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Local News

  • Today in history Feb. 9
  • Today in history Feb. 8
  • BPU's clarification of liaison role fails

    During a special session on Thursday primarily devoted to Code of Conduct training, the Board of Public Utilities voted on a revision to their Policies and Procedures Manual that would have clarified the board’s relationship to the council liaison. The motion failed for lack of the supermajority needed to change the manual.
    The liaison’s role became a point of contention at BPU’s regular January meeting, when Councilor Susan O’Leary – contrary to precedence – was initially asked to sit in the audience rather than on the dais and told that she should not join in the board’s discussions.
    Thursday’s motion, crafted by Chair Jeff Johnson, read:
    During meetings, the Council Liaison is invited to sit at the Dias or with members of the BPU, at Council Liaison discretion.
    When the Council Liaison chooses to sit with the BPU the Council Liaison name-placard shall be displayed.
    The Council Liaison is encouraged to participate in DPU discussion when the Council Liaison has clarifying points pertinent to the discussion. 
    The Council Liaison is discouraged from interjecting personal opinion into discussion, unless speaking as a member of the public during periods reserved for public comment. 

  • LA man arrested for DWI crash awaits sentencing for child porn conviction

    David Rael, of Los Alamos, was recently arrested for driving while under the influence in Los Alamos, which may complicate his sentencing for another crime in 2014. Rael was arrested for downloading child porn in May of that year.
    He is due to be sentenced for that crime Feb. 24.
    Rael, 38, of Los Alamos was arrested Jan. 29 for allegedly driving while under the influence.  
    Police arrested Rael at a two-car accident at the intersection of Trinity and Central Avenue at 6:51 p.m. While Rael was being transported by ambulance to the Los Alamos Medical Center for an evaluation, He reportedly admitted to police that he was driving while under the influence of alcohol.
    “I admit, I’m DWI,” Rael apparently told police, according to reports.
    Rael reportedly told police he had consumed a six-pack of an alcoholic beverage two hours before the crash.
    Rael is awaiting sentencing on child pornography charges, charges he incurred when he downloaded child pornography onto his computer in May of 2014.

  • Vote for Ona!

    Ona Gartz, an eighth-grader at Los Alamos Middle School, was just like any other middle-school student at a special assembly put on by Google Friday. She was surprised when Google representatives Nicholas Maurette and Tobias Rauscher called her name, telling her that she was the only winner in the state of New Mexico of the company’s “Doodle4Google” logo contest with her entry, “Colors Of My Island (above).” Ona now moves on to the “national finalist” category, where people can vote for her logo to help make her, and Los Alamos Middle School, the national winner. Go to doodle4google.com and follow the links. Look for the story in next week’s Los Alamos Monitor.

  • Vote for Ona!

    Ona Gartz, an eighth-grader at Los Alamos Middle School, was just like any other middle-school student at a special assembly put on by Google Friday. She was surprised when Google representatives Nicholas Maurette and Tobias Rauscher called her name, telling her that she was the only winner in the state of New Mexico of the company’s “Doodle4Google” logo contest with her entry, “Colors Of My Island (above).” Ona now moves on to the “national finalist” category, where people can vote for her logo to help make her, and Los Alamos Middle School, the national winner. Go to doodle4google.com and follow the links. Look for the story in next week’s Los Alamos Monitor.

  • County lobbies Legislature for LEDA expansion

    One of the Los Alamos County Council’s legislative priorities for the 2016 New Mexico legislative session is an expansion of the Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) that would allow small communities such as Los Alamos to utilize local economic development funds to incentivize retail development.

    As it is currently written, state statute prohibits the use of LEDA funds for retail in any community larger than 10,000. 

    “The majority of New Mexico communities under 25,000 still lack the retail activity that they want,” said Economic Vitality Administrator Greg Fisher, noting that the 10,000-population cap “left out a huge number of communities.”

    “We’re certainly interested in seeing that cap rise so we can at least level the playing field for our small community to attract more retail.”

    HB 139, cosponsored by Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-43) and Rep. Jason C. Harper (R-57), chair of the Ways and Means Committee, would allow communities up to 25,000 to utilize local economic development funds for retail development. 

  • Investigators ask DA to reopen LANL director’s death case

    Three people with past connections to the Los Alamos National Laboratory are urging that the U.S. District Attorney’s Office reopen an investigation into the death of Richard Burick, a former deputy director at the lab. 

    Burick died in January 2003 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Los Alamos County police. He was found near his truck at the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area parking lot. 

    The three people who have requested the reopening of the case, Charles Montaño, Glenn Walp and Steve Doran, sent a formal letter to Damon Martinez, U.S. Attorney for the New Mexico District. The letter was dated Feb. 2. 

    “Our concern is that a full and complete investigation is needed in order to clean house and help ensure that one of the premier nuclear weapons labs long plagued by scandal is properly managed in the future, free of any possible reoccurrence of fraud and corruption,” the letter read.

    The three also mentioned in the letter that the reason why they decided to contact Martinez is because he is also the chairman of the National Lab/Research University Working Group for U.S. Attorneys.

  • Debate team denied entry in competition

    The Jemez Mountain Home School Speech and Debate Team was denied a spot in the New Mexico Speech and Debate Association Congressional Debate Championship last week, and according to the coaches on the team, they will likely get shut out of many more future competitions.

    The highly ranked team, made up of Jemez and Los Alamos County students, was denied entry because of recently changed rules that govern how home-schooled children participate in extracurricular activities. 

    The associations that govern the competitions, the New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA) and the New Mexico Speech and Debate Association (NMSDA) have recently changed how they interpreted the rules allowing the teams to participate to better match state legislation passed in 2007.

    New Mexico Legislature passed a set of laws that kept parents from pulling their kids out a school that might not have a stellar sports program, home-school them, and then enroll them in a “winning” school. 

  • 'Longmire': Film industry supports local communities

    Saturday’s “Longmire” casting call in Española was co-sponsored by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Local 480, and doubled as a “thank you” to Sen. Richard Martinez (D-District 5), whom the union called a “champion of workers.”

    Martinez was held up on Senate business and was unable to attend, but Jon Henry, business agent for the local IATSE, spoke with the Los Alamos Monitor about the film industry’s role in boosting local economies. 

    “Basically, what we’re doing is coming into the communities where ‘Longmire’ shoots and making sure there’s economic activity in these communities,” Henry said. “The picture business can’t just be about Santa Fe and Albuquerque, it’s got to be about everywhere.”

    The casting call had a dual purpose, not only giving local people a chance to work as background actors on Longmire but reaching out to potential vendors in the local business community. 

    “That’s really our goal, is to get as many local people making money from these movies as we can,” Henry said.