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Local News

  • Fallout over rec bond plows on

    A fake Twitter account and a cease-and-desist order are the latest chapters in the dispute between a former Los Alamos County resident and his mother, and some members of Los Alamos County Council.

    Patrick Brenner, of Sandoval County, and Lisa Brenner, of Los Alamos, have lodged legal complaints against Los Alamos County over emails regarding the May recreation bond.

    Most recently, Patrick Brenner filed an ethics complaint against County Councilor James Chrobocinski, which the county is investigating.

    This week, a fake Twitter account briefly surfaced under Chrobocinski’s name, before disappearing. The account featured a picture of Chrobocinski wearing a pink “pussy hat” recently associated with left-wing protesters. The page also made statements, saying he was a “Republican in Name Only,” and statements about his family.

    Chrobocinski said he thought Patrick Brenner and his mother, Lisa Brenner, were the ones behind the fake account.

  • A spot for tea

    Inauspiciously tucked between LA Travel and the Motor Vehicle Department sits Bliss Gift Emporium, an eclectic card and gift store. The store’s proprietor, David Tinkham is a chatty, friendly man who welcomes every customer into the shop with a smile on his face.

    The soothing classical music playing overhead creates the perfect peaceful atmosphere to browse his fascinating trinkets.

    Bliss does not carry the traditional New Mexico knickknacks and jewelry because Tinkham wanted something totally different.

    When Tinkham learned that his ancestry had strong English ties, it made sense to lean towards that culture, especially since he already had a love for tea.

    Tinkham excitedly pointed to a recently acquired tea set sitting inside a display case at the front of the shop. The set came with four cups, each of which, when held up to a light, came to life with a hologram of an Asian woman on the bottom.

    Such hidden gems are a perfectly metaphor for the shop Tinkham has created.

    A brief glance inside the store might reveal what appears to be a candle and card shop, but on closer inspection, delightful treasures can be found, like a Star Trek mug or a Tri-Wizard Tournament Cup replica from Harry Potter.

  • Today in history Aug. 3
  • 4 sanctuary cities facing loss of crime-fighting assistance

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Jeff Sessions moved Thursday to again punish so-called sanctuary cities, this time threatening to deny federal crime-fighting resources to four cities beset by violence if they don't step up efforts to help detain and deport people living in the country illegally.

    The Justice Department sent letters to cities struggling with gun violence, telling them they will be ineligible for a new program that aims to root out drug trafficking and gang crime unless they give federal immigration authorities access to jails and provide advance notice before releasing someone in custody who is wanted on immigration violations. The cities — Baltimore, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Stockton and San Bernardino in California — all expressed interest in the Justice Department's new Public Safety Partnership, which enlists federal agents, analysts and technology to help communities find solutions to crime.

    "By taking simple, common-sense considerations into account, we are encouraging every jurisdiction in this country to cooperate with federal law enforcement," Sessions said in a statement that accompanied the letters. "That will ultimately make all of us safer — especially law enforcement on our streets."

  • Ex-husband arrested for battery

    Los Alamos resident Lloyd Trujillo was arrested July 21 for battery upon a peace officer, a fourth-degree felony, assault against a household member, two counts of resisting arrest and not pulling over on the approach of an emergency vehicle.

    Around 8:43 p.m., Los Alamos Police Department Officer Sgt. Hudspeth interviewed a woman identified as Rodin Quintana who was having a dispute with her ex-husband.

    Quintana stated she was at the Friday night Gordon’s concert at Ashley Pond dancing with a male friend of hers when she was approached by her ex-husband, Trujillo, who became angry that she was dancing with another man. Quintana and Trujillo have been divorced since Sept. 2016.

    According to the report, Trujillo and her friends became confrontational with each other, so Quintana decided to leave. Trujillo then reportedly walked over to his ex-wife’s car and got in with no apparent intent of leaving. In order to avoid a conflict, Quintana walked directly into the lobby of the Police Department, she said.

    As she was speaking with Hudspeth, a child of one of Quintana’s friends walked in and said, “He is standing outside your car waiting for you.” Hudspeth escorted Quintana to her car, but the car was empty, so Quintana left the scene.

  • US concealed-carry gun bills prompt warning in New Mexico

    SANTA FE — A national gun-safety group on Tuesday stepped up pressure in New Mexico against proposed U.S. firearms legislation that would make states recognize concealed handgun permits from other states.

    With members of Congress returning home for August recess, Americans for Responsible Solutions on warned that concealed carry “reciprocity” legislation would undermine New Mexico’s rigorous training and screening standards for people seeking to obtain licenses so they can carry concealed handguns.

    Robin Lloyd, director of government affairs for Americans for Responsible Solutions, warned that as many as 25 other states do not meet New Mexico’s requirements for background checks and firearms safety training for people authorized to carry concealed weapons.

    New Mexico could be forced to allow unverified people from other states to carry concealed guns in public places under the proposed legislation, according to a flier distributed by the group.

    The National Rifle Association has said momentum is building for House and Senate bills that enshrine rights to carry concealed weapons across state lines, though current bills have yet to reach initial committee assignments for discussion.

  • LAPD works for national accreditation

    The Los Alamos Police Department is on its way to becoming a nationally accredited agency by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), which is the original and most widely recognized accrediting body in Public Safety.

    This program is a way for an agency to demonstrate their commitment to excellence in law enforcement.

    LAPD passed the state level accreditation through the New Mexico Law Enforcement Accreditation Program back in 2010, but are now working toward the national level.

    The CALEA program is an obvious step up from the state level with almost more than double the standards to pass.

    Conforming to these professional standards allows LAPD to enhance their service delivery, transparency and interaction with the public. Police Chief Dino Sgambellone said, “All of this helps to ensure professional police service while continuing to build on trust with those we serve.”

    Sgambellone gave the inside scoop as to how the process of becoming accredited works, which involves conforming to over 400 standards and then showing proof of that compliance.

  • New housing program gets off ground

    Los Alamos County is one step closer to getting a new housing program for first-time homebuyers off the ground, after council approved a contract with the Los Alamos Housing Partnership Inc. to provide funding for it last week.

    The new contract will allow the partnership to allocate $80,860 in funding for the next three fiscal years.

    The funds come from a $150,000 allocation the council made to the partnership in February.  According to County Housing and Projects Manager Andrew Harnden, the partnership plans to come back to the council every year for at least $150,000 to keep the program going.

    About $6,500 will be used to set up the program. The remainder will pay for administrative costs until June 2020. The program is designed to help first-time homebuyers with a down payment.

    “...This is going to be working with local lenders who have the actual, primary loan, and this will act as a down payment assistance which is a soft second loan,” Community Development Director Paul Andrus said. “It’s still a loan that will be paid back to the county. It’s not a grant, and it’s not forgivable.”

  • 2 candidates stump in LA

    With the 2018 gubernatorial election beginning to heat up, two candidates vying for the top job of governor visited Los Alamos this week.

    Democrat Jeff Apodaca made a campaign stop at the Bathtub Row Brewery Sunday, and Democrat Peter DeBenedittis stopped by the Karen Wray Gallery Monday.

    Apodaca told the crowd he wants to use New Mexico’s $21.6 billion in cash reserves to invest in jobs and education. The former media executive, who is now an entrepreneur, talked about Colorado’s decision to legalize marijuana and how it has put millions of dollars back into the economy –, money that now funds education and other initiatives.

    “It’s an opportunity for us to get ahead of the curve,” he said. “Colorado’s tourism is up 32 percent,” Apodaca said. “We talked to the folks up north. They drive up, buy and come back… more importantly, 32,000 jobs, $200 million in tax revenue.”

    Apodaca also went after the “New Mexico True” tourism plan.

    “Guess what our state has done, they’ve cut your tourism budgets in Los Alamos. They’ve cut our tourism budgets in our county,” Apodaca said.

  • Albuquerque to honor fallen WWII war correspondent

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Albuquerque will honor an acclaimed World War II war correspondent that died before he was able to return home.

    The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the writer was known for publishing harrowing, firsthand accounts of the war and the sacrifices the young soldiers made. Pyle was born in Indiana and had planned to move to Albuquerque before he was killed.

    New Mexico has honored the writer since the legislature declared Aug. 3 as Ernie Pyle Day in 1945. Event organizers will celebrate Pyle's 117th birthday on Thursday with a keynote address by longtime war correspondent Joe Galloway and a speech by a University of New Mexico journalism professor.

    Event organizers and participants hope that Pyle will one day receive his own national holiday.