Local News

  • State Dept. strengthens Haiti travel warning

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department has issued a revised Haiti travel advisory, warning Americans planning to travel to the Caribbean island nation about robbery, lawlessness, infectious disease and poor medical facilities.

    "U.S. citizens have been victims of violent crime, including murder and kidnapping, predominantly in the Port-au-Prince area. No one is safe from kidnapping, regardless of occupation, nationality, race, gender or age," the department said.

    The new travel warning was released Friday to replace a less strongly worded advisory issued in June.

    In recent months, travelers arriving in Port-au-Prince, the capital and largest city, on flights from the United States have been attacked and robbed after leaving the airport. This year, at least two U.S. citizens were shot and killed in robbery and kidnapping incidents, the State Department said.

    "Haitian authorities have limited capacity to deter or investigate such violent acts or prosecute perpetrators," the department said.

  • Today in History for December 29th
  • New York Prepares for New Year's Eve
  • Utah Teachers Trained to Use Guns
  • Happy holidays from NCRTD

    This year the North Central Regional Transit District hosted a Holiday Giving Tree in its Jim West Regional Transit Center headquarters to benefit the foster children of Rio Arriba and Los Alamos Counties, through the Española Center for the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department. Drivers and administration were quick to snap up gift tags for recipients and before long, the tree was surrounded by brightly wrapped gifts. Representatives from CYFD joined RTD drivers and staff by the tree as they came by the RTD headquarters to collect presents that were being dispersed to the kids at their holiday party Dec. 13. NCRTD/Courtesy

  • Rio Arriba County Sheriff suspects cartels in slayings

    ESPAÑOLA (AP) — The Rio Arriba County Sheriff said he believes the recent execution-style slayings of two men and the case of two other men found dead in a burned out trailer are linked to Mexican drug cartels.

    Sheriff Tommy Rodella said one of two men found dead in the burned trailer in Medanales on Dec. 21 was a suspect in the double murder 11 days earlier in Hernandez. Those bodies were also found in a mobile home that had been set on fire.

    Rodella said the slayings have all the earmarks of a Mexican cartel hit.

    “There was drugs involved,” he said. “And I think because of the level of drug dealing that has been going on now for some time I think that is indicative that the (cartels) are here. The thing is, that this isn’t the first case where someone has been murdered and burned. That sends a hell of a message.”

    Rodella said 20-year-old Tomas J. Sanchez was one of two people found dead inside the burned trailer.

    He said he was the top suspect in the Dec. 10 deaths of 53-year-old Matthew Maestas and 47-year-old Joseph Eugene Valdez, both of whom has been shot five times before their trailer was set on fire.

    The men, who were friends, were found dead in Maestas’ trailer home and appeared to have been targeted by someone they knew.

  • Sheehey's main goal: Boosting retail

    Third in a three-part series

    Municipal Judge Alan Kirk swore in new councilors Steve Girrens, Kristin Henderson and Pete Sheehey, along with new county clerk Sharon Stover last week.

    The priorities each of the new councilors has established as they prepare to take up the reins may point to some shifting alliances as the council is reformulated after the first of the year and it may also shed some light on how these new councilors will reshape local governance during the next four years.

    Pete Sheehey
    “The thing that I was talking about all through the campaign and people were telling me about as I was knocking on doors was priorities,” Sheehey said. “Can we really afford all the things we’ve committed to and are they the most important things that we should be spending our money on?”

    Sheehey’s priorities are public safety, infrastructure and support for public education, economic development and recreational amenities — in that order. He asserts that most of the people he has talked to have similar priorities and questions whether the previous council followed those priorities when they decided on CIP funding.

  • Lujan service draws hundreds

    A memorial service for House Speaker Ben Luján drew hundreds of politicians of all stripes to the state Capitol. About 400 people honored the 77-year-old, during Thursday’s service in the Capitol rotunda. Luján died of lung cancer Dec. 18. Representatives from Los Alamos, including former Sen. Steve Stoddard and Representative-elect Stephanie Garcia Richard, attended the service. Former Gov. Bill Richardson called Luján a small, gentle guy, but a political giant. A second visitation and rosary will be tonight in Pojoaque. A funeral Mass is set for 9 a.m. Saturday at St. Francis Cathedral in Santa Fe, with interment to follow at Sagrado Corazón de Jesus Cemetery in Nambé. 

  • Music program could benefit from bond issue

    If residents give the Los Alamos School District permission to purchase the next $20 million in general obligation bonds this January, Aspen Elementary School won’t be the only facility that will benefit. Los Alamos High School’s music wing may also get a serious revamp.

    According to an itemized list of projects set aside for the next round of bond funds, $400,000 has been set aside for redesigning the music wing.

    To Zane Meek, the high school’s band director, the money can’t come fast enough. Along with high school orchestra leader Michael Gyurik and choirmaster Jason Rutledge, the three have big plans for the money and how to use it, if voters give the bond issue a thumbs up.

  • 1010 Central near fruition

    As work progresses on the new municipal building, the county is also moving closer to reaching agreement with a group of local businesses interested in developing commercial property on the municipal complex site.

    Known as 1010 Central, the prime location is on a parcel of land nestled between the municipal building and the Bradbury Science Museum.

    “The history of the 1010 project is very much related to the history of the municipal building project,” said outgoing Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation Executive Director Kevin Holsapple. LACDC is a member of the group negotiating with the county to purchase the 1010 Central property and will manage the development if the deal is finalized.

    When the old municipal building had to be demolished due to a lack of structural integrity, the LACDC was among those who urged the county to build a new municipal center in the commercial district.

    “The idea was that placing that activity in the middle of town would help be a catalyst for other activity to take shape around it that would help fill in, improve and densify that part of town, which is a big part of the downtown plan,” Holsapple said.