Local News

  • New Mexico AG targets major health care provider over taxes

    ALBUQUERQUE — New Mexico’s top prosecutor is suing one of the state’s largest health insurance providers over allegations that it falsified Medicaid deductions and credits and as a result evaded tens of millions of dollars in premium taxes and surcharges.

    State Attorney General Hector Balderas on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Presbyterian Health Plan Inc., Presbyterian Network Inc. and Presbyterian Insurance Co. Inc.

    The case stems from a previous complaint filed by whistleblowers and is part of an ongoing civil and criminal review of Presbyterian and other health care companies that is being conducted by the attorney general’s office. The state auditor’s office is also conducting its own review.

    “When insurance providers break the rules, they must face consequences,” Balderas said in a statement issued after the lawsuit was filed.

    Presbyterian officials disputed the claims made in the lawsuit, saying they have acted in good faith and with the intent to comply with the company’s legal obligations and responsibilities.

    They called the allegations surprising, noting that the premium taxes paid by the health plan have been audited multiple times by independent firms and state agencies.

  • ScienceFest 2017 Schedule of Events

    Burro Packers at the Los Alamos Nature Center. The Aparejo Packing System will demonstrate the old Spanish-style packing system on a live burro. Meet the burros up close and participate in hands-on activities.
    6:30-8 p.m. Admission$5/Family, PEEC Members are free.
    Movie in the Park featuring “Back to the Future 3” at the Los Alamos Ashley Pond Park. Rated PG. Run Time 119 minutes. 8:30 p.m. Free.

    Unveiling of Big House Art at Central Park Square. Join the group for the TOP SECRET unveiling of a new art installation to commemorate the Big House.
    Ranch School Nights Celebration at Fuller Lodge. The most anticipated party of the year. Join the party for an old fashioned Ranch School evening at Fuller Lodge and Lawn to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Los Alamos Ranch School. Dinner, drinks, music, campfire stories and songs, rootbeer floats and s’mores. Live auction of props from WGN’s Manh(A)ttan TV show. 6-9 p.m. Tickets in advance only: $50

  • 10th year of ScienceFest kicks off today

    The Los Alamos ScienceFest, perhaps one of the most anticipated local events of the year, begins its 10th year today and runs through Sunday.
    This year’s ScienceFest will highlight the 100th anniversary of the Los Alamos Ranch School, an important piece of the Los Alamos puzzle. Many activities give the community a chance to step back into history and experience Los Alamos from a different perspective.
    “It’s the 100th anniversary so we’re really trying to feature the history, tours of the lodge, the Boy Scouts and lots of different things,” said Ryn Herrmann, the communications director for the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation.
    With over 30 different activities to choose from over the course of the five-day event, the Los Alamos ScienceFest is sure to entertain parents and children alike.
    This year’s ScienceFest will be a great way for curious individuals to experience the special history of Los Alamos.
    “It’s a huge part of not just New Mexico history, but also United States and world history,” Hermann said.
    Attendees will get to choose from free movies, interactive activities, informative trolley tours and much more for the whole family to enjoy. Most events are free and open to the public.

  • Workers fired, disciplined after LANL shipment violation

    The Los Alamos National Laboratory has fired employees, and suspended and imposed “compensation consequences” for others after lab employees shipped nuclear material by air, against regulations.

    “Our response to this incident is not business as usual,” said a lab spokesman. “Toward that end, all of those involved from the individual contributor level up the management chain have been held accountable through actions that include terminations, suspensions, and compensation consequences. Furthermore, we are transferring the responsibility for fissile nuclear material shipments to a different organization within the laboratory.”

    The shipped material was either plutonium or uranium, according to the scientific classification of fissile nuclear material.
    The disciplinary actions were carried out sometime last week, the spokesman said. The spokesman declined to give details and numbers about how many were fired, suspended and reprimanded.

    “I cannot get into the details about personnel action. Personnel actions are an internal matter, the details of which we don’t share,” the spokesman said.

  • On the Docket 7-9-17

    May 16
    James David McHardy was found guilty of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and must pay $65 in court costs.

    May 17
    Terra Shepherd was found guilty of failure to display a current and valid registration plate. Defendant was fined $25 and must also pay $65 in court costs. Defendant was also found guilty of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit and was sentenced to community service in lieu of fines.

    Samuel Nasise was found guilty of failing to yield/stop at a traffic sign. Defendant was fined $50 and must pay $65 in court costs.

    Donald Bryson pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor and/or drugs. Defendant was fined $500 and must pay $490 in court costs. He was also sentenced to DWI school, community service and substance abuse assessment.

    Paul Vincent was found guilty of driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor and/or drugs. Defendant was fined $500 and must pay $290 in court costs. He was also sentenced to DWI school, community service and substance abuse assessment.

  • Police Beat 7-9-17

    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.

    June 21
    2:15 p.m. — Desiree Nitz, 27, of Los Alamos was arrested on a district court warrant.

    3:55 p.m. — David Rael, 39, of Los Alamos was arrested on a district court warrant.

    June 22
    2:56 p.m. — Patrick Barela, 21, of Espanola was arrested on a magistrate court warrant.

    June 23
    10:26 a.m. — Joe Arsenio Martinez, 51, of Rio Chama was arrested on a district court warrant.

    June 24
    5:40 p.m. — LAPD investigated a report of embezzlement. Case is still active.

    7:14 p.m. — LAPD investigated a report of embezzlement.

    June 25
    11:43 a.m. — Los Alamos Police reported a package was taken from a homeowner’s mailbox.

    June 27
    8:11 a.m. — LAPD investigated a report of money taken from a victim.

    June 28

  • 139 teachers nominated for Golden Apple Award

    139 teachers from middle schools in 27 communities across the state have been nominated for the 2018 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching. These dedicated teachers have been recognized by their students, parents, peers, administrators and communities for their exceptional ability to inspire students to learn, think and create.

    In July, nominated teachers will have the opportunity to submit their applications for the Golden Apple Award. After a rigorous application process, these finalists will receive site visits from the Golden Apple Selection Committee in the fall.

    “Getting nominated for the Golden Apple Award is just the first step in a rigorous process,” says Golden Apple Foundation of New Mexico Executive Director Brian O’Connell. “Only seven teachers will eventually receive the award, so it is very competitive. Being nominated is an important way for communities to recognize their most exceptional teachers. We are so honored to recognize and celebrate these nominees all across the state.”

    Nominees include Dana Kline, Sherri Bubblitz, Megan Rains, and Jill Gross from Los Alamos Middle School.

  • Hike Anniversary Trail with Craig Martin

    Are you fascinated by the history of Los Alamos? On July 15 at 9 a.m., join Craig Martin for a one-mile hike along one of the original roads used during the Manhattan Project. Once traversed by Dr. Oppenheimer and General Groves, Anniversary Trail features remnants of Project Y and the Los Alamos Ranch School. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to walk the path of history.

    Anniversary Trail encompasses the origins of Los Alamos. Retrace the steps of scientists, learn about the transportation of atomic materials, and identify the Los Alamos Ranch School’s Breakneck Trail.

    The outing is expected to last an hour and a half, and space is limited to 20 participants. Register now to save a spot on this unforgettable historic journey.

     Craig Martin is the former Open Space Specialist for the County of Los Alamos.
    He is a writer, musiciand and an avid hiker. His books include Los Alamos Place Names, Valle Grande, A History of the Baca Location No. 1 and 100 Hikes in New Mexico, all of which have helped preserve the history of the area and acquaint us with the importance of the landscape.
    The Los Alamos Trails app is a result of his many years of exploring.

  • PEEC sponsors Summer Family Evenings

    Join PEEC on Wednesday, July 19 at 6:30 p.m. for a special visit from the New Mexico Wildlife Center. This Summer Family Evening program, sponsored by Del Norte Credit Union, is perfect for families who want to learn about local habitats, responsible rehabilitation, conservation and biology, and what to do if you find an injured wild animal. The Wildlife Center will also bring along its rescued raptor and owl ambassadors, allowing participants to meet these amazing creatures in person.

    The New Mexico Wildlife Center, located in Española, was founded in 1986 by Dr. Kathleen Ramsay. It has grown from its original purpose of rehabilitating birds into its current mission to treat all animal species in New Mexico.

    Because many animals cannot be released back into the wild, the Wildlife Center also operates a wildlife sanctuary, housing over 30 animals. Visitors are welcome Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    PEEC’s final Summer Family Evening, Eclipse Night, will take place at the Los Alamos Nature Center on Wednesday, July 26 at 6:30 p.m.

    Join local astronomers to learn more about the upcoming solar eclipse, including its historical and scientific roots.

  • PBS Science Cafe: Invisible Universe Discovered

    Want to learn more about the Hubble Telescope? On July 15 at 10 a.m., come to the Los Alamos Nature Center Planetarium for a presentation on one of NASA’s most ambitious experiments.

    After watching NOVA: Invisible Universe Revealed, Dr. Rick Wallace will discuss the astronomical significance of the Hubble’s findings, including cosmic expansion and supermassive black holes.
    Don’t miss this unique opportunity to uncover the invisible mysteries of our Universe.

     Rick Wallace has a Ph.D. in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the University of California at Santa Cruz (Lick Observatory), with concentration in numerical calculations of stellar explosions, nuclear fusion, and formation of the elements.

    He has also served as a staff member at Los Alamos National Laboratory for over 30 years.
     A reservation is required for this event, so please RSVP to Rose Poston at (505) 277-2396 or rposton@newmexicopbs.org.

    Admission is free. For more information about this and other PEEC programs, visit peecnature.org, email programs@peecnature.org or call (505) 662-0460. This program runs from 10 a.m. to noon.