mini-workshops, host online peer-discussions centered on educational articles, and lead and organize staff activities.

  • Board: Dem broke campaign rules in Albuquerque mayor's race

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — An ethics board says Democratic Albuquerque mayoral candidate Tim Keller broke campaign finance rules when his publicly financed campaign accepted "in-kind" cash donations.

    The Albuquerque Journal reports the city's Board of Ethics & Campaign Practices issued its ruling Monday — a day before the city's runoff election. But the board did not impose any penalties against Keller.

    Republican Dan Lewis, Keller's opponent, said in a statement that the ruling was proof Keller "lied to Albuquerque voters and illegally worked with his political allies to funnel cash to his campaign."

    Keller said he accepts the board decision and the ruling gave "needed clarity going forward."