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Local News

  • Speeds reduced next week

    Los Alamos County staff has been working with the New Mexico Department of Transportation to have N.M. 502 speed limits reduced in the Eastern Area. This is the first step in a plan to address residents’ complaints about sound levels.

    NMDOT performed a speed study and recommended reducing the speed limit to 40 mph along the airport and to 35 mph at Airport Road.

    The county received notification yesterday that the plan has been approved. New traffic signs should be installed by the end of next week.  

    Once the speed limit changes have been in place a month or so to allow drivers to adjust, staff will check sound levels to determine additional sound mitigation measures.

    At Tuesday’s council meeting, residents expressed concerns that a new study will delay the construction of a sound wall.

    Public Works Director Philo Shelton responded that there could be a small delay in the projected start date, but he anticipates the sound wall will be completed by the end of the 2013 construction season.
    Eastern Area resident Sue Pope asked that construction vehicles for the Trinity Site project be required to use the truck route to reduce noise levels.

  • N.M. 502 slogs forward

    The saga of N.M. 502 continues.

    The Los Alamos County Council voted 6-1 on Tuesday to adopt a new plan for road improvements that meets New Mexico Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration criteria.

    The plan revises one adopted by council in February that failed to meet NMDOT and FHWA approval, risking $3.8 million in State Transportation Improvement Program funds earmarked for the project.
    Councilor Geoff Rodgers made the motion to approve the proposal, which passed 6-1, with Councilor Vincent Chiravalle opposed.

    “We have to achieve a balance and that balance is probably going to satisfy no one. And the balance that’s been presented is the best that we’re going to get within the constraints that we face with the threat of losing the federal funding to at least fix part of this project,” Rodgers said.

    The compromise integrates a plan proposed by NMDOT in 2007 with the option approved in February. Council had rejected the 2007 plan because it failed to adequately address the concerns of residential neighborhoods and the county’s desire for a more community-oriented, multi-modal approach to road design.

  • County, NNSA modify fire protection agreement

    The National Nuclear Security Administration and the Los Alamos Fire Department have come to terms on a modified Cooperative Fire Protection Agreement to ensure emergency response capabilities for Los Alamos National Laboratory and Los Alamos County.

    County Administrator Harry Burgess and Kevin Smith, manager of NNSA’s Los Alamos Site Office, signed the agreement last Thursday afternoon.

    The modifications will be in effect for the next nine months, with a renewal agreement targeted for completion in September 2013. The renewal agreement requires Los Alamos County Council approval.

    Under the modified agreement, NNSA provides significant funding for fire department salaries, facilities and major equipment. In exchange, the fire department commits to performance-based standards of emergency response, training, certification, security compliance and specialized hazardous event capabilities.

    The benefit to NNSA is reliable fire protection capability deployed in proximity to its facilities, which are widely scattered around Los Alamos County. The benefit to the county is that homeowners and non-laboratory enterprises are served cost-effectively by an exceptionally capable emergency response system.

  • Crews wrapping up work on Trinity Drive water main break

       DPU crews have been working all night repairing a 12-inch water line that ruptured along the eastbound lane in the 3700 block of Trinity Drive.

    “Crews were on sight immediately and they have been working all night,” DPU spokesperson Allison Majure said.  

    DPU's Julie Williams-Hill said the leak was repaired by 7:30 a.m. but crews were still working on road repairs as of noon today.

     

    Vicki Martinez of the Los Alamos Medical Center said she was unaware of any problems at the hospital, which is located nearby.

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  • Espanola man who killed teens on pilgrimage dies

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — An Espanola man who pleaded guilty to killing a teenage couple during a religious pilgrimage in 2000 has died in an Albuquerque hospital.

    Department of Corrections Director of Public Affairs spokeswoman Christina Rodda says 32-year-old Carlos Herrera was taken to the hospital from a state prison on Dec. 4 and died Monday. Rodda tells the Santa Fe New Mexican that it appears Herrera died of natural causes.

    The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator plans an autopsy this week.

    Herrera pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Karen Castanon and Ricky Martinez in 2000. He was serving two consecutive 30-year life sentences.

    The 17-year-old teen sweethearts were participating in the annual Good Friday pilgrimage to Chimayo when they were killed.

  • Today in History for December 12th
  • Neighbors say NKorea has fired long-range rocket

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea fired a long-range rocket Wednesday morning in its second launch under its new leader, defying warnings from the U.N. and Washington only days before South Korean presidential elections.

    South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told a nationally televised news conference that a South Korean Aegis-equipped destroyer deployed in the Yellow Sea detected the launch but South Korea still didn't know the launch was successful. North Korea had indicated technical problems with the rocket and recently extended its launch window to Dec. 29.

    Japan said one part of the rocket landed west of the Korean Peninsula and another part was expected to have landed east of the Philippines. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak planned an emergency national security council meeting Wednesday, and Japan protested the rocket launch.

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un took power after his father Kim Jong Il died on Dec. 17 last year, and the launch also comes about a month before President Barack Obama is inaugurated for his second term.

  • North Korea fires long-range missile

     

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea fired a long-range rocket Wednesday morning in its second launch under its new leader, defying warnings from the U.N. and Washington only days before South Korean presidential elections.

    South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told a nationally televised news conference that a South Korean Aegis-equipped destroyer deployed in the Yellow Sea detected the launch but South Korea still didn't know the launch was successful. North Korea had indicated technical problems with the rocket and recently extended its launch window to Dec. 29.

  • Gunman opens fire at Oregon mall; Suspect, 2 dead

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The mall Santa was waiting for the next child's Christmas wish when shots rang out, causing the shopping mall to erupt into chaos.

    About to invite a child to hop onto his lap, Brance Wilson instead dove for the floor and kept his head down as he heard shots being fired upstairs in the mall Tuesday afternoon.

    "I heard two shots and got out of the chair. I thought a red suit was a pretty good target," said the 68-year-old Wilson. Families waiting for Santa scattered. More shots followed, and Wilson crept away for better cover.

  • Raw: W.Va. Gas Line Blast Burns Homes, Roads

    A major gas line has exploded in West Virginia, burning five homes and shutting down a stretch of Interstate 77 in Sissonville, West Virginia.