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Local News

  • Public schools to get boost from NM permanent funds

    SANTA FE (AP) — Funding for public education will get a nearly $60 million boost next fiscal year from New Mexico’s two major sovereign wealth funds thanks to strong investment results in 2016.
    The disbursement from New Mexico’s Land Grant Permanent Fund and Severance Tax Permanent Fund will increase to roughly $896 million during the fiscal year starting July 1, up from $838 million this fiscal year, state Investment Council spokesman Charles Wollmann said.
    The increased payout could help offset recent cuts to general fund spending on public education, as policymakers wrestle with a stubborn budget deficit.
    In October, the state cut $68 million from annual spending on public schools, and influential lawmakers say more cuts are likely next year if new sources of revenue cannot be found quickly. New Mexico’s oil-dependent economy is reeling from a downturn in energy markets.
    Disbursements from the permanent funds are determined at the end of each calendar year based on the funds’ market value, using a five-year average to avoid abrupt changes.
    The value of the two funds climbed to nearly $20 billion at the end of the year, with a return on investment of just over 7 percent during 2016, according to preliminary, unaudited results.

  • Lighting up the new year
  • LA sees triumphs, tragedies in 2016

    This is part two of a look back on 2016.

    Los Alamos witnessed its share of tragedies and triumphs in 2016. Here are a few of the stories that made the headlines.
    Española plane crash kills two
    An airplane carrying two Los Alamos residents, including the pilot, crashes shortly after takeoff March 11 at approximately 4 p.m. Killed in the crash were Karen Young, 46, and Thomas Spickermann, 53. Both were employees at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and were training for a flight to Alaska when the crash occurred. The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the incident, and is due to release a final report soon.
    Law Enforcement
    Pastor arrested for child porn
    Paul Cunningham, a pastor at the Los Alamos Baptist Church was arrested on June 16 for downloading child porn onto his personal computer. He was charged with one count of sexual exploitation of children under 18 years of age (possession of visual media and one count of sexual exploitation of children under 18 years of age, distribution of a visual medium). The possession charge is a fourth-degree felony and distribution charge is a third degree felony.

  • Local luthier brings bass guitars to new level

    Any woman or smaller-framed individual who has tried playing a guitar – or any musical instrument, for that matter – has had to adapt to designs that were clearly meant for larger people.
    In 2009, Kathy Creek decided to do something about it. She had hurt her back, and was finding it difficult to play her bass guitar.
    “I had a heavy bass, and it was large, and I wanted something that fit me and didn’t weigh a lot,” Creek said.
    Although she had never built a guitar in her life, Creek plunged right in.
    “I just like to make things. If I see a need for something in my life, I just like to make it if I can’t find it,” Creek said. “So I just had this strong desire to make a bass guitar for myself, that fit me and wasn’t the standard Stratocaster look.”
    Creek went to a pawnshop and purchased a bass she could experiment with, which she cut down into a shape she liked.
    “I continued to revise it and work on basically becoming a luthier on my own, so that the current version that I have is just a very dead-sexy guitar that weighs under six pounds,” Creel said. “Most instruments weigh nine pounds and they have a much larger mass. So mine’s about a third less of what the standard guitar is.”

  • More water rate hikes on horizon

    In fiscal year 2018, Los Alamos residents can anticipate water rate increases ranging from 8 to 1.5 percent every year for the next 20 years, provided both the Board of Public Utilities and the Los Alamos County Council approve the Department of Public Utilities’ plan to get revenues to match costs.
    The increase is necessary in order to fund a 20-year Capital Improvement Project plan for replacing the county’s aging water distribution and production infrastructure and for bringing the water distribution system’s cash reserves up to safe levels, according to Deputy Utility Manager for Gas, Water, and Sewer Services Jack Richardson.
    In response to citizens’ concerns that the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) was neglecting the needs of the water system, the board directed DPU staff to develop a “Water System Needs and Cost Structure Report.”
    Over the course of three meetings between October and December, Richardson presented his findings to the board. (Go to losalamos.legistar.com to watch the meetings and read the report.) Richardson summed up the key issues for the Los Alamos Monitor.
    “I think this report shows that we have been paying attention, at least for the last 17 years, and definitely for the next 20 years. It just takes time,” Richardson said.

  • Hospital welcomes Nomi as first baby of year

    At 5:55 a.m. Monday, Nomi Chang became Los Alamos County’s first baby born in the new year.
    The daughter of father Jae Chang and mother Misa Cowee, the New Year’s baby was resting comfortably Tuesday morning. She was born at a healthy 5 pounds and 4 ounces.
    Her birth took approximately three hours.
    “The nurses were absolutely wonderful,” Cowee said.
    LAMC Registered Nurse Kristi Bradshaw said helping with the birthing process is one of the best parts of the job. She was present during the last stages of the baby’s birth.
    “It’s the best thing about working here,” Bradshaw said. “We have birthdays almost every day that we work.”    
    Also on Tuesday, the Hospital Auxiliary of the Los Alamos Medical Center presented the parents with a $100 check to help get Nomi Chang started in the right direction. The money would be deposited into the baby’s college fund, according to Hospital Auxiliary President Carole Watanabe.
    The Hospital Auxiliary operates the LAMC’s Lobby Shop, with all proceeds going to fund various activities around the hospital, including the Christmas Baby and the New Year’s Baby events. To members of the auxiliary, the fun of welcoming new babies into the world never gets old.

  • Storm with snow, strong winds to hit northern New Mexico

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Forecasters say a blustery winter storm will produce significant snowfall and strong winds across much of northern and eastern New Mexico this week.

    The National Weather Service says deep cold and windy conditions will begin late Wednesday night and that the most moisture from the storm is expected Friday morning.

    Forecasts call for 1 to 2 feet of snow in the northern mountains and over 6 inches of snow in valleys, highlands and northeastern plains.

    Winds are expected to gust up to 55 mph in the Sangre de Christo Mountains and in the northeastern and east-central highlands.

    The Interstate 25 corridor between Santa Fe and Las Vegas are among areas which forecasters say will experience the most major impacts from the storm.

  • Truck route now open

    The truck route is now open. It was closed earlier due to a motor vehicle accident. The accident occurred at the intersection of East Jemez Road and NM 4. Police advise caution.

  • Police Beat 1-1-17

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department Records. Charges or citations listed in Police Beat do not imply innocence or guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested, served a court summons, or issued a citation.
    Dec. 12
    3:10 p.m. — Police reported that a 35-year-old Los Alamos man was the victim of burglary from a vehicle at San Ildefonso Road.

    11:10 p.m. — Jesse Gibbons, 31, of Los Alamos was arrested for aggravated driving while intoxicated in the 1600 block of Trinity Drive.

    Dec. 13
    1:02 p.m. — Emily Orr, 20, of Los Alamos was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia at Arroyo Lane.

    1:04 p.m. — Sarah Orr, 23, of Los Alamos was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia at Arroyo Lane.

    1:07 p.m. — Mariah Barger-Harrison, 24, of Los Alamos was arrested for trafficking controlled substances at Arroyo Lane.

    10 p.m. — Police arrested a 16-year-old Los Alamos female for being a minor in possession of alcoholic liquor at San Ildefonso Road.

  • On the Docket 1-1-17

    Dec. 4
    Kristen Kern was found guilty by Cite Pay of speeding one to five miles an hour over the speed limit.  Defendant was fined $25 and must also pay $65 in court costs.

    Dec. 5
    Daniel Nieto was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal court of two counts of failing to appear. He also pled no contest to following too closely and speeding 11 to 15 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and must also pay $260 in court costs. Sentences were deferred until Jan. 5 in the following too closely and speeding charges.

    Minji Park was found guilty through Cite Pay of failing to pay and failing to yield or stop at a sign. Defendant was fined $50 and must also pay $130 in court costs.

    Elizabeth Mendius was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of careless driving. Defendant must pay $65 in court costs. Sentencing deferred until Jan. 3.

    Andrew Smith was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of not having a current, valid registration plate. Defendant was fined $50.

    Kirk Reeves pled no contest in Los Alamos Municipal Court for failing to display a current, valid registration plate. Defendant was fined $25 and must also pay $65 in court costs.