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Local News

  • CIP consultant approved

    Los Alamos County Council approved a $560,000 contract with Dekker/Perich/Sabatini for architectural and engineering services for the proposed 2017 Capital Improvement bond projects at its June 14 meeting.
    The consultants will be required to bring all 12 projects up to the same level of schematic design, select a preferred site if there are alternatives to consider and refine current cost estimates to help support a finalized list of projects to carry forward for a $20 to $25 million bond issue.
    Dekker/Perich/Sabatini will also provide estimates for annual operation, maintenance and staffing requirements and extensive public outreach.
    The contract was approved 6-0. Steve Girrens was not in attendance.
    Council also approved $4,411,444 for a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System which will replace the software used by Information Management, Financial Management, Human Resources and Payroll and Utilities Management.
    The budget council approved for the project included a $2,099,058 budget revision. Council had previously approved a budget of $2,312,386.

  • Health officials urge public awareness about dangers of tularemia

    Officials from the New Mexico Health Department are urging residents to educate themselves about the dangers of tularemia, a bacterial-borne disease most prevalent this time of year.  
    While the New Mexico Department of Health has not confirmed any cases in humans in Los Alamos County this year, the department confirmed 33 cases of cats and dogs infected by tularemia in Los Alamos, Bernalillo, Santa Fe, Taos and Torrance counties last year.
    Tularemia is also known as “rabbit fever,” since rodents are the main carriers and incubators of the bacterial infection.
    There was also one case of a 51-year-old Los Alamos County man getting the disease last year. He was hospitalized, treated and has since made a full recovery.
    This year, the DOH has confirmed four cases of tularemia in pets, and no human cases.
    The disease is named after the bacterium Francisella tularensis. It is passed to animals through infected ticks and deer flies. Humans can also get it through ticks and deer flies and handling infected animals. Infection is usually followed by symptoms that include chills, fever, diarrhea, muscle ache, joint pain, skin and mouth ulcers, chest pain, painful lymph glands, sore throat and pneumonia.

  • Marathoner recovers from bear attack

    A woman who was attacked by a black bear Saturday in the Jemez Mountains is now recovering at home.
    Karen Williams was running in the 2016 Valles Caldera Runs in the Jemez Mountains near Los Alamos when she was attacked by a black bear Saturday. She was released from the hospital Sunday, and posted details about the encounter on Facebook.
    The female black bear attacked Williams after she surprised it as she was coming over a hill. The bear bit at her neck and head, but went away when Williams curled up and played dead.
    “I tried to look around but was having trouble seeing much,” the Los Alamos resident described on her Facebook page Monday. “I tried to sit up but was nauseated and my arms didn’t seem to work right.”  
    Her husband, Mike Engelhardt told the Los Alamos Monitor Tuesday Williams just wanted to put the incident behind her.
    “She’s getting better and just wants to go on with life,” he said.
    Englehardt assured friends and family on Facebook that Williams was recovering after the harrowing encounter.   

  • Council moves some sheriff’s funds to police

    Los Alamos County Council approved a budget adjustment last week that moves money from the budget of the sheriff’s office to the Los Alamos Police Department.
    The budget adjustment allows an office specialist’s services to be transferred to the LAPD and makes it a full-time position.
    The move, made at the June 14 meeting, is in response to a resolution council passed last month, which moved process-serving duties from the sheriff’s department to the police department.
    “The primary issue there is retention of existing knowledge,” County Manager Harry Burgess said. “Within the sheriff’s department there is a senior office specialist position, which has a large role in that process serving issue, and we’d like to benefit from that particular person’s abilities and knowledge, as the police department embarks on a duty they have not performed before.”
    Sheriff Marco Lucero argued that his office should keep the office specialist, who also maintains the sex offender registry and answers phones.
    When questioned, he estimated that approximately 60 percent of the office specialist’s time is devoted to process-serving administration and 40 percent on other duties.

  • Today in history June 21
  • Fire reported in the Jemez Ranger District

    A small fire in the Jemez Ranger District located near Battleship Rock has been contained, fire officials said.

    “They kept it at three acres which is pretty phenomenal work on their part,” said Santa Fe National Forest Spokesperson Julie Anne Overton. “Our firefighters did a great job.”

    Fifty-five firefighters from three area companies helped combat the fire. 

    “That’s actually quite a bit for a three-acre fire but because of its location and the difficulty of the terrain, they opted to call in quite a few resources,” Overton said.

    The fire started sometime Sunday evening. The cause of the fire is still classified as human-caused and is still under investigation.

    Small plumes of smoke from the fire could still be seen from NM 4 at 2 p.m. Monday. Due to the wind, the smoke mostly kept in the trees as helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft dumped fire suppressant from above.

    Firefighters fighting the blaze plan to stay on the scene until 9 p.m. tonight.

    “They will then get back there tomorrow morning to monitor and complete the mop up,” Overton said.

  • Today in history June 20
  • Marathon runner recovering from bear attack

    A woman running the 2016 Valles Caldera Runs in the Jemez Mountains near Los Alamos who was attacked by a black bear Saturday is recovering from serious injuries to her head, neck and body.

    Wildlife officers tracked and euthanized the female bear Sunday that was responsible for the attack.

    State law requires any wild animal that attacks or bites a human be euthanized and tested for rabies. The bear will be sent to Española for testing, said department spokesman Karl Moffatt.

    The bear had three young cubs that officers are trying to capture and place in the care of the New Mexico Wildlife Center in Española, Moffatt said.

    Game and Fish officials said they were able to track the bear through a GPS collar it was wearing for a study about wild bears.

    State law requires any wild animal that attacks or bites a human be euthanized and tested for rabies, Moffatt said.

    The woman was released Sunday, according to the La Cueva Fire Department officials.

    Runners and volunteers working an aid station nearby came to her aid, according to a social media update from organizer Kristen Kern.

    “EMTs took her to La Cueva where she was flown to UNM hospital," Kern said

  • 'Rare, dangerous' heat headed to parts of Western US

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — It's a dry heat, Phoenix residents like to say about Arizona's hot weather. That bravado may vanish as the thermometer flirts with 120 degrees this weekend.

    Phoenix won't be alone in the oven. A strengthening ridge of high pressure lifting out of Mexico is on course to also scorch other parts of Arizona and Southern California, bringing potentially record-shattering temperatures.

    Though accustomed to triple digits, the upcoming heat spell is a rarity in Phoenix, a desert metropolis of 1.5 million people, raising concerns of heat stroke.

    Temperatures are predicted to hit 118 degrees in Phoenix on Sunday and peak at 119 degrees Monday. Such heat is "rare, dangerous and deadly," according to a National Weather Service warning.

    "This is extreme even for our standards," said Matthew Hirsch, a weather service meteorologist in Phoenix.

    The hottest day on record in Phoenix occurred June 26, 1990, when the thermometer reached 122 degrees.

    Extreme heat is likely to become more common, scientists say, blaming man-made greenhouse gas pollution.

  • San Miguel County pays out $38,000 to email scam

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — San Miguel County is out $38,000 after a sophisticated email scam persuaded the county finance supervisor to transfer the funds to an outside account.

    The Las Vegas Optic reports that New Mexico State Police is working to figure out who is behind the email, which made it appear that Les Montoya instructed finance supervisor Melinda Gonzales to transfer the money to pay a consultant.

    The false email appeared to have been sent from Montoya's iPhone.

    Montoya says that if policies and procedures had been followed, the money would not have been transferred.

    Similar scams were sent to multiple counties and school districts in the state. Employees from San Miguel County, Zuni Public Schools and Deming Public Schools initiated transfers to the scammers totaling over $100,000, though the schools were able to stop the process.