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Local News

  • 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. 

  • Transit Center recognizes West’s enduring legacy

    Val Boatman and her husband Bill traveled all the way from Kansas to be at Friday’s ribbon cutting for the NCRTD’s Jim West Regional Transit Center in Espanola.

    Val is the sister of the late Jim West, the former Los Alamos County councilor for whom the building is named.

    By the time the ceremony was over, Val was in tears.

    It probably was because of the moving tribute to West, who died of cancer in 2009, that LA County councilor Mike Wismer gave during the ceremony.

    Wismer’s talk certainly was powerful.

    He recalled meeting West on the campaign trail in 2002.

    “We became instant friends and worked together for four years on the council,” Wismer said.
    Wismer talked about how West became the transit district’s strongest proponent and its most “articulate cowboy spokesman.”

    He referred to West being very “Oklahoma Stubborn.” Wismer said, “For those on the East Coast, that term means damn persistent in his efforts to get the transit system going and for getting the GRT approved by voters and in making the board effective. For that reason alone, it is most appropriate to name this facility after Jim.”

    Then Wismer talked about a more personal reason for naming the facility after West.

  • Johnson exits council race

    Ken Johnson, a Democratic candidate for Los Alamos County Council, has dropped out of the race.

    Johnson sent in his withdrawal notice to the county clerk’s office Friday morning.

    “I expect if I were elected at some point, I would have had to leave the council and that would not be fair to the people who voted for me,” Johnson said in a phone interview. “I have plans to move away from Los Alamos during that time frame.”

    Later in the day Friday, Johnson released a statement.

    “This morning I officially withdrew as a candidate for the Los Alamos County Council.  A confluence of events in recent months has made it highly likely that I will be moving away from Los Alamos in the fairly near future. Consequently, if elected to the council, I would be unable to complete my term. As a candidate, I believe my supporters should have the expectation that, if my campaign is successful, I will represent them for the complete duration of my term.

  • Update 08-19-12

    Public hearing

    A public hearing on Draft Surplus Plutonium Disposition Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement  is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Holiday Inn Express in Los Alamos.

    Oppenheimer talk

    The Oppenheimer Memorial Lecture, featuring Alex Filippenko, will be at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Duane Smith Auditorium.

    Groundbreaking

    The public is invited to join the county council for the groundbreaking event for the new Golf Course Community Building at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 24, at the building site. Refreshments will be served.

    County Council

    The Los Alamos County Council will hold its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers.

    Scales of Justice

    The Arts in Public Places will host a statue dedication at 2:30 p.m. Thursday in the Justice Center courtyard.

     

  • Correction 08-19-12

    The amount of money in the agreement between NMCF and DOE for 2012 is $300,000 for the entire grant program, which is not limited to just New Mexico groups. The wrong amount was reported in Friday’s story. Secondly, DOE was ordered by the court to pay a settlement fine of $6.25 million. The MTA Fund was set up by the plaintiff groups, not by DOE.

  • Today in History for August 18th
  • County, Stepan reach settlement

    Los Alamos County and former employee Diana Stepan have reached a settlement.

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

    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.”

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed in favor of former Assistant County Administrator Diana Stepan in her case against Los Alamos County back in June.