Local News

  • Report: Radiation release at WIPP low

    CARLSBAD (AP) — A final report by independent researchers shows the radiological release from the federal government’s underground nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico was low and localized.
    The report released Thursday by the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center also says no negative health effects are expected among workers or the public.
    The research center is associated with New Mexico State University.
    Its technicians have been collecting samples since February, when a container of waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory ruptured after being placed in a storage room at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.
    Sampling stations at and near WIPP confirmed the presence of trace amounts of americium and plutonium.
    The release forced the indefinite closure of WIPP. Federal officials have said it could take years and a half-billion dollars to restart operations.

  • Record-Breaking Year

    Thanks to a record-breaking year of charity giving by employees at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, United Way of Northern New Mexico has made it to the halfway point in its fundraising campaign for its Community Action Fund, UWNNM’s fund that helps local nonprofits.
    To mark the occasion, Kurt Steinhaus (left), executive director of LANL’s Community Programs Office, UWNNM Executive Director Kristy Ortega (center) and LANL’s Principal Associate Director Alan Bishop meet at the UWNNM’s Community Action Fund Thermometer in front of the Los Alamos County Post Office to mark the occasion. Bishop was in charge of LANL’s charity drive this year.

  • BPU votes to stream meetings

    Pressure has been mounting for the Board of Public Utilities to take advantage of audio/visual technology at the municipal building to live stream their meetings and provide on-demand recordings.
    Several members of the citizenry have raised the issue at recent BPU and Los Alamos County Council meetings.
    The board voted unanimously on Wednesday to begin streaming and on-demand viewing in January. The motion also requires that recordings dating to July 2013 be posted on the county website.
    The board also voted to move their meetings from room 110 in the municipal building to council chambers in order to have adequate space for presenters and the public.
    During the recent debate over whether to initiate a fixed wire charge for home solar customers, ratepayers asked BPU to develop a plan for addressing industry changes and meeting the Department of Public Utilities’ strategic goal of being carbon-neutral by 2040. They called for citizen input in that planning.
    At Wednesday’s meeting, the board began discussion about forming an ad hoc citizens committee to investigate future renewable energy resources.
    DPU Manager Tim Glasco suggested three issues the committee should address. They are:

  • Today in history Dec. 19
  • School board candidate withdraws

    Naishing Key, who was for a school board District 4, filed a Declaration of Withdrawal of Candidacy this afternoon with the Los Alamos County Clerk’s office
    There are now two candidates in this district, Andrea Susan Cunningham and Michael E. Fassbender.
    The last day to withdraw from the race is Dec. 30.

  • Grand opening at Ponderosa Pines apartments

    All at the Ponderosa Pines apartment complex had good times yesterday as the team at Plateau Property Management celebrates its acquisition of its new apartment complex at 3000 Trinity Dr., as well as its other complex on Gold Street, which will be called “The Cottonwoods.” The celebration consisted of a live band, hors d’oevres, sign unveilings and tours of the newly-renovated apartments.
    From left, Jeanne Bridge, office manager; Hope Jamarillo, office assistant, Bruce Norman, owner, Mike Lippiatt, property manager; Michael McNiel, construction and maintenance and Julie Smith, property specialist.

  • State Briefs 12-18-14

    Mom driving van of kids
    pleads not guilty in chase

    ALBUQURQUE (AP) — A Tennessee woman has pleaded not guilty in a chaotic 2013 traffic stop and chase during which a New Mexico State Police officer shot at her minivan full of children.
    KOB-TV reports that 40-year-old Oriana Farrell of Memphis entered the plea Tuesday in Taos to fleeing and other charges filed last month by a grand jury. An appeals court had dismissed previous charges, saying a prosecutor shouldn’t have been involved in excusing a grand jury member.
    The officer shot at Farrell’s van carrying her five children after she twice sped off and was stopped by another officer for speeding. Dashboard video of the shooting gained national attention, and the officer was later fired.
    Defense attorney Alan Maestas has said the charges aren’t justified.

    New Mexico official:
    Flu season could be difficult

  • Update 12-18-14


    Bethlehem Lutheran Church at 2390 North Road will host a candelight service at 7 p.m. today. For more information visit bethluth.com.

    Skate With Santa

    Los Alamos County is sponsoring its Skate with Santa, which is scheduled for Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon at the county’s ice rink. Call 662-4500 for more information.


    Los Alamos Police Department will be conducting traffic enforcement, focusing on accident-related violations to include seatbelt enforcement for the holidays. Officers will also be on the lookout for impaired drivers this holiday season. To report potentially impaired drivers, dial #DWI, or #394 or call LAPD directly at 662-8222. Motorists are asked to allow extra time to get to and from destinations.

    Swearing In

    The public is invited to the official swearing-in ceremony for incoming officials. That ceremony will take place Friday in council chambers. It will begin at 3 p.m. Light refreshments will be served following the ceremony.

  • Clerk's office wraps up land commissioner recount

    Los Alamos County Clerk Sharon Stover announced today the final totals for the recount of the state land commissioner race.
    The results for the statewide recount for the race, which ended with a separation between Republican Aubrey Dunn and Democrat incumbent Ray Powell of just 704 votes last month, was expected to be presented to the state’s Canvass Board today.
    Powell, who lost the November election, but by less than .5 percent of the total of ballots cast in the state, actually pulled out a narrow victory in Los Alamos County. Powell finished with 3,782 votes to Dunn’s 3,743, a difference of just 39 votes.
    In the recount, which was ordered by Secretary of State Dianna Duran last week, Powell picked up an extra vote in Los Alamos County, while Dunn picked up an additional two votes.
    Stover said the slight differences were due to checking voter intent — some of the ovals on the ballot were not appropriately filled in, but intent was clearly discernable for members of the recount board.
    Winning the county, however, didn’t help Powell’s overall numbers in the state. The Secretary of State’s unofficial total, heading into the Canvass Board meeting, was 249,993 for Dunn and 249,337 for Powell.

  • Council approves Canyon Rim Trail Alternative 3

    In additional business Tuesday night, Los Alamos County Council approved the Canyon Rim Trail Alignment Alternative 3. The vote allows staff to move forward on an extension connecting the existing trail to a new section constructed by Smith’s Marketplace.
    The approved alternative will cross DP Canyon near Fire Station No. 6, avoiding residential neighborhoods, which the other two options would have impacted. It also has the lowest cost, with an estimated preliminary cost of $1,745,000.
    The county received a U.S. Department of Transportation grant for $75,000 to design the trail extension, and has been awarded an additional $212,000 for construction. Construction of the trail will commence in 2015.
    Council unanimously approved a change to the county code that will allow the hospital to build a heliport and permit pet training or breeding kennels in zones that allow veterinary services. Both changes are restricted to certain zones and require a special use permit.
    Rob and Kathy Hipwood were given a proclamation honoring their girls’ cross country National Coaches of the Year award and declaring Dec. 17 as “Rob & Kathy Hipwood Day.”
    Outgoing Chair Geoff Rodgers and Councilor Frances Berting were recognized for their years of service on council. Their terms end Dec. 31.