Local News

  • Plant agreement falls through

    On Wednesday, Board of Public Utilities Manager Tim Glasco informed the Board of Public Utilities that the City of Farmington has withdrawn a proposal to take an additional 65 megawatts of power from the San Juan Generating Plant.
    The proposal was part of a restructuring agreement that involves the shutdown of units 2 and 3 and the exit of several stakeholders.
    The agreement to close two units is part of a settlement between Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) and the Environmental Protection Agency, designed to bring the plant into compliance with federal haze regulations.
    In a letter to the Farmington Daily Times, Farmington City Manager Robert Mayes reaffirmed the city‘s commitment to its current ownership in SJGS and to work with other plant owners to secure the placement of available capacity and to complete the restructuring agreements.
    According to Mayes, Farmington staff determined that an agreement to purchase additional capacity could not meet the city’s economic parameters.
    Farmington’s withdrawal invalidates all previously negotiated contracts and could result in a larger cut to the plant’s generating capacity than previously anticipated.
    Glasco and other staff joined other stakeholders in Albuquerque Thursday and Friday for continuing negotiations on the restructuring.

  • County readies RFQ for airlines

    Public Information Officer Julie Habiger said Los Alamos County staff plans to issue a Request for Quotations for a new air service contractor the first week of February.
    The county terminated its contract with New Mexico Airlines in January, following interruptions in service during December and January.
    Economic Vitality Administrator Greg Fisher and airport Manager Dave Ploeger have been assembling a list of potential bidders in order to drum up interest.
    No timeline has been established for awarding a new contract, but staff hopes to move quickly to negotiate a new agreement and present it at the county council’s April 14 meeting. Habiger noted that a number of variables could delay that goal.
    Habiger also noted that cost could be a major factor in proceeding, and that the air service is likely to be on the agenda during budget discussions in April.

  • Committee gets an OK from BPU

    On Wednesday, the Board of Public Utilities unanimously approved the formation of an ad hoc citizens’ committee on future energy resources.
    The 7-member committee will be comprised of representatives from Los Alamos Public Schools, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos County Environmental Sustainability Board, the business community, citizens with rooftop solar generation equipment and two citizens at large.
    Department of Public Utilities Manager Tim Glasco proposed the committee address three issues:

  • Getting Things Ready

    Snowcats were busy Thursday morning prepping the trails at Pajarito Mountain for opening day. The mountain will be in operation Saturday. The cafe will open at 8:30 a.m. and lifts will begin running at 9 a.m. The storm that came through the area Wednesday dropped 7 inches of new snow onto the mountain, giving it a total of 26 inches. This is the first time during the 2014-15 season Pajarito has had a deep enough base to get going.

  • Today in history Jan. 23
  • School board scuffle leads to renewed vows of better communication

    It may have been one of the strangest, if not most upsetting experiences of her career as a school board member.
    Judy Bjarke-McKenzie, president of the Los Alamos School Board, was summarily escorted off the Los Alamos High School campus Jan. 12 by athletic director Ann Stewart, apparently on the orders of Principal Debbie Belew-Nyquist.
    Bjarke-McKenzie was a guest of school board member Nan Holmes, who was invited by a parent to a meeting about the upcoming prom.
    Soon after they arrived, they had a brief encounter with a teacher, and within minutes Belew-Nyquist and Stewart arrived.
    “She was mad. She was shaking… she was so mad,” Bjarke-McKenzie said of Belew-Nyquist. “I didn’t think we were doing anything wrong. We were just going to listen.”
    According to Holmes, it was a miscommunication that quickly spiraled out of control.
    A parent had some concerns about an issue concerning the upcoming high school prom, and naturally, that parent reached out to her representative on the board for help. Holmes instructed the parent on how to proceed and who to contact in an effort to resolve the issue.
    On Jan. 12, this same parent invited Holmes to a prom update meeting at the high school.

  • Informal forums to be held at Film Festival at Home

    School Board president Judy Bjarke-McKenzie and school board member Nan Holmes will be hosting a forum tomorrow night at the “Film Festival at Home” video and coffee shop, located inside the shopping center on Arkansas Avenue, next to the Shell gas station. Tomorrow’s meeting will be at 5 p.m. and go until 7 p.m.  Next Friday’s meeting, Jan. 30 will be at 10 a.m. and go until Noon.

    The purpose of the meetings will be to field questions from residents about the school system and school-related issues. Anyone is welcome to come to the meetings.  

  • Update 1-22-15


    The Backcountry Film Festival will start at 7 p.m. today. The film festival features 9 unique films aimed to inspire winter adventurers. It will be at the Reel Deal Theater. For more information, visit PajaritoEEC.org,

    County Council

    Los Alamos County Council will meet Jan. 27 in council chambers. The meeting will start at 7 p.m.

    Authors Speak

    Sharon Oard Warner, the author of “Sophie’s House of Cards,” will talk about her latest novel, and also about writing and working as a writer today during the Authors Speak Series presentation at Mesa Public Library. Warner’s presentation will be at 7 p.m. today.

    Dust Bowl

    The Ken Burns documentary, “The Dust Bowl,” will be screened at Mesa Public Library Saturday. The first two hours of the 4-hour film will be shown from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and the second two hours from 2:30-4:30 p.m.

    Aquatic center

    The Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center will have limited lanes in the shallow end for public swimming. The aquatic center is hosting the Aquatomics’ winter meet this weekend.

  • Top judge says state courts struggling

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico courts are heavily overburdened and need millions more in funding, the state's top judge said Thursday.
    Supreme Court Chief Justice Barbara Vigil told legislators during the State of the Judiciary that courts need nearly $172 million in funding this upcoming fiscal year, which begins in July.
    That's about a 9 percent increase in funding over last year.
    "A strong court system improves the well-being and safety of everyone, particularly the poor and the downtrodden, and a judiciary that is able to resolve disputes in a timely manner attracts business investment and supports economic development," Vigil said.
    Trial court judges presided over almost 400,000 cases in the 2014 fiscal year alone, Vigil said.
    Vigil said magistrate courts are most heavily in need of more funding, saying they were in a "fiscal predicament." The magistrate court's funding was cut two years ago when an operations fee and bond revenues fell through, creating a $1.2 million shortfall.
    Magistrate courts hear preliminary hearings, misdemeanors, traffic violations and some civil disputes under $10,000. There are 49 magistrate courts around New Mexico with 67 judges.

  • Reps wait for fiscal forecast

    SANTA FE (AP) — Oil prices continue to drop and that's making New Mexico lawmakers a little uneasy as they prepare to hammer out a state budget for the next fiscal year.
    The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Democrat John Arthur Smith of Deming, joked during the floor session Wednesday that his committee wouldn't meet until the price of oil starts to rise.
    On Thursday, the panel is scheduled to hear from state finance officials.
    The 60-day legislative session began Tuesday and the big assignment for lawmakers will be approving a nearly $6.3 billion spending plan.
    How much new revenue they have to spend will depend largely on the state of the energy market and oil prices, which have dropped from over $100 a barrel last summer to less than $50.