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Local News

  • New Mexico governor, lawmakers no closer to special session

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's administration and Democratic state lawmakers exchanged more blame Thursday for inaction as New Mexico grapples with a growing budget deficit.

    Martinez promised earlier this summer to call a special legislative session so lawmakers could address a nearly quarter-billion-dollar shortfall from the last fiscal year and an estimated $458 million hole for the fiscal year that started in July.

    She wanted lawmakers to agree at least on the building blocks of a possible solution so the session will be quick and efficient and thus cost taxpayers less.

    No agreements have been reached, and some state officials say time is running out.

    Martinez says she has already asked departments under her control to cut back but that Democratic lawmakers haven't shared that message with other independent state agencies or offered their own plan for shoring up the state's finances.

    Democrats criticized Martinez, saying her executive requests won't go far enough to make up for revenues that have failed to materialize because of weak oil and natural gas prices and the ripple effect they have had on local economies from Artesia and Hobbs to Bloomfield. They have called on Martinez to present more specific proposals.

  • Newton brings rain, cooler temps to Southwest

    PHOENIX (AP) — Less intense remnants of Newton brought rain and cooler temperatures to Southwest Wednesday as the tropical storm crossed the border from Mexico into southern Arizona.

    The National Weather Service in Tucson reported light to moderate rainfall throughout the day. The area has seen about 0.9 inches of rain, meteorologist Emily French said.

    There were no reports of injuries and only one street under a freeway bridge was flooded.

    Newton also brought a more tropical-like climate in the form of temperatures in the 70s and relative humidity between 75 and 90 percent. Compare that with the usually more muggy Miami, which had a humidity of 61 percent and a high of 98 degrees Wednesday.

    The desert region is more prone to getting monsoon thunderstorms at this time of the year that stir up dust storms or rain.

    "It's not our typical monsoon patter at the moment, that's what makes it more unusual," French said. "But it's not unheard of for southern Arizona to have gotten hit by tropical storms before."

    Newton was rapidly weakening as a tropical storm after slamming the resorts of Mexico's southern Baja as a hurricane and making landfall on the country's mainland.

  • Climb set to honor Sept. 11 victims

    The fire department will once again hike to the top of Pajarito Mountain to honor those that died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The event will take place Saturday in an effort to accommodate more people.
    “The first two times, we did we did it on Thursday and then a Friday. So I figured I might as well make this easier for the public and our guys to attend,” said Capt. William Nackers. “By having it on a Saturday, it will allow more people to come and participate.”
    Nackers started the event two years ago to honor those that died in the attacks. As far as he knows, it’s the only significant Sept. 11 event in the region.
    Each year, the event has gotten bigger, with 20 attending the first event in 2014 and 30 in 2015.
    “I’m hoping to get 50 this year, but we’ll see,” he said. “Smith’s is providing a deli lunch afterwards, so when people come back down, they will have something quick to eat,” Nackers said.
    The hike to the top takes about two hours round trip, and it’s not a competitive event. The trail is relatively easy for civilians, and is family friendly. Pets are also invited.
    “We keep together and make it a group thing,” he said.

  • LANL Foundation provides funds for school program

    Two people, Mathilde Schaumberg and her husband Joseph, recently came forward to publicly thank the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation for helping the kids in their program have a great time this summer.
    Mathilde Schaumberg, a teacher and the director of the before and after school care program at the Pablo Roybal Elementary School, became director of the program this year.
    The after school program provides enrichment activities for kindergarten- through fifth-grade students. This summer, the students went on field trips to the Albuquerque Aquarium, Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, the ¡Explora! Science Center and Children’s Museum in Albuquerque, the Los Alamos Farmer’s Market, and other places.
    “With that grant, they were able to use it for transportation, swimming lessons and go on several field trips,” Joseph Schaumberg said.
    The program has 20 to 25 students, but the program has been known to have up to 40 members, Joseph Schaumberg said.
    The students took their swimming lessons at the Pojoaque Wellness Center every Thursday afternoon, which was a half-day at the school. Transportation costs were prohibitive for this program and the field trips until the foundation stepped in.

  • Former pastor pleads guilty to child porn

    Former Los Alamos Baptist Church pastor Paul Cunningham, 54, was sentenced to one year in jail Friday for possessing and distributing child pornography.
    Cunningham pled guilty in First Judicial Court in Santa Fe.  The sentence was reached during a plea agreement hearing with Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer.
    In exchange for pleading guilty to sexual exploitation of children (distribution) and sexual exploitation of children (possession), Cunningham agreed to four and a half years of jail time with actual time served limited to one year in county jail.
    At the official sentencing, Cunningham can argue for probation or a conditional discharge.
    No date for an official sentencing hearing has been set.
    If Cunningham serves one year in jail, he must also serve two years of supervised probation after he completes his jail sentence. Cunningham must also register as a sex offender.
    If Cunningham violates the terms of his agreement or probation, Cunningham will have to serve four and half years in prison.
    Prosecutors took Cunningham’s lack of prior criminal convictions into account for the plea agreement, according to the Associated Press.

  • Neighbors in difficult times
  • UNM-LA hires Hurley as asst. dean

    University of New Mexico-Los Alamos has hired Sharon Hurley as the associate dean of instruction.
    Hurley came to UNM-LA as an accounting and economics professor in 2003. She has served as the department chair of Business, Computer Science, and Information Technology since 2014.
    As associate dean of instruction, Hurley will assist the Interim Dean of Instruction, Kay Willerton, in the oversight of course scheduling, curriculum development, faculty hiring and supervision, budget development, fiscal monitoring, and other related administrative activities. She will also work closely with high school Dual Credit programs.
    Hurley has a Ph.D. in accounting, with a minor in economics, from Texas A&M University. She is licensed as a CPA in Colorado and New Mexico. Hurley first developed an interest in accounting when watching her mom do the bookkeeping for the family business. She attended Brigham Young University in Utah where she earned her undergraduate degree and then attended the University of North Florida for her master’s degree in accounting.
    Hurley’s academic career began at BYU where she served as a tenure track professor. Ultimately her family moved to Los Alamos, where she taught independent study classes for BYU, volunteered with the local schools, and taught part time for UNM-LA.

  • Does solar power make business sense?

    According to Karen Parmanandam, marketing director for Positive Solar Energy, homeowners, businesses, Los Alamos County and Los Alamos Public Schools could all save money in the long run by installing photovoltaic systems.
    “We’re here to talk about the dollars and sense of solar,” Parmanandam said. “Why does solar make sense, and not just for businesses? I’m talking about governments, for municipalities, for private entities, for nonprofits, for schools and, of course, individuals.”
    Paramanandam presented “A Business Case for Solar” Aug. 24 as part of projectY’s ongoing series of business-related seminars. She stressed how the dropping cost of solar coupled with federal programs can make photovoltaic systems a smart move for business owners.
    According to Parmanandam, solar is on the verge of hitting its “early majority,” when it becomes mainstream due to increased efficiency, better manufacturing, greater ability to meet demand and modernization of the electric grid.

  • Cone Zone Week of Sept. 5

    For more information about these projects, e-mail lacpw@lacnm.us, call 662-8150, or visit the “Projects” link at losalamosnm.us. Slow down and use caution within the construction work zones. The below information is based on a schedule provided by the contractors and may change due to weather or other delays.
    Public Works
    Canyon Rim Trail
    Construction on the west leg of Canyon Rim Trail continues as crews complete the installation of a large retaining wall and start installation of footings for the pedestrian bridge. The trail remains closed west of Fire Station 6. Clearing and excavating south of DP Rd continues. No traffic delays on NM 502 or DP Rd are anticipated.
    Diamond Drive Crack Sealing
    Crack sealing activities on Diamond Drive continue from the San Ildefonso roundabout south to the Los Alamos Canyon “Omega” bridge.  Activities will be limited to “off-peak” hours whenever possible, from approximately 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, weather permitting. Motorists should expect lane drops and occasional flagging operations.
    Central Avenue Phase 2 Improvements
    Crews will be working daily through the Labor Day holiday weekend to stay on track with project completion.

  • Police Beat 9-4-16

    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. 19
    9:19 p.m. — Steven Shaver, 59, of Albuquerque was arrested for driving with a suspended or revoked license at State Road 4.

    10:29 p.m.— Johnny Lowance, 45, of Los Alamos was arrested for possession of marijuana (less than one ounce) at 37th Street.
    Aug. 20
    9:39 a.m.— Police reported that a 60-year-old Los Alamos man was the victim of a house burglary at 47th Street.

    4:20 p.m.— Nickolas Gallegos, 39, of Abiquiu was arrested for driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor at East Road.

    Aug. 21
    10:30 p.m.— Shawn Deryke, 46, of Los Alamos was arrested for battery against a household member in the 4000 block of Alabama Avenue.
    Aug. 22
    5:08 p.m.— Police reported that a 17-year-old Los Alamos male was the victim of an accident with injuries at the intersection of 43rd Street and Urban Street.

    Aug. 23