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Local News

  • Mrs. New Mexico a jewel in the LA community

    BY WREN PROPP
    Special to the Monitor

  • County expects $1.3M shortfall for 2017

    Los Alamos County has projected about a $1.3 million shortfall in the fiscal year 2017, according to a biennial budget the county released Friday.
    Part of that shortfall is a projected decrease of Gross Receipts Tax revenue that is expected to be about $4 million less than what was projected in the adopted budget, according to Steven Lynne, deputy county manager.
    The county released its 2017-2018 Biennial Budget Friday and will hold budget hearing beginning later this month.
    Councilor Pete Sheehey noted that the Congress failing to pass a budget last year will have an impact on this year’s budget. Because Congress failed to pass a budget, LANL is still operating under a congressional continuing resolution to fund the lab at FY2015-16 levels.

  • Police search for dogs that killed smaller dog in LA

    The Los Alamos Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating two dogs that attacked and killed a smaller dog at a home on Acoma Lane Wednesday.

    The attack happened at 12:15 p.m., according to a witness.

    “…A witness observed (two) large dogs, one brown and the other black, come into the yard where a smaller dog was,” according to police spokesman Commander Preston Ballew. “The (two) large dogs killed the smaller dog and left the area.”

    The witness was unable to identify the breeds of the dogs, Ballew said. Police and animal control officers searched the area to locate the dogs but were unsuccessful.

    If anyone knows the location or owners of these dogs, they are asked to contact the LAPD at 662-8222.

    Officers are asking the public to use caution. Police do not know if the dogs could be aggressive to humans, Ballew said.

  • Santa Fe man who worked at Los Alamos convicted in tax case

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A Santa Fe man who worked as an electrical engineer at Los Alamos National Laboratory for nearly 30 years has been convicted of violating federal tax laws.

    The U.S. Attorney's Office says jurors Thursday convicted 61-year-old Darryl J. Gutierrez of 10 counts of filing false tax returns and one count of obstructing and impeding the administration of the internal revenue laws.

    The office says Gutierrez faces up to three years in prison on each count when he's sentenced.

    According to the office, Gutierrez for years regularly and timely filed income tax returns but then stopped complying with federal tax laws and began taking steps to prevent the IRS from assessing and collecting his taxes.

    The office says Gutierrez filed 10 false federal income tax returns for 2000 through 2009.

  • UNM-LA Job Fair set for April 6

    The University of New Mexico-Los Alamos Office of Student Services is hosting a job fair for students and local community members from 1-4 p.m. April 6 in the UNM-LA Student Center, building 2, 4000 University Drive.
    More than 20 large and small businesses from northern New Mexico will be on hand to meet potential new employees.
    Businesses will be sharing current job postings and distributing information about upcoming job opportunities including summer, full-time, part-time, internships and other possibilities.
    The Job Fair is open to students and community members. Attendees are encouraged to dress professionally and bring multiple copies of their current resumes.
    The following businesses plan to attend: 
    • A Nurse in the Family
    • Bandelier National Monument
    • Los Alamos National Laboratory
    • Los Alamos National Laboratory Student Programs Office
    • Los Alamos Retirement Community
    • Lowe’s, Española
    • New Mexico Consortium
    •  NM Workforce Connections, Española Office
    • Office of Instruction, UNM-LA
    • Pet Pangaea
    • Pueblo of Pojoaque
    • Buffalo Thunder and Cities of Gold

  • LAPS waits for word on budget, special session

    Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus said Wednesday he is keeping a close watch on several bills and waiting to hear if or when a legislative special session will be called to finalize a state budget.
    Steinhaus said several bills that require the Governor’s action or “pocket veto” by April 7 will determine what steps the district will take in its budget planning.
    Although he does not have any indication as to what Gov. Susana Martinez will do, Steinhaus said, “She’s got a big stack of bills and a lot of work to do, so I’m not sure she even knows yet.”
    Senate Bill 462, if signed by the governor, would return about $530,000 taken from the LAPS Cash Balance account.
    “I am pleased to report that these funding cuts did not result in any furlough days for LAPS staff. In addition, we protected LAPS classroom funding for 2016-17,” said Steinhaus. Other school districts, however, met a different fate and will have to implement furlough days and reductions in teaching staff.
    The district is also keeping an eye on the HB 2 General Appropriations Act that includes funding for public schools, HB 185 Limit School Testing Days and HB 211 Next Generation Science Standards.

  • County Council to consider immigrant, refugee resolution

    Los Alamos County Council is expected to consider a resolution Tuesday, taking an official stand against unjust treatment of immigrants and refugees.
    The move is a reaction to President Donald Trump’s attempt to ban refugees from six countries, but at least one councilor fears the timing risks millions in federal funding for the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    The resolution calls for all branches of the county government, including local law enforcement, to respect a person’s universal rights to due process and equal protection under the law and that county services “observe the fundamental American value that all people including immigrants and refugees should be treated with respect, justice and compassion.”
    The resolution, sponsored and written by Councilor Pete Sheehey, was in part a reaction to an executive order issued by President Donald Trump’s ban on refugees from six Muslim-majority countries as a strategy against terrorism.
    The federal courts have challenged Trump’s ban, and arguments for and against are expected to be heard in April.

  • Citizen board recommends DOE shed more light on WIPP waste storage

    A local citizens advisory board recommended to the Department of Energy Wednesday that it provide more information to the public on a proposed above-ground nuclear waste facility at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant at Carlsbad.
    The recommendation was put forth by Northern New Mexico Citizen’s Advisory Board member Stephen Schmelling.  
    “It is a fairly straightforward construction project and there is little reason to doubt, that if constructed to the proposed specifications, it would be capable of temporarily storing a large quantity TRU (transuranic) waste,” the recommendation said.
    “However, the permit modification provides no information on the cost of the facility, or the expected benefits to be derived from either in terms of the more efficient operation of the WIPP facility, or the reduction in risk around the DOE complex from the more efficient operation of the WIPP facility, or the reduction in risk around the DOE complex from the more efficient operation of WIPP and the TRU waste disposal process.”
    The board voted to direct the DOE to shed more light on how the proposed facility will benefit the region, how much the facility will cost and present these reasons before the public at a later date.

  • N.M. hit by ‘flash drought’ weather phenomenon

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Across New Mexico, unusually warm March weather and virtually no rain for a month prompted dust storms that closed highways, warnings for some to stay inside and rapid mountain snow melting that could threaten drinking water supplies and farmers’ irrigation needs.
    This weather phenomenon — driven by a quick increase in temperatures and a lack of precipitation resulting in bone-dry soil — is called a flash drought. It has affected pockets across the country in recent weeks, from the Midwest to northern California.
    In New Mexico, the flash drought is ending as quickly as it began thanks to rain finally falling this week.
    Here are some things to know about the phenomenon:
    Quick Start
    With a snap of his fingers, National Weather Service hydrologist Royce Fontenot explained the speed at which flash droughts can develop and then disappear.
    New Mexico broke dozens of high temperature records in March with some weather stations recording highs nearly 10 degrees above normal. Communities on the state’s eastern edge approached 90 degrees, while some parts of the arid state had no rain for a full month.

  • N.M. cash reserves threatened amid budget fight

    SANTA FE (AP) — Concerns about New Mexico’s short-term cash reserves are taking center stage as state lawmakers await anticipated veto decisions by Gov. Susana Martinez on a budget for the coming fiscal year.
    Top finance officials for Martinez said Wednesday that a $102 million operating reserve cushion will leave the state perilously close to insolvency when the fiscal year ends in June. Martinez is preparing plans to possibly furlough state government workers as soon as April and reduce the number of days that state museums, parks and motor vehicle offices are open to the public.
    Leading lawmakers in the Democrat-controlled Legislature are questioning whether the Republican governor’s warnings of a government shutdown are justified or amount to a bargaining tactic in the larger state budget standoff. Legislators are concerned about dwindling state cash accounts as the federal government delays a major payment on an oil and gas lease sale.
    Here are some things to know about the state budget and the political confrontation:

    Cash balances
    The Martinez administration and the Legislature are working off nearly identical estimates placing state general fund reserves at between $95 million and $102 million at the end of the current fiscal year in June.