Local News

  • Council considers resolution about ESA

    By a 5-1 vote, the Los Alamos County Council on Tuesday passed a motion that directs staff to work with petitioners to research a resolution supporting the Endangered Species Act, and to return with “information, options and/or a recommendation for action within 90 days.”
    Councilor James Chrobocinski voted against the motion. Chair Kristin Henderson was not in attendance.
    Donald Jones presented the citizens’ petition, which lays out the case for a resolution that reads, “The county fully supports the Endangered Species Act and strongly encourages Congress to continue full funding and enforcement without interfering with science-based decisions about the level of endangerment or protection of individual species.”
    The resolution lists 18 endangered or threatened plants and animals within Los Alamos County, including the Jemez Mountain Salamander and the wood lily.
    According to Jones, there have been 88 attempts to “repeal, limit, adversely alter or defund all or part of the Endangered Species Act.” He talked about the need for this type of protection.

  • Today in history Nov. 20
  • Today in history Nov. 19
  • Tamale takedown: Traveler carried 450 illegal pork tamales

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — The contraband was carefully wrapped in corn husks and concealed in the luggage of a traveler when authorities moved in for a tamale takedown at Los Angeles International Airport.

    The search by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents turned up 450 pork tamales individually packaged in plastic bags.

    "Although tamales are a popular holiday tradition, foreign meat products can carry serious animal diseases," said Anne Maricich, CBP acting director of field operations in Los Angeles.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Wednesday the customs form filed by the traveler from Mexico acknowledged the person was carrying food but had lied when asked if there was any meat.

    Tamales contain cornmeal, meat or other fillings cooked in husks or leaves.

    The tamales seized Nov. 2 at the airport were destroyed under CBP supervision. The traveler was assessed a $1,000 civil penalty for commercial activity with the intent to distribute.

    During fiscal year 2014, CBP agriculture specialists nationwide issued 75,330 civil violations and intercepted more than 1.6 million animal by-product, meat and plant/soil quarantine products.

  • Governor takes aim at drunk drivers

    Gov. Susana Martinez on Tuesday unveiled a series of powerful TV ads to fight drunk driving on the state’s roads and highways.
    These ads feature New Mexico State Police officers sharing their personal stories of coming face-to-face with the real and horrible consequences of drunk driving, witnessing the devastating fatal crashes and having to inform families that their loved ones have been killed. To see these ads, visit endwi.com.
    “Our police officers are often the first on the scene. They see firsthand ... the horror when someone decides to take the wheel after drinking,” Martinez said.
    —Staff Report

  • United Way LANL campaign ends Friday

    United Way of Northern New Mexico Executive Director Kristy Ortega wrote the following appeal to donors.
    “The United Way of Northern New Mexico is approximately one quarter of the way to the amount asked for by nonprofits in our community and we need your help.
    “Last year, because of investments to the UWNNM Community Action Fund, our neighbor ‘Kathy’ was able to change her life and the life of her family for the better. She is just one example of the over 10,000 people you helped.
    “If you are an employee of Los Alamos National Laboratory, please do not forget to log in to your Oracle to make your pledge.  We are grateful to LANS/LANL for their continued Community Investment in UWNNM and to their employees for being the heroes through contributions to the UWNNM Community Action Fund.
    “If you are able, we ask you to give.  Contributions can be made online at unitedwaynnm.org, or you can find pledge envelopes at the following locations:
    •Los Alamos National Bank
    •Fusion Multisport
    •Ruby K’s Bagel Café
    “And a reminder, pledges of $100 or more get entered into the drawing for the Helicopter Rides courtesy of Classic Air Medical.
    “Thank you for your continued support!”

  • United Way partner spotlight – YMCA

    The ultimate goal of United Way of Northern New Mexico is to positively impact members of the community who are in need of assistance. UWNNM does not do that directly but through grants it provides to community partners to fund programs focused on education, financial stability and health.
    But sometimes, through its partners, UWNNM hears individual stories about how programs funded through community donations to United Way have made a difference in someone’s life.
    One such story came from “Kathy” (a pseudonym to protect privacy), whose family that received assistance through the YMCA scholarship program.
    “The YMCA provides scholarships for families that otherwise wouldn’t be able to participate in programs that they offer,” said UWNNM Program and Marketing Coordinator Jeremy Varela.
    “This particular story about the YMCA had to do with domestic violence as well, and how a family had to start from scratch, basically. Some people find their help within families or whatever. These particular people actually found their help within YMCA. They were able to get back on their feet through the YMCA’s help.
    “I would never expect somebody to get that kind of help from the YMCA and their programs.”
    This is Kathy’s story in her own words.

  • Private air club launches this week

    As of this week, Los Alamos residents have a new air service option. ASCENT Private Air Club is now offering on-demand, membership-based service from Los Alamos, Santa Fe and Taos.
    “This is a service that has just been very well-received up and down the Rocky Mountain region, and it just makes a lot of sense − given the isolation of a place like Los Alamos and the fact that we have airplanes constantly flying around − to make it available to people in that area or who frequent that area,” ASCENT CEO Tom Filippini said.
    ASCENT − which has been in business 15 years − focuses exclusively on travel to, from and within the Rocky Mountain West, flying to Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Utah. It works with local partners strategically located throughout the region, which allows it to keep costs low for its customers.
    Los Alamos will be served by operators in Southern Colorado, including Telluride, Pueblo and Denver.
    “So it’s a relatively efficient repositioning to get down there,” Filippini said. “We’re constantly flying between Colorado and Arizona, Southern California and Texas, so it’s very easy for us to just jog a little bit east or west to serve our New Mexico clientele.”

  • Running the permit gauntlet

    Editor’s note: second in a three-part series.
    Boomerang Consignment and Resale owner Anna Dillane’s ordeal began when she tried to mount a sign for her new business a year ago.
    After three trips to the Community and Economic Development Department (now the Community Development Department) with questions and plans for signage, during which Dillane was told she did not need to hire a contractor or engineer (despite how the code read) and that her sign would meet all the requirements, she never received her permit.
    When she presented final copies of her permit and draft designs, Building Safety Manager Chris Williams happened to be behind the counter. Williams told Dillane she did need a contractor and engineer and also found other faults with the design.
    “I started to cry and said, ‘That is unacceptable. I have been in here multiple times asking can I do this, can I do this, can I do this? And every person I spoke with said I could. And now you, with one fell swoop, say it’s wrong?’ ” Dillane said. “And he crossed his arms and looked at me derisively and said, ‘Well, I’m sorry we’re not living up to your expectations’.”

  • Chamber Business Breakfast rescheduled to Thursday

    The Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce Business Breakfast which was canceled Tuesday has been rescheduled for 7:30-9:30 a.m. Thursday. The breakfast meeting is focused on providing constructive input for sign code matters in the community. On Thursday, business owners and managers are invited to enjoy breakfast, catered by the Rosebud Café, and then roll up their sleeves to review specific sections of the code.
    Attendees will be divided into small groups, each assigned a small section of the code to discuss and develop suggestions for how it might be more business friendly. The use of banners, feather signs, monument signs, commercial flags and electronic signs are all regulated. Permanent signs must be safely mounted on the building façade to protect the public from hazardous conditions that result from signs that are structurally unsafe.
    The county revised the sign code in 2012. Since that time, the establishment of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, the transfer of the ski hill to private ownership and the transition of the Valles Caldera to the National Park Service has created an opportunity for new tourism-related businesses. The development planning for A-19 and the Village in White Rock have reached the point where signage should be considered.