Local News

  • County Fair starts today

    The annual Los Alamos County Fair & Rodeo kicks off this evening, but Mesa Public Library was bustling on Thursday as residents dropped of their handmade arts and crafts for display and judging.
    Volunteers helped register entries in youth and adults categories for clothing, knitting, crochet, needlework, quilts, baked goods, preserved foods, hobbies and crafts, fine arts, photography, horticulture and 4-H projects.
    “It’s not a competition to me,” said Amy Anderson, who brought a machine-appliqued child’s wall hanging. “It’s having someone who’s an expert look at it to let you know the quality of the piece. How did I do in my category?”
    This is Anderson’s third year entering. The brightly colored quilt looked as though it could have stepped out of a child’s picture book.
    “I love making children’s quilts, because the fabric is so cute. It’s just fun fabric,” Anderson said.
    “So that’s all I make. I make child’s quilts or wall hangings for donations, and I give them to Project Linus or Hope Pregnancy (Center). I gave one that I did like this to the UNM Children’s Hospital, and they have it hanging in one of their departments.”

  • Chile roasting season begins around New Mexico

    LAS CRUCES — It’s that time of year again when the smell of fresh roasted green chile permeates the air in New Mexico.
    The roasting has begun in Las Cruces and is expected to continue through mid-October as the green peppers are harvested. Those left hanging will become red chile.
    There has been a noted uptick in recent weeks of activities outside grocery stores as large chile roasters have appeared, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported Thursday. Stores in the Albuquerque area also are setting up for the annual tradition.
    Chile is one of New Mexico’s most famous crops, with annual production being valued around $40 million. This year, farmers in Dona Ana County started the harvest a bit early thanks to transplanted plants that had a head start over those grown from seed.
    Las Cruces resident Diana Muñiz waited Wednesday to have 8 pounds of chile put through the roaster.
    “The smell of it roasting just kind of makes you feel better inside,” she said. “It (chile roasting) is so much a part of who we are, so much of a part of our culture here in Las Cruces.”
    Brazito resident Charlene Tyler, shopping in a nearby store, said she intends to roast chile by herself. Her mother taught her how to roast and peel it years ago and she’s been doing it almost every year.

  • School board focuses on bond

    August and September will be crucial months in the future of Barranca Mesa Elementary School, and quite possibly the other schools on the district’s list to be renovated.
    Since 2009, the Los Alamos Public Schools has relied on voter approved bond sales to fund the renovation of the district’s seven schools. The construction was also helped by additional matching funds from the Public School Capital Outlay Council.
    In July, the Los Alamos School Board learned that the Council, due to budget restraints and a reprioritization of needs, will not be granting about $7 million in funds to the district to help fund the rebuilding of Barranca Mesa Elementary School.
    The board planned to use those funds in combination with a future, voter-approved bond sale of general obligation bonds valued at about $11 million.
    At Tuesday’s meeting, the Los Alamos School Board had a lengthy discussion about what to do next. The board either needs to pick another school that requires less money to renovate, or find a way to renovate Barranca Mesa without additional funds from the state.

  • Council approves language for sheriff ballot question

    The Los Alamos County Council voted 5–2 on Tuesday to approve language for a ballot question that asks voters whether to “consolidate all remaining powers and duties of the office of the sheriff to the police department and to abolish the office of the sheriff as an elective office effective Jan. 1, 2019?”
    County Manager Harry Burgess drew councilor’s attention to a statement in the staff report that read, “Should council fail to adopt the resolution, it would be acting in violation of its ordinance to allow voters to decide the question in the November general election.”
    “You did adopt an ordinance to pursue this, and this is just a subsequent act to determine the actual question that would be on the ballot,” Burgess said.
    Sheriff Marco Lucero attended the meeting with several others who have spoken against the ordinance in the past, but none of them spoke during public comment.
    Councilors Pete Sheehey and James Chrobocinski voted against the ordinance.

  • US government won't reclassify marijuana, allows research

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration has decided marijuana will remain on the list of most-dangerous drugs, fully rebuffing growing support across the country for broad legalization, but said it will allow more research into its medical uses.

    The decision to expand research into marijuana's medical potential could pave the way for the drug to be moved to a lesser category. Heroin, peyote and marijuana, among others, are considered Schedule I drugs because they have no medical application; cocaine and opiates, for example, have medical uses and, while still illegal for recreational use, are designated Schedule II drugs.

    The Drug Enforcement Administration said the agency's decision came after a lengthy review and consultation with the Health and Human Services Department, which said marijuana "has a high potential for abuse" and "no accepted medical use." The decision means that pot will remain illegal for any purpose under federal law, despite laws in 25 states and District of Columbia that have legalized pot for either medicinal or recreational use.

    Advocates have long pushed for the federal government to follow suit.

  • Today in history Aug. 11
  • 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.”