Local News

  • Chamisa Elementary, PEEC named Business Recyclers of Year

    The winners of the 2017 Los Alamos County Business Recycler of the Year were Chamisa Elementary School for Educational Institute and Pajarito Environmental Education Center for Business/Non-Profit.

    The Business Recycler of the Year award is sponsored by the Los Alamos County Environmental Services Division and the Los Alamos County Environmental Sustainability Board.

    The Business Recycler of the Year Award is a great avenue to promote recycling in the business community and get more businesses participating in the recycle program. To become eligible, a business is nominated by a member of the community for contributing to recycling and waste reduction.

    Los Alamos County Environmental Services received seven nominations for the fifth annual Business Recycler of the Year Award. There were two categories this year, Educational Institute and Business/Non-Profit. Educational Institutes were: Chamisa Elementary School, Los Alamos High School Eco Club, and Aspen K-Kids (sponsored by Kiwanis). Business/Non-Profit nominees were: Merrick & Company, Pajarito Environmental Educational Center, Sirphey and Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church Shop on the Corner. The voting was conducted via an online survey.

  • Iraqi facing deportation after aiding military takes refuge

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — An Iraqi man who fled to the U.S. during the Gulf War and trained tens of thousands of American soldiers is facing deportation orders that could lead to his death in his homeland, his supporters say.

    Kadhim Al-bumohammed, 64, decided to seek refuge Thursday inside a New Mexico church. He announced through his attorney that he would defy a federal immigration order to appear for a hearing where he was expected to be detained over two misdemeanor domestic-violence convictions in California.

    “After consulting with his family, and with other members of the faith community, (Al-bumohammed) has chosen to seek sanctuary with the faith community,” Rebecca Kitson, his lawyer, said a cheering crowd outside Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices in Albuquerque.

    Immigration officials typically don’t make deportation arrests in churches and other “sensitive areas” such as schools and churches.

  • New Mexico governor supports national monument review

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez supports the review of two national monuments in New Mexico, saying it’s important that the designations follow the intent and spirit of the federal law that was used to establish the sites.

    The two-term Republican governor outlined her comments on the Rio Grande del Norte and the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks national monuments in a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

    The letter was made public Thursday as the secretary considers possible modifications to more than two dozen monuments that were created during the last two decades.

    The monuments under review in New Mexico were established during former President Barack Obama’s tenure.
    Environmentalists support the designations, saying they help protect special places in the state. They also argue there have been economic benefits.

    Martinez said only anecdotal evidence exists to support those claims. She also questioned the need for the monuments, pointing to previous designations that protected the land as wilderness study areas or as areas that required special management for recreation and research.

  • Battle of the Badges Blood Drive Aug. 3

    Los Alamos residents are encouraged to “Find the hero in you” by joining in the Second Annual Battle of the Badges community blood drive on Aug.3 from noon-6 p.m. and Aug. 4 from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. at First Baptist Church hall, 2200 Diamond Dr.

    Los Alamos’ first responders, firefighters, policemen and sheriffs are challenging all New Mexicans to donate blood and help save lives.  

    The first responders will be at the drives to recruit blood donors and donate themselves, as well as competing for participants’ votes.  

    It takes 300 blood donations every day to meet the needs of area patients and to be ready for emergencies.

    Blood donated in the community helps save the lives of patients in 47 different hospitals throughout New Mexico and the Four Corners Region.

    Donators will receive a commemorative t-shirt just for donating and will also get the chance to vote for their favorite first responder team.

    Volunteer blood donors must be at least 16 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health to donate blood.

    Additional height/weight requirements apply to donors 23 and younger, and donors who are 16 and 17 must have signed UBS form/permission from a parent or guardian.

  • New Mexico considers rules for dark-money groups in politics

    SANTA FE — A proposal requiring more-detailed financial disclosures from nonprofit advocacy organizations that attempt to influence elections and ballot measures in New Mexico earned both praise and criticism at a public comment hearing Thursday at the state Capitol.

    The campaign finance rules drafted by the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office take aim at so-called dark money groups that can spend unlimited amounts to influence elections and ballot measures when acting independently of campaigns and candidates.

    Affected advocacy groups that spend more than $1,000 on political advertising would have to provide the name and address of each person who made contributions of more than $200 to fund independent political expenditures.

    The rules include similar provisions to a bill with bipartisan support vetoed in April by GOP Gov. Susana Martinez, who argued it would hamper charities and discourage charitable donations. About 50 people attended the first of three public hearings on the rules, developed by Democratic Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver.

    Several conservative-backed groups with a statewide and national presence warned that the measures would have a chilling effect on free speech and may drive away donors to political causes who value their privacy and worry about intimidation.

  • Man arrested for DUI on Independence Day

    Phillip Swazo, 28, of Santa Fe was arrested in White Rock on July 4 for driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, driving on a suspended license, carrying an open container of alcohol and displaying an invalid registration plate.

    On July 4, at about 10:10 p.m., Los Alamos Police Department Cpl. Jaime Gonzales was conducting patrols on Meadow Lane after the fireworks show when he spotted a driver holding a bottle of whiskey.

    “The driver brought a large bottle of Crown Royal up to his face as if he was going to take a drink,” said Gonzales in his statement of probable cause.

    The LAPD officer conducted a traffic stop and approached the vehicle, making contact with the driver who was identified as Swazo.

    When Gonzales asked the passengers to hand over the alcohol in the car, they gave an opened bottle of tequila and said the Crown Royal was thrown in the back. “While speaking with the driver, I could smell an odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from the vehicle.”

    Gonzales learned from dispatch that Swazo’s license had been revoked, so he asked Swazo to step out of the car.

    “He stated that he had nothing to drink inside the vehicle but he did drink alcohol at the park during the festivities.”

  • Council OK’s waste fee hike

    Los Alamos County Council voted six to one Tuesday to increase waste disposal and recycling fees by an average of $3.

    The vote was 6-1, with Counselor James Chrobocinski voting against the increase.

    For residents and businesses, the monthly $22 fee will increase to $25. Dumpster collection service will increase from $121.22 to $125.

    The new fee structure was based on recommendations from Environmental Services staff and the Environmental Sustainability Board.

    These fee increase will go into effect immediately.

    The increase will close a projected  $300,000 deficit in the Environmental Services budget, which Environmental Services officials said is mostly due to escalating costs in disposal.

    Another cause is the declining value of oil, which impact the price the county gets for its recyclables.

    The fee increase will bring in $326,000 annually.

    Los Alamos County Council Vice Chair Susan O’Leary approved of the increases, along with five of her colleagues.

  • New exhibit ‘Secret Pass’ opens today

    The Bradbury Science Museum will open three new exhibits and a video as part of a new 360-degree, multisensory experience called “Manhattan on the Mesa.”

    The exhibits will be dedicated at a public opening today from 4-6 p.m.

    The new exhibits focus on the Manhattan Project National Historical Park properties in Los Alamos that are “behind the fence,” or in secure areas that are off-limits to the general public, according to Museum Director Linda Deck.

    This exhibit, which was funded by the Los Alamos National Laboratory, is a way to experience the historic Technical Areas without actually visiting each one.

    For example, the Gun Site, located in TA-8, was used to conduct tests on the gun-assembled weapon designs known as Little Boy and Thin Man.

    V-Site, located in TA-16, supported the first assembly work related to the Fat Man weapon design. It was also used to assemble the high-explosive sphere for the Trinity device, known as the “Gadget.”

    Battleship Bunker, in TA-18, supported implosion diagnostic tests for Fat Man. These historical sites and more will be explored in depth within Manhattan on the Mesa.

  • Residents near Trinity Test Site to hold anniversary vigil

    TULAROSA (AP) — New Mexico residents living near the site of the first atomic bomb test 72 years ago are planning a vigil to remember loved ones who have died from cancer.
    Tularosa Basin Downwinders have scheduled a candlelight vigil Saturday to honor those advocates say died from diseases related to the atomic explosion.
    The group says the Trinity Test on July 16, 1945, irreparably altered the gene pools of residents in surrounding communities such as the historic Hispanic village of Tularosa.
    The Downwinders are currently lobbying for compensation and apologies from the U.S. government.
    The Trinity Test took place as part of the Manhattan Project, a top-secret World War II nuclear development program run out of the then-secret city of Los Alamos, New Mexico.

  • NNSA releases draft RFP for LANL contract

    A draft request for proposals released by the National Nuclear Security Thursday shows the government has lowered the performance fee for prospective bidders to 1 percent of approximately $2 billion contract to operate Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    The lower fee could be a turn-off for some for-profit companies and could mean less money for Los Alamos County, in terms of gross-receipts taxes.

    Regional Coalition of LANL Communities Executive Director Andrea Romeo remarked that the 1 percent performance fee is a marked change from the current management and operations contract, held by Los Alamos National Security, of 3 percent of the contract.

    “With a smaller fee the GRT (gross receipts tax) could be greatly affected based on any tax they pay on any fee,” Romero said.

    Romero noted that would be a 2 percent decrease in GRT on what is generally an annual $2 billion contract.

    Since the fee threshold is smaller, Romero said this could also impact how many for-profit companies apply for the contract.

    If a non-profit is awarded the contract, it could spell even more trouble for Los Alamos County and other counties in the region, since non-profits are exempt from paying gross receipts tax in New Mexico.