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Local News

  • today in history jan. 25
  • Boards and Commissions policy on council liaisons

    The policy Department of Public Utilities Manager Tim Glasco referred to regarding the relationship of council liaisons to boards and commissions comes from the “Los Alamos County Orientation Manual for Members of Boards and Commissions.” It reads:
    “Individual councilors, including the liaison, should not assign tasks to a B&C and are discouraged from regularly attending B&C meetings because they would appear unduly influential due to their position as a councilor. Instead, the council liaison and his or her assigned B&C chairs (usually two) should meet together monthly or as needed for communication purposes. The assigned council liaison’s role is to act as the primary information conduit between the B&C and the council as a whole. It is incumbent upon that councilor to provide guidance and advice about which B&C issues to bring to the attention of the council for action and which should be merely information items. However, this does not prevent the B&C Chair, in accordance with an action of the B&C, from bringing a recommendation to the council.”
    Glasco did acknowledge that the Board of Public Utilities has a different relationship to the council than other boards, which has led to more interaction with the council liaison.

  • On the Docket 1-24-16

    Jan. 13
    Christopher Jeffery was found guilty at the time of traffic stop of failing to display a current, valid, registration plate and speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $100 and must also pay $130 in court costs.

    Andrew F. Nelson was found at the time of traffic stop of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and must also pay $65 in court costs.

    Jan. 14
    Jesse Gallegos was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of shoplifting. Defendant was fined $100 and must also pay $160 in court costs.

    Jesse Deshamp was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of two counts of menacing behavior. Defendant was fined $1000 and must also pay $120 in court costs.

    Kyle Christensen  was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of having animals at large. Defendant was fined $25 and must also pay $60 in court costs.

    Charles Brandon Wood  was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of menacing behavior and having animals at large. Defendant was fined $275 and must also pay $120 in court costs.

  • New ACT schedule starts Monday

    Atomic City Transit riders will have to be on their toes Monday when ACT implements new timetables and route modifications. The service modifications are the result of more than two years of planning and public input.
    Buses will now operate on a “pulse” system, wherein six of the seven routes will meet at the Transit Center at the bottom of each hour to facilitate transfers to the entire service area.
    Buses will also begin and end the service day at the far ends of their routes in order to collect passengers as they make their way to the Transit Center for the first time in the morning and distribute passengers on their last trip from the Transit Center in the evening.
    In response to public input, an hourly stop at the Los Alamos Cooperative Market has been added to Route 3 and the Downtown Circulator will now run every 15 minutes between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to facilitate lunchtime travel.
    Transit Manager Ken Smithson believes the greatest challenge the new schedule will pose for riders is the need to break old habits. There have been no significant adjustments to ACT’s service since 2007.

  • Mental health team seeks input

    The school district’s Mental Health Design team sent a wake-up call out to the business community this week, urging the community to get involved in helping get its Healthy School and Community Initiative out.
    The initiative was created by the team to try to bring awareness to the issues and impacts of living, learning and working in a relatively remote yet intellectually high-powered environment has had on the students, families, employees and business people of Los Alamos County.
    Since the beginning of the school year, the team has been hard at work building a mental health profile of the community through surveys and data mining. An official report of its findings will be available to the public in late January or early February.
    The team has presented its initial findings at school board meetings, community forums and breakfasts and has raised eyebrows, especially when it comes to the team’s findings on suicide, stress, family dynamics and mental health. The team is hoping the information will spark positive conversations about mental health, and erase the stigma attached to people seeking help for mental illness.

  • 2 LA men busted for drugs

    A Los Alamos police officer recently arrested two Los Alamos County men for drug possession.
    During his patrol, the officer first spotted the man in a Ford Explorer behind the gravel pits near White Rock on N.M. 4.
    According to court documents, the officer could smell a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle as he approached. He also noted that the man, and another suspect were acting nervous and “moving about inside the vehicle.”
    When the suspects, Brandyn Ortega, 20, and Samuel Newell, 21, were questioned about the marijuana, Ortega handed the officer a pipe and a container with marijuana in it. He also told the officer they were about to smoke more before the officer came up on them.
    During a search of Newell, police recovered a metal spoon and some “black tar” heroin. In his truck police recovered 2.5 ounces of marijuana, several syringes, a glass pipe for smoking, methamphetamine, beer and a half-bottle of whiskey.
    During the course of their investigation, police also discovered that Newell was on probation for burglary of a vehicle and theft of a firearm.
    Newell was charged with of possession of heroin, possession of marijuana (over an ounce), possession of methamphetamine, three counts of possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of possession of alcohol by a minor.

  • BPU slights Council Vice Chair Susan O’Leary

    At the end of Wednesday’s Los Alamos County Board of Utility’s meeting, Council Vice Chair Susan O’Leary raised the issue of how she was treated during her first meeting as the board’s council liaison.
    According to O’Leary, when she arrived at the meeting she was told she would not be joining the board on the dais as former Council Vice Chair and BPU liaison David Izraelevitz had done. Previous council liaisons also joined the board table when it met in conference rooms.
    O’Leary was directed to sit in the front row of the audience. Before the meeting began, Andrew Fraser – serving his last night as BPU chair – asked O’Leary to join the board at the dais.
    Also contrary to precedence, O’Leary was apparently told that she could not speak during the meeting. Former council liaisons have participated in board discussions, not to represent council’s opinion but to offer their own observations and to answer board questions. Fraser raised that issue as well during a discussion on the Future Energy Committee recommendations.

  • Nuclear trigger production could resume at Los Alamos lab

    SANTA FE (AP) — The Los Alamos National Laboratory could resume production of plutonium pit triggers for nuclear weapons.

    The Department of Energy endorsed lab changes listed by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, a Congressional oversight agency, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

    Plans also call for increased plutonium capacity.

    A Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration statement says the board's report references steps toward achieving annual production capacity of about 50 to 80 plutonium pits by 2030.

    "NNSA pursues a plutonium strategy that optimizes existing facilities and addresses future program needs to create a responsive infrastructure.

    "The FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) states that a modern, responsive infrastructure, which includes the capability to produce up to 50 to 80 pits per year, is a national security priority," the statement says. "The memos referenced in the DNFSB report document steps along the way to meet this need."

    The statement goes on to say that "NNSA continues to ensure that all our activities are executed safely, securely and in a manner consistent with applicable regulatory requirements."

  • Boutique Air, county to award flights to Los Alamos with promotion

    Los Alamos county and Boutique Air are giving travelers a chance to win a free round trip flight from Los Alamos to Albuquerque as part of a “Such a Sweet Deal” promotion Jan. 23 through Feb. 5. Three winners will be drawn and notified by email on Feb. 5.

    The “Such a Sweet Deal” promotion is intended to encourage travelers to spend time in Los Alamos by taking a short 30-minute flight onboard Boutique Air’s Pilatus PC-12 aircraft, featuring reclining leather seats in an executive configuration, power outlets, a pressurized cabin, enclosed lavatory, and a top speed of 300 mph. Travelers park free at the Los Alamos Municipal Airport.

    The drawing is limited to those 18 years old or older. Round-trip vouchers will be mailed to the winning entries and available to use through March 31. Anyone who has signed up for the Fly Los Alamos newsletter is automatically entered to win.

    Winners will be notified by email and all entries will automatically be signed up to receive future issues of the Fly Los Alamos newsletter, which keeps travelers informed of changes to flight schedules, future promotions or new flights and options offered by Boutique Air.

    Entry forms and complete rules are available at flylosalamos.com.

  • US, New Mexico ink settlements over nuclear radiation leak

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico and the U.S. Department of Energy have inked $74 million in settlements over dozens of permit violations stemming from a radiation leak that forced the closure of the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository.

    The settlements are the largest ever negotiated between a state and the Energy Department and come after months of negotiations.

    The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant has been closed since February 2014, when a container of waste burst and released radiation that contaminated parts of the underground facility. The container came from Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    The settlements call for the Energy Department to funnel millions of dollars toward road improvements and environmental projects in New Mexico.

    The state initially proposed more than $54 million in penalties against the federal agency and its contractors for numerous violations at the lab and waste dump.