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Local News

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  • Gasoline tanker crashes, burns on I-40 near Grants

    GRANTS, N.M. (AP) — The driver of a tanker truck carrying 8,000 gallons of gasoline has survived a fiery crash that led to an hours-long closure of Interstate 40 east of Grants.

    New Mexico State police spokesman Lt. Robert McDonald says the driver was headed east on the Interstate just after daybreak Saturday when he apparently fell asleep. The truck drifted into the median and overturned. It then burst into flames and burned for more than two hours.

    The driver was flown to a hospital in Albuquerque. He's been identified as 33-year-old Dennis Pritchard of Rio Rancho.

    Both eastbound and westbound lanes of the roadway were damaged. The speed limit in the area has been lowered to 65 mph while repairs are made.

  • Sewer rate hike may get DPU flush

    Officials with the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities will recommend a sewer rate adjustment to the Board of Public Utilities at its Nov. 14 meeting. If approved, the proposed sewer ordinance will go to county council to be considered for adoption in January.

    The proposed ordinance increases overall sewer rates but also simplifies residential customers’ bills to a restructured flat fee every month. It removes the variable rate that is based on the amount of potable water consumed during winter months.

    The ordinance also includes continuing annual rate increases of eight percent for the next four years beginning in June 2013 to meet the future capital expenses of the sewer collection and wastewater treatment systems.
    Last July, DPU officials, board members and councilors met to discuss options to address increasing sewer expenses associated with required infrastructure improvements and a future replacement White Rock Wastewater Treatment facility.

  • Agencies warn about fire danger

    As the fall and winter holidays approach and more New Mexicans plan vacations or hunting trips close to home, federal, state and local fire agencies are urging caution regarding fire danger across many parts of the state.
    Lack of moisture and warm, mild conditions this fall have caused fine, grassy fuels and brush to dry, making them susceptible to wildfire.
    While the immediate region shows Northern New Mexico at “high” fire danger risk, Los Alamos County will remain at “moderate” risk until there is snow on the ground and fuel moisture percentages are up.
    The fuel moisture percentages are very low for this time of year and the potential for a fire to start and the fire sustaining growth here is very real.
    Fall is the time for residents to trim brush and trees away from their homes and fences, create a defensible space, use fire resistive materials where applicable, clean roofs and gutters, remove weeds and mow dry grass and properly dispose of the debris.
    Los Alamos Fire Department, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the National Park Service and the Forest Service are all teaming together to reduce the fuel load and wildfire potential. Fuel reduction projects are being implemented by each respective agency in an effort to address concerns in what may be another potentially critical spring fire season.

  • Update 11-04-12

    Library Board

    The Library Board will meet at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the White Rock Branch Library.

    Parks and Rec

    The Parks and Recreation Board will meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Larry Walkup Aquatic Center.

    Business grants

    Learn about various grant opportunities available and if they are a fit for your business from 2-4 p.m. Wednesday at the Small Business Center, 190 Central Park Square. Call Heather Campbell at 661-4803 for more information.

    Ashley Pond

    An informational meeting to show the public the 90 percent Final Design Plans for Ashley Pond Park renovations will be held at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 14 at Fuller Lodge.

    BPU meeting

    The Board of Public Utilities will hold a public hearing on a proposed sewer rate increase and restructuring at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 14 at 170 Central Park Square.
     

  • Cooking up a merit badge

    About 14 Junior Girl Scouts gathered at the Posse Shack Friday evening to work on attaining a Simple Meals merit badge. Private chef and caterer Jarda Belmonte volunteered to help the girls from White Rock Troop 10020 whip up a taco dinner

  • Driver arrested in State Road 4 crash

    Nina Roybal, 46, of Santa Fe was arrested by Santa Fe Sherrif’s Deputy Julie York Friday shortly after Roybal rolled her Toyota 4Runner on Main Hill Road (N.M. 502). After being treated for minor injuries at the scene, Roybal was administered a series of field sobriety tests by York, which she failed.

  • Voters to weigh in on Charter proposals

    Nearly three years of work by the Charter Review Committee will be put to the test during the general election. Charter amendments for initiative, referendum, recall of elected officials and the process for future charter amendments are on the ballot for voters to decide.

    All four ballot questions relate to citizen participation in government.

    The initiative process allows voters to propose an ordinance through the petition process, while a referendum uses the petition process to repeal an ordinance enacted by council. If sufficient signatures are collected, the question must be placed before the voters.

    The proposed changes are summarized in the ballot questions. To read the actual ordinances with the proposed changes, go to losalamosnm.us. The ordinances are published in legislative format, which uses underlining to highlight new material and strikethroughs to show what was deleted. The full ordinances are lengthy and require a fair amount of time to read them, so county staff recommends advance research.

    The Charter amendment page also contains a voter guide that was mailed to every residence on Sept. 26, a brief analysis of the proposed changes with arguments for and against, the CRC final report as well as subcommittee reports and meeting minutes. The League of Women voters vetted the voter guide before it was sent out.

  • Debate on Charter amendments unabated

    A few of the proposed Charter amendments are substantive changes and that has sparked a heated debate between those supporting the changes and those opposed.

    Substantive changes include reducing the amount of time to collect signatures for an initiative petition from 180 days to 90 days, increasing the number of signatures required for a referendum petition to 15 percent of the arithmetic mean of the two previous general elections and clarification of subjects excluded from the initiative process.

    Initiative petitions currently require 15 percent of votes cast in the most recent general election. The new amendment also uses the arithmetic mean of the two previous general elections.

    The CRC researched other New Mexico communities and tried to bring the county’s initiative and referendum requirements more in line with the norm. Santa Fe requires 33 1/2 percent of votes in the previous municipal election with 10 percent from each of the council districts. Albuquerque requires 20 percent of the arithmetic mean of the past five municipal elections.

    The Los Alamos Governmental Review Initiative (lagri.org) has led the fight against the more substantive changes, going so far as to circulate a petition seeking to remove those questions from the ballot. LAGRI was unable to collect sufficient signatures for that petition.

  • Crucial election awaits voters

    Voters in Los Alamos County have some interesting decisions to make.

    That’s putting it lightly.

    Not only will they cast their votes for president, there is a key U.S. Senate race between Republican Heather Wilson and Democrat Martin Heinrich.

    That race has been earmarked as one of the key races in the country and it could tilt Senate control either way.

    Democratic House incumbent Ben Ray Luján, who is ahead in most polls, is facing off against Republican challenger Jefferson Byrd.

    Despite all the craziness surrounding the national scene, the local election has had its fair share of fireworks.

    That can especially be said for the State House District 43 race between incumbent Republican Jim Hall and Democratic challenger Stephanie Garcia Richard.

    The race may be pivotal to which party takes control of the State House.

    Political groups free from campaign finance restrictions are pouring millions of dollars into New Mexico’s legislative races that will determine who gains control in the House and Senate.

    They have been especially prevalent in the contentious House 43 bid, as there have been numerous attack ads flooding the airwaves and mailboxes by outside parties who back both candidates. Both Hall and Garcia Richard have condemned those tactics.