Local News

  • Progressive Democrat ends New Mexico gubernatorial candidacy

    SANTA FE (AP) — Progressive gubernatorial candidate Peter DeBenedittis of Santa Fe is ending his campaign for governor in the June Democratic primary and endorsing one of three remaining candidates.

    DeBenedittis announced Wednesday that he was fully throwing his support behind former media executive Jeff Apodaca.

    DeBenedittis, an alcohol prevention counselor from Santa Fe, says he and Apodaca see eye-to-eye on efforts to provide universal health care, legalize recreational marijuana and seek a statewide $15 minimum wage.

    Apodaca is leveling accusations about underhanded favoritism toward Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham in the primary-election process.

    Limited support from Democratic county delegates has forced Democratic state Sen. Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces to collect more registration signatures to stay in the primary race.

  • LA Democrats make a showing at convention

    Stephanie Garcia Richard grabbed first position on the ballot in her bid for state land commissioner in a tight race at this year’s pre-primary convention in Albuquerque Saturday as Los Alamos Democratic delegates joined other delegates from across the state to prepare for the June primaries.

    Richard has served Los Alamos and the neighboring counties of Rio Arriba, Sandoval and Santa Fe as state representative of the 43rd district for six years.

    At the pre primary convention, held at the Albuquerque Convention Center, Richard got top billing on the June ballot with 618 votes. Following a close second was Garrett VeneKlasen with 553. VeneKlasen was boosted by a strong endorsement speech by Sen. Martin Heinrich.

    Richard said her experience as state representative has prepared her well for the office of land commissioner.
    She said she felt her political experience and background as an educator resonated most with the delegates.

    “First and foremost the qualifications and expertise that I bring being in the state Legislature, but also having and educator in the land office that knows what’s at stake,” Garcia Richard said.

    She also thanked the delegates for their support in getting her to the top of the primary ballot

  • 2nd suspect in Pajarito Cliffs site burglary arrested

    A preliminary examination date has been set for the second of two men suspected in several recent break-ins at the Pajarito Cliffs Site in Los Alamos.

    Gregorio Trujillo, 29, of Santa Fe, appeared in Magistrate Court on Monday and received a date of March 23 for his preliminary examination.

    Trujillo, who was arrested by the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Department at 4:50 p.m. Sunday, was transported to Los Alamos for his Magistrate Court appearance on Monday and then transferred to the Santa Fe County Detention Facility Tuesday afternoon.

    He had an active arrest warrant out charging him with one count each of receiving/transferring stolen vehicle; burglary; breaking and entering; criminal damage to property; and larceny.

    His updated charges include four counts of non-residential burglary; 13 counts of breaking and entering; two counts of tampering with evidence; four counts of larceny; one count of receiving or transferring stolen motor vehicles; and one count of criminal damage to property.

    Trujillo is the younger brother of Antonio Trujillo, 30, of Santa Fe, who was arrested Feb. 21 after leading officers on a chase in a stolen car in Santa Fe.

  • District urges residents to watch for bus riders

    The citizens of Los Alamos and White Rock are riding a safety hot streak and Keith Rosenbaum is urging them to do all they can to keep that streak alive.

    Rosenbaum, who oversees 26 buses and 16 bus routes as the director of facilities and transportation for the Los Alamos Public Schools, was happy to report Tuesday that over the past two weeks there have been no instances called in of vehicles passing a school bus while the stop arm of that bus was deployed.

    “Over the past two weeks we haven’t had any, which is the first time this school year where we didn’t have a week where somebody ran a stop arm,” he said.

    Rosenbaum keeps track of these incidents through reports from his drivers. While the number of incidents called in during the first half of the school year was high, the number of second-half reports has decreased.

    “We were having three to five a week for a period of time,” he said. “Since we returned (from Christmas break) we’ve been aggressively getting information out to the public by putting signs up. I’m not sure if that’s a contributing factor, but it’s my hope that people are at least becoming aware of the danger they are creating by running the stop arms.”

  • Celebrating 75 Years
  • 19-year-old student looks to make a difference, files for County Council

    By far the youngest candidate to file for elected office Tuesday in Los Alamos County was Los Alamos High School graduate and University of New Mexico-Los Alamos nursing student Quentin David Dimick, 19.

    As the stream of other candidates came through the county clerk’s office, Dimick, a Democrat, filled out paperwork.

    “I guess I’m a little nervous, but I feel confident in my abilities,” Dimick said. When asked about what made him decide to run, Dimick said. “It’s time for the young people of Los Alamos to make a difference.”

    Dimick’s dad, Denis, a Libertarian, said he was very proud of his son and his bid for public office.

    “Politically, I disagree with him, but I support him, because it’s their world, and they might as well try and make the changes they want now,” Denis Dimick said.

    Los Alamos County had few other surprises on filing day, but many candidates streamed in to the county clerk’s office to file paperwork to run for county council, sheriff, municipal judge, county assessor, magistrate court judge and probate judge.

  • Embattled New Mexico Democratic Party chairman resigns

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The embattled chairman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico has resigned.
    Richard Ellenberg announced his resignation in a letter Tuesday following a state party convention where he was accused of questioning the credibility of sexual misconduct allegations against a union leader.

    Ellenberg also had faced criticism for his response to a Democratic Party of New Mexico vice chair's claim that she was a target of unwanted sexual advances by a party official.

    Ellenberg says he regretted the way he managed complaints of women who have come forward about sexual harassment.

    Other say Ellenberg oversaw a "slanted" process over delegates that favored certain candidates this weekend.
    The resignation comes before midterm elections where New Mexico Democrats are hopeful at winning back the governor's seat and capturing more Legislative seats.

    The Democratic Party issued a statement following Ellenberg's resignation.

  • US may want to keep Idaho nuclear waste plant running longer

    BOISE, Idaho (AP) — U.S. officials are considering extending the use of an eastern Idaho nuclear waste treatment facility beyond its scheduled closure this year so it can repackage radioactive waste brought in from other states before it's sent to a permanent disposal site in New Mexico.

    The U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Plant at its 890-square-mile (2,300-square-kilometer) site that includes the Idaho National Laboratory was originally set to stop operating after it finished treating waste from Idaho this year.

    But the Energy Department said last week it may want the $500 million plant that employs about 600 workers to keep running to treat transuranic waste from other federal sites.

    Transuranic waste includes items like protective gear and tools that have been contaminated with plutonium, americium or other radioactive elements.

  • Competition opens for New Mexico House, utility elections

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Major-party candidates seeking election or re-election to the New Mexico House of Representatives, the state's utility-oversight commission and local judicial seats registered to run for office on Tuesday with state and county election regulators.

    The one-day window for filing signature petitions with the Secretary of State's Office and county clerks marked the start of earnest competition in June primary and fall general elections. Election officials have a week to confirm that candidates meet requirements.

    Seventy House seats are up for election in November. Democrats currently have a 38-seat majority, and are aiming for trifecta control of the governor's office and both legislative chambers as Republican Gov. Susana Martinez leaves office after two consecutive terms. Elections for the Democrat-controlled Senate take place next in 2020.

    Republicans last won a House majority in 2014 elections, interrupting six decades of Democratic control.

    Republican Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes announced Tuesday that she would not seek re-election to an Albuquerque-based seat that she wrested from Democratic control in 2014. She endorsed as a successor Republican candidate Brad Winter, an Albuquerque city councilor.

  • New Mexico state auditor looking into pro-Los Alamos agency

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The state auditor's office says it will look into the spending habits of an agency of New Mexico municipalities surrounding Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    New Mexico State Auditor Wayne Johnson said Monday he has designated the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities for a special audit following reports that its executive director spent public money on baseball tickets and fancy dinners in Washington.

    Johnson says there are enough concerns to warrant a close look to make sure all state laws were followed.
    Executive director Andrea Romero is facing criticism for the recent spending that included expensive gatherings where alcohol was purchased. She has apologized.

    The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities is an agency made of nine northern New Mexico cities, counties and pueblos surrounding the Department of Energy's Los Alamos Lab.