Local News

  • Companies move forward on nuclear waste storage in Carlsbad

    CARLSBAD (AP) — Efforts to build a temporary nuclear waste storage facility in New Mexico are moving forward after a Denver-based company relinquished its rights to the land.

    The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports that Holtec International and Eddy Lea Energy Alliance are partnering to create storage for spent nuclear fuel rods from power plants across the country.

    Intrepid Potash gave up its mineral rights lease to land near Carlsbad, saying it likely won't be in a position to mine for potassium-containing salts there for several years.

    Program Director Ed Mayer says the HI-STORE Consolidated Interim Storage project is expected to cost more than $1 billion and provide about 200 construction and operations jobs.

    Holtec will propose the project to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in March. The approval process takes two to three years.

  • Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson to hold Albuquerque rally

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson is set to hold a rally in the state that launched his political career.
    The former New Mexico governor is scheduled Thursday to hold a rally at the Albuquerque Convention Center.
    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump held a similar campaign event at the same location in May. That rally turned violent and caused thousands of dollars of damage.
    Johnson is running with former Massachusetts governor William Weld.
    Libertarians including Johnson are pushing for reduced spending and taxes, saying the federal government has gotten too big across the board.

  • Today history Aug. 10
  • Comp plan sessions continue tonight

    The Los Alamos Planning and Zoning commission held its first work session on the comprehensive plan update on Saturday. Discussions became heated at times as commissioners discussed the three core themes of the plan: “housing, neighborhoods and growth,” “open space, trails and mobility” and “development, redevelopment and downtown.”
    During public comment, Chris and George Chandler questioned whether the material that Community Development Department (CDD) Principal Planner Tamara Baer presented even related to the comp plan.
    “None of these criteria mention the comp plan as a basis for changes, at least very few,” Chris Chandler said. “For example, for special use permits, something very near and dear to my heart, there’s no mention of the criteria that the change has to comport with the comp plan.
    “So all of these people who’ve been coming to all these meetings thinking the comp plan was going to inform the development of the town may be disappointed to learn that the comp plan – if you look at this criteria – is being minimized and barely referenced.”

  • Standoff ends peacefully

    An incident involving an individual who had barricaded themselves inside a home on Rover Boulevard Monday ended peacefully, according to a Los Alamos Police Department spokesman.
    According to Commander Preston Ballew, the incident involved a person with a medical issue, and there would not be any charges filed. No hostages were involved in the incident, Ballew said.
    “The incident was contained and the general public was not in danger,” Ballew said Tuesday.
    Officers responded to a welfare check and located the individual, Ballew said. That person was referred to “appropriate professional services,” he said.
    When the incident started around 2 p.m., police immediately took precautions and ordered an evacuation of a section of Rover Boulevard between Kimberly Avenue and Kendall Avenue.
    The LAPD issued a shelter-in-place order for the White Rock community. Piñon and Chamisa elementary schools were placed on temporary lockdown.
    About six officers had surrounded the house on Rover Boulevard earlier in the afternoon, while firefighters and paramedics stood by to render assistance, if needed.

  • Activists stage annual protest

    Two dozen anti-nuclear demonstrators dressed in sackcloth and ashes gathered Saturday at Ashley Pond – at the site where the Manhattan Project laboratories once stood – to protest Los Alamos National Laboratory’s continuing nuclear weapons program.
    The protest, staged by PAX Christi New Mexico and led by Rev. John Dear, was in its 13th year. The demonstration was considerably smaller than last year’s, when 300 people commemorated the 70th anniversary of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, on Aug. 6 and 8, 1945. Dear took it in stride.
    “It’s just very hard to face Los Alamos on this day alone,” Dear told the group. “And we’re not alone. I count 28 of us, including the animals, who are peacemakers, as well.”
    Dear admitted that “it’s just so darn strange and ridiculous to be sitting in sackcloth and ashes,” but noted that it is the “oldest form of protest,” dating back 3,000 years and cited in the Bible.
    Dear would like to see a worldwide boycott of the United States to force it to end its nuclear weapons program.
    “I hold a vision for all religions to reclaim the nonviolence at the heart of every religion,” Dear said.

  • Teachers, students get back to business

    The atmosphere was calm and orderly at Los Alamos High School as high school seniors and their parents stopped in to register Tuesday morning, about a week before the official start of school Aug. 18.  
    Tuesday was also orientation day for 31 new teachers and staff.
    Though students seemed anxious to get back to school and their studies, it was also clear that they wanted to reconnect with their classmates.
    When asked about what they were looking forward to most, many said getting back with their friends.
    One dad, David Paulson, offered a different perspective.
    “I’m just looking forward to them being back in school so they’re not at home all day,” he said with a laugh.
    Like many students there though, senior Mark Torres was determined to squeeze the last few days of summer in before officially heading back. Torres said he was “not quite” ready.
    His mother, Carolyn Torres, a former New Mexico Teacher of the Year also said that she’s slowly getting back up to speed as well. “I’m getting there,” she said.   
    Though the lines were long, everything seemed under control as students went from one line to the other getting their photo IDs, their textbooks and their class schedules.

  • Española Walmart to close for 8 weeks

    Citing  “ongoing foundation and drainage issues,” the Española Walmart will close its retail operations in mid-September.
    The pharmacy will remain open during the repairs to the foundation and to fix problems with drainage. All store employees will remain working, according to a store spokeswoman.
    The closure is expected to last eight weeks, with some areas of the store remaining closed longer.
    “We anticipate some areas may remain closed to customers longer than that, but we won’t know which areas or how long until we get in and start doing that work,” said Walmart spokeswoman Delia Garcia.
    The Walmart in Española is known as a “Supercenter” Walmart, where not only does the store sell a variety of goods and services, but also groceries.
    The Los Alamos small business community had mixed reactions to the news. Chamber Director Nancy Partridge said the temporary closure could bring new customers up to Los Alamos, being first drawn to Los Alamos’ Smith’s Marketplace, one of the major grocery stores in the region.

  • New Mexico governor orders agency spending reductions

    SANTA FE (AP) —Gov. Susana Martinez directed most major state agencies on Tuesday to institute spending cuts in response to a sharp downturn in tax receipts and other state revenues tied to weak energy prices.

    In a memo to state agencies under her control, the Republican governor called for preparations to reduce general-fund spending by at least 5 percent during the budget year that began in July. Executive agencies also were directed to spend no more than 45 percent of their general-fund budgets during the first half of the current fiscal year.

    Martinez said she expects the directives to involve changes to hiring practices, overtime, travel and many other aspects of agency management. Some exceptions may be made to preserve public health and safety.

    Martinez recommended identical spending reductions at agencies outside her direct control that are overseen by the Legislature, judiciary or other elected officials. She attributed faltering state revenues to a downturn in the energy sector, describing "the largest crash in oil and gas prices in our lifetime."

  • Today in history Aug. 9