Local News

  • Border wall contractors brace for hostile environment

    SAN DIEGO (AP) — One potential bidder on President Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico wanted to know if authorities would rush to help if workers came under “hostile attack.” Another asked if employees can carry firearms in states with strict gun control laws and if the government would indemnify them for using deadly force.
    With bids due Tuesday on the first design contracts, interested companies are preparing for the worst if they get the potentially lucrative job.
    A U.S. official with knowledge of the plans who spoke on condition of anonymity because the details haven’t been made public said four to 10 bidders are expected to be chosen to build prototypes.
    They will be constructed on a roughly quarter-mile (400-meter) strip of federally owned land in San Diego within 120 feet (37 meters) of the border, though a final decision has not been made on the precise spot, the official said. The government anticipates spending $200,000 to $500,000 on each prototype.
    The process for bids and prototypes are preliminary steps for a project that will face deep resistance in Congress and beyond.

  • Deadline nears for Gov. Martinez to act on legislation

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez isn’t backing down from threats not to sign measures that would increase taxes in New Mexico as the deadline nears for her to take action on a host of bills passed during the recent legislative session.
    Her office on Tuesday reiterated that tax hikes are off the table.
    The political standoff between the two-term Republican governor and the Democrat-controlled Legislature leaves uncertainty about the $6.1 million budget approved during the session that ended March 18.
    The spending plan for public education and other government programs is built upon a package of proposals aimed at plugging a shortfall with roughly $350 million in new taxes and fees on gasoline sales, retail sales over the internet, trucking permits and nonprofit hospital operations.
    Martinez has said the tax increases amount to burdens on working families. But Senate Democrats argue that the budget and new taxes are a reasonable option for pulling the state out of a fiscal crisis stemming a stagnant economy and a downturn in the oil and gas industry that has reduced state revenue.

  • LANL releases cultural artifacts plan

    The Los Alamos National Laboratory has released its Cultural Resources Management Plan, a plan designed to streamline the process of identifying and protecting cultural and historical sites on its property.
    The plan is the end result of an agreement with the New Mexico State Historic Preservation Office and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Concerning Management of the Historic Properties of Los Alamos National Laboratory on how to manage, preserve and protect the sites.
    Without the agreement or the plan, the numerous sites would bog down LANL’s work efforts.  
    “Absent (the agreement), routine operational tasks such as mowing and facilities maintenance would be subject to six- to eight-week project approval timelines through the (NNSA) Field Office and from the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO),” LANL’s Cultural Resources Management Plan said.
    Spread out over the 40 square miles of the Pajarito Plateau, Los Alamos National Laboratory has about 1,886 known sites of cultural and historic value.
    The sites range from places where arrowheads and stone tools were found – dating between 9500 BC to 5500 BC – to buildings and sites from the Manhattan Project and the Cold War.

  • LANL employee pleads no contest in theft of tools

    A Los Alamos National Laboratory employee from Española pleaded no contest to larceny and tampering with evidence Monday in First Judicial Court in Santa Fe.
    Richard Atencio, 52, was arrested April 4, 2016, for the theft of lab tools in September 2015. One of the tools was found to be radioactive.
    All employees who may have had contact with the tools were tested and decontaminated without incident.
    Police caught Atencio north of Tech Area 18 attempting to dump the items on the side of the road.  
    Items recovered at the scene included a band saw valued at $5,493, and two dollies valued at $7,180.
    Police were able to match the exact price of the items through records kept by LANL. Other stolen items included a box of pipe fittings, two pairs of work gloves, a bottle of liquid cleaning agent, a yellow roll of tape, a silver metal transport hitch, two rolls of white tape, blue and silver tow rope, and a green water hose.
    One of the tools was found to be radioactive, which prompted all employees who may have had contact with the tools to be called to TA 54 to be tested.
    According to the district attorney, all items were recovered and returned to LANL. Atencio was then charged with larceny and attempting to tamper with evidence.

  • NMSU postpone tuition hike decision

    LAS CRUCES (AP) — New Mexico university regents have voted unanimously to postpone their decision on raising tuition costs.
    New Mexico State University regents had planned to vote Monday on whether the tuition prices would be raised for students who enroll for next fall. The regents say they are postponing the discussion because of the uncertainties in the state's budget even though fall enrollment will begin the next days. New Mexico lawmakers and Gov. Susana Martinez are expected to make a decision on the state budget by Friday.
    School officials had proposed a tuition and fee rate hike of up to 6 percent.
    The faculty, staff and students who attended the Monday meeting had asked the regents for a modest or moderate tuition increase. Even with the additional money from the increase, school officials say they will still need to cut about 100 jobs.

  • Citizens fill Council Chambers Tuesday to speak about immigrant, refugee resolution

    Los Alamos residents have filled Council Chambers tonight as they turned up to speak for and against Pete Sheehey's immigration resolution.

    Los Alamos County Council is expected to consider a resolution Tuesday, taking an official stand against unjust treatment of immigrants and refugees.

    The move is a reaction to President Donald Trump’s attempt to ban refugees from six countries, but at least one councilor fears the timing risks millions in federal funding for the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    The resolution calls for all branches of the county government, including local law enforcement, to respect a person’s universal rights to due process and equal protection under the law and that county services “observe the fundamental American value that all people including immigrants and refugees should be treated with respect, justice and compassion.”

    The resolution, sponsored and written by Councilor Pete Sheehey, was in part a reaction to an executive order issued by President Donald Trump’s ban on refugees from six Muslim-majority countries as a strategy against terrorism.

  • LAHS softball games cancelled today

    Los Alamos High School has announced that all softball games have been cancelled today. No makeup date has been set, according to Athletic/Activities Director Ann Stewart.

  • Weather advisory: Snow, but no changes to schedules, events

    Snowfall in Los Alamos County is expected to continue into the early afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. Road conditions are fair, but police advise using caution when driving due to visibility and snow conditions. Temperature is currently 30 degrees with light snow.

    Road conditions for afternoon commute are unknown at this time. Los Alamos National Laboratory has not issued any advisories as of 9:30 a.m. Los Alamos Schools are not anticipating any changes to the afternoon bus route schedule or extracurricular activities. All classes at UNM-LA are in session and the school is not anticipating any changes to its activity schedule either.

    Keep logging in to lamonitor.com for updates.

  • Police release photo of dogs possibly related to dog attack

    More information has been released about a dog attack that left one dog dead Wednesday on Acoma Lane.

    The Los Alamos Police Department released a photo Monday of two dogs barking at another dog at taken by a witness.

    The dogs in question are the two dogs outside of a fence.

    “The picture was taken by a witness as these dogs roamed near the area where the smaller dog was killed and are believed to be the culprits,” said Commander Preston Ballew.

    If anyone has any information that can help identify the owner or location of these dogs, call LAPD at 662-8222.

    The attack happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday afternoon.

    The person who witnessed the attack was unable to identify the breeds of the dogs, Ballew said.

    “…A witness observed (two) large dogs, one brown and the other black, come into the yard where a smaller dog was,” according to Ballew. “The (two) large dogs killed the smaller dog and left the area.”

    Police and animal control officers searched the area to locate the dogs but were unsuccessful.

    If anyone knows the location or owners of these dogs, they are asked to contact the LAPD at 662-8222.

    Officers are asking the public to use caution. Police do not know if the dogs could be aggressive to humans, Ballew said.

  • Drought planning: Water shortages expected in N.M.

    Associated Press