Local News

  • Confusion over military exercises causes Pojoaque schools lockdown

    JACONITA (AP) — Miscommunication involving military exercises by the Air National Guard at Kirtland Air Force Base caused a lockdown at Pojoaque Valley schools.
    The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office says it received two anonymous 911 calls Wednesday that there was going to be a shooting at the high school, causing all Pojoaque schools to be placed on lockdown.
    On Thursday, sheriff’s officials said two school employees who are members of the Air National Guard received automated text messages regarding an active shooter exercise.
    The text was sent to all base members and was misunderstood as a real threat.
    Kirtland Air Force Base said in a statement Thursday saying they regret the disruption to schools and any undue alarm.

  • LA scientist part of NASA’s group in meteorite hunt

    Nina Lanza of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Space and Remote Sensing group was selected as one of eight members for the 2015-16 field campaign of the Antarctica Search for Meteorites program, which is supported by NASA.
    “These meteorites can help us understand the formation and evolution of our solar system,” Lanza said. “They come from planets, their moons and asteroids. Few of these solar system bodies will be visited by NASA in our lifetimes and this is a superb opportunity to collect material from across the solar system without having to leave the Earth.”
    The ANSMET program’s mission is to find and collect meteorites in Antarctica.
    Although meteorites land randomly all across Earth, Antarctica is the premier location for finding them because they are spotted more easily against the backdrop of the Antarctic ice.
    This year marks the 40th anniversary of the ANSMET meteorite program.

  • Access to reservoir restricted through June

    Pedestrian and motor vehicle access to the Los Alamos Reservoir will be restricted Monday through June. Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities awarded a contract to CBKN Dirtworks Inc. to restore the reservoir after several flood events filled it with sediment and compromised the access road.
    Department officials warn that construction crews with heavy equipment will be utilizing the single dirt road leading to the Los Alamos Canyon Dam and Reservoir, rendering the road and the surrounding area unsafe for hikers and/or cyclists.
    Restoration work includes draining and dredging debris and sediment from the reservoir, reconstructing the access road and installing a pedestrian bridge over the dam’s spillway.  
    Project funding was authorized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency through a disaster declaration for the September 2013 flood event. The department’s intent is to have the reservoir operational for summer.   
    For additional information, call the Department of Public Utilities at 662-8333.

  • Police Beat 11-8-15

    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.

    Oct. 29
    7:58 p.m. — Matthew Springer, 45, of Albuquerque was arrested through a magistrate court bench warrant.

    Oct. 30
    12:11 p.m. — A 25-year-old McIntosh woman told police she was the victim of menacing behavior.
    9:30 p.m. — Ashley Fragua, 22, was arrested for marijuana possession (less than 1 ounce) at the Mesa Public Library.

    Oct. 31
    7:48 a.m. — A 75-year-old Los Alamos man told police he was the victim of criminal damage to property (less than $1,000) at Piedra Loop.
    8:28 a.m. — A 66-year-old Los Alamos woman told police she was the victim of criminal damage to property (less than $1,000) at La Senda Road.
    8:30 a.m. — A 69-year-old Los Alamos man told police he was the victim of criminal damage to property (less than $1,000) at La Senda Road.

  • School roof patchwork
  • Heroin arrestee accepts plea deal, won’t do time

    Santa Fe resident David Mondragon, 34, who was caught with a large amount of heroin in his possession in Los Alamos in February, accepted a plea deal this week and won’t have to do any jail time.
    As a part of his plea deal, he pleaded guilty in two cases. In his Los Alamos case, Mondragon received nine years incarceration with nine years suspended and five years of supervised probation with drug court.
    Assistant District Attorney Kent Wahlquist also sentenced Mondragon for a driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol stemming from a March arrest in Rio Arriba County. For that charge, he was sentenced to 90 days in jail with 90 days suspended, one year of supervised probation with no fine (except mandatory court costs), alcohol screening and treatment and an interlock device on his car. Mondragon must also attend DWI School, perform 24 hours of community service and a victim’s impact program.
    Wahlquist also said the sentences will run concurrently, and the remaining charges in both cases will be dismissed. In his Los Alamos case, that includes the charge of trying to bring drugs into jail, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

  • Local celebration at 10 a.m. Wednesday at visitors center

    The local celebration of the signing of the memorandum of agreement is 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Visitors Center at 425 20th St., adjacent to the Teen Center.
    The ceremony includes remarks by county and DOE officials, a musical performance by local schoolchildren and the unveiling of the National Park Service plaque.
    Enjoy a demonstration of an app developed by LANL showing Manhattan Project era versus present day structures from noon-2 p.m. at Ashley Pond.
    No bus tours of the LANL Manhattan Project sites are being offered.
    The event will be co-celebrated with local WWII veterans as part of the Los Alamos Combined Veterans and Community Organizations annual Veterans Day ceremony.
    That non-county event starts at 11:11 a.m. at Fuller Lodge, with a ceremony followed by a complementary lunch at noon.

  • Manhattan Project Park signing set

    The Manhattan Project National Historical Park passes another milestone Tuesday when Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz sign a memorandum of agreement formally establishing the park.  
    Los Alamos County Council Chair Kristin Henderson, Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Cultural Resources Historian Ellen McGehee, Los Alamos Historical Society Executive Director Heather McClenahan, Fran Berting, a member of Manhattan Project Park Advisory Committee who was active during legislative efforts, and Dr. Ben Neal, also a member of the advisory committee, will travel to Washington for the ceremony.
    Los Alamos holds its own celebration Wednesday.
    The park is the culmination of 10 years of effort by the three communities included within its boundaries: Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Hanford, Wash. The idea originated with Cynthia Kelly, founder and president of the Atomic Heritage Foundation. Attempts at passing legislation began in 2004.
    Historical society director emeritus Hedy Dunn was among those whom Kelly approached for support.

  • On the Docket 11-6-15

    Oct. 20
    Brandy N. Land was fined $50 for stopping, standing or parking prohibited in a specified places.
    Jared P. Melson was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of possession of marijuana. Defendant must also pay $60 in court costs. Sentence deferred until Dec. 18.
    David Robbins was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of failing to display rabies tag(s) on his animal(s) and having animals at large. Defendant was fined $25 and must also pay $120 in court costs.

    Oct. 21
    Scott A. Beguin was found guilty of speeding 11-15 mph over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and must pay $65 in court costs.
    Gina Smith was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of having animals at large. Defendant was fined $50 and must pay $60 in court costs.

    Oct. 22
    John H. Martinez pleaded no contest in Los Alamos Municipal Court to speeding 6-10 mph over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and must pay $65 in court costs.
    Anne. K Raymo pleaded no contest in Los Alamos Municipal Court to speeding 6-10 mph over the speed limit. Defendant must pay $65 in court costs. Sentencing deferred until Dec. 21. Defendant also sentenced to defensive driving school.

  • Council delays recreational bond issue

    With the majority of the Los Alamos County Council behind the idea of asking voters to decide on a bond issue for funding recreational Capital Improvement Projects, staff has asked for direction about timing.
    At Tuesday’s council meeting, Deputy County Manager/Chief Financial Officer Steven Lynne asked whether council wanted the bond issue placed on the November 2016 ballot.
    Lynne described the steps involved in that process.
    Council must decide whether to ask for a general obligation or a gross receipt tax bond, which projects to include in the next Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) cycle, the aggregate amount of money to allocate and how much of that would be bond financed.
    Preliminary conceptual design and cost estimates must be developed so information related to bond financed projects would be available to the electorate. Lynne pointed out that the capital projects development cycle would need to be accelerated and perhaps truncated (including fewer opportunities for public participation) to meet deadlines for the 2016 ballot.
    Staff must complete administrative tasks associated with placing a bond election question on the ballot.
    All those steps would have to be completed in time to introduce the bond issue by July 12 for council to vote on by Aug. 2.