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Local News

  • BPU to mull smart meters for LA County

    Smart meters for electricity, gas and water may be installed throughout homes and businesses in Los Alamos County if the Department of Public Utilities gets approval from the Board of Public Utilities and County Council.

    DPU officials are set to appear before the Board of Public Utilities Jan. 17 with a contract from a company that will change out about 8,000 existing electric meters for smart meters. 

    The company will also install “communication modules” on 14,000 gas and water meters throughout the county. If the contract is approved by the BPU and then by County Council on Jan. 30, installation of the meters would begin in June or July in White Rock.

    The project is expected to take about 18 months to finish, according to DPU spokeswoman Julie Williams-Hill.

    The work will also include taking out previously installed smart meters installed on Barranca Mesa and North Mesa by another company, Landis and Gyr.

    When the system is up and running, the DPU and its customers will have a better idea of energy usage, Williams-Hill said.

    Customers will be able to monitor their usage online or through a phone app, Williams-Hill said. The DPU will be able to monitor usage for each customer.

  • Police Beat 1-7-17

    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.
    Dec. 27
    4:42 p.m. – Aaron B. Koetter, 41, of Los Alamos was arrested for reckless driving in Central Park Square and booked into the Los Alamos County Detention Center. He was later released.
    6:09 p.m. – Los Alamos police issued a warrant for someone involved in the intimidation of a witness.
    Dec. 28
    9:35 a.m. – Anthony Raymond Martinez, 32, of Los Alamos was arrested on a magistrate court bench warrant. He was later released.
    10:34 a.m. – Lisa Chavez, 32, of  Española was arrested on a municipal court warrant, tampering with evidence and carrying contraband into jail.
    2:26 p.m. –  Los Alamos police investigated the theft of fire extinguishers at State Route 4 Self Storage.
    Dec. 29
    11 a.m. – Los Alamos police investigated an incident of a dog bite, and issued a summons to the dog’s owner.
    Dec. 31

  • Reservoir and access road closed to public Monday

    Pedestrian access to the Los Alamos Canyon Reservoir and surrounding areas located west of the Ice Rink off West Road will be closed Monday through the summer. 

    The Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities will construct a new 10-inch non-potable water pipeline from the reservoir along the reservoir access road and connect to the townsite’s non-potable water system.

    Department officials warn that construction crews with heavy equipment will use and work on the single dirt road rendering it and the surrounding area unsafe for hikers and/or cyclists.

    Signs about the closure are posted at the entrance of the access road beginning the second week of January. Construction will continue into the winter as long as weather allows, likely with a winter work suspension. Work will resume in April, when weather permits, and it is expected be completed by summer.

    This pipeline replaces the original pipeline destroyed in 2013 by floods resulting from the watershed damaged by the Cerro Grande and Las Conchas wildfires. The new pipeline will convey non-potable water to Los Alamos to irrigate county parks and school fields, which will offset the use of potable water for irrigation, and conserve drinking water in the regional aquifer.

  • Former state Dems chair to run for New Mexico state auditor

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Former New Mexico Democratic Party chairman Brian Colon is running for state auditor.

    Colon announced his bid in a statement late Sunday.

    Colon says he is running because he is "fed up" and wants to ensure taxpayer money goes to the right places. He says his background in finance and law make him the right candidate.

    Colon earned an undergraduate degree in finance from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces and graduated from law school at the University of New Mexico.

    Wayne Johnson is currently the acting state auditor. He was appointed by Gov. Susana Martinez after former State Auditor Tim Keller resigned in November to serve as Albuquerque mayor.

    Colon ran against Keller in that mayoral race but failed to make the runoff.

  • Prosecutors in pot-friendly states will decide on crackdown

    By KATHLEEN FOODY and DON THOMPSON, Associated Press

    DENVER (AP) — Whether to crack down on marijuana in states where it is legal is a decision that will now rest with those states' top federal prosecutors, many of whom are deeply rooted in their communities and may be reluctant to pursue cannabis businesses or their customers.

    When he rescinded the Justice Department's previous guidance on marijuana, Attorney General Jeff Sessions left the issue to a mix of prosecutors who were appointed by President Donald Trump's administration and others who are holdovers from the Barack Obama years.

    Legal experts do not expect a flood of new cases, and people familiar with the job of U.S. attorney say prosecutors could decide against using already limited resources to seek criminal charges against cannabis companies that abide by state regulations or their customers.

    "There are higher priorities: terrorism and opiates to start with," said Rory Little, a former prosecutor and a professor at the University of California Hastings College of Law. "You also have to draw the jury pool from the local people, who appear to generally support the state policy. You're not going to waste your resources on cases you can't win or cases your community is against."

  • Today in History Jan. 5
  • New Mexico Legislature, governor set spending priorities

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and leading lawmakers proposed increases in state spending Friday on public school education, Medicaid, public safety agencies and economic development incentives for the coming fiscal year, amid a sharp increase in state income from taxes and oil-field revenues.

    The two budget wish lists — from the Republican governor and the Democratic-led Legislature —  both emphasize investments in early childhood education and the justice system, with pay increases assigned for teachers, prison guards, prosecutors and state workers.

    Democratic House speaker Brian Egolf said the governor and lawmakers have many closely aligned priorities — including "modest" pay increases for public employees.

    "A raise for hard working state employees, teachers, police officers is very much appropriate and long overdue," he said.

    Surging state tax revenues linked to a rebound in the oil and natural gas sectors have been propelling a rapid turnaround in New Mexico government finances after two years of austere budgets. State government income for the fiscal year starting on July 1, 2018, is expected to surpass current annual spending by nearly $200 million.

  • LANL makes headlines throughout 2017

    Los Alamos National Laboratory consistently made headlines throughout 2017, most notably for legacy waste cleanup, safety issues and the bidding process for the lab’s management and operations contract.

    The National Nuclear Security Administration announced its intention to start the bidding process for Los Alamos National Laboratory’s multibillion-dollar management and operations contract June 27, 2017.

    Los Alamos National Security LLC was awarded the contract in 2006. The Department of Energy announced late in 2015 it would go out to bid for a new contract, after LANS failed to meet performance goals set by the DOE.

    This will be the third contract since the laboratory was created to make the world’s first nuclear weapons.

    LANS’ $2.2 billion management and operations contract will end in 2018.

    During the time LANS held the contract, the lab has been under scrutiny for several incidents involving safety and violations of safety protocol.

    Since the announcement, many would-be candidates interested in the contract came forward. While many chose to not go public, at least three did, including, Texas A & M, Texas University System and University of California, which is also a partner in the LANS consortium.

  • LAFD Chief Hughes graduates from program

    Los Alamos Fire Department Chief Troy Hughes graduated Dec. 15 from the Center for Homeland Defense and Security Naval Postgraduate School Master’s Degree Program.
    The CHDS Master’s Degree Program is an 18-month program that focuses on developing policies, plans and programs to prevent terrorist attacks in the U.S., reduces vulnerativity to terrorism and catastrophic events, builds interagency arrangements to strenthen homeland security, and helps elected officials and federal leaders improve homeland security preparedness.

  • Tech companies scramble to fix security flaw

    BY MATT O’BRIEN
    AP Technology Writer

    Technology companies are scrambling to fix serious security flaws affecting computer processors built by Intel and other chipmakers and found in many of the world’s personal computers and smartphones.

    The two hardware bugs discovered can be exploited to allow the memory content of a computer to be leaked. Such a leak could potentially expose stored passwords and other sensitive data, including personal photos, emails and instant messages.

    Researchers at Google’s Project Zero and academic institutions including the Graz University of Technology in Austria discovered the problem last year and disclosed it Wednesday.

    There’s no evidence that bad actors have yet exploited the bugs, but companies from Microsoft to Mozilla said this week they have worked to patch up vulnerabilities to their operating systems and browsers to protect against one of the bugs. Researchers say the other is harder to fix and “will haunt us for quite some time.”

    Here’s a look at what’s affected, what’s being done about it and whether you should worry.

    Intel Inside