Local News

  • Council OK’s power project

    The Los Alamos County Council voted by a 4-3 margin to enter into a contract with Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems for the purpose of initiating the Carbon Free Power Project in a special session held Tuesday night.

    Voting in favor of Resolution No. 18-09 were James Chrobocinski, Rick Reiss, David Izraelevitz and Pete Sheehey. Casting votes in opposition were Christine Chandler, Antonio Maggiore and Susan O’Leary.

    The vote enters the county into the initial licensing phase of the project. The maximum cost exposure for the county, if it chooses to exit the project at the next decision point, which would be at the end of March of 2019, is $80,000.

    If the county decides to continue in the project the fiscal impact would increase with a total share currently estimated to be approximately $56 million through construction completion.

    That cost would be financed by the project and the county would be repaying it as part of the purchase price of the power generated by the project.

    Before the vote on the resolution took place, Councilor Christine Chandler proposed a substitute motion with the purpose of amending the contract with regard to the modules that would be produced, the first of which would go online in 2026.

  • GOP candidates make big showing in LA

    It was all handshakes, smiles and introductions Thursday night as 19 local and state Republican candidates or their representatives showed up at Jeanette Wallace Hall at the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos to tell the public what they’re all about.

    Senate candidate Mick Rich wasted no words, saying to the audience that Martin Heinrich no longer has New Mexico’s best interests in mind. As a contractor who has worked with many federal contractors through the years, Rich told the audience that he knows how to work with Washington.

    “I can be successful in Washington,” Rich said. “I looked around and I said, ‘Who’s not doing their job?’ and it’s Martin Heinrich. I’m not alone. This guy’s vulnerable and New Mexicans are figuring out this guy isn’t our friend.”

    Rich later said he has a campaign chairman in every county of the state and the fact that the first vice chair of the New Mexico Republican Party, Rick Lopez, had joined his campaign as state chairman means he’s serious about toppling Heinrich.

    In his tour across the state he said many people wanted know how he was going to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the state and how to bring the federal education department back to basics and put a stop to so much testing.

  • Schneider to retire after 17 years

    Pauline Schneider said it was just the right time. As someone who now has aging parents back home in Canada, it was time to move back.

    After 17 years, Schneider announced Friday that she is leaving her post as executive director of the Los Alamos Retired and Senior Organization. Her last day will be sometime in June.

    As she sat at her desk in her office at the Betty Ehart Center in Los Alamos, she said she was glad for the help she was able to give to two retirement centers her organization oversees and the people in them.

    The ironic thing is that when she first started working with seniors in Los Alamos, those Los Alamos seniors first came to her when she was working in Santa Fe. Schneider was working at a Santa Fe retirement organization, then named

    Rosemont, when the facility opened its doors to the seniors evacuating from Los Alamos during the 2000 Cerro Grande fire.

    When she made the move to the Los Alamos Retired and Senior Organization in 2001 she was already involved in helping those same seniors rebuild their lives by helping the volunteers at the two senior centers try to recover computer equipment and other things the seniors lost to the fire.  

    “Our volunteers were amazing,” Schneider said. “Just watching them interact with the seniors was amazing.”

  • Garden center transition comes at right time

    A torch was passed earlier this month from Dave Fox of Pajarito Greenhouse in White Rock to Laural Hardin and Mike Petree of Petree Garden Center in Los Alamos.

    And with the opening of the latter comes the closing of the former.

    “For 19 years we had a nursery called Pajarito Greenhouse in Pajarito Acres, which is way too far away from the bulk of the population of Los Alamos,” said Fox. “But it was very successful for 19 years. I’m going to turn 80 (on April 8), and so this is perfect timing as far as I’m concerned. And my MRI says that’s true, too.”

    When Fox moved to New Mexico from St. Louis, Mo., he brought with him a love of gardening and a conduit of advice from a friend back in the Show Me State.

    “When we came here from St. Louis I left behind a terrific azalea garden,” he said. “I had a friend who owned the largest nursery in St. Louis, so at the then-current AT&T land line rates he mentored me in opening a pretty much full-scale greenhouse. That got us started.”

    Fox and his family purchased a house in White Rock’s Pajarito Acres that already had a greenhouse on the premises.

  • Explosions rock Syrian capital as Trump announces strikes

    By SARAH EL DEEB, Associated Press

    BEIRUT (AP) — Loud explosions rocked Syria's capital and filled the sky with heavy smoke early Saturday after U.S. President Donald Trump announced airstrikes in retaliation for the country's alleged use of chemical weapons. Syrian television reported that air defenses responded to the attack.

    Associated Press reporters saw smoke rising from east Damascus and the sky turned orange. A huge fire could be seen from a distance to the east. Syrian television reported that a scientific research center had been hit.

    Syrian media reported that air defenses hit 13 rockets south of Damascus. After the attack ceased and the early morning skies went dark once more, vehicles with loudspeakers roamed the streets of Damascus blaring nationalist songs.

    "Good souls will not be humiliated," Syria's presidency tweeted after airstrikes began.

    Trump announced Friday night that the three allies had launched military strikes to punish President Bashar Assad for the alleged chemical weapons use and to prevent him from doing it again.

  • Second half property tax due by May 10

    Los Alamos County reminded property owners that the second installment for 2017 property tax bills becomes delinquent after May 10. 

    Payment must either be made in person at the Customer Care Center by 5 p.m. on May 10 or postmarked by midnight that same day to avoid late payment penalty and interest charges. 

    The Customer Care Center is located in the Municipal Building lobby at 1000 Central Ave. They are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

    Payments should be mailed to P.O. Box 99, Los Alamos, NM 87544. 

    Payments are also accepted through a property tax lockbox at Los Alamos National Bank.

  • Stage 1 fire restrictions hit SF National Forest

    Campers and hikers looking for adventures off trail this weekend will have to do so without the aid of a campfire, according to rangers in the Santa Fe National Forest.

    “Campfires are prohibited at all dispersed camping sites. Stoves, lanterns or heaters fueled by propane or other liquefied petroleum fuels may be used in areas cleared of flammable materials within three feet of the device, if they meet manufacturer’s safety specifications and have on/off switches,” Santa Fe National Forest Public Affairs Officer Bruce Hill Jr. said.

    Fire restrictions will remain in effect until Dec. 31 or until the U.S. Forest Service decides to lift them.

    Campfires will be allowed in developed campsites. Developed campsites are campsites with fire rings and grills already installed by the U.S. Forest Service. Campers are also allowed to use their own charcoal grills, coal and wood stoves.

    The Santa Fe National Forest and the Santa Fe National Guard just competed their annual joint fire suppression exercises last weekend.

    On April 6, the agencies were briefed at the National Guard training facility at the Santa Fe Regional Airport on how to coordinate fire suppression between U.S. Forest Service ground crews and National Guard aviation crews. 

  • Sheriff’s candidate sues LA county claiming records act violations

    Los Alamos County Sheriff candidate James Whitehead is suing Los Alamos County, the police department, the parks, recreation and open spaces, and Records Custodian Barb Ricci for not fully honoring the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act.

    Whitehead claims in his lawsuit that the county’s records division did not give him all the records he requested in June 2016.

    The Republican candidate is being represented by Attorney Blair Dunn of Albuquerque.

    Whitehead claims in his lawsuit that an investigator for the Municipal League, Leroy Lucero, received the same records Whitehead requested. Leroy received some dispatch recordings that Whitehead did not receive as part of his June 2016 request, according to the lawsuit.

    “Later, as plaintiff was going over the records provided, he noticed that in April of 2016, dispatch recording had been provided to Leroy Lucero by Los Alamos Police Chief Dino Sgambellone,” a statement in the lawsuit said. “These dispatch recordings had not been provided in the original IPRA response by Los Alamos County.”

  • P&Z green lights subdivision in WR

    A subdivision in White Rock consisting of 161 residential lots and an adjoining commercial lot got the approval of the Los Alamos County Planning and Zoning Commission during its meeting Wednesday night.

    The Mirador subdivision will be located in the northeast corner of the intersection of SR 4 and Sherwood Boulevard, and will continue west to approximately Pajarito Road.

    “We’re happy this was approved and that we can move on to the next phase of planning,” said Los Alamos County Planning Manager Tamara Baer.

    The approval of the Final Subdivision Plat creates 161 new residential lots and one commercial lot over three existing parcels. The parcel designated A-19-A-1 is zoned R-1-5 (single-family residential) and consists of 34.35-plus acres. The second parcel, A-19-A-2A, is zoned (downtown – neighborhood center overlay) and consists of 12.94-plus acres. A third parcel, A-19-A-2B, is also zoned DT-NCO and consists of 12.97-plus acres. Los Alamos County owns that parcel.

    The subdivision will be located on the first two, privately owned tracts of land.

    The majority of the conversation – which started in the public hearing portion of the meeting – surrounding the case dealt with safety issue of pedestrians crossing SR 4 to get to schools and businesses on the other side.

  • Minnow rescue under way as portions of Rio Grande dry up

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal water managers will be facing difficult decisions as the worsening drought is significantly affecting flows on one of the country's longest river systems and prompting rescue missions for a tiny endangered fish.

    The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released their operating plan for the Rio Grande on Thursday.

    With some of the lowest snowpack reports on record, officials said they will have little water this season as they decide when and how best to move what is stored in the reservoirs for downstream users and for the Rio Grande silvery minnow.

    The tiny fish, listed as endangered in 1994, was once abundant throughout the Rio Grande Basin from Colorado to Texas and into Mexico. It's now found only in a fraction of its historic habitat as the river system has seen dam building and the straightening of its once meandering channels over the last 150 years.

    The minnow population just five years ago marked one of the lowest levels since surveys began in the mid-1990s. At that point, the fish was showing few signs of reproduction in the wild and that year's fast-moving drought left biologists trying to salvage as many of the minnows from puddles in the drying river.