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Local News

  • McFall wants to help the poor, cut government

    Steve McFall, a Republican candidate who announced a run for Congressional Dist. 3 Wednesday, has walked a mile in someone else’s shoes, and then some.

    Seven years ago, he was involved in a custody battle with his ex-wife that left him nearly homeless and destitute, with just $3.16 to his name. To top it off, he also sustained an injury to his left arm that required an expensive surgery.

    The way he talks today from his home in Angel Fire and six credits shy of getting his degree in psychology from the University of New Mexico, he would take the same walk again.

    Without taking that long road back to good health and financial stability he said, he would not have been inspired enough to run for Congress.

    This will be McFall’s second run for the seat. He left the first race in 2014 while running in a three-way primary race against Republicans Michael Lucero and Michael Romero.

    His journey taught him a lot about how the federal government treats the vulnerable and the poor.

  • Report: US agency holding nuke bombs grapples with oversight

    By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy has its share of challenges as it conducts some of the world's most high-tech research, maintains a stockpile of nuclear weapons and cleans up after decades of bomb-making.

    A report released this week outlines some of those management struggles while providing a look at the expansive scope of the department's responsibilities and costly liabilities.

    According to work over the past year, the agency's inspector general says a growing problem is oversight and management of more than 11,300 contracts to keep operations humming at 17 national laboratories, dozens of contaminated sites and other facilities.

    BIG JOB, BIG BUDGET

    The Energy Department is the largest civilian contracting agency within the federal government. About 90 percent of the $30 billion it gets each year goes toward contracts.

    The inspector general's findings this year on the oversight of those contracts is nothing new because federal accountants have called contract management within the agency "high risk" since 1990. The difference is officials are starting to look closer at subcontractors.

  • LAPD hearing nets varied responses

    Assessors from a national law enforcement accreditation organization heard mixed reviews of the Los Alamos Police Department during a public hearing Tuesday.

    While Greg White, a candidate for local sheriff, said he had personally experienced “incompetence and corruption,” at the hands of a few members of the department, County Councilor Rick Reiss told the assessors that Los Alamos has a “strong, comfortable and safe” community due in part to the police force.

    Reiss said he was speaking as a private citizen.

    The two assessors representing the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. or CALEA, heard from White, Reiss and a third member of the public, Vincent Chiravalle, who also spoke in support of the police department.

    The Los Alamos Police Department applied for accreditation with the organization two years ago after letting its state accreditation lapse. Seeking accreditation with CALEA requires an initial payment of approximately $11,000 and approximately $4,000 annually.

    Two other departments in New Mexico, the Farmington police and the State Police, are accredited by CALEA’s website.

    The national organization’s requirements include written directives for many of its 484 standards for law enforcement.

  • Vehicle wrecks snarling traffic

    Hilltop drivers have seen a few traffic delays due to vehicle crashes in the past week.

    No one has sustained serious injury or gotten ticketed, said Los Alamos Police Commander Preston Ballew.

    Two wrecks along the truck route from NM 4 to Los Alamos around 6 p.m. on Tuesday snarled traffic, which was generally headed home from Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    Several vehicles waiting in the southbound lane, originally headed toward the traffic light on NM 4, turned around to go back into Los Alamos on Tuesday night rather than wait.

    The geography of the county leaves drivers few options.

    Drivers everywhere – not just Los Alamos – need to take their time, expect delays and keep their impatience in check, Ballew said.

    “Give yourself extra time to get to work and be patient, and of course, don’t text and drive,” Ballew said.
    Weather during the last month has been generally dry and warm, and drivers haven’t faced winter challenges of ice and snow, yet.

    And while the National Weather Service forecast for northern New Mexico calls for below average precipitation and above average temperatures, its best to be prepared before getting behind the wheel.

  • A Warm Winter View
  • Reward bumped to $5,000 for info on WR bank robbery suspect

    Officials at the Los Alamos National Bank upped the ante on efforts to identify a suspected bank robber, adding $4,000 to a $1,000 reward already offered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

    The additional reward offered by the bank would be paid to anyone providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of the man who robbed the White Rock LANB branch on Nov. 21.

    The suspected robber is described as a male, approximately 5-foot-11 to 6-feet-tall with a thin build. He wore a dark-hooded jacket, a dark baseball cap, and his face was covered. He was allegedly armed with a handgun and demanded money from a teller, who gave an undisclosed amount of money to the suspect.

    The mid-day robbery, and a reported shooting at the fleeing robber by a bystander, shut down schools and led police to notify White Rock residents to stay in their homes while they searched for the robber.

    No information has been provided in regards to the status of any citations issued to the bystander who alleged shot at the robber.

    The FBI cautions the public to not approach the suspected robber, but they should call the FBI or 911 if he is spotted.
    All tips or any other information should be provided to the FBI by calling 889-1300 or submitted online at tips.fbi.gov.

  • County to open investigation over permit

    Los Alamos County plans to open an internal investigation into the Community Development Office and the fire marshal’s office following a dispute with county councilor and businessman James Chrobocinski over a restaurant renovation permit, according to County Manager Harry Burgess.

    The investigation will be handled by the county’s human resources office, “although that could change, based upon HR’s findings,” County Spokeswoman Julie Habiger said.

    The investigation will determine whether Chrobocinski was  unfairly targeted by the two offices because of his criticism of the Community Development Office’s code enforcement practices.

    Chrobocinski filed a tort claim with the county earlier this week that accused both offices of harassment.

    He announced Thursday that he will proceed with his lawsuit because of alleged, ongoing harassment. He did not say when he would file the lawsuit.

    Chrobocinski claims that on Nov. 13, County Code Enforcement Officer Mike Arellano and Fire Marshal Jeff Wetteland entered a building at 11 Sherwood Blvd, in White Rock, where Chrobocinski was managing a renovation, to serve him with a demolition permit and a request for an asbestos report.

  • New Mexico governor appoints commissioner as state auditor

    SANTA FE (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez has appointed Bernalillo County Commissioner Wayne Johnson as the new state auditor.

    Her office made the announcement Friday after calling earlier this month for applications to fill the remainder of the term vacated by Democrat Tim Keller, who was elected mayor of Albuquerque. Johnson, a Republican, was unsuccessful in his mayoral bid.

    Keller stepped down as auditor Thursday.

    Johnson was chosen from among 10 applicants and will hold the office until the next general election in 2018.
    Johnson is a two-term county commissioner, a business owner and member of the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority.

    Martinez says Johnson has championed transparency, ethics and accountability during his time on the Bernalillo County Commission and she's confident he will bring those standards to the auditor's office.
     

  • Fire alarm at LANL's plutonium technical area Thursday
  • Angel Fire resident puts hat in ring for Congress

    Angel Fire resident Steve McFall announced today he’s making a run for New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District. McFall said he really didn’t have a choice.

    “The shortest answer is I didn’t pick this, it picked me. I was teaching skiing, playing golf and fishing for a living when the Lord told me I had better use of my big mouth than teaching Texans how to ski.”

    McFall, who’s running on the Republican ticket, is interested in streamlining the government processes people use everyday, and helping people become less reliant on government in general. He is also interested in reforming the federal tax system and immigration. He also wants to introduce term limits for “career politicians.” He is also interested in bolstering states’ rights when it comes to medical care, providing better care for war veterans and public education.

    McFall is 52 years old and has one daughter, Maia, and a granddaughter, Alice.

    Log onto the Los Alamos Monitor Friday at lamonitor.com for more details.