Local News

  • Chamisa to hold yard, bake sale for Hurricane Harvey victims

    Chamisa Elementary School is planning to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey this September with a yard and bake sale.
    The sale will be in the Chamisa Elementary School parking lot Sept. 16.

    The sale’s organizers looking for people to loan them tables for the event and baked items.    

    They are also looking for gently used backpacks, school supplies and stuffed animals to take to the students of an elementary school, Port Aransas School, that was flooded during the storm.

    The donations, baked items and the tables can be dropped of Sept. 15, or on the day of the event.

    Residents dropping off items before the event can contact Tammy Jaurique at 623-341-0663 or contact her by email at tajaurique@gmail.com. Lindsay Young, at 806-290-6991, can also take in donation, tables and items for the sale. Her email is lindsayyoun@gmail.com.

    The idea started through some families that recently moved from Texas who knew of relatives caught up in the hurricane.

  • Congress eyes vote next week on aid for Harvey storm

    Associated Press

    WASHINGTON — Congress is gearing up for a vote as early as next week on a multibillion-dollar down payment on relief aid for Harvey.

    White House and congressional aides said Thursday an emergency request to replenish rapidly shrinking aid reserves is coming from the Trump administration as early as Friday and that votes in both the House and Senate would quickly follow.

    Members of the Texas and Louisiana delegations are pressing for immediate action when lawmakers return to Capitol Hill next week from their summer recess, and they have pledges from top GOP leaders such as Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., that the House will quickly respond. McCarthy told lawmakers from Texas and Louisiana on a conference call late Wednesday, “We are with you,” a GOP aide said Thursday.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency is spending existing disaster aid reserves — just $2.1 billion as of Thursday – at a high rate.

  • Passengers in getaway car nabbed for drug possession

    Three women were pulled over for a traffic stop and later arrested when drug paraphernalia was found in their car about 2 a.m. Saturday.

    The Los Alamos Police Department officer who made the arrest was traveling eastbound on Trinity Drive when he saw a white Cadillac make abrupt turns without using a signal, so he pulled the vehicle over into the Smith’s gas station.

    The driver, Esperanza Bayless, said she was trying to locate a friend of hers, Stephen Montano, because he requested a ride. Montano was arrested just a few hours prior as one of the shoplifting suspects who crashed a truck and attempted to flee from the police the night before.

    After running Bayless’ name through the system, the officer noticed she was driving on a suspended license.

    “I then notified Bayless that she had a suspended driver’s license and that her friend, Stephen Montano, was currently incarcerated at the Los Alamos County Detention Facility,” the officer wrote in his report.

  • Council passes proclamation ‘honoring immigrants’

    The Los Alamos County Council voted unanimously for a proclamation honoring the contributions of immigrants to Los Alamos County Tuesday night.

    The council doesn’t typically vote on proclamations, but since the issue was controversial in April, the councilors decided to vote and provide comments during the meeting for their decision.

    Some in the community told the council, during comment periods before and after the vote, that the proclamation was weak and didn’t go far enough, and some people said it went too far.

    “I think it’s good that it’s been passed, but I think it could have stronger, to let it be known that we are more in support of the equality and equity of people,” said White Rock resident Emma McKinley. “Usually when you come to a new place it’s hard to find your niche in the community. I feel like we could do a better job of including everybody.”

    The proclamation, sponsored by Councilor Pete Sheehey, originated from a resolution he created and sponsored in April. That resolution was tabled.

  • White House: Trump will donate $1 million to Harvey relief

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Donald Trump is pledging $1 million in personal funds to Harvey storm relief efforts.

    White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders made the announcement at a briefing Thursday.

    And she says he's calling on reporters to help decide which specific organization he will give to.

    Trump has been criticized in the past for giving far less of his income to charitable causes than many other multi-billionaires.

    Harvey's flood waters have heavily damaged tens of thousands of homes across Texas and killed at least 30 people. The storm is now threatening the region near the Texas-Louisiana state line.

  • Explosions rock flood-crippled chemical plant near Houston

    CROSBY, Texas (AP) — Explosions and fires rocked a flood-crippled chemical plant near Houston early Thursday, sending up a plume of acrid, eye-irritating smoke and adding a new hazard to Hurricane Harvey's aftermath.

    The plant's owners warned more explosions could follow because a loss of refrigeration was causing chemicals stored there to degrade and burn.

    The Environmental Protection Agency and local officials said an analysis of the air for any health dangers showed no reason for alarm. And there were no immediate reports of any serious injuries.

    Dozens of workers were pulled out of the Arkema Inc. plant before the hurricane hit, and a small crew of 11 that had been left behind was evacuated before the blasts for fear of just such a disaster. Officials had also ordered people living within 1½ miles (2.4 kilometers) to leave on Tuesday.

    Fire and plant officials said the substances that caught fire were organic peroxides, a family of volatile compounds used for making a variety of products, including pharmaceuticals and construction materials.

  • LANB to accept donations for Harvey storm victims

    Los Alamos National Bank has partnered with the American Red Cross and the Food Depot to gather donations for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.  

    For this initiative to be successful, LANB is requesting the community’s help. LANB will be accepting monetary donations, along with non-perishable food items and other items requested by the Food Depot.

    Monetary donations will be accepted at any LANB branch location or can be sent online at redcross.org/lanb.

    Donations for the Food Depot can be dropped off at any LANB branch location, including in Los Alamos and White Rock. At this time, only specific items are needed, including hand-held snack items, such as granola bars, pop-top ready-to-eat items, shelf-stable pantry items such as peanut butter, tuna and soup, bottled water, cleaning supplies (bleach, non-bleach, paper towels, etc.), personal hygiene items (toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc.).  They are asking the community not to donate send toys, clothing or furniture.

    LANB branch locations are: 1200 Trinity Drive in Los Alamos, 77 Rover Blvd. in White Rock, 301 Griffin St. in Santa Fe, 2009 Galisteo St. in Santa Fe, 3674 Cerrillos Road in Santa Fe, and 7445 Pan American Fwy NE in Albuquerque.

  • Gas leak on Central Ave, traffic diverted

    The Department of Public Utilities has released the following statement:

    "Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities is responding to a natural gas leak detected on Central Ave across from the  county Municipal Building.  To repair the main, crews are closing the east bound lane on Central between Knecht and 9 St .  East bound traffic will be rerouted to Trinity Ave at Knecht.  Crews on scene indicate that repairs will continue into the evening and that the road will be open before Thursday morning."

  • O'Leary, Chrobocinski cleared in county ethics complaint

    A special investigator hired by Los Alamos County to investigate an ethics complaint by citizen Patrick Brenner filed against Los Alamos County Council Vice Chair Susan O'Leary and James Crobocinski has found no basis for the complaint, according to the report released Wednesday.

    “Neither Ms. O'Leary nor Mr. Chrobocinski violated the Los Alamos Code of Conduct,” Attorney John Round said in the report.

    Brenner alleged in his complaint that O'Leary violated public trust by forwarding an email to the LA Daily Post an email Brenner sent to O'Leary and members of the Los Alamos County Council.

    Chrobocinski sent the email to Los Alamos County Police Chief Dino Sgambellone, saying he was concerned for the wellbeing of his fellow councilors and his family.

    Brenner alleged in his complaint that the two councilors sent his, by his own admission, poorly worded email out into the public to disparage him and make him look bad, a violation of public trust.

    Brenner also claimed that Chrobocinski and O'Leary had a conflict of interest when they organized a political action committee, the Los Alamos Future, a PAC set up to promote passing the $20 million recreation bond in May.

  • State land commissioner offers extension to Houston-based oil and gas lessees

    State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn has offered a grace period to Houston-based oil and gas lessees that pay royalties and interest on oil, gas, and carbon dioxide extracted from New Mexico State Trust Lands, Dunn announced Wednesday.

    “Hurricane Harvey’s destruction is far-reaching and will cause substantial revenue volatility in New Mexico,” Dunn said. “By disrupting a key hub of the nation’s energy industry, Harvey will impact the revenues the State Land Office collects and distributes to the schools and institutions that count on us to pay their bills.”

    The state’s general fund will be impacted as well due to suspended production. The oil and gas industry contributes more than $2 billion per year in revenues for operations, capital projects, and permanent funds. 

    Dunn said about 40 percent of severance taxes collected by the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department are paid by Houston-based companies. Federal mineral leases contribute about half-a-billion dollars to the general fund.