Today's News

  • Police seek help identifying suspects in burglary of county building

    Los Alamos Police Department is offering a $400 reward for information leading to the arrest of two men caught on surveillance cameras burglarizing a county maintenance facility on Entrada Drive.

    The burglary occurred at 12:38 a.m. Jan. 8 The police had no leads as of 10 a.m. Thursday.

    A surveillance video showed the suspects loading several chainsaws into a wheelbarrow and leaving the building. Anyone with information is encouraged to call L.A. Crime Stoppers at 662-8282. People reporting tips can remain anonymous.

  • Zimbabwe opposition leader dies in New Mexico helicopter crash

    By MARY HUDETZ and FARAI MUTSAKA, Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A fiery helicopter crash killed key Zimbabwean opposition leader Roy Bennett while on holiday in a remote part of the U.S. state of New Mexico and four others aboard, friends and authorities said.

    State Police Lt. Elizabeth Armijo confirmed Bennett's death Thursday, a day after a helicopter carrying him and five others went down in a mountainous rural area of northern New Mexico. One person survived the crash, whose cause was not yet known.

    Obert Gutu, spokesman for Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change opposition party, described the death of Bennett, 60, a white man who spoke fluent Shona and drew the wrath of former President Robert Mugabe, as a "huge and tragic loss." Bennett's wife, Heather, also died, Gutu said.

    Bennett, treasurer-general of the MDC-T party, won a devoted following of black Zimbabweans for passionately advocating political change. He was known as "Pachedu," meaning "one of us" in Shona and was often called the sharpest thorn in Mugabe's side. He won a parliamentary seat in a rural constituency despite being white, angering the strongman and his ruling ZANU-PF party.

  • Gov't scientists scramble to save research ahead of shutdown

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's premier medical research institute is in "a scramble" to prepare for a partial government shutdown that could ruin costly experiments and leave sick patients unable to enter cutting-edge studies, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health said Thursday.

    Fauci stressed that patients currently in NIH-run studies — including those at the research-only hospital often called the "house of hope" — wouldn't be adversely affected even if President Donald Trump and Congress don't reach a budget deal to avert a shutdown at midnight Friday.

    "We still take care of them," Fauci, the NIH's infectious disease chief, told The Associated Press. "You never want to put patients in any jeopardy."

    But new patients attempting to enter studies of experimental therapies, often because they've failed standard treatment, would have to be turned away, as happened during the last government shutdown.

    And across the NIH, Fauci described how researchers working on projects from cancer therapies to new vaccines are figuring out how to try to save work in progress so it wouldn't go to waste.

    "It's a scramble," Fauci said, offering a peek at the practical impact of the budget impasse.

  • Officials provide chromium update

    County officials and officials from the Department of Energy’s Environmental Management, Los Alamos Field Office told county officials during a Jan. 9 presentation that a chromium plume under Mortandad Canyon does not pose a threat to Los Alamos County’s drinking water supply.

    Four drinking water wells closest to the chromium plume are tested quarterly, according to Department of Public Utility officials.

    “As of yet, we have seen nothing  above background in any of those wells,” Los Alamos DPU Manager Tim Glasco told the council.

    Glasco also said that even before 2005, for at least 25 years, the DPU has had a cooperative agreement with the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Department of Energy to test all of the drinking wells annually.

    “We meet all federal and state drinking water standards. So, by definition, our drinking water supply is safe,” Glasco said.

    The Environmental Protection Agency defines a part in this case as one drop of water in 1 billion drops of water, about what an average swimming pool contains. The acceptable state limit for chromium is 50 parts per billion. The federal standard is 100 parts per billion.

  • Police: 5 killed, 1 injured in New Mexico helicopter crash

    RATON (AP) — A helicopter crashed in a mountainous rural area of northern New Mexico, killing five people and seriously injuring the sixth person aboard, a New Mexico State Police spokeswoman said Thursday.
    Lt. Elizabeth Armijo confirmed the five deaths and one injury about 14 hours after the helicopter went down about 6 p.m. Wednesday about 15 miles (24 kilometers) east of the small city of Raton near the Colorado state line.
    Armijo said no additional information was immediately available about the victims or circumstances of the crash.
    The police agency posted Wednesday night on Twitter that "response and rescue attempts" were ongoing but slow.
    Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said the helicopter was a Huey UH-1. Information on its registration was not available, Lunsford said.
    Huey helicopters are flown for individuals, businesses and government agencies.
    The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, and agency spokesman Eric Weiss an NTSB investigator was expected to arrive at the crash site late Thursday.
    Raton is 175 miles (282 kilometers) northeast of Albuquerque.

  • Travel Channel to feature Los Alamos tonight

    The Travel Channel will feature Los Alamos and the Manhattan Project in a new episode to be aired tonight.

    The episode, "Manhattan Project: Mysteries at the Museum," was filmed in October at Fuller Lodge, according to Los Alamos County spokeswoman Julie Habiger.

    The show will feature Don Wildman who investigates the story and decisions that brought scientists together for the creation of the first atomic bomb.

    Check the Travel Channel's website for local times and more information.

  • House Republicans introduce crime bill to increase sentences for crimes committed while awaiting trial

    State Representatives Greg Nibert (R-Roswell), Bill Rehm (R-Albuquerque) and Rod Montoya (R-Farmington) introduced legislation to enhance sentences for offenders who commit a crime while awaiting trial, serving parole or probation.

    House Bill 91 would increase sentences up to an additional five years for defendants convicted of a felony if the person committed the felony while awaiting trial or while serving probation or parole.

    The bill would also increase sentences up to an additional six months for those who drive under the influence, as well as those who commit battery or aggravated battery against a household member while pending trial and free from jail or serving probation or parole.

    “New Mexicans are fed up with our state’s ‘catch and release’ criminal justice system,” said Nibert, one of the bill’s sponsors. “HB 91 ensures that if a criminal chooses to commit additional crimes while they are free from jail, they will pay a heavier price for their actions.”

  • 2018 State Legislature: Legislative roundup, Jan. 18, 2018

    The New Mexican

    Days remaining in session: 28

    A raise for politicians? The state's top elected officials are past due for a raise, according to some members of a legislative committee.

    But Gov. Susana Martinez might not agree to a pay raise for her successor and other politicians.

    The Legislative Finance Committee has backed a bill to increase the governor's salary by 10 percent effective Jan. 1, 2019 -- right after Martinez leaves office. The secretary of state, state auditor, attorney general and several other elected officials would get a raise, too.

    They have not had one since 2002.

    Sen. John Arthur Smith, a Democrat from Deming who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, has said salaries must keep up with the private sector.

    The attorney general, for example, is paid $95,000 a year. A 2012 survey by the New Mexico Bar Association found the average salary for lawyers in this state was more than 10 percent higher. And that was six years ago.

    The governor is paid $110,000 a year. The secretary of state gets $85,000.

    Of course, New Mexico also has one of the highest rates of poverty in the country, making the issue a little uncomfortable for some lawmakers.

  • 2018 State Legislature: Senate passes nurse licensing compact

    By Andrew Oxford The New Mexican The New Mexico Senate, moving to meet a tight deadline, on Wednesday approved a new nurse licensing compact to avoid what one lawmaker described as a health care crisis.

    But several senators raised concerns as the bill sped through the Legislature that the compact might diminish nurses' rights by ceding too much power to an out-of-state board about licensing in the profession. The measure would allow nurses licensed in certain other states to practice in New Mexico without getting a separate certificate. It cleared the Senate 39-0 and then received approval from a committee of the House of Representatives.

    That sets up a vote Thursday by the full, 70-member House of Representatives. Even so, an unexpectedly contentious debate revealed concerns about the licensing compact and how quickly lawmakers must approve it.

    Some legislators described themselves as feeling backed into a corner – fearful of what missing the looming deadline might mean for patients and hospitals but unsure of whether the state is well-served by the compact in the first place. New Mexico has been part of a compact since 2004 with two dozen other states, including many of its neighbors.

  • Frosty Morning on the Mountain