Local News

  • Recreation bond ballots arrive May 2

    Clarification: In an article titled “Recreation bond ballots arrive May 2,” that appeared in the April 12 edition of the Los Alamos Monitor, there was a calculation of the annual tax rate by month.  One example was “Residents that own property worth $200,000 can expect to see an increase of $12.24.” It, and subsequent calculations made in the article did not include the word month, as in “$12.24 a month.” To clarify, a yearly property tax bill on a property worth $200,000, the increase would be $146.88 a year, $12.24 a month.

  • UNM officials react to governor’s budget vetoes

    University of New Mexico officials reacted Friday after Gov. Susana Martinez struck higher education funding from the proposed budget.
    “At this juncture, UNM hopes the governor and the Legislature will provide a higher education budget as soon as possible so we can continue to serve New Mexicans,” Acting UNM President Chaouki T. Abdallah said.
    Line-item vetoes eliminated $745 million for higher education institutions across New Mexico, setting up a budget cliff on June 30 at universities, colleges and specialty schools for the blind and deaf.
    Los Alamos is home to UNM’s Los Alamos campus. Campus officials contacted for reaction said they will do the best they can in light of the uncertainty the situation has caused with planning budgets, whether that is for UNM-LA or the entire UNM system.
    “We had been working on our budget for months, and we work with uncertain information, but we work with the best available information that we have at the time,” UNM-LA CEO Cindy Rooney said. “At the time we built our budget, we were looking at a 1 percent cut to our budget, in addition to the cuts we sustained last year. Now, it looks like there will be a  more significant cut, but the cut will be uncertain... in light of recent events we aren’t sure when we will know.”

  • Shipping resumes to only US underground nuclear waste dump

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The nation's only underground nuclear repository has received its first shipment of waste, more than three years after shipping was halted in response to a radiation release that contaminated part of the facility.
    The U.S. Energy Department said Monday that the shipment from a federal facility in Idaho marked a milestone for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and the government sites where waste left over from decades of nuclear weapons research and development has been stacking up.
    The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant was forced to close in February 2014 after an inappropriately packed drum of waste ruptured, hampering the government's multibillion-dollar cleanup program.
    Some operations at the repository resumed in December after an expensive recovery effort, but federal officials have acknowledged the resulting backlog.
    The facility hopes to receive four shipments a week by the end of 2017.

  • Group sees food insecurity grow in LA

    The moment LA Cares, a food charity based in Los Alamos was officially created in 1994, the charity faced an uphill battle.
    Back then, when the group was known as Homeless Services of Los Alamos, those who needed assistance had to go to Española.
    Many Los Alamos County residents then questioned the need for such a service. After all, Los Alamos County was and still is, known as one of the counties with the highest number of millionaires in the world.
    Homeless Services of Los Alamos started out with 12 clients.
    “In the beginning, we were always asked three questions,” LA Cares Secretary Linda Burns said at a recent talk about what LA Cares does in the community. “Do we really have a need up here? Are there really homeless people here? The answer was, there were and there are. We have delivered food to people living in cars, people living in tents, people living in motorhomes that didn’t look roadworthy.”
    They even delivered to a person living in a shed out behind someone’s house, according to Burns.
    “We never did know whether the people living in the house knew he was living in the shed,” Burns said. “The third question was ‘do you have to be homeless to benefit from LA Cares?’ And the answer was no.”

  • Gas leak shuts shopping center down

    UPDATE: The shopping center, located at 535 Central Avenue, is now open and all businesses affected earlier today are open.

    A gas leak shut down the old Smith's shopping center at around 11 a.m. Saturday morning. The shopping center is located at 535 Central Avenue. Stores and restaurants affected by the leak are Bealls Department Store, Auto Zone and Pajarito Brew Pub and Grill. The Fire Department and the Department of Public Utilities are on the scene now determining where the leak is and what caused it. No word yet on when the affected stores and restaurants will be open. Restaurants on the other side of the shopping center, which include Daniel's Cafe, Pyramid Cafe, and Thailand Thai Cuisine are still open. Fire and police have not blocked the shopping center off, just the lower half where all emergency activity is taking place. The shopping center, which contains the old Smith's grocery store that is now vacant, is located across from Smith's Marketplace at 751 Trinity Drive.

  • The Latest: Local election bill doomed by pocket veto

    SANTA FE (AP) — The Latest on New Mexico bills singed or vetoed by Gov. Susana Martinez (all times local):

    2 p.m.

    There will be no reshaping of the political landscape for school boards, cities and other nonpartisan local governments in New Mexico through the consolidation of elections.

    Gov. Susana Martinez did not take action on the bill before Friday's signing deadline, resulting in an automatic veto.

    The measure would have allowed such local elections to be combined and put before voters in November every other year.

    Experts had suggested that doing so could boost turnout. Currently, such elections draw little attention, with some failing to garner a single ballot.

    Dona Ana County Clerk Scott Krahling says this marks the third time the legislation has failed. Krahling says democracies aren't successful if only a few people vote and consolidating elections would have been a step in the right direction.


    1:30 p.m.

    Some Senate leaders and behavioral health advocates are voicing frustration that Gov. Susana Martinez did not sign legislation that would have addressed the handling of fraud accusation leveled against providers.

  • The Latest: New Mexico governor vetoes tax increases

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has vetoed a $350 million package of tax and fee increases designed to shore up shaky state government finances.
    Martinez said Friday in a veto message that the Legislature ignored her repeated promises to veto tax increases. She says a proposal to raise taxes on gasoline and diesel sales would place an undue burden on families.
    She also objects to new taxes on the sale of vehicles and trucking permit fees approved by the Democrat-led Legislature.
    New Mexico's traditional streams of tax revenue have been eroded by relatively weak energy prices and a stagnant local economy, with reserves nearly depleted.
    Martinez says she will call a special session to resolve a $156 million budget shortfall, but has not specified when. She is urging lawmakers to support a tax-code overhaul designed to improve the state's business climate by eliminating hundreds of tax breaks, including long-standing exemptions for nonprofit organizations. The reforms would lower standard tax rates on sales and services.
    10:50 a.m.
    New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has vetoed major portions of a $6.1 billion spending bill for the coming fiscal year, including funding for higher education and the Legislature.

  • Road Closure Alert: West Road closed Saturday

    Los Alamos National Laboratory will close West Road Saturday for safety reasons, the county announced Friday.

    West Road, owned by LANL, will be closed to vehicle traffic to ensure public safety while workers can perform tree trimming activities in the area between 9 a.m.- 2 p.m.

    West Road is the road that leads into Los Alamos Canyon to the Ice Rink and frequently used by motorists to access Pajarito Mountain. Motorists will need to travel through the LANL security portal to access Pajarito Mountain during these hours Saturday.

  • The Latest: New Mexico governor vetoes university funding

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has vetoed major portions of a $6.1 billion spending bill for the coming fiscal year, including funding for higher education and the Legislature.
    The Republican governor on Friday said in a veto message that the state's Democrat-led Legislature has refused to bear its fair share of reductions in state spending.
    In vetoing funding for state colleges and universities, Martinez chastised the state Senate for refusing to hold hearings on her nominations for regents. She says funding issues for higher-education and political appointments can be addressed during an upcoming special legislative session.
    Martinez also has vetoed a capital spending bill that would have restored $46 million in money taken from public school district reserves this year to address a state general fund deficit.
    The governor favors using those funds instead to shore up state finances and avoid proposed tax increases.
    3:00 a.m.
    New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is drawing a line in the sand against tax increases and state government spending with hours left to sign or veto provisions of a budget plan from the Legislature.
    Martinez has until noon on Friday to consider a $6.1 billion spending bill that shores up funding for public schools and courts in the coming fiscal year.

  • Council tables immigrant resolution

    After some residents stormed out of Council Chambers, Los Alamos County Council decided Tuesday night to table a resolution that called for the just treatment of immigrants and refugees.

    Council voted unanimously to send the resolution, written by Councilor Pete Sheehey, to be discussed and possibly modified by a council subcommittee.

    Many residents who attended Tuesday’s public hearing were angry and said they feared Los Alamos National Laboratory might lose federal funding if council passed the resolution.

    “For a resolution that supposedly does not change current policy, the timing could not be worse,” resident Lisa Shin told the council. “Just days ago, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that sanctuary cities risked punitive measures in addition to cuts in federal funding. If the intent of this resolution is for Los Alamos not to be a sanctuary city, then it should include specific language to clarify this fact.”

    Others praised Sheehey and the council for bringing the resolution forward.