Local News

  • NTSB releases initial report on plane crash

    The National Transportation Safety Board’s initial report into a plane crash that killed two Los Alamos residents in March has revealed no mechanical problems.
    It is customary for the NTSB to release an initial report on all aviation accidents, then follow up later with a final, more thorough report, when an actual cause is also listed.
    Los Alamos residents Karen Young, 46, and Thomas Spickermann, 53, were killed in the accident that occurred around 4 p.m. March 11 at the Ohkey Owingeh Airport on the Ohkey Owingey Pueblo, near Española. Young was reportedly the pilot.
    They were the only people aboard the rental plane, a single engine, special light sport aircraft manufactured by Remos, called a “Remos GX.”
    Officials from the airplane rental company said Young and Spickermann had rented the two-seater plane in order to become familiar with the takeoff and landing procedures at the Los Alamos Airport, 32 miles away.
    Just before the crash, eyewitness reported that the plane’s engine sounded “normal.”

  • Star party, walking tour at Bandelier

    Bandelier National Monument will offer two programs Saturday to celebrate the park’s Centennial – a tour of the historic structures and an evening opportunity to skywatch.
    The park’s Historic Preservation crew director will lead a walk to look at the Pueblo Revival style stone buildings built in Frijoles Canyon by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. No signups are required.
    The walk will meet at 1 p.m. in front of the Visitor Center, and participants should bring water and wear comfortable shoes. The walk is expected to last 1-2 hours, and there is no charge except for the usual park entry fee.
    That evening, the park will host a Star Party as part of national Dark Sky Week. Many telescopes will be set up in the parking lot of the amphitheater in Juniper Campground to give visitors the chance to look at celestial sights that may include stars, planets, galaxies and lots of dark matter. The star party will be an open-house style. Visitors can arrive any time between 8-10 p.m. to look through the telescopes, and go home when they get cold or sleepy. There is no charge.
    For more information on happenings at Bandelier, check the website at nps.gov/band, or follow the Facebook page, BandelierNPS.

  • LAHS parent night Monday

    Los Alamos High School will host Sophomore Parent Night at 6 p.m. April 11 in the Speech Theater. Parents of current LAHS sophomores are invited to this informative evening.
    “Sophomore Parent Night gives parents an opportunity to learn what the counselors are doing in the classroom with the sophomores in the month of April, as well providing a review of this information for the students,” Cindy Black said, one of the guidance counselors at the high school. “The presentation focuses on what students and parents need to be doing at this stage to get ready for life after high school.”
    One topic to be discussed will be Naviance, a web-based platform that provides tools for career, college and success planning.
    Other topics will be the college admission process, including college searches, scholarships/financial aid, testing and college visits.
    There will be some focus on summer programs and community service as well as early college classes and dual enrollment options.
    For more information about Sophomore Parent Night, contact the LAHS Guidance Office at 663-2797.

  • Dyson faces 2 more charges

    Los Alamos County Sheriff Marco Lucero plans to charge James Jeremiah Dyson, 41, with two counts of felony failing to comply with The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.   
    Dyson was arrested by federal authorities April 2 in Santa Fe after allegedly being on the run since November of 2015.
    Dyson faces two charges following an interview Lucero had with him in Santa Fe, shortly after he turned himself in. Dyson told him that he was homeless and camping in the Valles Caldera.
    Since the Caldera is in Sandoval County, Lucero said he will be charging Dyson with two felony counts of failing to comply with the sex offender and notification act. One count is for failing to notify the sheriff’s office he left Los Alamos County and the other for failing to notify the sheriff’s office that he was homeless.
    Lucero’s office became involved shortly after Dyson allegedly fled the county, tracking down rumors about where he could be. It wasn’t until Dyson turned himself in to federal authorities Lucero was able to interview him.

  • Council OKs White Rock senior center contract

    The Los Alamos County Council unanimously approved a joint motion on Tuesday that will allow the remodel of the White Rock Senior Center/Civic Center complex to move forward.
    The motion included approval of a $268,092 grant from the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department for outfitting a commercial kitchen at the senior center. Council also awarded a $3,965,000 construction agreement to R and M Construction LLC.
    The project includes complete renovation of all four buildings at the complex, new mechanical equipment, demolition and reconstruction of parking lots and an upgrade to meet LEED Silver Certification standards.
    The construction award includes a $1,666,861 budget revision to the original design estimate, slightly lower than the $1.8 million  increase originally estimated. Construction of the kitchen, installation of a new waterline and replacement of aging utility systems were some of the factors contributing to the higher cost.
    The project is expected to be finished in November.
    County Lobbyist Scott Scanland also provided an update on the 2016 legislative session. Scanland has been the county’s lobbyist for 23 years.
    “I’m here to report actually very good news,” Scanland said. “Los Alamos County had a very successful session this year.”

  • LAPS seeks input on funding

    The Los Alamos School Board is right in the middle of a series of public forums it hopes will help it and the administration better match funding to help educate Los Alamos students.
    At a meeting in White Rock Tuesday, Superintendent of Schools Kurt Steinhaus introduced the audience to its proposed budget (expected to be finalized in May), and a draft of its new “Strategic Plan.”
    Steinhaus told them what they were going to do and how members of the audience could help them by providing input.
    The administration and the school board were primarily interested in how they would like Los Alamos County residents to spend the “State Equalization Guarantee” portion of the budget, which are education funds allotted to Los Alamos from the state.
    “We’re doing what’s ideal,” said Steinhaus. “We’re having the school board develop a strategic plan and a direction, and then we build a budget to implement that plan. So, your comments tonight… can be about the strategic plan or about the budget, or a mixture of both.”
    The current school budget is for $55 million. That’s $40.5 million in operating funds, $3.5 million in special revenue funds and $10.9 million in capital projects funds.

  • ‘Jessica, our angel’

    Hundreds of mourners showed up at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Trinity Road Wednesday to pay their last respects to Jessica Dawni Fleming, a Los Alamos resident who was known by many throughout the county.  
    Not only was she a wife, sibling, aunt and a daughter, she seemed to make friends wherever she went.
    “I went through a very rough time in my life and she was my rock and I will always be indebted to her for what she did for me,” said Agatha Marquez, who was the general manager of the Holiday Inn Express in Los Alamos from Aug. 2009 to Aug. 2015. “She taught me how to love and forgive and to be at peace with myself. I love her and will always love her.”
    By all accounts she took her job as a front desk agent seriously, Marquez said.
    “I remember one day I had meetings set up all day and she had the flu and she still came in.”  But even when she was home sick, or supposed to be, Marquez recalled that Fleming kept calling in to make sure the hotel was OK.
    “That was just the type of person she was,” Marquez said. “Always putting other people first which is probably why she was such a good front desk agent and friend.”
    She worked hard at her flower arranging, too, so much so that many people around town knew her as the “flower girl.”

  • Council rejects roundabout petition

    Los Alamos County Council rejected a petition Tuesday aimed at stopping a roundabout planned for the Trinity Drive/Central Avenue intersection and putting a 10-year moratorium on roundabouts in the county.
    The vote was 6–1, with Councilor Pete Sheehey voting against the motion.
    The two-lane roundabout is part of a New Mexico Department of Transportation upgrade to NM 502, and is at 90-percent design completion.
    William Mead – who presented on behalf of the petitioners – called the proposed roundabout ugly and confusing to out-of-town visitors.
    “There are local rules that evolve for using roundabouts, and mixing a local crowd with an out of town crowd is likely to be a safety hazard and certainly unpleasant for visitors,” Mead said.
    Mead also contented that two-lane roundabouts have built in conflicts, especially in the case of aggressive drivers, which are “only resolved by drivers’ wits.”
    “It’s well known and widely advertised that roundabouts are dangerous for pedestrians, bicycles and motorcycles,” Mead said.

  • Today in history April 7
  • ‘Longmire’ shoots in LA

    Sheriff Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor) greeted Aihnoa Briano-Medina and other locals on the set of “Longmire” in Los Alamos Monday.
    The show filmed scenes at a private home in a Barranca Mesa neighborhood and another outside the gates at Guaje Pines Cemetery.
    All activities were coordinated with Los Alamos County Parks, Recreation and Traffic divisions. Look for Los Alamos locations in episode 2 of the final season 5 of “Longmire.”