Local News

  • PNM defends plans for San Juan plant

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico’s largest electric provider is defending its plan to replace power from part of an aging coal-fired plant with a mix of coal, natural gas, nuclear and solar generation.
    Critics, including environmentalists and consumer advocates, counter that the plan isn’t in the best interest of ratepayers.
    Public Service Co. of New Mexico said Monday in a filing with state regulators that rejecting the plan could jeopardize the continued operation of the San Juan Generating Station and end up costing customers more.
    The utility’s objections follow the recommendation last week of a hearing examiner who suggested the plan not be approved by the Public Regulation Commission unless changes are made. The examiner cited uncertainty surrounding the ownership makeup of the plant and the lack of a coal-supply contract beyond 2017.
    It could be another month before a final vote is taken.
    Two units at the San Juan plant are scheduled to close in 2017 under an agreement with federal and state officials to curb haze-causing pollution.

  • Departments get tentative approval

    The Los Alamos County Council began the process of tentatively approving departmental budgets on Tuesday.
    Those budgets will not be finalized until council reviews and approves the entire budget with the changes they have incorporated, which is scheduled to happen next Tuesday. But some of the proposed budgets, such as those of the county council and municipal court, sailed through approval without fanfare.
    For others, such as the county manager’s office budget, consensus was only reached after considerable debate and weighing of substitute motions.
    The combination of the complexity of the county manager’s office along with various councilor priorities made that discussion one of the longest agenda items Tuesday. Communications and public relations, human resources, budget and performance and risk management all come under that umbrella.
    The manager’s office also oversees the county’s Progress through Partnering program, which funds contributions to the North Central Regional Transit District (NCRTD), the Regional Economic Development Initiative (REDI) and the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities.
    Four proposed budget changes came into play for that department.

  • Today in history April 22
  • At the Fish Pond

    Ashley Pond got restocked with fish Tuesday afternoon. Mr. Fish, the company which is contracted with the county to provide fish to the pond, made the delivery and county workers dropped buckets of fish into the water. The fish species included catfish, bluegills, bass and minnows.

  • Run For Her Life

    Runners take off from the start of fifth annual Run For Her Life Sunday at East Park. The run, which included a 5K and 10K race hosted by the local chapter of Haddasah, is a fundraiser for charities working in the field of breast cancer research.

  • Jet fuel spill may miss water wells

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A fuel spill that officials worried might pollute Albuquerque drinking water seems to be bypassing the city’s wells, according to experts.
    Leaders of the Kirtland Air Force Base jet fuel spill cleanup team say the plume appears to be headed north rather than northeast, the Albuquerque Journal reports.
    The direction means the fuel will likely bypass two of three nearby wells. It is unclear whether it will pollute the third.
    “It looked before like it was going directly to Kirtland (well) 3,” Dennis McQuillan, a geologist with the New Mexico Environment Department, said this weekend. “But it appears to be going more north than northeast.”
    The fuel leak, which is believed to have been seeping into the ground for decades, was first detected in 1999. Estimates of the amount of fuel spilled range from 6 million to 24 million gallons. The greatest concern has been that the spill would contaminate drinking water wells .
    McQuillan and other officials involved in the effort to define the extent of the contamination and get rid of it have said all along that there is no imminent danger to the drinking water supply because the plume has been just inching along.

  • Names of officers in shooting given

    BALTIMORE (AP) — The six officers suspended in the investigation of a black man who died after his arrest had experience on the force ranging from nearly two decades to three years, officials said.
    The officers were identified by city officials Tuesday. They have been suspended with pay while authorities investigate the death of Freddie Gray, who was handcuffed, placed in a transport van with his legs later shackled, and driven around in the van for about 30 minutes before being rushed to the hospital in critical condition, officials said.
    Gray died of a "significant spinal injury" on Sunday, a week after his arrest, Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said Monday. Police have not said exactly how Gray was injured.
    Gray, 25, was arrested on April 12 after police "made eye contact" with him and another man and the two started running, authorities said. The lawyer for Gray's family said he believes the police had no reason to stop the man in the first place.
    What led to that injury — and why Gray was initially pursued by police — is still unknown.
    According to court documents, Officer Garrett Miller accused Gray of carrying a switchblade, which was discovered in Gray's pocket after he was stopped.
    The other suspended officers were identified as:

  • Nuclear waste drums are safe after reaction signs

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Dozens of drums of radioactive waste at one of the nation's premier weapons laboratories are stable after some showed signs of chemical reactions over the past year, according to federal officials.
    The drums are being closely monitored after a chemical reaction inside a container with similar contents caused a breach in February 2014, resulting in a radiation release and the indefinite closure of the country's only underground nuclear waste dump.
    Investigators with the U.S. Energy Department confirmed during a recent town hall that there have been chemical reactions in the containers stored at Los Alamos National Laboratory, but the gases building up inside have decreased over the past several months.
    "That would suggest that the reaction, if it is occurring, is slowing down. It's reached a steady state, and it has stopped," said John Marra, chief research officer for Savannah River National Laboratory and one of the investigators who reviewed the cause of the 2014 radiation leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southern New Mexico.
    Monitoring of the temperature and the gases — which can include hydrogen, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide — has provided evidence of fluctuation inside the drums remaining at Los Alamos.

  • Local Briefs 4-21-15

    Teacher, staff member of year nominations sought

    Los Alamos Public Schools is currently accepting nominations for its 2014-15 Teacher of the Year and Classified Staff Person of the year.
    The deadline for nominations are May 8. Nomination forms are available at each public school site, the assistant superintendent’s office and online at the LAPS website, laschools dot net.

    Quorums may be present for opening

    Los Alamos County announced a number of possible quorums for Wednesday’s opening of the Los Alamos Nature Center.
    Members of several boards, including the Environmental Sustainability, Lodgers’ Tax Advisory board, White Rock Master Plan board, may be present at Wednesday’s opening, which is scheduled for 2 p.m.
    The county said none of the boards are planning to take action at the event.

    ‘Mr. Fish’ is restocking pond

    Los Alamos County announced that its contractor to provide fish in Ashley Pond, was scheduled to do so today.
    The county said Ashley Pond’s water levels are currently low due to another contractor working on one of the pond’s intake valves from the pond to the irrigation system. The contractor is expected to start refilling the pond again Wednesday.

  • Update 4-21-15

    Earth Day

    There will be an Earth Day Festival Saturday at the Los Alamos Nature Center. Games, activities and entertainment are planned for the event. The festival will run from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. There is no charge for admission.

    Authors Speak

    Stan Crawford will be the guest speaker at the Authors Speak Series April 23 at Mesa Public Library. Crawford is the author of “Petroleum Man,” “Mayordomo” and other works of fiction and nonfiction. The talk will be at the Mesa Public Library at 7 p.m.

    School board

    The Los Alamos School Board will hold a board meeting and work session Thursday at 5:30 p.m. The meeting will be at Chamisa Elementary School in White Rock.

    APP board

    The Arts In Public Places Board will meet at the municipal building Thursday. Meeting time is 5:30 p.m.

    Church concert

    Christian rock group 7eventh Time Down and special guests Ryan Stevenson and Shiloh will perform at the White Rock Baptist Church at 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10. For more information, call 672-9764.