Local News

  • New pipeline project would supply Pajarito Mountain with water

    Residents got their first look Thursday at a proposed plan to supply more water to Pajarito Mountain.

    The plan is a joint venture between Los Alamos County and Pajarito Recreation, a privately run company that operates the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area.

    The water would be mainly used for domestic use, fire suppression and snowmaking. 

    Most of the pipeline would be built on U.S. Forest Service land. The new tank, and a section of the line would be on U.S. Department of Energy property, and another section of line would be on county land.

    The county plans to pay $1.7 million for the pipeline and Pajarito Recreation will fund the other half. If the Los Alamos County Council approves the project, the county would build a six-inch pipeline that will begin at a new water tank on West Road and end at the Camp May tank near the Ski Hill Lodge.

    The meeting was the first step in getting the project approved. Residents have 30 days to provide comments to the U.S. Forest Service. The Forest Service plans to use the public’s comments in its assessment of the project’s environmental impact The U.S. Forest is the lead agency on the project, since a majority of the proposed six inch pipeline will be on Forest Service land as it makes it way to the Pajarito Ski Area.

  • Coalition in limbo after Monday

    Regional Coalition of LANL Communities members unexpectedly halted discussion of the executive director’s contract at their meeting Monday when a Los Alamos County Councilor and a coalition representative claimed the meeting did not meet a requirement of the Open Meetings Act.

    County Councilor Chris Chandler said she received a text message from Los Alamos County Alvin Leapheart before the meeting started, questioning the validity of the meeting.

    “I received a text this morning from our county attorney, who asked me isn’t this meeting deemed a continuation of the previous meeting. I shared this text with the other members of the board,” Chandler told members of the coalition. “He says, if so, are they attempting to consider matters not appearing on the agenda of the original meeting. Apparently he views this in derogation of the open meetings act, because under the open meetings act you cannot add new items to a continuing meeting.”

    Leapheart said he originated the text and was not asked to provide a legal opinion regarding the Open Meetings Act.

    Monday’s agenda included a review and discussion of RCLC Executive Director Andrea Romero’s services and agreement contract and review and discussion of the LANL Communities’ Joint Powers Agreement. 

  • Los Alamos County to launch outside investigation into LANL Coalition

    Los Alamos County will hire outside counsel to investigate alleged ethics abuses of the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities, following a decision by County Council Monday.

    County Councilors voted 6-0 in favor of the investigation, with Council James Chrobocinski absent from the meeting.
    In February, Northern New Mexico Protects complained to the county and the coalition that the coalition did not follow its own travel policy when expending travel funds.

    A county audit found that the coalition’s executive director, Andrea Romero was reimbursed for $1,850 on a dinner and $307 for alcohol and baseball tickets during a lobbying trip to Washington, D.C.

    Councilors James Chrobocinski and Susan O’Leary requested councilors seek an outside investigation into the matter.

    The scope of the investigation is expected to include the Washington, D.C. trip taken in 2017, and could also include interactions with Los Alamos County that reach back into 2011, when RCLC was founded.

    The council requested Monday that the outside counsel return with an investigative plan and scope by April 3 for further discussion and action.

  • New Mexico awaits governor's verdict on crime, budget bills

    SANTA FE (AP) — Time is running out for bills from the Legislature to win approval from Republican New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez.

    Martinez has until noon on Wednesday to sign off on a bill that bundles together bipartisan public safety measures and to approve all or portions of a $6.3 billion spending bill from the Democrat-led Legislature.

    Bills that are not signed do not go into effect — an outcome known as a pocket veto. Martinez has indicated general support for the Legislature's spending priorities.

    During a 30-day session that ended in February, lawmakers rallied around a package of public safety reforms designed to bolster police ranks, deter repeat drunken driving, toughen gun-possession penalties for violent felons, and better address addiction and health issues among prison inmates as they are released.

  • State Land Commissioner Dunn threatens fence in dispute with US on border access

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A U.S. Senate candidate who serves as New Mexico's top land manager posted signs Tuesday along the U.S.-Mexico border aimed at blocking border patrol operations on a one-mile stretch of state trust land over concerns that the federal government is not compensating the state for using the land.

    Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn told The Associated Press that if his office can't reach an agreement over an easement with the federal government, he will install a fence to block access to the property.

    Dunn, elected in 2014 as a Republican, announced earlier this year he was running for the U.S. Senate after becoming a Libertarian. He previously considered running for governor and the U.S. House.

    Dunn first outlined his concerns in a letter sent last month to federal officials. He said it's an issue of state sovereignty and that revenue earned from development or use of trust land helps fund public education in the state.

    "I'm shutting down the federal government just as I would shut down any business trespassing on state trust lands," Dunn said. "Border security is important, but so are our kids and they have a right to collect the money earned from the lands they own."

  • New Mexico Catholic heads defend advocate over racism claim

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico's three Catholic bishops said the head of the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops didn't accuse anyone of racism and are defending his actions in trying to push for an expansion of early childhood education programs.

    In an open letter Tuesday, the bishops wrote that Allen Sanchez, executive director of the group, has a deep love "for the Gospel" and is an advocate for the state's poor with an extension record.

    "We Catholic bishops of New Mexico respectfully request our elected officials keep their focus on the issue at hand: the plight of our children living in extreme poverty," Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester, Las Cruces Bishop Oscar Cantu and Gallup Bishop James Wall wrote.

    The letter comes after 33 GOP New Mexico state lawmakers sent Wester on letter Monday asking if he agreed with remarks about racism made by Sanchez.

    Sanchez told The Associated Press he believed racism contributed to the defeat of a proposal to expand funding for early childhood education.

  • The Latest: New Mexico Catholic bishops defend advocate

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico's three Catholic bishops say the head of the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops didn't accuse anyone of racism and only pointed out flaws in the state's educational system.

    The three leaders wrote in an open letter Tuesday that Allen Sanchez, executive director of the group, has a deep love "for the Gospel" and is an advocate for the state's poor.

    The letter comes after 33 GOP state lawmakers sent Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester on letter Monday and asked him if he agreed with remarks about racism made by Sanchez.

    Sanchez told The Associated Press last month that "an element of racism" helped kill a proposal to expand early childhood education in the state.

    The bishop says lawmakers focus should be on combatting child poverty in New Mexico.


    12:30 a.m.

    New Mexico Republican state lawmakers are demanding a response from the Santa Fe archbishop about comments made by a head of the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops.

    The 33 lawmakers sent Archbishop John Wester on letter Monday asked him if he agreed with remarks about racism made by Allen Sanchez, executive director of the group.

  • La Cueva Street to close for emergency repairs

    Department of Public Utilities will close LA Cueva Street immediately for two days to allow crews to repair a sewer line, according to the county.

    Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities contracted with Paul Parker Construction to conduct emergency repairs to a sanitary sewer line that crosses La Cueva Street, just north of Barranca Road.

    Starting immediately, La Cueva will be closed for a period of two days at the section of road where excavation is underway. Local traffic will be rerouted on Cascabel Street to access La Cueva properties north of the closure.
    Officials with the DPU are asking for the patience and consideration of its customers as this emergency work proceeds. Questions or concerns are being directed to the DPU through the Customer Care Center at 662-8333 or CustomerCare@lacnm.us.

  • LAPD officer put on administrative leave

    A Los Alamos police officer is on paid administrative leave after a shooting incident at the Pajarito Cliffs Site on Feb. 17 in Los Alamos.

    According to a press release from the New Mexico State Police, which investigates all officer-involved shootings in the state,

    LAPD Officer Jemuel Montoya discharged his weapon while trying to stop an attempted break-in at the facility.

    The LAPD is also conducting an internal investigation into the shooting.

    “Any officer involved in any kind of shooting incident is placed on paid administrative leave while an investigation is done,” said LAPD Commander Preston Ballew. “That’s just standard department policy.”

    Montoya’s leave began the day of the incident, Ballew said.

    According to the release by the state police, the officer was called to the scene after undercover officers observed a gray Jeep Patriot enter the facility’s parking lot at 3:30 a.m.

    Montoya arrived in a marked unit and parked a short distance in front of the Jeep. After engaging his emergency equipment, he exited his patrol unit and gave commands for the suspect, Antonio Trujillo, to stop.

  • NM legislators demand response from Archbishop Wester for ‘racist’ accusation

    Thirty-three New Mexico legislators sent a letter Monday to Archbishop John C. Wester demanding his response to recent comments made by Allen Sanchez, executive director of the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops.

    In his remarks, Sanchez claimed that a proposal to increase expenditures from New Mexico’s Land Grant Permanent Fund to pay for early childhood programs failed to pass because of “an element of racism” among its opponents. Sanchez also said that “opposition came from people with power and wealth.”

    In the letter, legislators wrote, “we are deeply troubled by recent comments made by Allen Sanchez, the executive director of the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops. Since his comments were delivered as a representative and spokesperson of the Roman Catholic Church in New Mexico, we feel compelled to ask you to confirm that his statement reflects the views of you and your fellow bishops in New Mexico.”

    Legislators noted that opposition to the proposal, House Joint Resolution 1, crossed all political, ethnic, religious and demographic lines, and opponents hailed from every region of New Mexico. They also said that state leaders have worked to increase support for early childhood programs, and since 2012, funding for these programs has more than doubled to $270 million annually.