Local News

  • County Clerk’s office offers election registrar agent training

    With the Nov. 8 general election fast approaching, the Los Alamos County Clerk’s Office is gearing up voter registration efforts. Towards that end, Clerk Sharon Stover and Elections Manager Gloria Maestas conducted an election registrar agent training on Sept. 14.
    Seven women attended the training, where they learned about the dos and don’ts of registering voters in New Mexico.
    “This is really an important part you are playing, of getting people registered,” Stover said. “Whatever we can do to assist that, we want to make sure that everybody has an opportunity to vote.”
    A significant part of the presentation was a training video produced by Los Alamos Chief Deputy Clerk Adrianna Ortiz and New Mexico State Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto (D-District 15), who is executive director of NM Clerks, LLC, an organization representing all 33 county clerks. Ivey-Soto was at one time state election director in the Secretary of State’s office.
    The Los Alamos County Clerk’s Office initiated the idea of creating a video, which is now being used by several clerk’s offices throughout the state.

  • Flying like an Eagle
  • Council eyes three economic projects

    When Dekker/Perich/Sabatini presented the results of several months of scoping and public input on proposed Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) to the Los Alamos County Council Sept. 20, they pointed out that three proposed economic development projects seemed to have community support. Council, for the most part, echoed that sentiment.
    Dekker/Perich/Sabatini Principal/Urban Planner Will Gleason and Craig Bouck, president and CEO at Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture, who made the presentation, provided options and probable costs for Deacon Street improvements, 20th Street expansion and DP Road improvements.
    The economic development projects would not be part of the proposed $20 million recreation CIP bond. Council allocated $4 million toward the three projects in March. The consultants’ “opinion of probable costs,” which represents “our best calculation at this point based on a number of assumptions about the project,” totaled $6.7 million.
    The probable costs for those projects are:
    • Deacon Street improvements: $1.2 million to $2.1 million depending on the chosen design. Improvements include pedestrian-scaled lighting, landscaping, reconfigured parking and pedestrian linkages to Central Avenue.

  • Defense Secty Carter to visit LANL, Sandia

    Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter will be wrapping up his two-day visit to New Mexico today after a whirlwind tour of Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque and the state’s two national laboratories, Sandia and Los Alamos.
    The purpose of Carter’s stop in New Mexico was to greet and thank the personnel at the base “for their work to ensure the readiness of the nuclear force,” according to the Defense Department.
    His tour of the two laboratories was also to thank them for their work in the “development, assessment and security of the nuclear triad.”
    The tour of the laboratory was closed to the press and the public.
    During his visit, U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich asked Carter to open a “Defense Innovation Unit Experimental” office in the state.
    Udall and Heinrich, in a joint statement, said they told Carter New Mexico would be a natural place to have such an office, because of the support it would get from the state’s two laboratories.
    DIUx offices are staffed by a mix of civilian, active duty reserve and contractor, and they are part of the U.S. military’s strategy to stay militarily and technologically relevant.  

  • LANL coalition seeks to eliminate tax-exempt status

    The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities asked the State Legislative Finance Committee today to consider eliminating tax-exempt status for possible, future nonprofit contractors of Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories.
    The coalition is seeking to ensure that the roughly $200 million in gross receipts tax the state annually receives from the laboratories continues, even if the laboratories acquire nonprofit management and operations contractors.
    Of that $200 million, Los Alamos County receives about $30-$40 million.
    Sandia and LANL are in the process of acquiring new contractors.
    The coalition will appear before the committee today to hopefully provide a more complete picture of what the loss would be to the state.
    “The finance committee has this on their radar. They’ve been thinking about the possibility of legislation to keep that from happening,” State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-4) said. “The committee is looking for more expert testimony to see what the impacts would be.”
    Garcia Richard, who is sponsoring the bill, is also looking for support and sponsorship from other legislators.

  • Trinity Site ranch house faces restoration

    ALAMOGORDO (AP) — A ranch house where Los Alamos scientists assembled the world's first atomic bomb is being restored.

    The McDonald/Schmidt Ranch House at the Trinity Site is facing exterior renovations thanks to a cooperative agreement with White Sand Missile Range Cultural Resources Program.

    Improvements will focus on the exterior stucco, gutters and drainage and interior restoration.

    On July 16, 1945, scientists from the then-secret city of Los Alamos successfully exploded the first atomic bomb at the Trinity Site, near Tularosa.

    The ranch house was located two miles away from the explosion, and its windows were blown out. The house was no significantly damaged but over the years fell into disrepair. It has gone through other restoration.

    The bomb later was dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

  • Police Beat 9-25-16

    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.

    Sept. 9
    9:05 a.m. — Police reported that a 45-year-old Los Alamos man was the victim of an accident with injuries at State Highway 4.

    2:27 p.m. — Police reported that a 76-year-old Los Alamos man was the victim of an accident with no injuries at Trinity Drive.

    Sept. 11
    12:50 a.m. — Victor Medina, 34, of Los Alamos was arrested for aggravated battery, great bodily harm in the 2000 block of 37th Street.

    12:50 a.m. — Matthew Parrish, 27, of Los Alamos was arrested on a charge of criminal damage to property (less than $1000) in the 2000 block of 37th Street.

    11:21 a.m. — Police reported that a 57-year-old Woodstock man was the victim of an accident with no injuries at Kiva Street.

    Sept. 12

  • Range Road bus turn-a-round improvements

    Public Works crews are scheduled to start work Monday on a bus turn around on Range Road just north of the intersection of Aspen Drive. 
    The work will primarily be limited to the east shoulder of Range Road. Motorists and pedestrians should watch for increased heavy equipment in the area.
    The work is anticipated to last about one month, weather permitting.
    The project consists of a paved bus turn-a-round off Range Road, which will provide transit service to Ponderosa Estates.

  • UNM president says he won’t seek a 2nd term

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — With declining enrollment and a smaller allotment from the cash-strapped state, the University of New Mexico is bracing to have $22.5 million less to spend in fiscal year 2017.
    The school also will be looking to hire a new president.
    Robert Frank announced Friday that he won’t seek to renew his contract after it ends on May 31, 2017. “I am pleased with what we have accomplished during my presidency, and it will be with great pride that I hand over the reins to the next president, who can build upon our successes,” Frank said in a statement.
    He was hired by UNM in January 2012.
    The Board of Regents now has eight months to choose the school’s 22nd president.
    Board President Rob Doughty said the search would begin no later than next spring, and an interim president would be appointed if a successor to Frank isn’t found in a timely manner.
    On Thursday, Frank announced the university will put a freeze on hiring, and all college officials will perform departmental audits of temporary and part-time staff positions. Those positions that aren’t deemed to be critical will likely be cut.
    He said the expected losses mean everything from programs to staff and administrative positions could face cuts, The Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

  • Duane W. Smith project moves ahead

    Los Alamos’ Duane W. Smith Auditorium, the second largest entertainment venue north of Albuquerque, is about to get a  $1.2 million facelift.
    Representatives from fbt architects met with the public Tuesday in the lobby of the 66-year-old auditorium to discuss how to modernize the building’s exterior.
    The other purpose of the meeting was to gather everyone’s ideas, comments and feedback before moving on to the building phase, which is scheduled for May 2017.
    The main goal of the architects firm’s plans is to make the lobby more functional, bigger and more open.
    The firm’s other goal was to visually integrate the 956-seat auditorium into the Los Alamos High School campus. When the school was redesigned several years ago by fbt architects, the auditorium, which was built in 1950, was not included in the redesign.
    The new plans feature 3,600 square feet of new construction to the front of the building.
    “We are essentially taking this lobby down and building a new lobby that is almost twice the size,” said fbt architect Sanjay Engineer.
    The facade will feature paneling on the windows that will mimic the facade of the high school, which is located behind the theater.