Today's News

  • Ex-teller sentenced in embezzlement case

    Valerie Lujan, a former bank teller, was sentenced in Los Alamos District Court Wednesday for embezzling more than $20,000 from Zia Credit Union in April of 2009. According to court documents, she was working as at teller at the time she committed her crimes.
    Judge Sheri Raphaelson sentenced her to a conditional discharge with five years of supervised probation, the length of which can be shortened if she pays back the money to Zia before her probation is up. According to First Judicial Assistant District Attorney Kent Wahlquist, Lujan has to pay back $32,914.95 to Zia Credit Union.
    Raphaelson reminded her that if she violated the terms of her probation she could be sentenced to nine years in prison. She also reminded Lujan that the charge against her won’t appear on her record, as long as she follows through with her probation and does not commit any other crimes while on probation and paying back the money to Zia.
    Lujan, who lives in Española, remained quiet through her sentencing, letting her attorney, Stephen Aarons do most of the talking. However, she made a statement in court shortly after she was sentenced, apologizing to her former employer for taking the money.

  • Rodgers confronted

    Council chair Geoff Rodgers, running for the House District 43 seat against Democratic incumbent Stephanie Garcia Richard, was interrupted Wednesday during a Republican campaign rally at Smith’s Marketplace where Governor Susana Martinez later appeared. Los Alamos resident Amy Storey stood up and yelled at Rodgers, accusing him of lying on his candidate questionnaire about being arrested that was submitted to the Albuquerque Journal last week. Citing documentation from NMProgressNow.com, Storey accused Rodgers of being arrested in Florida back in the 1990s. Rodgers said to the crowd that he was never arrested or that he lied on his questionnaire. Los Alamos police then arrived on the scene and briefly detained Storey before releasing her. At press time, the Los Alamos Monitor was unable to obtain any court records pertaining to Rodgers in Florida. Rodgers did not respond to inquiries requesting further comment.

  • Records: Deputy to officers, 'I shot the guy'

    LAS CRUCES (AP) — A New Mexico sheriff’s deputy was talking to his girlfriend on the phone when the woman heard someone’s pleas and then gunfire ring out. Soon after, Tai Chan, who’s accused of killing a fellow deputy, told officers, “I shot the guy.”
    The revelations come in court documents and 911 recordings released Wednesday that described a tumultuous scene at the upper-end Hotel Encanto in Las Cruces.
    Investigators tried to piece together why a Santa Fe County deputy ended up dead after a night out drinking with a colleague.
    While Chan’s girlfriend was on the line, she heard someone say, “Please don’t, please don’t,” and then gunshots erupted, the documents said.
    Authorities accuse Chan of fatally shooting Deputy Jeremy Martin at the hotel after they drank at a nightspot and got into a heated argument Monday night, authorities said. They were staying at the hotel after dropping off a prisoner in Arizona, police said.
    Chan’s attorney, John Day, called the shooting a “tragic situation for everybody involved.”
    Before the shooting, Chan called a friend to pick up him and Martin to go drinking at Dublin’s Street Pub, according to the criminal complaint.
    It was one of three restaurants the pair visited.

  • On The Docket 10-30-14

    Records derived from Los Alamos Municipal and Magistrate Court:
    Oct. 22

    Larry Bobo was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal County Court of failing to wear seatbelts. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.
    Oct. 23

    Karen A. Esquibel was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Trevor Orr was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court of stopping, standing or parking in a prohibited or specified place. Defendant was fined $50.

    Lee Arellano was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court of failing to display a valid registration plate. Defendant was fined $50 and was ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Robert. L Swickley was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court of failing to obey a traffic signal. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

  • Restaurant Inspections 10-30-14

    Santa Fe
    Roques Carnitas, 1316 Vitalia St.
    Date inspected: Aug. 27Violations: One moderate-risk violation. Refrigerator does not have thermometer.
    Status of Establishment: Approved. Follow up from previous inspection. No further follow up required. 

    Pecos Trail Cafe, 2239 Old Pecos Trail
    Date inspected: Aug. 28
    Violations: Two high-risk violations. Food out of date in the refrigerator, which was corrected by disposal of out of date food. Food in walk in refrigerator unlabeled with date, which was corrected at time of inspection.
    Status of Establishment: Approved. Follow up from previous inspection. No further follow up required.   

    Hillside Mariposa, 86B Old Las Vegas Hwy
    Date inspected: Aug. 28
    Violations: None.  
    Status of Establishment: Approved. No follow up required.

  • Solar customers protest proposed rate hike

    On Oct. 17, the Los Alamos Cooperative Market hosted an open forum, ostensibly to discuss how the proposed charter amendments for Article V, governing public utilities, could affect customers with home photovoltaic systems.
    Those supporting the charter amendment (Question 2 on the ballot) asserted that if passed, the charter would aid citizens advocating for renewable energy and home PV by setting up avenues for communication between the Board of Public Utilities and council and system for dispute resolution.
    “The councilors get feedback that nobody else gets. And those guys (BPU members) are doing the best they can, but they’re not getting the feedback that comes through elected officials,” resident George Chandler said.
    “You can make fun of elected officials all you want, and everybody loves to pick on the council — I’ve done it myself for years. But the fact of the matter is, they have to listen to you. And believe it or not, they are conscientious about doing that. They listen to people and try to take action.”
    Most of the 20 or so people attending the meeting were more interested in issues raised in recent articles in the Los Alamos Monitor (“DPU looks at home solar rate structure,” Oct. 11, and “Solar home units raise issues,” Oct. 14).

  • Update 10-30-14

    Yum Run

    The Yum Run will return Saturday.
The Yum Run includes 10K, 5K and 1K races and proceeds from the event go to benefit LA Cares. It will start downtown near Ruby K’s Bagels. Runs begin at 8 a.m.
Registration forms are available at Ruby K’s store or at the business’ website, rubykbagel.com. For further information, call 672-1639.

    Wildfire forum

    How is Los Alamos Preparing for Its Next Wildfire? 7 p.m. Thursday at the Mesa Public Library, Community Rooms 2 and 3. Wildland Fire Division Chief Ramon Garcia will present the existing wildfire management plans for protecting Los Alamos County and surrounding areas. Los Alamos Fire Chief Troy Hughes will also be present to answer questions and hear concerns.


    • A Nature-Themed Halloween. 1-3 p.m. Friday. Drop-in on Halloween for some not-too-spooky, nature-themed activities for kids of all ages. Costumes are optional. Children must be accompanied by an adult. No advance registration required. $5 per child. For more information, visit PajaritoEEC.org, call 662-0460, or email Programs@PajaritoEEC.org.
    • Halloween party. 7 p.m. Friday at the American Legion, Post 90, 1325 Trinity Dr. Public is invited for dress up and dancing. A 21-and-over event. IDs checked at door. No cover charge.

  • Oppenheimer Drive construction

    Construction workers on Oppenheimer Avenue take a small break to assess their efforts. Construction on the avenue is expected to continue until the weather gets too cold to continue.

  • Council OKs teen center design

    On Tuesday, the Los Alamos County Council unanimously approved a design that addresses two longstanding needs: one for an adequate teen center for the community’s youth and the other for public restrooms at Ashley Pond Park.
    Council approved the community building as the location for the new teen center in March 2013, after rejecting a plan for a new 18,000-square-foot facility costing $8,782,000 and subsequent plans to lease space at Central Park Square had fallen through.
    The teen center is currently housed in a two-room space provided by Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church, which is at over-capacity.
    The remodel is budgeted for $4 million, which includes many upgrades to the building itself, including asbestos abatement, replacement of the water heater, HVAC system and elevator and the addition of energy efficient windows and insulation for the walls and ceiling.
    To address community outcries for restrooms at Ashley Pond, council directed staff to include an option for public restrooms in the design, and approved up to $200,000 more for that alternative last night.

  • Gov. visits LA today

    Gov. Susana Martinez made an appearance at Smith's Marketplace this morning. Martinez visited Los Alamos as part of her re-election campaign. She's running against Democrat Gary King.