Local News

  • United Way focuses on community

    The United Way of Northern New Mexico (UWNNM), with offices in Los Alamos, has changed its focus over the years.
    “We’re no longer just a fundraising, grant-making organization,” Executive Director Kristy Ortega said.
    “Now we’re much more of a community impact program, where what we call the offseason in our office is spent working with experts in their field and people in our community to identify these needs, so that we make the best use not only of our grant funding, but of our time and our programming ideas and our convening of other organizations in the community to meet those needs that we’re finding.”
    Program and Marketing Coordinator Jeremy Varela cited Los Alamos High School’s Link Crew program as an example of that work.
    After two suicides at the school, United Way worked with a medical expert to help identify gaps is supporting students and determining how those could be addressed. Their expert recommended a peer-to-peer mentoring program called Link Crew, which partners incoming freshmen with two upper classmen to welcome them to the school and to help them succeed through their tenure at LAHS.  

  • Recreation could suffer without SWCF

    New Mexico sportsmen are decrying Congress’s failure to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which for 50 years has supported everything from community parks to federal protection of outstanding natural resources.
    “The Land and Water Conservation Fund for 50 years has been used to create outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans,” said New Mexico Wildlife Federation (NMWF) Communications Director Joel Gay.
    “It not only affects hunters and anglers, but also Little League baseball players, moms who want to take their kids out in a stroller in a really nice park. It’s shooting ranges, it’s boat ramps, it’s just an incredible diversity. It is really just the best of what America has done, is provide opportunity for all.”
    One of the early LWCF projects was the development of Camp May Community Park. Other local projects include the construction of six outdoor play areas, the North Mesa picnic area, ball field lighting, the comfort station at Overlook Park and improvements at Los Alamos Entrance Park. In total, Los Alamos has received $88,829 in LWCF funding since its inception.

  • Los Alamos lab running out of storage for nuclear waste

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Los Alamos National Laboratory has only a narrow time frame before it runs out of room to store its nuclear waste.

    The lab's radioactive transuranic waste is supposed to be sent to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, but that site was shut down last year after the underground storage area was contaminated, reported the Albuquerque Journal. Transuranic waste can include items like protective boots and gloves, machinery and sludge.

    A Los Alamos waste drum at WIPP popped open because it contained an incorrectly packed mix of combustible materials, creating an estimated half-billion dollars of clean up work. The state Environment Department fined the lab $36.6 million for the accident and DOE cut its fee to the lab's contract operator by 90 percent.

    The Los Alamos lab is expected to reach its maximum waste storage capacity sometime in the federal fiscal year that begins in fall 2016, according to a report from the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.

    The storage facility was initially slated to reopen in March 2016. This summer, however, the U.S. Department of Energy said safety concerns and equipment setbacks delayed the opening indefinitely.

  • More accusations leveled against high-ranking NM official

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A high-ranking New Mexico official charged with dozens of counts related to alleged campaign finance fraud is now facing allegations of identity theft.

    The state attorney general's office filed a criminal complaint Friday afternoon in state district court accusing Secretary of State Dianna Duran of listing a former state lawmaker as treasurer of her campaign without his knowledge.

    The complaint details an interview that investigators had with Don Kidd about his name being used on several reports filed by Duran as part of her 2010 campaign. Kidd said he had nothing to do with the campaign other than making a donation.

    The complaint also stated that a review by investigators uncovered more than 100 transactions totaling more than $10,000 within bank statements that were not listed as campaign expenditures.

  • Today in history Oct. 2
  • Nominations sought for new living treasures

    Do you know someone you think should be a Living Treasure of Los Alamos? Nominations will be accepted through Nov. 30.
    A nine-member board will chose three new Treasures who will be honored at a ceremony in April. Nominees must be current residents of Los Alamos County.
    Selection of the new Treasures will be based on letters of nomination from the public.Letters should include the following information:
    When did the nominee come to Los Alamos?
    In which areas did the nominee make volunteer contributions to life in Los Alamos?
    How many years has the nominee been involved in community activities?
    How did their contributions affect people in the community?
    In what ways is Los Alamos a better place as a result of the efforts of this person?
    Additional information about the nominee is welcome. In fact, supplemental letters supporting the nomination packet are extremely helpful to the selection process. Biographies of past Treasures since 1999 can be viewed at the website listed below. Nominations must be submitted by Nov. 30 to Living Treasures of Los Alamos, P.O. Box 1065, Los Alamos, NM  87544, or by emailing the information to rosalieheller88@gmail.com.
    The complete list of Treasures can be found at livingtreasureslosalamos.org.

  • Community Calendar 10-2-15

    Teen Center opening. The public is invited to attend the grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. The Teen Center is located inside the community building at 475 20th Street. Following brief remarks from the county Council, Teen Center and guests, the building will be open for tours and refreshments will be served.

    Fundraiser. The public is invited to come out to support the Hilltoppers J.V. and Varsity girls soccer teams as they take on the Highland Hornets and help raise money for Kick for the Cure. Game times are 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

    Night Sky Show. Explore the universe and enjoy its beauty from the planetarium. Afterward, see the night sky through telescopes, weather permitting. Suitable for ages 3 and up. $6 for adults, $4 for children. 7 p.m. More information at peecnature.org.
    The Los Alamos Light Opera presents “Young Frankenstein.” 7:30 p.m. at Duane Smith Auditorium, 1300 Diamond Dr. Tickets are available at CB Fox, or at Brown Paper Tickets $12 seniors & students/$15 adults. For more information, visit losalamoslightopera.org.

  • Police Beat 10-2-15

    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.

    Sept. 23
    8:56 a.m. –– A 57--year-old Santa Fe man was involved in an accident with no injuries at the intersection of Lubbock Road and Pajarito Road.

    10:13 a.m. — Elsie Fernandez,  36, of Ojo Caliente was arrested through a magistrate court warrant at the Los Alamos Police Station.

    3:40 p.m. — Mario Sanchez,  27, of Espanola was arrested through a magistrate court bench warrant at the Los Alamos police station. The original charge was shoplifting (More than $150, less than $250) at Trinity Drive in February.

    8:05 p.m. — A 71-year-old Los Alamos woman was involved in car accident (no injuries) at the intersection of Piedra Loop and State Highway 4.

    Sept. 24
    9:56 a.m. — Logan Millison,  24, of Arroyo Hondo was arrested on a misdemeanor warrant from another jurisdiction at the Los Alamos police department.

  • Glauber recalls Manhattan Project

    Nobel Laureate and Manhattan Project Theorist Roy Glauber regaled a rapt audience at Fuller Lodge on Tuesday with stories of the two years he worked on the Manhattan Project.
    “It is a great pleasure to be here in what to me was the most familiar of surrounding,” Glauber said. “I was in this room countless times, through 1944 and 1945. It was the only really respectable dining room on The Hill at that time.”
    Glauber described how after lunch, “an incredibly distinguished audience”−which sometimes included General Leslie Gloves−would gather around a radio to listen to the news. He also recalled concerts in that room, including recitals by trained basso profundo and Nobel Laureate Frederick Reines.
    Due to an accelerated educational path, Glauber was only 18 when he joined the project, one of the youngest in an already youthful crowd.
    “There was next to no one over 40. Gray hair was virtually absent. I wouldn’t say you never saw it, but it was a rarity,” Glauber said. “This was a collection of young people embarking on a project that seemed not to be feasible. The question was, could it somehow be made feasible? That was the question that was in the air.”

  • Attorney: Negligence by utilities led to New Mexico wildfire

    BERNALILLO  — Pointing to a photograph of towering ponderosa pine and fir trees being overcome by smoke and flames, an attorney for more than 300 plaintiffs told jurors Thursday during opening statements that the negligence of two electric utilities was to blame for one of the largest fires in New Mexico’s recorded history.
    It will be up to the jury to determine whether the utilities should be held liable for the Las Conchas fire.
    The blaze was sparked June 26, 2011, when strong winds toppled a rotting aspen tree and it fell onto a power line running through the Jemez Mountains. The resulting fire scorched more than 240 square miles of tinder-dry forest, destroyed dozens of homes and threatened one of the nation’s premier government laboratories.
    Plaintiffs’ attorney Tom Tosdal said the fire could have been prevented had Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative Inc. and Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association Inc. done inspections and managed potentially hazardous vegetation along the power line’s right of way.
    “Both Tri-State and JMEC had the power and the opportunity to protect the public and prevent this fire by adopting well-known procedures in the electric industry,” Tosdal said.