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Local News

  • GOP kicks off convention with nod to 'troubling times'

    CLEVELAND (AP) — Braced for uncertainty and struggling for unity, Republicans opened their convention to nominate Donald Trump for president on Monday as dissident delegates pursued one last chance to deny him and the nation reeled from yet another outburst of violence.

    A day after a deadly ambush of police in Louisiana, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus welcomed delegates to the convention hall with a brief acknowledgement of the "troubling times" swirling outside. The chairman called for a moment of silence out of respect for "genuine heroes" in law enforcement.

    "Our nation grieves when we see these awful killings," he said.

    Weeks of racial tensions and violence are shadowing the Republicans' long-awaited showcase of their presidential pick and putting both participants and the convention city on alert.

    True to form, Trump himself provided the first curveball of the week, announcing he will make an unexpected swing to the convention hall Monday night to introduce his wife, Melania, on the first night of speeches.

    "I want to watch," Trump said on Fox News. "It is going to be very exciting."

  • Today in history July 18
  • Public meeting to address New Mexico's wild animal policy

    SANTA FE (AP) — Wildlife advocates and New Mexico lawmakers are planning to discuss outdoor safety and a state law that led to the death of a mother black bear in June following an attack on a marathon runner in the Valles Caldera National Preserve.

    The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening in Santa Fe.

    Participants will include several environmental groups, the New Mexico Game and Fish Department and Karen Williams, the marathon runner who was attacked June 18 in the Valles Caldera.

    The black bear was killed the next day for rabies testing.

    Williams wants to change state regulations that mandate the euthanization of any wild animal that attacks a human for rabies testing.

    Williams argues that the bear, which was acting in defense of its cubs, showed no signs of rabies.

  • Free writing workshop for kids Monday

    PBS New Mexico will hold a free writing workshop from 2:30-3 p.m. Monday at the Mesa Public Library.
    The workshop, which is open to kids from kindergarten to third grade, will be led by author Mary Saunders. At the workshop, kids will learn how to write and illustrate their own story.
    At the end of the workshop, kids will have a chance to enter the N.M. PBS Kids Writers Contest, which is open through July 31. Entry forms will be available online at newmexicopbs.org or at the Mesa Public Library. There will also entry forms available at the local McDonald’s.
    The postmarked deadline for entry at July 31. A total of 12 winners will be chosen: three from kindergarten, first, second and third grades. However each child gets a certificate for entering.

  • County attorney Ehler to retire

    After just four years with Los Alamos County, County Attorney Rebecca Ehler retires at the end of this week.
    Before coming to Los Alamos, Ehler served as Alamogordo city attorney from 1993-2002, before transitioning to legal advisor for the Alamogordo’s Department of Public Safety in order to spend more time with her family.
    Prior to that, Ehler was the first county attorney hired by New Mexico’s Chaves County, serving for nearly five years as legal advisor and for a time as acting planning and zoning administrator. During that time she won a decision against the New Mexico Department of Taxation and Revenue in the New Mexico Supreme Court on behalf of several counties.
    When asked how Los Alamos compared to her previous positions, Ehler replied, “Harder, because they have the resources to delve more deeply into issues then some other localities. So that’s good, because you can feel more confident in the responses you give and it’s bad, because sometimes it can slow things down, and it’s just overall more intense.”

  • DPU offers to relocate water meters

    The Los Alamos Board of Public Utilities voted in May to offer to move water meters located near customer’s houses to the property line at no cost to the customer.
    Vice Chair David Powell introduced that motion in response to a report by a subcommittee charged with investigating an issue raised by resident George Chandler, who received a bill for $5,839.99 for repairing an aging water delivery line on his property.
    Chandler asked the board to change DPU rules and regulations to say that DPU owns and maintains the delivery line from the main to the water meter, and the owner owns and maintains the service line from the meter to the residence or commercial property.
    The subcommittee investigated DPU policies and found that Rule W-2, Water Service Connection, DPU Rules and Regulations, dated May 5, 2006, states that when the water meter is installed in close proximity to the residence or establishment, the cost of operation and maintenance of that portion of the delivery line that extends across the property from the water main to the water meter is the responsibility of the property owner, as is the service line. The water meter is the responsibility of DPU.
    Stating that this was common practice in New Mexico and the United States, the subcommittee recommended no change to the rule.

  • Pipe fitter accused of taking copper from lab

    Police arrested a Los Alamos Laboratory pipe fitter July 14 for allegedly stealing $15,000 to $20,000 in copper fittings and pipe from tech areas 3, 48 and 35.  
    The suspect, Joshua J. Montoya, 22, of Velarde, was arraigned in court Friday.
    Montoya was charged with one count larceny (over $2,500 but less than $20,000). He was released Friday after posting a portion of a $5,000 cash/surety bond.
    LANL officials reported to the Department of Energy Office of the Inspector General July 12 that some of the copper was taken sometime between the night of July 9 and the morning of July 12.
    Investigators were able to trace the copper to Gallegos Scrap Metal LLC, a scrap yard in Española.
    The scrap yard’s owner, Tim Gallegos, reportedly told investigators July 13 that Montoya sold him the copper. Investigators were able to match Montoya to the sales records and driver’s license information Gallegos kept of the sales.  
    After a more thorough examination of the records, LANL investigators and the Los Alamos Police Department reported they determined Montoya had stolen copper materials from LANL several times a week since May 31.

  • County attorney Ehler to retire

    After just four years with Los Alamos County, County Attorney Rebecca Ehler retires at the end of this week.
    Before coming to Los Alamos, Ehler served as Alamogordo city attorney from 1993-2002, before transitioning to legal advisor for the Alamogordo’s Department of Public Safety in order to spend more time with her family.
    Prior to that, Ehler was the first county attorney hired by New Mexico’s Chaves County, serving for nearly five years as legal advisor and for a time as acting planning and zoning administrator. During that time she won a decision against the New Mexico Department of Taxation and Revenue in the New Mexico Supreme Court on behalf of several counties.
    When asked how Los Alamos compared to her previous positions, Ehler replied, “Harder, because they have the resources to delve more deeply into issues then some other localities. So that’s good, because you can feel more confident in the responses you give and it’s bad, because sometimes it can slow things down, and it’s just overall more intense.”

  • Cause of WR fire identified

    A summons has been issued to a Daniel Griego, 32-year-old White Rock man, after investigators traced a brushfire to his property.
    Investigators reported the brushfire originated at Griego’s residence, at the 300 block of Potrillo Drive.
    “Fire investigators (Stephen) Rinaldi and (Adrian) Martinez, along with Fire Marshall (Jeff) Wetteland conducted an examination of the scene and the associated fire patterns, which indicated that the area of origin was located in the north quarter of the property located at 330 Potrillo Drive,” said Rinaldi in his report on the investigation.
    Investigators determined that someone had dumped a pile of hot ashes on a compost pile, which set off the Monday, July 5 brushfire that consumed about two acres of brush and part of the roof of a home at 1 Cherokee Avenue.
    Through thermal imaging, investigators determined the temperature of the ashes on the pile was 150 degrees at the time of the investigation, which began just after the fire was extinguished.
    Griego met with fire officials and walked the property with them after they had determined the cause. Griego told investigators he and his family had a party on July 4 on the property.

  • N.M. congressman likes Trump's VP pick

    SANTA FE (AP) — Members of New Mexico’s delegation to the GOP convention reacted to Donald Trump’s announcement today of his vice presidential running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
    Republican Rep. Steve Pearce on Friday described Pence as a solid conservative and strong person of faith who would bring a tireless work ethic to the vice presidency.
    New Mexico Republican Party Chairwoman Debbie Maestas calls Pence an excellent pick to join with Trump.
    An alternate New Mexico delegate to the Republican National Convention says the selection of Pence as a vice presidential running mate is unlikely to make up for Trump’s shortcomings on the campaign trail.
    Former New Mexico state Sen. Rod Adair on Friday described Pence as a cautious pick that is unlikely to dramatically improve Trump’s popularity. The Republican from Roswell is traveling to the convention in Cleveland with the New Mexico delegation as an alternate in case other delegates drop out unexpectedly.
    Adair says that a Republican candidate other than Trump might be far ahead in the polls against Democrat Hillary Clinton, and that Pence is “sort of a blah choice.”