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Local News

  • Garcia Richard pre-files gun bill

    State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-43) will introduce  a bill next week that would require criminal background checks for firearms sellers who are not licensed to sell but are looking to sell or transfer guns to another individual.
    “What they’re trying to do is, if you wanted to go and buy a firearm from your next door neighbor, you would not be able to do that. They would make that illegal,” said White Rock firearms dealer Stanley Hayes. “It should be the same as you wanting to sell your car and you not having to take it to an auto dealer to sell it.”
    The bill would require a licensed firearms dealer to act as a middleman between the buyer and the seller.
    It would also require that the two people involved comply with all state and federal laws, as if a person was buying the gun directly from a firearms dealer.
    With the bill, Garcia Richard is seeking regulate all firearms sales by requiring both parties to submit to criminal background checks as part of the sale.
    Garcia Richard did not return several calls requesting comment Friday. The bill is co-sponsored by State Rep. Miguel Garcia (D-14, Bernalillo), who also did not immediately return a call for comment.
    Hayes thinks the bill would only discourage law-abiding citizens from selling guns to each other.

  • Gov. Martinez will attend inauguration

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez plans to attend the presidential inauguration as campaign-season clashes between the nation's only Latina governor and Donald Trump fade.
    Michael Lonergan, a spokesman for New Mexico's second-term GOP governor, said Friday in an email that Martinez would attend the Jan. 20 inaugural in Washington.
    Martinez was critical of Trump throughout the presidential campaign and never endorsed him, but offered congratulations after his victory. She publicly denounced Trump's remarks about Mexican immigrants, his criticism of a bereaved military family and his lewd talk about women from a leaked 2005 videotape.
    Trump in turn harshly criticized Martinez for her handling of the state's economy at an Albuquerque rally that turned violent.
    Sharp divisions over Trump's election have politicians, celebrities and others debating whether participating in the inauguration is a tribute to democratic traditions or an endorsement of his agenda.
    Lonergan did not respond to questions about who may accompany Martinez, related events the governor might attend and financing of the trip.

  • US energy boss lauds opening of nuke repository

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — It was the determination of workers over nearly three years and pure ingenuity that allowed the nation's only underground repository for low-level nuclear waste to recover from a radiation release, the head of the U.S. Energy Department said.
    Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told The Associated Press that resuming work at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southern New Mexico means the nation's multibillion-dollar cleanup of waste from decades of bomb-making and nuclear research is one step closer to getting back on track.
    "We are very, very excited about getting at least a resumption of operations," he said during an interview late Sunday. "I do want to caution we will not be at full speed yet for a few years."
    Moniz, Gov. Susana Martinez, members of the state's congressional delegation and others were gathering Monday to mark the reopening of the site.
    The repository was shuttered in February 2014 after a chemical reaction inside a drum of inappropriately packed waste caused the lid to burst, contaminating some of the disposal vaults, corridors and air shafts that make up the facility.
    The facility is carved out of an ancient salt formation about a half-mile below the desert surface, with the idea that eventually the shifting salt will entomb the waste.

  • Domino’s off to a running start

    When Domino’s Los Alamos opened its doors at 5 p.m. Dec. 30, people started pouring in, and it has not stopped since.
    The weekend just kept getting busier and management did not even see the early week drop off they anticipated. By last Thursday afternoon they had hit order number 1,020.
    “We’re still seeing an influx of lots and lots of new people,” said Regional Director of Operations Vincent Alton. “We’ve gotten a really warm welcome from the town. People have been delightful and, honestly, we were delighted but surprised by the amount of business that we have, because we didn’t really advertise. Just word of mouth has gotten us started.”
    “We just unlocked our doors and put up a banner we were open and we just went crazy from there. It was great,” said General Manager Celesta Lasater, who has been pleased to see a lot of repeat customers.
    For those who may not have been in a Domino’s since a previous franchise closed here, Alton notes “This is not your grandma’s Domino’s.”

  • Bandelier, UNM partner for dig

    Bandelier National Monument’s Frijoles Mesa will see some unusual activity this summer.
    In addition to campers at Juniper Campground and visitors attending ranger programs at the amphitheater, a group of students from the University of New Mexico will be excavating test sites in order to document archeological resources.
    The project – paid for with a $35,000 grant from the National Park Service – is in preparation for building a housing unit for seasonal employees on the mesa. With thousands of archeological sites within the park’s boundaries, surveying archeological resources is always a first step for any project.
    “It’s a major construction project, so basically what we need to determine here first at the park is if there’s any intact archeology located where they want to put the building,” said Jamie Civitello, Bandelier’s cultural resources program manager. “The only way we can go about doing that in a definitive way is to do an excavation where we actually look under the ground methodically and document what we find.
    “So the project is really going to be an excavation to really to determine the nature and extent of any archeology that might be there at the location.”

  • School district sets priorities for upcoming session

    Teacher evaluation systems, saving gas money and a more flexible health insurance system are the top priorities of the Los Alamos Public Schools for the upcoming legislative session.
    Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus has been in talks with Los Alamos state Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-43) and other legislators about getting several bills passed that will make things a lot easier and less expensive for Los Alamos Public Schools and districts across the state.
    Their biggest priority is getting a bill through that will give the LAPS and at least three other districts permission to pilot their own teacher evaluation programs, instead of relying on the state’s system.
    Many teachers feel the state’s system, called “NMTEACH,” places too much emphasis on student test scores and sometimes doesn’t use the right data to make fair and accurate evaluations.
    Los Alamos and other districts want to develop an evaluation system that is more customized to their needs.
    “That bill would provide an opportunity for Los Alamos Schools and three other school districts to pilot test a brand new teacher evaluation system that better meets the student learning goals and helps retain quality teachers,” Steinhaus said.
    Los Alamos School Board President Jim Hall is behind the bill 100 percent.

  • ROAD CONDITIONS

    Atomic City Transit

    All buses running, all routes open

    Local Roads

    Residents reporting an average of 1-2 inches of snow in most places. Use caution.

    NM 4 (Truck Route)

    Road is snowy and icy, but has been salted and cindered. Use caution and drive slow.. Conditions will be updated as condition change.

    NM 502

    Surface is snowy and icy, but is regularly being cindered and salted. Use caution. Conditions will be updated as conditions change.

  • STORM WATCH Closures and Delays

    This list is being actively updated. Check back periodically for details.

    Los Alamos National Laboratory

    The Laboratory is on a delayed opening Friday, January 6, 2017. Workers should report to work between 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

    UNMLA

    The UNM-Los Alamos campus is on a two-hour delay due to inclement weather. Campus will open at 10 a.m.

    Atomic City Transit

    All buses running, all routes open

    Los Alamos County Ice Rink

    Call 662-4500 for more information.

    Courts

    Santa Fe First Judicial Court is closed all day. For Los Alamos Magistrate and Muncipal Court call.

    Magistrate Court: 662 2727

    Municipal Court: 662-8025

    Los Alamos County Services

    Los Alamos County government has no delays at this time. Call 311 or 662-8333 for more information.

    Bandelier

    Closed

    Valles Caldera

    Closed

  • LANS collects nearly $60M in performance pay

    LOS ALAMOS (AP) — A company that manages Los Alamos National Laboratory has earned nearly $60 million in fees and performance pay for work done over the past fiscal year, a federal agency announced.
    Documents released Wednesday by the National Nuclear Security Administration gave high marks to Los Alamos National Security LLC.
    The annual performance evaluation came as LANL continues rebuilding its reputation after being blamed for a 2014 radiation release at the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository more than 300 miles away in southern New Mexico.
    A drum of waste inappropriately packed at Los Alamos ruptured after being sent to the disposal site.
    Along with highlighting mismanagement and oversight lapses, the incident forced shipments of Cold War-era waste from federal sites around the country to be placed on hold.
    Work resumed this week at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, but officials are unsure when shipments will start again.
    The incident previously led to less-than-stellar evaluations for Los Alamos National Security and cost the consortium a contract extension. Its current $2.2 billion contract is set to end in 2018.

  • Today in history Jan. 5