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Local News

  • Today in History for August 21st
  • LA Middle School to open two hours late after gas leak

    Los Alamos Middle School was evacuated Monday afternoon when a gas line was inadvertently punctured at approximately 1:10 p.m. in the construction zone.

    Students and staff were immediately evacuated while the safety of the campus was assessed and students did return to their classrooms. There were no injuries and all students and staff were safe, the district announced this afternoon.

    Middle school students attending a lecture at the high school Monday night did not seem too worried by the afternoon event. 

    "We were all evacuated and moved off into the field, so  we were pretty far away from it," said eighth grade student June Cook.

    Gerd Kunde, father of middle school student Zar Kunde, said he was not particulary worried for his son. In fact they both laughed off the event. "I guess the best part for him is he gets to sleep in tomorrow," said Gerd, noting the students will be reporting to school at 10 a.m. instead of 8 a.m. Tuesday.

    A notice posted on the LAPS website states, "To ensure that all repairs on the punctured gas line in the construction area have been completed and a safety inspection has been conducted, there will be a TWO HOUR DELAY tomorrow, Tuesday, August 21, 2012 at Los Alamos Middle School.

  • ChemCam zaps first Martian rock

     NASA's Curiosity rover has zapped its first Martian rock, aiming its laser for the sake of science.

    During the target practice on Sunday. Curiosity fired 30 pulses at a nearby rock over a 10-second window, burning a small hole.

    Since landing in Gale Crater two weeks ago, the six-wheel rover has been checking out its instruments including the laser. During its two-year mission, Curiosity was expected to point the laser at various rocks as it drives toward Mount Sharp, a 3-mile-high mountain rising from the crater floor.

    Its goal is to determine whether the Martian environment was habitable.

  • Autopsy: Death of handcuffed man in Ark. cop car a suicide--Video Extra

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A man whose hands were cuffed behind him in the back seat of an Arkansas patrol car shot himself in the right temple with a handgun he apparently concealed from arresting officers, according to an autopsy report released Monday that listed the death as a suicide.

    The state crime lab report, signed by three medical examiners, said the muzzle of a gun was placed against Chavis Carter's head when it was fired. Jonesboro police released the report to The Associated Press and other news organizations under a Freedom of Information Act request.

    The report said the manner of death was ruled a suicide based on autopsy findings and investigative conclusions from the Jonesboro police department, which has faced questions from Carter's family and community members about the circumstances surrounding the July 28 shooting.

    "He was cuffed and placed into a police car, where apparently he produced a weapon, and despite being handcuffed, shot himself in the head," the report said. Chief Medical Examiner Charles P. Kokes did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

  • Augusta National adds first 2 female members

    NEW YORK (AP) — For the first time in its 80-year history, Augusta National Golf Club has female members.

    The home of the Masters, under increasing criticism the last decade because of its all-male membership, invited former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore to become the first women in green jackets when the club opens for a new season in October.

    Both women accepted.

    "This is a joyous occasion," Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said Monday.

    The move likely ends a debate that intensified in 2002 when Martha Burk of the National Council of Women's Organizations urged the club to include women among its members. Former club chairman Hootie Johnson stood his ground, even at the cost of losing Masters television sponsors for two years, when he famously said Augusta National might one day have a woman in a green jacket, "but not at the point of a bayonet."

  • Today in History for August 20th
  • Today in History for August 19th
  • 62-year-old Renews Bid for Cuba to Fla. Swim
  • County, Stepan settle for $800K

    Los Alamos County and former employee Diana Stepan have reached a settlement for $800,000 in a sex discrimination case.

    According to a statement released late Friday by the county, the settlement was reached Aug. 1.

    Stepan said Friday night that everything became finalized earlier in the afternoon.

    The settlement addresses a claim that Stepan had filed last year against the county and former acting county administrator Randy Autio after her termination of employment.

    The statement read, “The county was represented in the settlement by the New Mexico Self-Insurer’s Fund, an insurance pool of New Mexico municipalities and other political subdivisions, including the county, through an arrangement with the New Mexico Municipal League.

    “Under the agreement, the New Mexico Self-Insurer’s Fund will pay $800,000 to Stepan. The county will pay $175,000 of that settlement, which includes a $25,000 deductible.”

    Stepan, who was earning $146,000 a year as the assistant county administrator, said she believes the settlement was one of the largest the county has ever given out.

    “The whole thing has been extremely hurtful because I did do my very best for the county,” Stepan said.

  • NCRTD opens new transit complex

    ESPANOLA — The North Central Regional Transit District (NCRTD) Friday dedicated the Jim West Regional Transit Center in a ribbon cutting ceremony outside the building.

    In dedicating the building, NCRTD Chairman and Taos County Commissioner Daniel Barrone stated that, “This Transit Center serves as a testament to the hard work and dedication of the government officials, NCRTD Board and the staff, both past and present, who believed that one day a transit system could connect a 10,000-square-mile area of North Central New Mexico and create mobility options for people in most cases where none had existed before.”

    “We are thrilled to be located in our new headquarters,” said Anthony Mortillaro, NCRTD executive director. “This now consolidates the administrative offices with the operations and fleet management divisions which previously had been spread out over three locations in Santa Fe and Española. The move will allow us to operate more efficiently and cost effectively as we position ourselves for the future.”

    The Jim West Regional Transit Center is named for the late Jim West, a Los Alamos County councilor.  He was among the founders of the NCRTD and was an inaugural member of the NCRTD Board of Directors in 2004.