Local News

  • Second suspect nabbed for Bealls theft

    The second suspect in a March 9 shoplifting incident, where a male bystander was struck by a fleeing vehicle, is now in custody in the Los Alamos Detention Center.

    The shoplifting incident took place early afternoon at Bealls Department Store. 

    Stephanie Garcia, 31, was transported from Española Tuesday to the center. Before being booked, she was charged with shoplifting (more than $250, less than $2,500) and conspiracy. Both charges are fourth-degree felonies. Garcia is being held without bail until her initial hearing before a judge, which is expected to be this week. 

    Police arrested the second  suspect, Ashley Garcia, 23, of Hernandez, March 13. Garcia remains in custody at the LADC pending her preliminary hearing May 4. 

    The two women are not related. Garcia was charged with shoplifting (over $500 but not more than $2,500), aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and failure to give and render aid.

    Ashley Garcia described Stephanie Garcia as a “friend” in an interview with police about the incident. Ashley Garcia was arrested Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s deputies March 14 for the March 9 incident. 

  • Flow trail plan gets good, bad reviews Thursday

    Dozens of people crowded into a small room at the Los Alamos County Municipal Building Thursday to voice their praise and concerns about a proposed flow trail for mountain bikers to the Parks and Recreation Board.

    The flow trail is being designed by the county’s Parks, Recreation and Open Space Division. Division staff presented an update of the plan to the board. 

    Resident Bruce Warren, the first to speak, didn’t think the trail was needed.

    “One of the great things about living here in Los Alamos is that we have already an existing, amazing trail system. Poorly maintained, but a great trail system,” Warren said. “My recommendation would not be not to build any more trails but maintain and improve what we have.” 

    Resident Brad Nyenhuis, co-owner of Los Alamos’ Fusion Multisport, was in favor of the idea. He said the trail would bring more tourists to town, which he said has a landscape made for mountain biking. 

  • UNM-LA advisory board OK’s proposed budget

    University of New Mexico-Los Alamos Advisory Board met Monday to review the proposed budget for school year 2017-18 at the University Drive campus.
    Chairperson Steve Boerigter opened the meeting with the hope that “everyone in the Los Alamos community attends advisory board meetings, they were elected to serve you.”
    The board tried to gather as much information as possible, build the budget and make the best use of the funds available.
    The first order of business was to give an overview of fiscal year 2018 budget.
    UNM-LA CEO Cindy Rooney explained, “This budget was built on the best information available at the time,” which was that a 1-to-1- and-half percent cut was possible.
    Director of Business Operations Lisa Wismer explained the process of building the budget given the numerous uncertainties. They began by taking the beginning budget of FY 2017 and then integrated the guidelines and prepare a plan for FY 2018. Wismer explained how they made sure to look at key programs that they felt were imperative and how to offer them some stability.
    The goal was to build a budget that would allow some flexibility but also accommodate for the unknown.

  • Change of zip code requirement rustles feathers for White Rock locals

    Last summer, the United States Postal Service required certain White Rock residents to adhere to a new zip code, 87547, which impacted some addresses previously in the Los Alamos 87544 zip code area.
    Although the bulletin from the United States Postal Service did not state residents would have to change the city name to White Rock on their permanent addresses, many residents fear that is exactly what they have to do.
    John Ramsay has been a proud resident of Los Alamos for 64 years and has lived in the White Rock area for 54 years. He said he does not think the change is reasonable.
    “The adoption of a third zip code for Los Alamos is reasonable, the change of the name is not,” Ramsay said in a letter to the Los Alamos Monitor.
    When Ramsay was first asked if surrounding neighbors had voiced similar opinions, the answer was no, but complaints have trickled in since then.
    Others have noticed a city name change on their incoming mail.
    Camille Morrison, a Los Alamos Count resident, said, “Only four pieces of mail I received last week had White Rock in the address.”

  • Dance for a Cure set for tonight at Posse Lodge

    Special to the Monitor

  • LA couple ready to expand ‘Famine to Feast’

    When the Famine to Feast entity first started out, it was all about directly getting food to the people that needed it the most. Through the organization’s website and app, residents arranged to have unused food they don’t need to be delivered to the people that do.
    The organization has since expanded on that idea to include clothing, toiletries and other household items.
    Local couple Jaret and Jen McDonald started Famine to Feast about a year ago after they realized they were going to have to throw away much of the unused food they bought while on a vacation.
    With no time to drop it off at a food bank before leaving, they thought there had to be a better way.
    “We intended Famine to Feast as a person’s last stop,” Jaret McDonald said. “They were either going to throw out the food, or find somebody like us to come and get it.”
    Now, a year later, they are ready to expand Famine to Feast to include other locations, and other items.
    The McDonalds recently conducted presentations in Santa Fe, Austin, Texas and Los Angeles to get the word out about Famine to Feast and how people can use it to help their neighbors in need. It has not been hard to find volunteers in the cities they’ve visited to help get the word out.

  • Legislators to sue gov. over vetoes

    Associated Press

  • Spring prescribed burns planned on Jemez District

    Fire managers on the Jemez Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest may take advantage of favorable spring conditions to conduct prescribed burns between April 17 and May 21. 

    That time is dependent on favorable conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality and weather forecasts.
    Primary targets are a 600-acre unit at the southern end of Virgin Mesa and 400 acres on the West Mesa treatment area a half-mile north of Virgin Mesa off Forest Road 607.

    These fires mimic natural fires by reducing forest fuels, recycling nutrients and increasing habitat diversity. Each prescribed burn is designed to meet specific objectives. The Virgin Mesa and West Mesa prescribed burns, located within the boundaries of the Southwest Jemez Mountains Landscape Restoration Project, are designed to remove dead forest fuels, provide community protection and promote forest health.

    Prescribed fires are managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.

    Smoke from both the Virgin Mesa and West Mesa prescribed fires will likely be visible from Jemez Springs, NM 4 between La Cueva and the Jemez Pueblo, US 550 from San Ysidro to Bernalillo, Albuquerque and Interstate 25.

  • Parents, students prepare for upcoming year at Round Up

    Parents and preschoolers entered the hallways of their soon-to-be school for Kindergarten Round Up last week at Aspen Elementary School.
    As the name suggests, each elementary school invites parents and students to gather together in order to take a look at their grade school for the next year.
    The transition from preschool to kindergarten can be a scary time for parents and students alike, so the goal of this annual event is to introduce them to the elementary environment. According to Aspen Principal Kathryn Vandenkieboom, “31 soon-to-be Kindergartners and their parents were in attendance.” Other Los Alamos County schools had their own Round Up on Wednesday including Barranca, Chamisa, Piñon and Mountain Elementary.
    Parents, students and siblings entered the school and picked up a nametag while staff members happily greeted the newcomers. Friendly faces and open classroom doors created a welcoming environment for curious attendees to investigate. Next, everyone met in the school library for opening statements and introductions of staff personnel with Vandenkieboom.
    In attendance were the school resource officer, kindergarten teachers, other grade teachers, special education staff, support staff, language pathologist, nurse, clerks, counselors, technology staff and more.

  • Safety tips for pilgrims, drivers

    The number of pilgrims traveling to El Santuario de Chimayó will increase over the next three days.
    Beginning Thursday, the state Department of Transportation will provide some assistance and tips to help keep pilgrims and drivers safe.
    NMDOT will begin setting up traffic control devices and pedestrian walking signs Thursday morning along typical pilgrimage routes.
    Walkers will be guided to the on/off ramps at each interchange between Santa Fe and Cuyamungue.
    At the Cuyamungue Interchange, orange barrels and signage will guide the walkers away from the mainline and onto the east frontage road.
    Temporary stop signs will be placed at interchange locations to allow walkers to pass.
    All cattle guards along the routes will be covered.
    Additional signage and electronic message boards will be placed along parts of NM 76 and NM 503 to alert motorists of the high volume of pedestrians on the roadway. Portable light plants will be placed at the intersections of NM 503 and CR 84; NM 503 and CR 98; NM 103 and NM 76 to provide additional lighting for those walking at night. 
    Safe trek
    Here are some safety measures walkers should keep in mind per NM DOT:
    • Dress weather-appropriate and wear layers to adjust to the changing weather.