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Local News

  • 2016 crime on downward trend

    The Los Alamos Police Department released its first quarter crime report for 2016 Friday, which showed the crime rate in Los Alamos County remained steady.
    Crime categories in the report are determined by the FBI Uniform Crime Report Program, according to Los Alamos Police Chief Dino Sgambellone. The two categories are “crimes against persons” (violent crime) and “crimes against property.”
    The report which was compiled and organized by the LAPD’s record department, violent crime –  which included rape, robbery and aggravated assault and murder – were up from four offenses in 2015 to six in 2016.
    “It is an increase, but when you’re dealing with such small numbers, just one or two cases can show a dramatic increase but overall the numbers remain relatively low,” said LAPD Chief Dino Sgambellone.
    However property crime fell from 42 crimes committed in the first quarter of 2015 to 32 in the first quarter of 2016.
    Overall, the combination of both categories of crime in the first quarter of 2016 saw a 17 percent decrease from statistics recorded in the first quarter of 2015.

  • Budget meetings to start

    The Los Alamos County Council fiscal year 2017 budget hearings get underway Monday from 6–10 p.m. in council chambers. Hearings continue April 19, 25 and 26.
    Council directed staff to prepare a flat General Fund expenditure budget for fiscal year 2017 and provide options for 3-percent growth. To meet that goal, proposed expenditure total $186 million, below fiscal year 2016 adopted budget expenditures of $193.2 million.
    The good news is that for the first time in the past five fiscal years, spending at Los Alamos National Laboratory is expected to increase, which will positively impact county revenues.
    General Fund revenues are projected to be $3 million higher, or 5 percent, than in the fiscal year 2016 adopted budget, for a total of $61.3 million. Increases in GRT make up the majority of the budgeted increase revenue, offset by a projected decrease in user charges and investment income.
    Expenditures for the proposed budget total $48.4 million, a $933,000 (2 percent) increase over the fiscal year 2016 adopted budget.
    Several of budget increases are balanced by offsets, although some of those offsets may be included in the options list.
    The Administrative Services budget is 1 percent higher than last year’s budget at $67,294, offset by lower transfers to the CIP fund for Information Technology projects.

  • Duane Smith Auditorium gets audio loop system

    Rotary Club of Los Alamos has managed to open up a whole new world for theatergoers that use hearing aids equipped with telecoils inside them.
    For the past two years the club, with the help of a company called GWC Looping, has been busy installing a gridded “audio loop” system beneath 14 rows of seating in the center front section of the Duane W. Smith Auditorium.
    The new system will be available starting this with Sunday’s performance of Concert Clarinetist Jon Manasse and Pianist Jon Nakamatsu, who will be playing various pieces from Brahms, Messager, Chopin, Debussy, P. D’Rivera, G. Goodwin and J. Novacek to Rotary Club at 4 p.m. Sunday.
    All theatergoes equipped with telecoil-optional hearing aids have to do is head for the center front section of seating in the theater, or rows that have the “blue ear” sign attached, the international symbol for deafness and hearing loss.
    Linda Hull, past president and current board member with the Rotary Club of Los Alamos said the club was inspired to get the system installed after a high school student, who happened to be hearing impaired, gave a talk to the club two years ago.
    The student was Chloe Keilers, a high school senior. She was also on hand to receive a Student of the Month Award from the Rotary Club of Los Alamos.

  • Police: 2 injured after canister explodes in car in Española

    ESPANOLA (AP) — Authorities say two people have been injured after a substance in the vehicle they were riding in exploded in Española.

    New Mexico State Police say the explosion occurred around 11 a.m. Friday.

    They say the Jeep was carrying canisters of an explosive substance and one canister ignited, causing the explosion.

    The Jeep caught fire after the explosion.

    Two people in the vehicle suffered burns and were transported to an Española hospital. Their names and conditions aren't immediately available.

    State police say the scene has since been contained and their investigation into the explosion is ongoing.

  • Today in history April 15
  • Golf course parking lot work to begin Monday

    Construction of the final phase of the golf course parking lot is scheduled to start on Monday. The contractor, GM Emulsion, will install a perimeter fence around the eastern portion of the main parking lot for safety.
    Patrons of the golf course will be allowed to use the western portion of the parking lot and overflow parking areas.  
    As large trucks will be hauling base and asphalt materials into the work area, drivers and patrons are asked to use caution. Works hours will be 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday thru Friday. The project is scheduled for completion by May 27, weather permitting.   
    For information, contact the Public Works Department at 662-8150 or send an email to lacpw@lacnm.us.

  • P and Z: Plan needs more public input

    The Los Alamos County Planning and Zoning Commission heard a report on the first round of public input on revisions to the county’s Comprehensive Plan on Wednesday. Architectural Resources Consultants (ARC) Principal Planner Stephen Burstein and Tim Karpoff, independent planner and facilitator from Karpoff & Associates, updated the commission on the input received in public meetings and an online survey to which 100 people responded.
    One of the commissioners’ major concerns was how few people participated. Only 65 people attended the first three meetings.
    “They are obviously the ones who had the most interest or a specific agenda,” Commissioner Philip Kunsberg said. “But to proceed on the principal that the recommendations of those 65 people should guide this whole process, I question whether that’s the way to go.”
    Commissioner Ashley Mamula offered another perspective.
    “Sixty-four people are not a lot of people in a county where there are a lot of opinions, but those are the people who cared enough to come forward and give their input, and I think their input is important,” Mamula said, noting that several people attended more than one meeting.

  • Cliff-diving driver nabbed for DWI

    A Los Alamos resident accused of purposely driving off a cliff with his girlfriend in the car in 2014, was arrested for DWI Saturday.
    Zachary Sanchez, 31, was stopped by Los Alamos police at the intersection of Canyon Road and Rim Road for allegedly driving while under the influence of alcohol. Police reports indicate that he allegedly had a blood alcohol concentration of .16 or more.
    Sanchez was out on a conditions-of-release order for alleged “great bodily harm by vehicle (driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug and driving with a revoked license, DWI related).
    The charges stem from an August 2014 incident where he allegedly drove himself and his girlfriend over a 200-foot cliff near Anderson Overlook on NM 502. According to court documents, he is supposed to stand trial for that incident sometime in May or June of this year.
    According to court documents, the girlfriend was severely injured in the incident. During his arraignment, state prosecutor Natalie Perry accused Sanchez of purposely causing the crash.
    “The scary part of this is that the evidence shows it was intentional,” Perry said. “There’s a witness that saw him on the side of the cliff that saw him slowly drive off of it, there were no brake lights.”

  • Candidates file campaign finance reports

    Candidates for local and statewide office filed their first campaign finance reports April 11. Candidates are required to file reports detailing their contributions, expenditures, loans and in kind contributions four times during the primary season and four times for the general election.
    Reports from the two candidates for the New Mexico House of Representatives District 43 revealed some contrasts.
    Incumbent Stephanie Garcia Richard (D) has raised $18,668 to date. Garcia Richard received $1,000 from the Committee to Elect Brian Egolf and had an opening balance of $2,151.53. The rest came from 98 individual donors, the majority giving between $50–$250. One donor gave $500 and two others contributed $1,000 each.
    Garcia Richard had $7,064 in expenditures. Her largest expenditures were three totaling $3,861 to Voter Research, Inc. and $2,000 to the New Mexico House Democratic Campaign Committee. Her campaign also donated $500 to the Family YMCA. Most of her other expenditures were to ActBlue for processing fees.
    Garcia Richard’s Republican challenger, Sharon Stover, raised  $9,575 and spent $70.65 for a post office box and checks.

  • Authorities: Stray tortoise found in downtown Santa Fe area

    UPDATED: Wayward tortoise is back home.

    Staff and Associated Press report

    "Tank" the wayward tortoise who had temporarily roamed free on the streets of Santa Fe is now back safely in his own yard, the Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society reported this afternoon.

    "The tortoise owner says she doesn't know how her 12-year-old pet, dubbed Tank, escaped her yard but is happy to have him back," said shelter spokesman Ben Swan.

    The 12-year-old pet escaped his yard earlier this week and was reported loose by a concerned Santa Fe resident who told officers she thought the tortoise “was huge and possibly has teeth.”

    Animal control officers say they picked up a stray tortoise around 6 p.m. Wednesday in the downtown area.

    The shelter's director of adoptions, Dylan Moore, has a background in working with exotic creatures.

    He says the tortoise is likely an African spurred tortoise, a popular breed that does well in Northern New Mexico.