Local News

  • Efforts coalesce to avoid cavern collapse in Carlsbad

    SANTA FE (AP) — Efforts are coalescing to shore up a giant, man-made underground cavern in southern New Mexico before it collapses underneath a community of mobile homes and critical highway and rail transportation routes, nearly nine years after state officials sounded the first danger alarm, state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Secretary Ken McQueen said Tuesday.
    He said his agency will be prepared as early as July to help commission engineering plans to stabilize the cavity left by the extraction of a salt formation underneath a crossroads at the edge of the small city of Carlsbad.
    The formation was mined by flushing water through it to extract brine for use by the oil and gas industry for drilling operations. Operations were halted in 2008 in following cavern collapses at two similar brine wells in nearby unpopulated areas with similar geology.
    “Basically the idea is to fill that void space, which is filled with water, with solid material which is designed to keep the cavern from collapsing at any time in the future,” McQueen said.

  • On the Docket 3-29-17

    Feb. 27
    Gilbert Marquez  was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of failing to appear in court and not having a proper driver’s license. Defendant was fined $75 and must also pay $130 court costs.

    Tina Martinez was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and must also pay $65 in court costs.

    Christan Gerardo Andresen was found guilty  through Citepay of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and must also pay $65 in court costs.

    Christopher Ellard was found guilty  through Citepay of speeding 11 to 15 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $75 and must also pay $65 in court costs.

    Hunter Gustafson was found guilty of hitting an unattended vehicle with his vehicle. Defendant received a deferred sentence but must also pay $65 in court costs. Defendant was also sentenced to community service.

    Deryl Garcia was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of speeding 16-20 miles per hour over the limit. Defendant was fined $100 and must also pay $65 in court costs.

  • 22nd Annual Photographers Show set for April 3 at Mesa Public Library

    Interested in local photography? What about pictures from around the United States or even the other side of the world? The public is invited to view all of this and much more at the 22nd Annual Los Alamos Photographers Show hosted by the Los Alamos Photo Club on April 3-April 28 in the upstairs gallery of the Mesa Public Library. 

    The show will start with an April 3 opening. The community is also invited to the April 18 Club walk-through, where the photographers will discuss their images and briefly explain where it was taken, what it is, and what they are trying to convey. 

    Both events will allow guests and participants to view submitted works and to interact informally with the photographers.

    The show is intended to give people who live and work in Los Alamos a chance to display their photos in a formal setting. 

    The content of the images can be diverse, ranging from local to astronomical. The pieces might be displayed for sale or simply for viewing pleasure, depending on the photographer’s goal. 

  • LA museums, parks won’t be affected by a state shutdown

    New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez on Thursday ordered a hiring freeze for all agencies under her control, a move designed to save cash pending a political standoff over the funding of state government and public schools.

    The state personnel director outlined the freeze in a memo to cabinet secretaries, citing the need for executive agencies to take immediate action to control spending due to unprecedented budgetary challenges.

    Despite the freeze, some hiring will continue for jobs identified as critical for public safety and health as well as those related to taxation and revenue collections.

    The memo did not mention the governor’s disappointment with the outcome of the legislative session that wrapped up more than a week ago. However, she has been outspoken about the Democratic-controlled Legislature sending her a budget built on $350 million in tax increases and fee hikes.

    “The fact is, state government affects every New Mexican, and passing a balanced budget is critical in funding education, public safety and service to protect abused children,” she said in a statement.

  • Local Habitat for Humanity preps for its next build

    By Wren Propp

    Special to the Monitor

    Preparing for its 12th build beginning April 22, local Habitat for Humanity organizers are gearing up for a busy season.

    There’s been a steady stream of fundraising events that are supportive of Española Valley and Los Alamos (EVLA) Habitat for Humanity, with more on the calendar, said Victoria Erhart, who is in charge of communication and grants management for the organization. 

    “People have generous impulses,” she said.

    Last Saturday it was an all-day-until-midnight luau at the Pajarito Brewpub and Grill in Los Alamos. The event was geared to help “shake of the winter chill,” said owner Patrick Mocker-Wood.

    This coming Sunday EVLA Habitat for Humanity will be the beneficiary of the community breakfast, Erhart said.

    This year’s house will be a three-bedroom, 1.5-bath, valued at $70,000, Erhart said. There are several volunteers preparing to spend time at the site, but more are always welcome, she said. For example, a group of 18-to-22-year-old New Mexicans, who are obtaining work skills while they complete their GED, will be working at the site for several months.

  • LA History Museum, county win state award

    It wasn’t just the thousands of visitors that noticed all the changes and enhancements to the Los Alamos History Museum. The Historical Society of New Mexico noticed, too. 

    Last week, the Los Alamos Historical Society announced the museum won the “Edgar Lee Hewett” award. 

    The award is presented by the Historical Society of New Mexico for “outstanding service to the people of New Mexico as related to New Mexico history.” 

    LA History Museum Director Heather McClenahan also gave credit to Los Alamos County for the award, since the museum also shares responsibility of the facilities with the county. 

    “Working together as partners, we’ve been able to do a lot to preserve our history over the past several years, and the Historical Society of New Mexico Historical Society has recognized that.” McClenahan said.

    The county owns the museum building and funded major renovations to the museum last year.

  • Local scientists to march at Roundhouse on Earth Day

    Local scientists plan to participate in a March for Science event in Santa Fe at the Roundhouse. The event is scheduled to coincide with Earth Day, April 22. 

    “All are encouraged to join with signs about their own reasons for marching for science. The rally will encourage support for and protection of our science-based research and discoveries, and the expo hopes to bring community members and orgs together to celebrate all that science does for us daily,” said local march organizer Cristina Olds, a graphic designer at Olds Creative in Los Alamos. “The goal is to unite in support of science that’s being threatened by the current administration.”

    The march is scheduled between 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The event will be on the steps of the Roundhouse, New Mexico’s State Capitol. 

    The event is expected to be family friendly, and will also feature booths, exhibits and science-based activities. 

    Speakers will include Nina Lanza, a planetary scientist and Mars geologist, scientists and AIDS researcher Bette Korber, climate modeling expert Todd Ringler, community activist Lindsay Conover and Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales.

  • Biannual Trinity Site tour to be met with protest

    TULAROSA (AP) — New Mexico residents living near the test site of the first atomic bomb plan to hold a demonstration as visitors caravan to the Trinity Site for a tour.
    The Alamogordo Daily News reports that the Tularosa Basin Downwinders advocacy group will be protesting Saturday.
    On July 16, 1945, scientists from the then-secret city of Los Alamos successfully exploded the first atomic bomb at the Trinity Site. The bomb later was dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
    The group says the test altered the gene pools of residents in surrounding communities. Members say descendants have been plagued with cancer and other illnesses.
    The group has been lobbying for compensation and apologies from the federal government for years.
    The Trinity Site is open to the public only on the first Saturdays in April and October.


  • New Mexico governor warns of furloughs, fiscal crisis

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — State employees could face the prospect of furloughs as New Mexico considers closing museums and other cultural sites and limiting the time children are in the classroom as officials look to save cash in the midst of what Gov. Susana Martinez on Monday called a crisis.
    Martinez outlined the state's grim fiscal outlook during a luncheon attended by business leaders. She spoke about the recent legislative session and her disappointment that lawmakers crafted a budget dependent upon hundreds of millions of dollars in tax increases and fee hikes.
    She vowed not to sign any of the tax measures and said she would soon be calling lawmakers back to Santa Fe to renegotiate the $6.1 billion budget for the next fiscal year and to address the shortage of operational funds for the current year.
    Cash reserves are dwindling, which will soon leave state finance officials unable to cut checks. The governor warned that will affect the state's ability to make payroll and pay contracts.
    "We are facing a crisis, and this has become truly a result of the inaction of our Legislature," Martinez said. "We are staring down the path of a government shutdown."

  • Martinez to consider bill to combine local elections

    SANTA FE (AP) — A piece of legislation awaiting Gov. Susana Martinez’s signature would reshape the political landscape for school boards, cities and other nonpartisan local governments in New Mexico by consolidating elections and putting them before voters in November every other year.

    The Albuquerque Journal reports that currently, such elections draw little attention, with some garnering zero ballots.

    Political analyst Brian Sanderoff says combining school board and municipal elections could boost turnout significantly. School elections draw maybe 5 percent turnout on their own, but Sanderoff says municipalities attract up to 45 percent.

    Municipalities would have the option of opting out of the combined elections.