Local News

  • President appoints Valles Caldera trustee

    Catherine Allen was officially appointed as the newest member of the Valles Caldera Trust, board of trustees.
    She is the fifth trustee appointed by President Barack Obama and joins Kent Salazar and Karyn Stockdale, who were also appointed by the Obama administration.
    “The Valles Caldera is a national treasure and must be respected as such,” said Allen, who served on President Obama’s Economic Development and Small Business Committee during the first Administration. “I am honored and excited to become a part of the effort to ensure the preserve’s well-being for generations to come.”
    By statute, each board of trustee position is assigned with a specific expertise needed to guide the management of the Valles Caldera National Preserve (preserve). Allen assumes the board position, which requires a trustee active and experienced in financial management. She succeeds Ed Tinsley whose board position remained vacant since his term expired in January 2011.
    “I am impressed with what has been accomplished in such a relatively short period of time with limited resources,” added Allen, who recently toured the preserve. “I see so much potential to enhance the Valles Caldera experience for all who visit the preserve.”

  • Flowers to power hospice care

    The Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Association ordered 2,500 daffodils recently in preparation for their upcoming three-day sale that starts Thursday and runs through Saturday.

    The sale will take place at 183 Central Park Square, next to Origami. Those who already pre-ordered their daffodils will have them delivered on Saturday.
    The sale is an annual fundraiser for the hospice care the Visiting Nurses provide. March is the month that many medical care organizations buy and sell daffodils, making it a symbol of renewal and hope for hospitals and hospices across the country.
    “It’s a national initiative, but each hospital or hospice purchases their own flowers,” LAVNA’s Executive Director Sarah Rochester, said.
    Funds raised through the sale will go toward supporting their patients in hospice care.
    “We have between 12 and 15 hospice patients, but our overall census of patients includes about 70,” Rochester added.
    A “bunch” of daffodils will sell for $5, two bunches in a vase will cost $15 and one bunch in a small vase will cost $10. 

  • Council OKs LAFD office lease

    Los Alamos County Council voted 6-0 to approve an office lease for the Los Alamos Fire Department administration staff at 999 Central Ave. during its meeting Tuesday night.

    Councilor Rick Reiss recused himself, since he has an ownership interest and is the managing member of the business that owns the building. The motion included a waiver of conflict of interest.

    Recognizing that conflict of interest may arise, particularly in small communities, the County Procurement Code and the New Mexico Governmental Conduct Act both allow for the waiver under certain conditions. Those are:

    • Reiss’ financial interest in the subject property was publicly disclosed prior to solicitation for the subject property.
    • Reiss, by abstaining from any participation in the approval of the proposed lease, shall not exercise any apparent bias or favoritism.
    • The approval of the lease will be in the best interests of the county.
    • The lease was competitively procured.

    LAPD administration has occupied offices at 195 East Road, Suite 101, since 1994. The current space has several issues that needed to be addressed. Those are:

  • Office manager confesses to embezzlement

    Celina Barela-Benavidez, 41, of Rio Rancho, was arrested Feb. 24 by Los Alamos Police after she confessed to using more than $18,000 of company funds to purchase computers and computer accessories for her family and friends.

    Tracy Maddox, the owner of Southwest Office Solutions, reported the crime and was not available for comment. Maddox told police that she began to experience an increasing number of incidents of merchandise missing from the store.

    An inventory and account check revealed that numerous items were purchased by the business account that weren’t supposed to be purchased. She told police that Barela-Benavidez, as office manager, was the only one who was allowed to make purchases on behalf of the store. She also told police that when she did the inventory check, Barela-Benavidez called in sick. A closer check also revealed that none of the computers were the type she would purchase to supply her clients with.

    Maddox was finally convinced it was Barela-Benavidez when she noticed a May 2012 order for two HP laptops and one Microsoft Office home and student key, shipped to an address in Las Cruces, where Barela-Benavidez’s son lives.

  • Big Winter Storm Hitting Mid-Atlantic
  • Today in History for March 6th
  • Venezuela President Hugo Chavez dies--Video Extra

    CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela's government announced the death of President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday, ending 14 years of charismatic rule by the firebrand socialist but leaving his party firmly in control of the nation.

    Vice President Nicolas Maduro's voice broke several times and tears ran down his face as he appeared on national television to announce that Chavez died at 4:25 p.m. local time (3:55 p.m EST;1755 GMT) "after battling tough with an illness over nearly two years."

    He did not say what exactly killed Chavez, although the government had announced the previous night that a new, severe respiratory infection had severely weakened him.

    Just a few hours earlier, Maduro made a virulent speech against enemies he claimed were trying to undermine Venezuelan democracy.

    But as he announced the death, Maduro called on Venezuelans to be "dignified inheritors of the giant man" Chavez was.

    "Let there be no weakness, no violence. Let there be no hate. In our hearts there should only be one sentiment: Love. Love, peace and discipline."

    Maduro called on Venezuelans to convene in the capital's Bolivar Square, named for the 19th century independence hero Simon Bolivar, who Chavez claimed as his chief inspiration.

  • County officials visit NNSA

    NNSA Acting Administrator Neile Miller recently hosted Los Alamos County Council Chair Geoffrey Rodgers, County Councilor Peter Sheehey and County Administrator Harry Burgess. Miller thanked the county officials for their active interest in Los Alamos National Laboratory and for their leadership in the community. Miller told the contingent that NNSA recognizes the value of a strong and collaborative relationship with the leadership of its laboratories’ and plants’ communities and appreciates the opportunity to advance the national nuclear security agenda through their partnership.

  • Update 03-05-13

    DWI meeting

    The Los Alamos County DWI Planning Council meeting will be at 8:30 a.m. March 14 in the Los Alamos Police Department Training Room, 2500 Trinity Dr., Suite A.

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    Kiwanis meets from noon to 1 p.m. each Tuesday at the Masonic Temple on Sage, near the intersection of 15th and Canyon. March 12: Feliciano Jiron, chief executive officer of Los Alamos Medical Center, will discuss changes at the hospital. March 19: Mike Lansing, associate director for Safeguards and Security at Los Alamos National Laboratory, will discuss new security initiatives at LANL.

    Council meeting

    Los Alamos County Council will meet at 7 p.m. today in council chambers.

    Master gardeners

    The March meeting of the Los Alamos Master Gardeners will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at the White Rock Town Hall. Discussion will be plans for the Hope Garden.

  • Flag pole damage at Barranca Mesa

    The flagpole at Barranca Mesa Elementary School blew over in the winds at about 2 p.m. Monday. The school’s maintenance department was on sight almost immediately and had the pole removed from the building. At no time did the flags touch the ground. It appears that the pole rusted off at the base and slowly eased over and rested on the building, causing minimal damage. This will prompt an inspection of the flagpoles at the other schools.