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Local News

  • Forecasters warn of heavy rain, flash flooding in New Mexico

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Forecasters with the National Weather Service are warning that the northern two-thirds of New Mexico will likely see heavy rain and flash flooding over the next couple days.

    The forecast calls for anywhere between an inch and 3 inches of rain across eastern New Mexico through Friday along with a flash flood threat Wednesday east of the central mountains. Severe thunderstorms also will be possible east of the Continental Divide on Wednesday and Thursday.

    Many rivers are already running above normal due to recent storms, and forecasters say the heavy rainfall expected through Friday could result in rapid increases.

    According to the weather service, September ended up being wetter than normal for much of New Mexico. Several communities received more than 4 inches of rain over a 10-day period.
     

  • Vegas gunman set up cameras inside his room and outside

    By KEN RITTER and MIKE BALSAMO, Associated Press

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Las Vegas gunman planned his massacre so meticulously that he even set up cameras inside his high-rise hotel room and on a service cart outside his door, apparently to spot anyone coming for him, the sheriff said Tuesday.

    Meanwhile, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo named the gunman's girlfriend as a "person of interest" and said the FBI is bringing her back to the U.S. for questioning as investigators try to determine why Stephen Paddock killed 59 people in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

    Investigators have been speaking with Marilou Danley, who is traveling in the Philippines, and "we anticipate some information from her shortly," Lombardo said.

    Lombardo said he is "absolutely" confident authorities will find out what set off Paddock, a 64-year-old high-stakes gambler and retired accountant who killed himself before police stormed his 32nd-floor room.

    The cameras Paddock set up at the Mandalay Bay hotel casino were part of the extensive preparations that included stockpiling nearly two dozen guns before opening fire from his perch on the closing night of a three-day country music festival below.

  • New Mexico land commissioner cancels run for Congress

    SANTA FE (AP) — A spokeswoman for New Mexico State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn says he has canceled his campaign for Congress.

    State Land Office Spokeswoman Kristin Haase said Monday that Dunn has changed his mind and will not seek the GOP nomination, without providing a reason.

    Dunn, a Republican, had been a prominent contender to succeed U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, who is running for governor.

    Dunn was elected in 2014 to lead an agency that oversees state trust lands and leases that help fund schools, universities and hospitals.

    It was unclear whether Dunn would seek re-election as land commissioner next year.

    The governor's race has set off a game of musical chairs in New Mexico politics as Pearce and Democratic U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham of Albuquerque decline to seek re-election to Congress.
     

  • United Blood Services taking donations for Las Vegas victims

    Los Alamos-area residents who are seeking to donate blood in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting can do so at United Blood Services offices.

    United Blood Services’ Santa Fe Office is accepting blood donations to help its Las Vegas office for those injured in the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

  • WR woman accused of embezzling funds from football, cheerleading league

    A White Rock woman accused last week of embezzling funds from a nonprofit children’s football and cheerleading league faced a similar charge in 2005, according to a Los Alamos Police detective investigating the current allegation.

    Tabatha Jones, 34, was accused in a case of missing money 12 years ago, according to a police report he found, said Det. Ryan Wolking.

    Apparently, the case against Jones, who had a different last name at the time, was not pursued by the District Attorney’s Office in Santa Fe at the time, said Wolking.

    Jones was arrested last week and charged with embezzlement over $2,500 and under $20,000, a third-degree felony, according to records available at the New Mexico Courts website. Following an appearance in Magistrate Court in Los Alamos, Jones was released.

    Once a board member for the Los Alamos Youth Football and Cheerleading League, Jones began facing questions regarding fees and other financial issues in August, said Annmarie Villegas, executive director of the league’s nonprofit umbrella organization, Northern New Mexico Children’s Football League.

  • Homecoming 2017
  • Sniper in high-rise hotel kills at least 58 in Las Vegas

    By SALLY HO and REGINA GARCIA CANO, Associated Press

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — A gunman on the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel-casino rained heavy fire down on a crowd of over 22,000 at an outdoor country music festival, turning the expanse into a killing field from which there was little escape. At least 58 people died.

    It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. At least 515 people were injured.

    The FBI discounted the possibility of international terrorism, even after the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. But beyond that, the motive remained a mystery, with Sheriff Joseph Lombardo saying: "I can't get into the mind of a psychopath at this point."

    Concertgoers screamed and ran for their lives Sunday night outside the 44-story Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino after hearing what at first sounded like firecrackers but turned out to be dozens of bullets in rapid-fire bursts, perhaps from an automatic weapon.

    SWAT teams using explosives stormed the gunman's hotel room in the gold-colored glass skyscraper and found he had killed himself. The attacker, Stephen Craig Paddock, a 64-year-old retiree from Mesquite, Nevada, had as many as 10 guns with him, including rifles.

  • LANL engineer looks for partners for cheap space flight

    Joseph Archer wants to start a company to take ordinary citizens into space.

    With all the millions of dollars spent on space tourism today, the Los Alamos National Laboratory radiological safety employee has a plan to do it more efficiently, and cheaper.

    His first step is to get a group of investors together who are genuinely enthusiastic and interested in the idea.

    “If I were to go out and say ‘invest in this idea’… I don’t generally subscribe to that. You should invest in things you have a say in,” Archer said.

    Archer, of Hernandez, New Mexico, is hoping that lab retirees and others who have harbored the same dream he’s had all these years will invest in his idea.

    He is looking for10 to 20 investors who will also serve on a board. All members will have equal say.

  • WIPP officials expect rock fall within a month

    Waste Isolation Pilot Plant officials assured the public Thursday that they’ve planned accordingly for a rock fall event in one of the facility’s underground storage rooms. The fall is expected in Room 6 in Panel 7.

    According to equipment monitoring the situation, the rock fall should come from the ceiling, and could happen within four to six weeks. The room has been off limits for a year, and it only has radiologically contaminated equipment in it.

    “We have the geo techs and the engineers all looking at that, and we feel very comfortable that by having the brattice cloth and the chain link (at strategic locations) we shouldn’t have an issue,”  Nuclear Waste Partnership President Bruce Covert said. 

    Officials have also been talking with workers who work in panel 7 of what will happen when the fall occurs.

    “Now, we’ll probably will have a little spread of contamination coming, but again, we’re anticipating that and we’ve been reworking the operations plan to when we do have the rockfall, what will be the reentry plan,” Covert said.

    WIPP contains eight waste panels with seven rooms each. Each room is 300-feet long, 33-feet wide and 13-feet high. The pillars separating the rooms are about 100-feet thick.

  • LAPS takes lead in proposed new state science standards

    Los Alamos School District representatives have been asked to take the lead against new science standards proposed by the state Public Education Department, members of the school board heard Thursday.

    Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus said he met with superintendents and principals from other northern New Mexico schools in Santa Fe recently, where they asked about Los Alamos Schools’ view of the proposals.

    The proposed standards – which are rules – have drawn fire for dropping or replacing language from a national model of science standards regarding climate change, evolution and the age of the planet.

    “They wanted to know what Los Alamos schools would be doing,” Steinhaus said.

    Representatives from other school districts asked for copies of the board’s resolution – adopted Thursday – which calls for the state to adopt a national model, developed in 2013, called Next Generation Science Standards. The board’s resolution asks for modifications recognizing New Mexico’s ecology, natural phenomenon, and its multitude of energy resources.

    “The original draft (from PED) was weighted heavily on the oil and gas industry. We’ve added alternative energy,” Steinhaus said.