Local News

  • BPU questions general fund transer formula

    As Board of Public Utilities member Stephen McLin put it, Vice Chair David Powell “opened up a big can of worms” at the board’s Dec. 17 meeting when he raised questions about the 5-percent transfer to the county’s general fund from the Department of Public Utilities electric and gas revenues.
    Powel suggested that transferring the equivalent of 5 percent of retail sales to the general fund, something agreed upon in a 1997 resolution (Resolution 97-07) negotiated between BPU and the Los Alamos County Council, may be contradictory to the County Charter.
    The charter contains a “Priority of Budgeted Expenditures,” which places transferring “remaining operating profits” at the bottom of the list.
    Top priorities are funding for current operations, payment of bond interest, maintaining adequate reserves to finance replacements required by normal depreciation, payments to the general fund in lieu of franchise fees and taxes and “provisions for additions and improvements foreseen as necessary to meet future requirements for the utility systems.”

  • Former Tuskegee Airman dies at 95

    VENTURA, Calif. (AP) — Lowell Steward, a former member of the Tuskegee Airmen who flew nearly 200 missions over Europe during World War II, has died in California. He was 95.
    His son Lowell Jr. says Steward died Wednesday of natural causes at a hospital in Ventura.
    After graduating with a business degree from Santa Barbara College in 1941, Steward joined the Army Air Corps and trained at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama.
    He was shipped to Italy in 1944 with the 100th Fighter Squadron of the famed all-black unit. From Capodechino Air Base in Naples, Steward completed 96 missions, flying P-39 Airacobras and P-40 Warhawks. Later based in Ramitelli, Italy, he flew 96 escort and strafing missions in P-51 Mustangs.
    America’s first black military pilots faced an unprecedented level of scrutiny under racial segregation.
    As a result they held themselves to a higher standard, Steward often said.
    “He would say, ‘we had to be better because we were looked at harder. The odds were stacked against us. Some people wanted us to fail,’” Lowell Jr. said.
    Steward was ultimately awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
    After being discharged in 1946, he moved to Los Angeles and tried to buy a house, only to be repeatedly denied bank loans because he was black.

  • Martin says he’ll screen ’Interview’

    SANTA FE (AP) — “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin is offering to show “The Interview” at his theater in Santa Fe.
    Martin wrote on his blog this week that the Jean Cocteau Cinema would be glad to screen the film if Sony ever releases the comedy for theatrical exhibition.
    Martin called the decision to shelve “The Interview” in the face of terrorist threats a “stunning display of corporate cowardice.”
    The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Martin hasn’t seen the film and doesn’t know whether it’s good or bad.
    Whether it’s the next “Citizen Kane” or the next “Plan 9 from Outer Space,” Martin says he’s astonished that a major Hollywood film could be killed before release by threats from a foreign power and anonymous hackers.

  • Lottery: N.M. needs to upgrade to boost ticket sales statewide

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The New Mexico Lottery needs to catch up with the mobile revolution if it wants to attract the next generation of players and raise more money for the lottery scholarship program, the head of the gaming agency told lawmakers Thursday.
    Lottery CEO David Barden and state Higher Education Deputy Secretary Glenn Walters testified before the legislative Revenue Stabilization and Tax Policy Committee on the status of the popular scholarship program.
    Without boosting sales, they echoed the concerns many have had about the solvency of the program as tuition increases and demand for financial assistance grows.
    More than $40 million was raised for college students during the last fiscal year, and lottery officials say they’re on track to raise nearly $43 million during the next budget year.
    Tapping into the spending habits of younger people will be key, Barden said, pointing to efforts in Minnesota and other states where players can purchase tickets at the gas pump or online.
    While more than 80 percent of tickets are sold at convenience stores, Barden said statistics show about 73 percent of people who stop for gas never go inside and that amounts to lost opportunity.

  • Clarification 12-20-14

    In “Los Alamos Beer Co-Op Getting Closer to Launch,” published Nov. 28, it was incorrectly stated that “The co-op also relies on member loans approved by the New Mexico Securities Division.” A representative of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department has informed the Los Alamos Monitor that the Securities Division does not approve or review any loans.

  • Update 12-21-14

    Trash collection

    Los Alamos County will pick up curbside trash Wednesday for those whose regular collection day is Thursday. Customers should also put trash out Dec. 31 for those whose regularly scheduled collection day is Jan. 1

    Walkup Center

    The Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center will have abbreviated hours for the upcoming holidays. Wednesday, the aquatic center will close at 5 p.m. and will remain closed until Dec. 26. It will also close at 5 p.m. Dec. 31 and will be closed on Jan. 1. Call 662-8170 for more information.

    Christmas Lights Run

    The final Los Alamos Triatomics Christmas Lights run is scheduled for Monday. The non-competitive run will start in the downtown area near the Fusion Multisport store. The run starts promptly at 6:15 p.m. and anyone interested may participate. For information, visit triatomics.org.

    Surplus sale

    Los Alamos National Laboratory’s next scheduled surplus property sale will be Jan. 15, weather permitting.

  • Today in history Dec. 20
  • Lava aimed at Hawaii market

    HONOLULU (AP) — Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island slowed slightly but still stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa below it.
    The molten rock was 1,200 to 1,300 yards away from the edge of Pahoa Marketplace on Thursday and had advanced about 165 yards from the previous day, said Darryl Oliveira, Hawaii County civil defense administrator.
    “We’re just watching the activity on the flow going forward and trying to remain optimistic that we might see a slow down or pause or stall,” Oliveira said.
    Lava from Kilauea Volcano is crossing flatter terrain, which may have partly caused the slackening.
    Gov. David Ige visited the community Thursday, meeting with impacted residents and teachers and taking an aerial tour of the flow.
    “I am amazed at the attitude of the citizens of Pahoa,” Ige told reporters late Thursday. “They are definitely upbeat; the community has really drawn together to work through this disaster.”
    During his visit, Ige received an update from Oliveira and took a helicopter tour of the lava flow, which he says changed his perspective on the situation.

  • Jobless rate drops in state

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico’s unemployment rate is down as the state continues to add jobs.
    The state Department of Workforce Solutions reported Friday that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November was 6.4 percent.
    That’s down from 6.5 percent in October and down from 6.7 percent in November 2013.
    The state’s economy added 14,100 jobs between November 2014 and November 2013, with the November 2014 increase of 3,600 jobs in total. nonfarm employment topping increases during all previous months since the Great Recession.

  • Ringing In the Season

    Energetic and entertaining bell ringers at Smith’s add to the Christmas spirit. Carmen Bouquin and Sophia Jeffery brought a fresh twist to the traditional bell ringer. More Salvation Army bell ringers are needed. Those interested should contact the Betty Ehart Senior Center for details.