Local News

  • New video said to show ISIS beheadings

    CAIRO (AP) — A video purporting to show the mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages was released Sunday by militants in Libya affiliated with the Islamic State group.

    The killings raise the possibility that the Islamic militant group — which controls about a third of Syria and Iraq in a self-declared caliphate — has established a direct affiliate less than 500 miles (800 kilometers) from the southern tip of Italy. One of the militants in the video makes direct reference to that possibility, saying the group now plans to "conquer Rome."

    The militants had been holding 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians hostage for weeks, all laborers rounded up from the city of Sirte in December and January. It was not clear from the video whether all 21 hostages were killed. It was one of the first such beheading videos from an Islamic State group affiliate to come from outside the group's core territory in Syria and Iraq.

    The Associated Press could not immediately independently verify the video. But the Egyptian government and the Coptic Church, which is based in Egypt, both declared it authentic.

    The Egyptian government declared a seven-day mourning period and President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi addressed the nation late Sunday night, pledging resilience in the fight against terrorism.

  • Today in history Feb. 16
  • Today in history Feb. 15
  • Making Progress in White Rock

    A worker checks out one of the studs at the construction area in White Rock across the street from Smith’s. Los Alamos County will have meetings this week in White Rock to update the public about improvements to the Sherwood Boulevard area. One meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and the other for 3:30 p.m. Thursday. Call Louise Romero at 662-8145 or Jane Volz at 662-8349 with questions.

  • More snow expected in Boston

    BOSTON (AP) — Mother Nature is proving to be cold-hearted to New England for Valentine’s Day.
    A blizzard warning was in effect for coastal areas from Connecticut to Maine on Saturday for a fourth major storm in less than a month, promising heavy snow and powerful winds to heap more misery on a region that has already seen more than 6 feet of snow in some areas.
    The storm is expected continue into Sunday then bring bone-chilling cold behind it. Snow ranging from 8 to 14 inches in southern New England up to two feet in Maine is forecast, followed by temperatures expected to dip below zero.
    National Weather Service meteorologist William Babcock said the snow might let up overnight then “come back full force” by Sunday morning.
    “On Sunday, the best thing people can do is stay home, stay indoors,” he said.
    Babcock said the relatively dry snow will easily be blown and drifted by steady, widespread winds of over 20 mph and gusts that could max out at 75 mph — hurricane territory — on Cape Cod.
    Officials warned of possible power outages and north-facing or vulnerable coastal areas could suffer flooding and beach erosion, the National Weather Service said.

  • Update 2-17-15

    Library open

    Mesa Public Library will be open from noon-5 p.m. Monday. Most other Los Alamos County offices will be closed in observance of Presidents Day.

    County Council

    The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Los Alamos County Council is Tuesday. The meeting will be at 7 p.m. in council chambers.


    The North Central Regional Transit District will hold a series of public meetings next week to solicit input on the development of its long-range strategies. Meetings are scheduled for Wednesday from 10 a.m.-noon in Taos and 2-4 p.m. in Española. Thursday meetings are scheduled from 10 a.m.-noon in Los Alamos and 2-4 p.m. in Santa Fe. Los Alamos’ meeting will be at the Municipal Building.

    BPU meeting

    The Board of Public Utilities will meet at the Municipal Bulding at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

    Engineers' Dinner

    The Los Alamos Engineering Council will host a dinner featuring guest speaker Cleve Moler, Feb. 25 at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. To RSVP, call 667-5772.

  • Ordinance returns to council

    The proposed electric rate ordinance comes before the Los Alamos County Council again on Tuesday.
    Council remanded an initial proposal for rate restructuring back to the Board of Public Utilities in December, directing them to propose a rate without a Power Cost Adjustment (PCA) included.
    The PCA would have allowed BPU to pass the actual cost of purchasing power onto the ratepayers as a variable rate when it either exceeded or went below the base rate. The new proposal includes flat rate increases for all customer groups.
    Tuesday’s meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. in council chambers.

  • Sierra Club screens movie to sway locals to support ban

    It’s entirely possible that few people outside of the 100 members of the Los Alamos chapter of the Sierra Club and the 65 members of the League of Women Voters of Los Alamos are aware that the county’s Environmental Sustainability Board unanimously passed a motion to support a ban on plastic shopping bags at its November meeting.
    “Plastic is a crazy thing to have out in the environment. Of course, all plastic is a real problem, but the one-use plastic bags are especially bad, because they go from one use into the dump, because they’re not recycled. There’s not a market for them,” said ESP member Don Machen, who made the motion to support the ban. “It takes resources to make them — fossil fuels, primarily. And it’s a horrible disposal problem. You can’t get rid of them anywhere.”
    Since that vote, the Sierra Club and LWVLA have ramped up efforts to sway the public and build support for the ban prior to submitting a citizens’ petition to the Los Alamos County Council asking for its support.
    As part of those efforts, the groups sponsored a showing of “Bag It” at the Reel Deal Theater Feb. 5.

  • Right-to-Work bill clears House committee

    SANTA FE (AP) — A New Mexico House committee Friday voted to approve a revamped right-to-work bill that tacks on an increase in the minimum wage from $7.50 to $8 an hour.

    After some heated exchanges in a six-hour session, the House Judiciary Committee voted 7-6 along party lines to approve the Republican-sponsored revised bill that prohibits requiring workers to join a union or to pay dues as a condition of employment.

    The revised bill now moves to a vote of the full House of Representatives.

    Missouri lawmakers this week took a step toward joining 24 other states with right-to-work laws when its House voted to bar the collection of fees from workers who choose not to join a union. But the measure still faces an uphill climb to become law there.

    Opponents of the New Mexico legislation, who have far outnumbered proponents at hearings, have said the bill hurts workers by lowering wages and allows big business to bully them.

    Builders, business associations and chambers of commerce leaders have supported the measure saying it will increase employment. Labor and education union leaders and members have characterized the right-to-work legislation as misguided and misnamed.

    More than two dozen people spoke against the bill Friday. One spoke in favor calling the wage increase "reasonable."

  • Suspect arrested in triple killing

    EL RANCHO (AP) — New Mexico State Police say a suspect has been arrested in connection with a 2011 triple homicide case in El Rancho.

    They say 20-year-old Nicholas Ortiz, of Pojoaque, was taken into custody Friday.

    Police say 53-year-old Dixie Ortiz, 55-year-old Lloyd Ortiz and their special-needs son, 21-year-old Steven Ortiz, were all found dead from head trauma in their home on June 29, 2011.

    Police found a bloody pick axe three days later in an adjacent field and linked the weapon to the murder.

    Authorities say there's no indication at this time that Nicholas Ortiz is related to the victims.

    They say Nicholas Ortiz is being held on suspicion of three counts of murder, tampering with evidence and bribery or intimidation of a witness.

    It's unclear if he has an attorney yet.