Local News

  • No public opinion survey on projects

    During its Dec. 29 meeting, the Los Alamos County Council decided not to conduct a public opinion polling survey about the 2017 recreation bond in advance of an election.
    Earlier in the year, councilors had directed staff to conduct a survey to gage public response to the upcoming bond and the proposed projects for inclusion, something that several residents proposed during public meetings.
    County Manager Harry Burgess explained that avoiding conflict with the November General Election and the Los Alamos Public Schools/UNM-LA bond election in January would mean conducting the survey in March, too late to compile a report on the survey results and make any adjustments to the bond proposal in time for a May election.
    Despite those issues, Henderson made a motion to conduct the poll, which failed for lack of a second.
    O’Leary made the motion to not conduct a survey.
    “I think we’ve had a tremendous amount of public input. We’ve been working on this since October of last year. We’ve had many town halls; we’ve had many individual conversations with citizens,” O’Leary said. “I’m comfortable that we’re going to be able to come together next month with a package that makes sense for our community.

  • Williams won’t seek 2nd term on school board

    Los Alamos School Board member Matt Williams announced Monday he won’t be running for a second term. Williams made the announcement through an email to The Los Alamos Monitor that also included a public meeting about school issues he will be having in White Rock on Thursday.
    “I would also like to take this time to announce that I am not running for reelection. I appreciate very much the opportunity that I’ve had to work for the Chamisa community and the Los Alamos community in general,” he said. “I’ll make more comments at the meeting on Thursday. I would be happy to lead or assist in a conversation concerning our next LAPS School Board representative at the end of the meeting.”
    Williams was elected to the board in 2012.
    Part of William’s platform then was making sure the state kept its formula for distribution of education dollars intact.
    “I’ve heard that there may be changes in how the state is going to give funding to the school districts, and we need to have a strong presence at the state level to make sure we’re well represented,” Williams said in 2012.
    Williams served on the board during a time of many changes, including the resignation of former Superintendent Gene Schmidt and the search for his replacement, Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus.

  • Winterfest is a success for local nonprofits

    For many Los Alamos residents, the holiday light parade and tree lighting at Ashley Pond are probably the highlights of Winterfest. But many of the day’s events are not only community celebrations but also fundraisers for local nonprofits.
    Kiwanis Los Alamos’ annual “Breakfast with Santa” raises money for a Christmas party and presents for area foster children in Española and for other initiatives that benefit kids. Both breakfast and photos with Santa are provided on a donation only basis. The Kiwanis also take in canned food donations for LA Cares during the event.
    Del Norte Credit Union sponsored the breakfast, donating $1,500 to purchase 150 pounds of pancake mix, 1,400 sausages, 60 pounds of liquid eggs, 12 32-ounce containers of orange juice, 30 containers of chocolate milk, 50 containers of white milk and five gallons of maple syrup.
    According to organizer John Arrowsmith, almost all those supplies had run out by 10:15 a.m. Arrowsmith and other organizers believe this year had the best turnout ever, with more than 850 people attending. Volunteers took more than 350 photos with Santa.
    “So we’re doing very well today. It’s exciting. It’s exciting to see so many young families come out,” Arrowsmith said.

  • Gun safes issue on hold

    The decision to install gun safes for the Los Alamos Police Department in the Los Alamos Middle School and the high school might not be decided until next year.
    LAPD Chief Dino Sgambellone is putting together a proposal to talk to the school district, but he has not completed it yet.
    Sgambellone’s initial idea was to install gun safes inside the buildings where they would be accessible only to police officers in active shooter or other emergency events, when they needed more firepower than what they normally carried.
    One officer is assigned to each school. The safes would contain AR-15s, shotguns, safety and first-aid equipment.
    “There has been nothing new on that…we are currently putting together a proposal that we will eventually discuss with the superintendent,” Sgambellone said.
    Sgambellone wants to come back to the district with a proposal that is acceptable to the community.
    “If we are going to do this, it will be in a way that makes the best sense for us,” he said.
    When the proposal returns, Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus said student and staff safety will be the No. 1 priority.

  • Today in history Dec. 6
  • New Mexico State Police: Shots fired at officer hit vehicle

    TAOS (AP) — Authorities say shots were fired at a New Mexico State Police officer and that a search is underway for two suspects who were in a vehicle the officer was attempting to stop.

    Sgt. Chad Pierce says the bullets fired at the officer in the Taos area Monday evening missed the officer but struck his vehicle several times.

    Pierce says the suspects are considered armed and dangerous and that a search is being conducted in an area immediately south of Taos.

  • Police Beat 12-4-16

    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.

    Nov. 21
    6:01 p.m. — Police reported that a 19-year-old Espanola man was the victim of immediate notice of accidents at East Jemez Road.

    Nov. 22
    1 p.m. — Police reported that a 17-year-old Chimayo female was arrested for a public affray at Diamond Drive.

    1:05 p.m. — Police reported that a 16-year-old Santa Fe female was arrested for a public affray at Diamond Drive.

    5:11 p.m. — Police reported that a 36-year-old Los Alamos woman was the victim of careless driving at the intersection of Oppenheimer Drive and Trinity Drive.

    5:11 p.m. — Patricia Remelius, 55, of Los Alamos was arrested for operating a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor at the intersection of Oppenheimer Drive and Trinity Drive.

    Nov. 23
    7:12 a.m. — Police reported that a 42-year-old Clinton man was the victim of careless driving at Grand Canyon Drive.

  • New Mexico economists slash revenue expectations

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico expects to collect far less revenue this budget year and next than previously forecast as employment, wages and economic growth lag, a group of state economists said Monday.

    The economists from three executive agencies and the Legislature estimated the state's annual revenue stream will decrease by $131 million to $5.6 billion for the current fiscal year, and by $127 million for the fiscal year starting in July.

    Falling fossil fuel prices and declining employment in the oil sector have significantly decreased taxes on gross receipts, which provide about one-third of general fund revenues for the state.

    The figures presented in Santa Fe set a benchmark for lawmakers who meet in January to shore up state finances and craft a new budget.

    The budget crisis has spilled over into courts where public defenders say they cannot keep up with caseloads. Other state agencies and universities are grappling with annual spending cuts as high as 8 percent.

    The forecast indicates spending is likely to outstrip operating reserves by $69 million during the current fiscal year. Next year, revenues are expected to fall $93 million short if New Mexico continues to spend at its current pace of just over $6 billion a year.

  • Council selects DP Road site for rec center

    The Los Alamos County Council began preliminary deliberations about the 2017 recreation bond projects last Tuesday. The only significant decision they made was about where to locate a proposed recreation center/indoor ice rink.
    Council’s most recent direction to staff was to eliminate the Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center and North Mesa as possible locations for a recreation center and to develop costs for building on either the A-8 site behind the Smith’s Marketplace or at the Pueblo Complex.
    In the end, neither of those locations was selected. Instead, council voted to approve the A-16 site – located further down DP Road from the A-8 site – for the recreation center location.
    Councilor Kristin Henderson raised objections to the A-8 site, which is currently under consideration for housing development. Preliminary findings suggest that 150 to 400 units could be built at that site.
    “I’m concerned about A-8, because as much as we need a rec center, our more urgent need is housing,” Henderson said. “And it concerns me to put something else right there in the middle.”
    Dekker Perich Sabatini (DPS) Principal/Urban Planner Will Gleason, the consultant providing scoping for the bond projects, pointed out that the recreation center would only occupy about one-quarter of the A-8 site.

  • Mediator takes on NM budget impasse

    SANTA FE (AP) — He is a mild mannered attorney who negotiates out-of-court resolutions to legal disputes for a living.
    In his unsalaried job as the next New Mexico state Senate majority leader, Peter Wirth is positioned as a lead Democratic power broker for high-stakes decisions about plunging state revenues and essential government services when the new Legislature meets in January.
    Amid an oil-industry downturn, New Mexico has largely depleted state operating reserves, slashed agency spending, refinanced construction and closed tax loopholes without fully closing a stubborn budget deficit.
    In a wide-ranging interview this week, Wirth said his challenge is keeping the doors of government open and protecting programs that are economic drivers of the state. And that could mean raising more tax dollars from gasoline sales, corporate income taxes or even the legalization of recreational marijuana — ideas that have been anathema to the state’s second-term GOP governor, Susana Martinez.
    For validation, he points to Wyoming’s recent enactment of a fuel tax increase by a Republican governor and GOP-dominated Legislature.