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Local News

  • August rainfall below average

    The summer monsoon continued from the end of July to August. Only five days were recorded for having no record of at least a trace of precipitation.
    August storms were not intense enough to exceed the average rainfall for the month, which was .18 inches below average, according to David Bruggeman, a meteorologist with the Environmental Protection and Compliance division, Compliance Programs group at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    There was a report on Aug. 19 of lightning strikes near golf team members and coaches. No injuries were reported.
    White Rock measured .71 inches of above average precipitation.
    Several areas of New Mexico measured average to above-average precipitation.
    For the year, Los Alamos has measured 3.37 inches below average rainfall.
    The warmer-than-average summer ended in August, as multiple cold fronts moved through the state. Los Alamos and White Rock measured an average maximum temperature approximately 3 degrees below average.
    The second half of the month brought several days of cooler-than-average temperatures.

  • UNM-LA, school district to mull mill levy, bond questions

    A bond election and a mill-levy increase will be the hot topics at two education board meetings this week.
    The University of New Mexico-Los Alamos Advisory Board will discuss its request from taxpayers at a meeting Monday for a 1-mill levy increase to property taxes next year. The meeting will start at 5:30 p.m. inside the Building 2 Lecture Hall.
    On Tuesday, the Los Alamos School Board will discuss setting a date for a $13 million bond election. That meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. at the school board’s office, 2075 Trinity Drive, Suite V.  
    If the public approves the school’s bond, the funds will be used to fund the rebuild of certain sections of Barranca Mesa Elementary School that have fallen into disrepair.
    UNM-LA’s 1 mill-levy increase would equate to an additional $10 for every $100,000 of assessed value for Los Alamos County property owners.
    UNM’s Board of Regents approved UNM-LA’s request to proceed with the mill levy ballot initiative.
    If voters approve UNM-LA’s mill levy, UNM-LA expects to receive about $700,000 annually.
    The funding will be used to make up for a deficit in the school’s budget caused by a steady decrease in funding by the state, and an increase in operational costs and enrollment, according to university officials.

  • Election calendar for upcoming General Election

    The Los Alamos County Clerk’s website has a complete election calendar, with information for both voters and candidates. Here are important dates for voters.

    Sept. 14.  Voter registration agent training. 3:30–5 p.m. in council chambers.
    Sept. 24.  Federal Qualified Electors and Over Seas Voters Absentee Ballot Mailing. Ballots for the military and overseas voters who have submitted applications through Sept. 24 will be transmitted no later than that date.
    Sept. 27.  Voter Registration Day. The clerk’s office will be offering voter registration from 11 a.m.–1 p.m. at Mesa Public Library and from 2–4 p.m. at the White Rock Branch Library.
    Sept. 29.  Poll Worker Election School.  1–5 p.m. in council chambers. All candidates, party/organization representatives, media and public may attend. The county is fairly well staffed with poll workers for the general election but interested citizens may apply online or at the clerk’s office year round.
    Oct. 5.  Voting Machine Certification (Tentative).  9 a.m.–4 p.m., clerk’s warehouse, located on the west side of the municipal building, next to the loading dock area.  All candidates, party/organization representatives, media and public may attend.

  • Police Beat 9-9-16

    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.

    Aug. 24
    8:54 p.m. — Manuel Morse, 32, of Los Alamos was arrested for prohibited acts at the intersection of Diamond Drive and North Road.

    8:59 p.m. — Rosalinda Hurtado, 38, of Alcalde was arrested for receiving stolen property (less than ($100) at Diamond Drive.

    8:59 p.m. — John Lerma, 42, of Albuquerque was arrested for conspiracy at Diamond Drive.

    Aug. 25
    9 a.m. — Police reported that a 54-year-old Alcalde man was the victim of fraud (more than $250, less than $20,000 at Trinity Drive.

    9 a.m. — Police reported that a 66-year-old Los Alamos man was the victim of fraud (more than $250, less than $20,000) at Trinity Drive.

    10:02 a.m. — Daniel Alvarez, 58, of Bernalillo was arrested on a misdemeanor warrant from another jurisdiction in the 1000 block of Diamond Drive.

  • Council sets priorities for state capital outlay projects

    The Los Alamos County Council approved the county’s wish list Tuesday for state capital outlay funding.
    In order to be considered for capital outlay funds, the state requires applicants to prepare and submit a five-year Infrastructure and Capital Improvement Plan (ICIP).
    “The ICIP was originally a planning tool. It then kind of became a tool by which the state reviews all our grant submissions, our state capital outlay requests and the like, and in fact, they utilize this list to measure against any requests that counties, municipalities and other agencies make to assure that there’s been adequate planning and preparation for such projects, instead of a kneejerk, quick request type of situation,” said County Manager Harry Burgess.
    The county’s list includes 90 projects ranging from infrastructure improvements and building upgrades, to airport hangars and a meal truck for the Betty Ehart Senior Center. All utility capital projects and all general county capital projects that have been through the county’s CIP process are on the list.
    The state requires those requesting funds to prioritize and submit additional information for their top five projects.

  • Council proclaims September ‘Voter Registration Month’

    The Los Alamos County Council issued a proclamation Tuesday declaring September “Voter Registration Month,” and Sept. 27 as “Voter Registration Day” in Los Alamos County.
    “You are the first council/commission to issue a proclamation,” County Clerk Sharon Stover told council. “It’s something that’s going on nationally, but I think we’re the first county in the state to have this.”
    Stover credits her staff with the idea of issuing the proclamation as a means of raising awareness about the upcoming election, and for conducting voter registration agent training and voter registration drives throughout the month and into early October.
    Los Alamos County already ranks first in New Mexico for voter turnout. The county has averaged 70 percent participation in general elections since 2006. This year’s primary saw 45 percent turnout.
    But the clerk’s office is determined to reach every voter they can. Their first event will be a voter registration agent training for those wishing to solicit and provide assistance to another person in the completion of a voter registration form. The training is scheduled from 3:30–5 p.m. Sept. 14 in council chambers.

  • School board to discuss gun safes Tuesday

    The Los Alamos School Board will hold a special meeting Tuesday to discuss its decision to install gun safes at the middle and high school.
    The meeting is in response to the reaction the board received following national online news reports about the Aug. 25 decision.
    The board approved a Los Alamos Police Department recommendation to install the safes and stock them with AR-15s, shotguns, safety and first aid equipment that may be needed in active-shooter events.
    The meeting will start at 5:30 p.m. in the school board room at 2075 Trinity Drive, Suite V.
    Los Alamos School Board President Jim Hall said he was appalled by some of the exaggerations by news outlets about the police installing an “arsenal of AR-15s” inside the safes. He said he felt the meeting was necessary so the board could explain to the public the purpose the safes will have in district’s overall school safety plan.
    “In my opinion, this is in response to the misinformation that’s out there,” Hall said.
    “What we’re going to do is talk about our whole student safety program, and try to put the whole gun safe issue in context,” Hall said. “Clearly, there are going to be people who are going to focus on the gun safe issue.”

  • McMillan: LANL’s infrastructure problems threaten maintenance of nuclear stockpile

    Some plumbing and electrical systems at Los Alamos National Laboratory are in such disrepair, they threaten the lab’s mission of maintaining the nation’s nuclear stockpile, Director Charlie McMillan told members of a House subcommittee Wednesday.
    In McMillan’s testimony to the U.S. House Strategic Forces Subcommittee in Washington, D.C., he talked about infrastructure problems at LANL.
    “Let me just give you an example from last weekend. We had the air conditioning systems in the vaults of one of our classified computers fail, and when that went down, that took out the computing systems we need to support experimental work,” McMillan said to Rep. Mike Rogers (Dist. 3-Ala.), chairman of the subcommittee.
    McMillan and other nuclear officials testified before the subcommittee about the growing backlog of work that was needed at all nuclear facilities across the country.
    The cost of fixing the problems is now at $3.7 billion, according to the National Nuclear Safety Administration.
    “This backlog is now actively threatening (National Nuclear Safety Administration’s) mission and the safety of its workers,” Rogers said.
    Rogers also described what he and ranking subcommittee member, Rep Jim Cooper (Dist. 5-Tenn.) saw on tours of some of the facilities.

  • Today in history Sept. 8
  • State Health Dept.: Valencia County man dies from West Nile

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico Department of Health officials say a 63-year-old Valencia County man has died from West Nile virus.

    They say the man developed neuroinvasive disease and was hospitalized before his death.

    It's the second human case of West Nile infection identified in New Mexico this year and the state's first West Nile fatality in 2016.

    The man's name wasn't released Thursday.

    Last year, the New Mexico Department of Health identified 14 cases of West Nile virus in people, including 12 with neuroinvasive disease. There were no fatalities.

    Authorities say there are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent West Nile.

    They say people over 50 and those with other health issues are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill or dying when they become infected with the virus.