Local News

  • Spending bill gets through House

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Swapping crisis for compromise, the House narrowly approved $1.1 trillion in government-wide spending Thursday night after President Barack Obama and Republicans joined forces to override Democratic complaints that the bill would also ease bank regulations imposed after the economy’s near-collapse in 2008.
    The 219-206 vote cleared the way for a final showdown in the Senate on the bill — the last major measure of a two-year Congress far better known for gridlock than for bipartisan achievement.
    Hours before the vote, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi delivered a rare public rebuke to Obama, saying she was “enormously disappointed” he had decided to embrace legislation that she described as an attempt at blackmail by Republicans.
    The White House stated its own objections to the bank-related proposal and other portions of the bill in a written statement.
    Even so, officials said Obama and Vice President Joe Biden both telephoned Democrats to secure the votes needed for passage, and the president stepped away from a White House Christmas party reception line to make last-minute calls.

  • Council nixes ski hill service

    On Tuesday, the Los Alamos County Council rejected the idea of providing shuttle service to the Pajarito Mountain Ski Hill from December through March.
    Discussion on this item began at council’s Nov. 14 meeting, when only six councilors were present. Councilor Pete Sheehey, who had asked staff to prepare some options for providing the service, moved that the topic be tabled until all councilors were present.
    “This is one thing we can do to encourage the success of the new management of the ski area, and I still think that’s true even though they’re not going to be making snow so their hours aren’t going to be as long,” Sheehey said on Tuesday.
    The four alternatives presented by Public Works Director Philo Shelton were as follows:

  • Getting Reactions

    A Japanese TV crew, representing Tokyo Broadcast System, was on Central Avenue Thursday afternoon asking residents for their opinions about the proposed Manhattan Project National Park. The park has been proposed to honor World War II era work, which culminated in the bombing of the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Senate vote on the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes the proposal for the park, was scheduled for this afternoon in Washington D.C.

  • Airline service is grounded

    New Mexico Airlines, which provides service to and from Los Alamos Airport and the Sunport in Albuquerque, is currently not running any flights in the state.
    The airline, which has a contract with the county to provide service, and is subsidized by the county, stated in an email to Los Alamos County that it was suspending service indefinitely.
    It’s unclear exactly what the airline or the county is planning to do to resolve the situation.
    Officials from Pacific Wings, which operates New Mexico Airlines, however, told public works director Philo Shelton it had contacted customers about rescheduling flights.
    “We cannot speak on behalf of Pacific Wings, or New Mexico Airlines. It would be inappropriate for us to comment on their operations or efforts in contacting customers,” Shelton said in a press release from the county. “However, we will say that we are concerned and are evaluating our options, should we need to take a different course of action with our contract for service, so that we are prepared if this situation is not corrected in the near future.”
    New Mexico Airlines began flights between Los Alamos and Albuquerque in April 2013. The airline has a contract with the county that runs through June 2015.

  • Today in history Dec. 12
  • New Mexico Airlines currently not flying

    New Mexico Airlines, which flies to Los Alamos Airport and the Albuquerque Sunport, is currently grounding its flights around the state.

    FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford told KOAT-TV that New Mexico Airlines recently decided to ground its planes because of mechanical issues. The airline primarily flies smaller aircraft that seat up to nine passengers.

    Airline officials did not immediately return a call for comment Friday morning, but a reservation center agent told the Associated Press that flights are canceled until further notice.

    Los Alamos County issued a statement this morning, saying it had contacted New Mexico Airlines. Philo Shelton, the county's public works director, said New Mexico Airlines is hoping to have the problem resolved by the end of the week.

    The county subsidizes flights by New Mexico Airlines out of Los Alamos Airport. The contract with the airport runs through June 2015.

    Check LAMonitor.com for more information.

  • UPDATED: Fewer dollars for cleanup in federal budget

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Recovery efforts stemming from a radiation leak at the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository could get a $100 million boost in federal funding under a budget measure pending in Congress.
    The U.S. Senate was expected to vote on the $1.1 trillion appropriations bill Friday, a day after it narrowly passed the House.
    The measure also calls for slashing funding for cleanup of long-term radioactive and hazardous waste at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The lab was on track to meet a major milestone this year for packing up and shipping tons of Cold War-era waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, or WIPP, before one of its containers ruptured and forced the indefinite closure of the repository.
    The lab was pressured by Gov. Susana Martinez's administration to remove thousands of barrels of waste from outdoor storage by the summer.
    That deadline came and went, and now hazardous waste cleanup efforts at Los Alamos and other U.S. Department of Energy facilities across the country are stalled thanks to WIPP's closure.
    Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has said reopening WIPP is a priority.
    While some cleanup projects at the lab have been downsized, watchdog groups voiced concerns that cutting Los Alamos' funding would send the wrong message.

  • Update 12-11-14

    County Council

    The next scheduled meeting of the Los Alamos County Council is at 7 p.m. Dec. 16 at the municipal building.

    Meeting canceled

    The Juvenile Justice Advisory Board’s Dec. 17 meeting has been canceled because of holiday conflicts. JJAB’s next meeting will be 6 p.m. Jan. 21, in Building No. 1, Camino Entrada Road.

    Tree permits

    Santa Fe National Forest will continue to sell Christmas tree permits from now until Dec. 24. Permits can be purchased at any SFNF ranger station or, locally, at the Los Alamos Historical Museum.

    Luminaria sand

    Los Alamos County’s Traffic and Streets division is again providing free sand for residents for making luminarias.
    Sand for luminarias — also called farolitos — is available at the following locations around Los Alamos County:

    • Overlook Park, south parking lot
    • Urban Park, 42nd Stree parking area
    • Sullivan Field
    • Barranca Road at Navajo Street on Barranca Mesa
    • North Mesa soccer fields

  • CYFD asks for $10M

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — It will take an infusion of about $10 million if New Mexico wants to move ahead with and expand reforms to improve the way child abuse cases are investigated and tracked in New Mexico, child welfare officials told lawmakers Wednesday.
    The Children, Youth and Families Department made its case for the funding during a Legislative Finance Committee meeting.
    The request encompasses the costs of numerous policy changes and directives the agency made in the wake of the death of Omaree Varela, a 9-year-old Albuquerque boy who police say was repeatedly kicked by his mother. The case set off a firestorm of criticism against Albuquerque police and the child welfare agency for not removing the boy from his home after receiving earlier reports of abuse.
    Jennifer Padgett, the agency’s deputy secretary, acknowledged the gaps identified by the Varela case and told lawmakers the reforms are targeted at making sure cases such as Omaree’s don’t fall through the cracks.
    “Can we say 100 percent that there will not be another tragedy at the hands of a child’s parents? No. Do we have the infrastructure and the proactive measures in place to do everything we can to prevent it? We’re working on that,” she said.

  • Passing The Time

    Sisters Sara and Caroline Khan keep themselves busy while mom does some Christmas shopping at the Fuller Lodge Arts Center. Residents were out in full force Saturday as they shopped till they dropped during Winterfest, the annual celebration organized by Los Alamos MainStreet.