Local News

  • Revenue losses hit hard

    Like a one-two punch to the fiscal gut, county officials have been left reeling in efforts to shore up a budget that’s just been hammered.

    Los Alamos County Council’s mid-year budget review at the end of January will be anything but routine. Two unexpected revenue losses have staff scrambling to address both short-term and long-term implications. 

    Despite ongoing conversations with the lab and efforts to prepare for a downturn in federal spending, no one anticipated the news coming from Los Alamos National Laboratory in November. 

    LANL’s fiscal year ends in September. County Administrator Harry Burgess said that the largest expenditures traditionally come in that final month. But the report that posted Nov. 15 was shocking for county officials.

    “When we logged on the state’s reporting website, we learned that not only was it a decrease, but it was a significant decrease,” Burgess said. 

    “The spending for the lab was approximately $3 million less for the month of September this year than it was one year prior. There have been fluctuations over time, but this was a greater amount than we’d seen before.”

  • County survey results now available

    Los Alamos County’s bi-annual citizen survey results are now available for the public to review on the news page of the county’s website at losalamosnm.us and LAMonitor.com. In addition, copies for public review are available at the 311 Customer Care Center located at 150 Central Park Square or at the reference desk of either public library.

    The firm under contract to conduct the county’s survey was CRC & Associates, LLC.  They randomly selected approximately 400 county residents to participate in a 20-minute phone survey or street interview.

    The survey included a variety of questions about county programs and services, community needs, quality of life, media and information resources, openness and transparency of government, economic development and housing needs.

     The county has been regularly conducting citizen satisfaction surveys since 1996. County staff use the information gained from the survey to help guide the county’s goals for service and program improvements.     

  • North Korea Shows Off Images of Rocket Launch
  • Today in History for December 13th
  • N.H. Store Owner Frets Over 'Fiscal Cliff'

    David Pastor, the owner of an appliance store in southern New Hampshire, worries that the fiscal cliff debate is hurting his sales.

  • Video: In honor of 12-12-12
  • Most Googled in 2012: Whitney, PSY, Sandy

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — The world's attention wavered between the tragic and the silly in 2012, and along the way, millions of people searched the Web to find out about a royal princess, the latest iPad, and a record-breaking skydiver.

    Whitney Houston was the "top trending" search of the year, according to Google Inc.'s year-end "zeitgeist" report. Google's 12th annual roundup is "an in-depth look at the spirit of the times as seen through the billions of searches on Google over the past year," the company said in a blog post Wednesday.

    People around the globe searched en masse for news about Houston's accidental drowning in a bathtub just before she was to perform at a pre-Grammy Awards party in February.

    Google defines topics as "trending" when they garner a high amount of traffic over a sustained period of time.

    Korean rapper PSY's "Gangnam Style" music video trotted into second spot, a testament to his self-deprecating giddy-up dance move. The video is approaching a billion views on YouTube.

  • Update 12-12-12

    Swearing in

    The public is invited to attend the official swearing in ceremony for newly elected officials at 10 a.m. Dec. 21. in the Municipal Courtroom of the Justice Center. A reception with light refreshments will follow in the lobby of the Justice Center.

    'Topper alumni

    The Hilltopper Alumni Society’s holiday social will be from 4-7 p.m. today at Dixie Girl, 1789 Central Ave. This is an opportunity for graduates of Los Alamos High School to mix and mingle. All Hilltopper Alumni are welcome to attend.

    County Council

    County Council will meet at
    7 p.m. Dec. 18 in Council Chambers.

    Film series

    The White Rock Family Friendly Series presents “Brave,” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the White Rock Town Hall.

    Have a news tip?

    Send press releases, photos and videos to laeditor@lamonitor.com or contact the newsroom at 662-4185.

  • Apple farm dispute goes to hearing

    SANTA FE (AP) — The operators of a historic New Mexico apple orchard that was destroyed by fire and flooding last year are locked in a battle with the state over the future of the land.
    The longtime operators of Dixon’s Apple Orchard began efforts Monday to resurrect a previously rejected plan to lease the farm to San Felipe Pueblo, the Albuquerque Journal reported Tuesday.
    Becky and Jim Mullane appealed State Land Commissioner Ray Powell’s rejection of their $2.8 million lease proposal involving the pueblo and hope ongoing hearings on the issue might bring a reversal.
    Powell, in rejecting the pueblo lease deal, said continuing the 75-year lease agreement reached with the farm by then-Land Commissioner Patrick Lyons in 2007 is not a good deal for the state land trust, which benefits public schools and other entities.
    The leased property includes 8,500 acres adjacent to the orchard for which the Mullanes pay just $100 a year, a rate that would be locked in for decades if the lease assignment with the pueblo is accepted, Powell noted.
    Former state District Judge James Hall is scheduled to hear testimony this week and will make a recommendation in the form of a report to Powell, who can accept or reject the findings.

  • Speeds reduced next week

    Los Alamos County staff has been working with the New Mexico Department of Transportation to have N.M. 502 speed limits reduced in the Eastern Area. This is the first step in a plan to address residents’ complaints about sound levels.

    NMDOT performed a speed study and recommended reducing the speed limit to 40 mph along the airport and to 35 mph at Airport Road.

    The county received notification yesterday that the plan has been approved. New traffic signs should be installed by the end of next week.  

    Once the speed limit changes have been in place a month or so to allow drivers to adjust, staff will check sound levels to determine additional sound mitigation measures.

    At Tuesday’s council meeting, residents expressed concerns that a new study will delay the construction of a sound wall.

    Public Works Director Philo Shelton responded that there could be a small delay in the projected start date, but he anticipates the sound wall will be completed by the end of the 2013 construction season.
    Eastern Area resident Sue Pope asked that construction vehicles for the Trinity Site project be required to use the truck route to reduce noise levels.