Local News

  • Citizens weigh in on Comp Plan

    Los Alamos County residents turned out for three meetings last week to weigh in on the Los Alamos County Comprehensive Plan update.
    The Comprehensive Plan is the guiding document for physical development of the county. It provides a long-term vision for how the county should address future population levels, land use, economic diversification, residential density, neighborhood concerns and open space. It also looks at historic preservation, parks and recreation, transportation, utility infrastructure and environmental resources and sustainability.
    At each of last week’s meetings, attendees were given an overview of existing conditions and goals in developing the plan, which is available at losalamoscountycompplan2016.com.
    Chris Chandler – one of this year’s county council candidates – raised an objection to a statement that reads, “we look to the Strategic Leadership Plan Update (adopted by the Los Alamos County Council in 2016) to guide, inform and reflect the goals articulated in that plan.”
    “The council adopted those goals and said that they were going to be the framework for the comp plan. My concern about that is, I think the comp plan should be the feeder to the council goals, not the council goals being the feeder to the comp plan,” Chandler said.

  • Developer sues county over property dispute

    A lawsuit filed by a local developer, “Main Gate LLC,” against Los Alamos County and the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation is proceeding in district court.  
    Main Gate claims the county and the development corporation are using unfair competition and blocking its plans to sell its lots in “Entrada Business Park,” the business park by the airport where the Holiday Express, The Los Alamos Co-Op and the New Mexico Consortium are located.
    The most recent motion filed in the case was Feb. 23. LACD filed the request to dismiss Main Gate’s complaint.
    Main Gate’s lawsuit states that the county and the LACD used its access to state subsidies and county land that allowed them to freeze Main Gate out of a land deal it was trying to make with NMC as well as with the High Flyers Gymnastics.
    According to court documents, Main Gate entered into an agreement with the county in 2006 to develop what is now known as the “Entrada Business Park,” located near the airport. As part of its agreement, Main Gate claims that it made $1 million in “infrastructure improvements” to the park that added value not only to its lots in the park, but ones the county owned as well.

  • Pajarito Mountain attracts attention

    During the Los Alamos County Council’s March 15 work session, Tom Long, general manager for Pajarito Mountain, and Susan Brockway, president of the Los Alamos Ski Club, gave an update on the ski area.
    The report indicated steady growth since Pajarito Recreation took over the operation in 2014.
    With Pajarito’s enhanced water collection system and snow making operations, the mountain was open by Thanksgiving, with 82 operational days and 30,869 skier visits to date, an average of 450 skiers per day. Season passes were up approximately 10 percent this year.
    The operation has added more school programs, seniors and women’s programs and race team practices.
    “We have a variety of options to keep skiing inexpensive and available to a lot of people,” Long said.
    Incentive programs are also paying off. Long estimated 10 to 12 percent of this year’s skiers were from out of town.
    One big plus for exposure is the Power Pass offered by Pajarito’s parent organization, which allows skiers access to not only the group’s four ski operations but partner ski areas as far away as Italy.

  • Fire in Pojoaque burns up to 30 acres Tuesday

    A wildfire that burned in Pojoaque Tuesday was estimated to have reached about 25-30 acres in size by late afternoon.
    Santa Fe County fire officials said they expected to have the blaze fully contained by Tuesday night.
    The fire started around 1:15 p.m. Tuesday in Pojoaque, just off of County Road 84, according to Santa Fe County Director of Emergency Management Martin Vigil.
    No one was injured, and no structures were reportedly damaged by 5 p.m.
    Fire containment lines had been put in place on pueblo land, but fire crews did not yet know if the flames had encroached the pueblo land, Vigil said
    They should have full containment by 10 p.m., Vigil said. Their only concern has been the wind, which were blowing between 20-29 miles an hour all day. That was expected to die down by the evening, according to Vigil.
    As a precaution, fire crews were expected to stay in the area overnight to monitor the situation, Vigil said.
    “It’s coming down a little bit, but we still have gusts,” said Vigil.
    The fire has been estimated to be about 25-30 acres, but because of the winds, it was difficult to estimate.
    Vigil described the fire as “spotty.”
    However, Vigil said that they have been able to draw on many sources from the surrounding towns, including Los Alamos.

  • Moderate drought returns to western New Mexico

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — National Weather Service forecasters say moderate drought conditions have returned to western New Mexico while abnormal dryness is expanding in other parts of the state.

    State and federal water and land managers are meeting Tuesday to discuss the latest outlook.

    They say statewide precipitation for February was well below normal, with New Mexico seeing an average of only 52 percent of the moisture it typically sees.

    Despite little moisture so far this month and strong winds, the forecast calls for things to improve in April with above normal precipitation expected across the state.

    Still, experts say drought is expected to persist in the southwest at least through June.

    The picture is still better than a year ago, when nearly three-quarters of the state were dealing with some form of drought.

  • Panel to discuss radiation hazards during New Mexico hearing

    SANTA FE (AP) — Independent regulators are visiting New Mexico to discuss the hazards of storing radioactive waste as Los Alamos National Laboratory while the federal government's only underground nuclear waste dump remains closed.

    The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board also plans to address safety problems at the lab during a public hearing this evening in Santa Fe.

    Testimony will be taken from lab officials and local leaders within the U.S. Energy Department and National Nuclear Safety Administration.

    The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southern New Mexico has been closed for more than two years after a container of waste that was improperly packed at Los Alamos lab burst and contaminated parts of the underground dump.

    The closure derailed the federal government's multibillion-dollar cleanup effort at defense sites around the nation.

  • Today in history March 22
  • Police Beat 3-20-13

    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 9
    7:27 a.m. — Police reported that 49-year-old Los Alamos woman had her vehicle stolen (more than $2500) at Alabama Avenue.

    7:54 a.m. — Police reported that a 31-year-old Los Alamos woman was the victim of an accident with no injuries at the intersection of Diamond Drive and Orange Street.

    8:13 a.m. — Olivia Perz was arrested through a misdemeanor warrant from another jurisdiction at the intersection of Diamond Drive and Orange Street.

    March 10
    1:30 p.m. — A 13-year-old Velarde female was arrested for marijuana possession (less than one ounce) in the 2000 block of Hawk Drive.

     6:07 p.m. — A 17-year-old Los Alamos female reported to police she was the victim of a larceny (less than $250) at Overlook Road.

    6:47 p.m. — A 52-year-old Española woman reported to police she was the victim of a burglary from a vehicle at the intersection of Canyon Road and East Road.

  • On the Docket 3-20-13

    March 9
    Kristal Settle was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court for failing to have rabies tags on pet(s) and having animals at large. Sentencing deferred until April 10. Defendant must also pay $120 in court costs.

    Jeffrey L. Chalkley was found guilty at the time of traffic stop for failing to obey a traffic sign. Defendant was fined $50 and must also pay $65 in court costs.

    March 10
    Christopher A. Neale  was found guilty at the time of traffic stop for failing to pay court fines and/or court costs and speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit.
    Defendant was fined $100 and must also pay $130 in court costs.

    Linda M. Lujan  was found guilty at the time of traffic stop for failing to obey a traffic signal. Defendant was fined $50 and must also pay $65 in court costs.

    Frederick Tosa pled no contest in Los Alamos Municipal Court to speeding 16 to 20 miles an hour over the speed limit. Sentencing deferred until May 9. Defendant was also sentenced to defensive driving school. Defendant must also pay $65 in court costs.

  • Gateway to three national parks discussed

    With the creation of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park and the elevation of the Valles Caldera National Preserve to national park status – both in 2015 – Los Alamos County is focusing its tourism efforts on being the “Gateway to three national parks.”
    Valles Caldera Superintendent Jorge Silva-Bañuelos, Bandelier National Monument Superintendent Jason Lott and MPNHP Interim Superintendent Tracy Atkins gave presentations on the status and growth possibilities for their parks at the March 15 county council work session.
    Valles Caldera National Preserve
    Silva-Bañuelos highlighted efforts to increase public access, including changes in the fee structure instituted last year. The $10 per person per activity charge in place when the Caldera was a national trust has been replaced with a $20 seven-day pass per carload. All national park passes are accepted and the Valles has its own one-year pass.
    Silva-Bañuelos encouraged locals to purchase the Valles pass so they could take advantage of new remote access points. Staff has been tearing down the fences between the preserve and the Pajarito ski area and national forest lands, something locals have been clamoring for.