Local News

  • Today in history May 5
  • Central Ave. work delayed

    Los Alamos County has rescheduled the warranty work on Central Avenue because of inclement weather.
    Starting May 9, the contractor will begin asphalt warranty work at the corner of Central Avenue and 20th Street. Motorists can expect flagging operations from 20th Street to Bathtub Row through May 11.
    The public is asked to contact the Public Works Department at 662-8150 or send an email to lacpw@lacnm.us, if they have questions.


  • Former chief files response

    Attorneys for former police chief Wayne Torpy recently replied to an insurance company’s claims that he violated a clause in its contract that caused the insurance company “Union Surety  and Indemnity Company,” to discontinue long-term health benefits to the retired former chief.
    The clause stated that Torpy would be given the benefit (60 percent of his monthly salary) if he became disabled and could no longer work.
    Torpy became disabled in 2012 after suffering a heart attack and a stroke. Torpy was Los Alamos County’s police chief for eight years. He officially retired in 2013.
    While the insurance company initially paid Torpy his long-term benefit, it ceased after USIC reps said he was also receiving benefits from a “government plan,” which apparently are not allowed under the contract he signed when he signed on as chief. USIC claims the government plans were retirement benefits he was receiving from his previous job as deputy chief of the Melbourne Police Department in Florida.
    “The pension the plaintiff receives from Melbourne is not paid to him by a government entity. It does not meet the definition of a government plan,” according to a statement from his attorneys. “Plaintiff was fully vested in the plan before his employment (with Los Alamos) began.”

  • LAPS gets top spot in national report

    Los Alamos Public Schools have once again received a high ranking in a national study conducted through the U.S. News & World Report news magazine and website.
    The Los Alamos Public School District was ranked top public district in New Mexico. Los Alamos High School was ranked fourth in the state by the national magazine.
    The U.S. News & World Report’s “Ranking and Advice” issue and survey is a 30-year tradition of national magazine.
    LAPS’s rankings were noted in the “Education Rankings” section.
    “For public schools, we’re No. 1, because the other schools were charter schools and they’re able to get a higher ranking, because they’re smaller,” said Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus.
    Steinhaus said he found out about the achievement like everyone else, through the website at usnews.com.
    The publication has been coming out with the annual survey and ranking issue since 1983 as way to give its readers the best choice in whatever it is they’re seeking, whether that’s a new car, medicine or education.

  • Council OKs pay hikes

    During last week’s budget hearings, the Los Alamos County Council voted 6−1 to approve $428,674 to bring approximately 100 county salaries in line with the market. Vice Chair Susan O’Leary opposed the motion.
    County Manager Harry Burgess explained the reason for the request. According to personnel regulations approved by council, staff is required to conduct a market study comparing the county’s salary structure to other counties every four years, and to propose adjustments if appropriate.
    The Human Resources Division recommends positions for evaluation that have issues such as difficulties with recruitment.
    This year’s market study revealed several positions that were being compensated below market values, some as many as four or five grades below parity.
    According to Burgess, raising salaries for those positions also affects job “families.”
    “So if you have a certain position such as an equipment operator, it also typically moves parallel with an apprentice operator as well as a senior operator…We want to have appropriate spread between the various grades to incentivize people to promote through the ranks,” Burgess said.

  • NNSA manager optimistic about LANL budget

    National Nuclear Security Administration’s field office manager in Los Alamos Kim Davis Lebak talked with local leaders last week about next year’s budget, the status of the Los Alamos National Security contract, and various environmental and construction projects the NNSA will oversee.
    Los Alamos National Laboratory could receive more money for its billion-dollar budget than last year’s budget, Lebak said.
    President Barack Obama’s requested budget for LANL is $2.2 billion, compared to this year’s enacted budget of $1.95 billion.
    “That a nice, strong hardy budget,” Lebak said. “Our friends in Congress are doing their work was we speak... it’s a good solid budget, it’s strong, and we have tons of scope to do.”
    She also talked about the NNSA’s total budget, using numbers directly from president’s budget request to Congress.
    For fiscal year 2017, President Obama requested $12.9 billion for the NNSA, which is $357 million more than the enacted budget of 2016.

  • Council approves FY2017 budget

    Los Alamos County Council unanimously approved a fiscal year 2017 budget of $188,398,147 Monday.
    After four previous nights of wrangling over budget options proposed by each department, the vote for final budget approval proceeded without additional discussion.
    After the vote, several councilors applauded the process for this year’s budget hearings. Council had asked staff to present a flat budget, along with optional items for approval.
    Each department presented the flat budget as requested, then made their case for additional areas they felt required more funding.
    Some of those requests were new, such as the option to create a placeholder for a full-time county clerk’s salary (council will consider whether to change the clerk’s position to full time at a later meeting) or  $56,672 to staff the new kitchen at the White Rock Senior Center.
    Other requests were to restore funding that had been cut in order to maintain a flat budget. One such request was to return $29,677 to the Los Alamos Police Department’s budget in order to fully fund anticipated overtime. The Community Services Department asked for inflationary increases for contracts with service providers such as the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board and the Los Alamos Family Strengths Network so they would not have to reduce services.

  • Police Beat 5-1-16

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department Records. Charges or citations listed in Police Beat do not imply innocence or guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested, served a court summons, or issued a citation.

    April 20
    7:05 p.m. — Police reported that a 60-year-old Los Alamos woman was the victim of fraudulent use of a credit card to obtain less than $300 at Diamond Drive.

    April 21
    10 a.m. — Police reported that a 14-year-old Espanola male was arrested for unlawful possession of switchblades in the 2000 block of Hawk Drive.

    9:52 p.m. — Justin Harwood, 31, of Sany Ysidro was arrested on a magistrate court bench warrant in Sandoval County. The original charge was driving with a suspended or revoked license at the intersection of Canyon Road and Diamond Drive on Feb. 27.

    April 22
    10:32 p.m. — Raymond Ortiz, 27, of Santa Fe was arrested on a misdemeanor warrant from another jurisdiction in the 3000 block of West Road.

    April 24

    3:18 p.m. — Police reported that a 37-year-old Los Alamos woman was the victim of a larceny (less than $250) at Camino Mora.

  • On the Docket 5-1-16

    April 21
    Gabriel De La Cruz paid a $50 fine for having an unhitched trailer.

    Karen Lucero was found guilty at the time of traffic stop of failing to pay court costs/fines. Defendant was fined $50 and must also pay $65 in court costs.  

    Oliver Garduno-Lopez was found guilty at the time of traffic stop of speeding 11 to 15 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $75 and must also pay $65 in court costs.

    April 22
    Matthew T. Tucker paid a $50 fine for improper standing, stopping, or parking

    Megan Montoya was found guilty at the time of traffic stop of speeding one to five miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $25 and must also pay $65 in court costs.

    Julia Obrien  was found guilty at the time of traffic stop of failing to obey a sign. Defendant was fined $50 and must also pay $65 in court costs.

    Jerawan Armstrong was found guilty at the time of traffic stop of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and must also pay $65 in court costs.

  • LAFD practice rescue