Local News

  • Similar road rage arrest is ‘separate’ from NM 502 incident

    Even though an incident of road rage in the region Wednesday bore similarities to a Feb. 2 incident in Pojoaque, authorities don’t believe the investigations will reveal a common shooter.

    “It sounds like a separate incident to me,” said Santa Fe County Sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios. “As of (Friday afternoon) we’ve not made any arrests in our investigation and we continue to search for this person.”

    Santa Fe police continue to investigate circumstances around their arrest of clinical psychologist William K. Hunt, 65, of Albuquerque on Wednesday after he pointed a gun at another man’s head following a road rage incident.

    Hunt, who was driving a black Jeep, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and false imprisonment after nearly crashing into that driver’s vehicle and then pulling a gun on that vehicle’s driver.

    As the other driver was attempting to call 911, Hunt got out of the Jeep carrying a handgun and pointed it at the other driver. He continued to hold the man at gunpoint until a responding officer yelled at him to drop the gun, which he did, according to the police report.

  • DOE budget proposal includes boost for LANL supercomputing

    The latest White House fiscal year 2019 budget proposal for the Department of Energy includes $636 million of funding for the Department of Energy’s Exascale Computing Project – with about $24 million marked for Los Alamos National Laboratory’s part in the project.

    The DOE’s goal is to build the world’s first exascale supercomputers by 2021, a goal the U.S. is racing China to reach first.

    About $473 million will go to the DOE Office of Science and $163 million to the National Nuclear Security Administration for the project. The Exascale budget request is a $376 million increase above last year’s enacted budget.

    About $24 million of that $163 million is marked for Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Exascale Class Computer Cooling Equipment project.

    Calling it an “American Budget,” the White House is requesting altogether $30.6 billion for the Department of Energy in its budget request for fiscal 2019.

    Trump is also asking for $15.1 billion for the NNSA to modernize the nuclear enterprise and the nuclear arsenal it supports. That’s $2.2 billion more than the enacted 2017 budget.

    LANL critic and Executive Director of the Los Alamos Study Group Greg Mello called the budget proposal “Christmas in February” for the NNSA.

  • Tonight's Los Alamos Concert Association's Venice Baroque Orchestra concert cancelled

    Los Alamos Concert Association's Venice Baroque Orchestra concert tonight has been cancelled because of flight delays.
    LACA will reschedule this concert if they can, according to Vernon Smith, president of the association.

    "We will widely publicize the new date, time, and venue in regional newspapers, in e-mail notices, on our website and on our telephone message line," Smith said in a statement.

    If LACA is unable to reschedule this concert for later this season, the association will offer several possible options to ticket holders. LACA is asking those who have tickets to retain them until the association has time to work out the details.

    "Thank you for your patience as we attempt to fulfill our obligation to bring you, our patrons, world class artists," Smith said.


  • LAPS meeting set for Monday

    The next Los Alamos Public Schools Budget meeting will be from 5:30-7 p.m. Monday in the White Rock Library.

    Parents, students, staff, and interested community members are invited to attend and participate in the conversation.

    The meeting will include a review of the budget development process and time for community members to ask questions, give ideas and suggest how funds would be best utilized. 

    School board members will also discuss the budget during the upcoming school board work session on March 29 at the Topper Freshman Academy, as well as during the school board meeting on April 17 in the Los Alamos Administration Board Room.

  • N.M. changes system for state lottery scholarships

    Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE — New Mexico is providing more certainty for college students about the amount of financial aid they can count on from state lottery revenues, but elected officials and others say more needs to be done to shore up the scholarship program as higher education costs climb.

    Gov. Susana Martinez signed legislation Wednesday that decouples the value of lottery scholarships from the cost of tuition by setting a fixed amount for the awards based on the kind of institution a student attends.

    Tuition and demand for financial aid have outpaced lottery revenues for nearly a decade, forcing lawmakers and university administrators to get creative about helping students fill the gap. When it began in 1996, the scholarship covered 100 percent of average tuition rates. This year, only 60 percent is covered.

    The lottery-funded scholarships help pay tuition for about 26,000 students.

    The two-term Republican governor warned that the measure approved by the Legislature during the recent session is just one step toward addressing the deeper issues facing the scholarship program.

  • GRT bill veto sparks criticism, uncertainty from LA officials

    Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed the bill Wednesday that would tax gross receipts of any non-profit contractor that would take over management and operations of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    In her message to the State Senate explaining the veto Wednesday, Martinez said the bill was “poorly crafted tax policy.” A proposed amendment would have required all non-profits that make over a certain threshold to pay gross receipts tax, but it was withdrawn, she said.

    Also, she said the bill was another “piecemeal attempt at tax reform.”

    Los Alamos County may see a loss of about $22 million a year in gross receipts tax revenue, according to some estimates, if the contract to manage and operate the Los Alamos National Laboratory is awarded to a non-profit entity.

    Martinez said that while the loss of gross receipts tax is a concern, it may be less than what some claim it will be, as subcontractors will become taxable.

    State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-43) said the amendment, which she said was recommended by State Rep. and House Taxation and Revenue Committee member Jason Harper (R-57) would have left Los Alamos without GRT revenue for a year if the bill included it.

  • LAPS hosts school orientations

    Students from the five elementary schools in the Los Alamos School District got a taste of what they can expect next year when they become Los Alamos Middle School Hawks. 

    Barranca Mesa, Aspen, Mountain, Pinon and Chamisa sixth-graders took part in an orientation event Feb. 5 that allowed them to experience first-hand the ins and outs of their future school.

    LAMS Principal Mike Johnson, Assistant Principal Pamela Miller and Counselor Jennifer Neil visited each elementary school in the district ahead of the orientation so they could sit down and chat with the sixth-graders about rules, electives, courses, athletics and more.

    It was all part of the process of making the transition from elementary to middle school as stress free as possible.

    The LAMS team also had meetings with all sixth-grade teachers to go over any expectations and preview questions they might have in preparation for upcoming parent conferences.

    Sixth-grade classes from each elementary school got the chance to visit the middle school.

    Classes rotated between presentations and tours and learned about the classes, rules, clubs and activities LAMS has to offer.

  • Sign up for tour to Trinity Site

    Monday is the last day to sign up for this year’s guided tour to the Trinity Site, set for April 6-7.

    The Trinity Site is the location where, on July 16, 1945, a man-made nuclear weapon was detonated.

    The site is open to the public only twice each year, and the Los Alamos Historical Society is offering a guided tour to the site for the spring opening.

    The Society’s Trinity Tour includes a two-day, one-night experience through the Alamogordo southern approach through the seldom-seen interior of White Sands Missile Range. Departure from Trinity Site will be out of the northern Stallion Gate, with a lunch stop at New Mexico Tech in Socorro.

    Bonuses include a visit to the young (5,000-year-old) lava flows of Valley of Fires, and the New Mexico Space Museum overlooking the Tularosa Basin, Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Range.

    The excursion aboard a comfortable, restroom-equipped coach includes experienced tour direction is with Los Alamos locals Georgia and Gerry Strickfaden, who will be leading their 15th trip to Trinity.

    The cost of the trip for Historical Society members is $350 per person for double-occupancy and $400 for non-members, with a $50 single supplement for either. The price includes a tax-deductible donation to the Los Alamos Historical Society.

  • School district gets input on safety issues

    The Los Alamos School District recently reached out to community leaders for their input on ways to better hear the voices of its students in the wake of recent school shootings across the country.

    Approximately 65 business owners, elected officials, school principals, law enforcement members and many others gathered on Feb. 27 for a Community Leaders’ Breakfast hosted by Los Alamos Public Schools and held at the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos.

    “I thought it went very well,” said Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus. “We had a lot more people show up than what we expected – which is always good – and we had to add a lot more seats.”

    Steinhaus opened the presentation with a report on the improving graduation rates at Los Alamos High School, measures taken to improve the transition between schools and an overview from the recent legislative session.

    He specifically thanked outgoing Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, who attended the breakfast.

  • DPU negotiates minimal penalty to power deal

    Los Alamos County Department of Public Utilities officials told county elected officials Tuesday they had negotiated an exit plan for the small-scale nuclear reactor pilot project should the county want to withdraw from the investment in the future. 

    Deputy Utilities Manager Steve Cummins told a joint session of Los Alamos County Council and the Board of Public Utilities that it had successfully negotiated a financial penalty down to $80,000, with its partners, should the county decide to pull out of the project by March 2019.

    Department of Public Utilities has been considering getting some of its power from the Carbon Free Power Project, a nuclear power project that is in the planning stages by NuScale Power.

    The main part of the project will consist of 12, 50 megawatt light water, nuclear reactor modules designed by NuScale, which plans to build the project in Idaho. NuScale plans to have the reactors online by 2025.

    The Department of Public Utilities, as a member of the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, has an eight-megawatt share in the project. So far, 34 members of UAMPS, including Los Alamos have subscribed to the project. The project is expected to generate 600 megawatts of power. So far, partners have purchased 183 megawatts.