Today's News

  • US concealed-carry gun bills prompt warning in New Mexico

    SANTA FE — A national gun-safety group on Tuesday stepped up pressure in New Mexico against proposed U.S. firearms legislation that would make states recognize concealed handgun permits from other states.

    With members of Congress returning home for August recess, Americans for Responsible Solutions on warned that concealed carry “reciprocity” legislation would undermine New Mexico’s rigorous training and screening standards for people seeking to obtain licenses so they can carry concealed handguns.

    Robin Lloyd, director of government affairs for Americans for Responsible Solutions, warned that as many as 25 other states do not meet New Mexico’s requirements for background checks and firearms safety training for people authorized to carry concealed weapons.

    New Mexico could be forced to allow unverified people from other states to carry concealed guns in public places under the proposed legislation, according to a flier distributed by the group.

    The National Rifle Association has said momentum is building for House and Senate bills that enshrine rights to carry concealed weapons across state lines, though current bills have yet to reach initial committee assignments for discussion.

  • LAPD works for national accreditation

    The Los Alamos Police Department is on its way to becoming a nationally accredited agency by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), which is the original and most widely recognized accrediting body in Public Safety.

    This program is a way for an agency to demonstrate their commitment to excellence in law enforcement.

    LAPD passed the state level accreditation through the New Mexico Law Enforcement Accreditation Program back in 2010, but are now working toward the national level.

    The CALEA program is an obvious step up from the state level with almost more than double the standards to pass.

    Conforming to these professional standards allows LAPD to enhance their service delivery, transparency and interaction with the public. Police Chief Dino Sgambellone said, “All of this helps to ensure professional police service while continuing to build on trust with those we serve.”

    Sgambellone gave the inside scoop as to how the process of becoming accredited works, which involves conforming to over 400 standards and then showing proof of that compliance.

  • New housing program gets off ground

    Los Alamos County is one step closer to getting a new housing program for first-time homebuyers off the ground, after council approved a contract with the Los Alamos Housing Partnership Inc. to provide funding for it last week.

    The new contract will allow the partnership to allocate $80,860 in funding for the next three fiscal years.

    The funds come from a $150,000 allocation the council made to the partnership in February.  According to County Housing and Projects Manager Andrew Harnden, the partnership plans to come back to the council every year for at least $150,000 to keep the program going.

    About $6,500 will be used to set up the program. The remainder will pay for administrative costs until June 2020. The program is designed to help first-time homebuyers with a down payment.

    “...This is going to be working with local lenders who have the actual, primary loan, and this will act as a down payment assistance which is a soft second loan,” Community Development Director Paul Andrus said. “It’s still a loan that will be paid back to the county. It’s not a grant, and it’s not forgivable.”

  • 2 candidates stump in LA

    With the 2018 gubernatorial election beginning to heat up, two candidates vying for the top job of governor visited Los Alamos this week.

    Democrat Jeff Apodaca made a campaign stop at the Bathtub Row Brewery Sunday, and Democrat Peter DeBenedittis stopped by the Karen Wray Gallery Monday.

    Apodaca told the crowd he wants to use New Mexico’s $21.6 billion in cash reserves to invest in jobs and education. The former media executive, who is now an entrepreneur, talked about Colorado’s decision to legalize marijuana and how it has put millions of dollars back into the economy –, money that now funds education and other initiatives.

    “It’s an opportunity for us to get ahead of the curve,” he said. “Colorado’s tourism is up 32 percent,” Apodaca said. “We talked to the folks up north. They drive up, buy and come back… more importantly, 32,000 jobs, $200 million in tax revenue.”

    Apodaca also went after the “New Mexico True” tourism plan.

    “Guess what our state has done, they’ve cut your tourism budgets in Los Alamos. They’ve cut our tourism budgets in our county,” Apodaca said.

  • Albuquerque to honor fallen WWII war correspondent

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Albuquerque will honor an acclaimed World War II war correspondent that died before he was able to return home.

    The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the writer was known for publishing harrowing, firsthand accounts of the war and the sacrifices the young soldiers made. Pyle was born in Indiana and had planned to move to Albuquerque before he was killed.

    New Mexico has honored the writer since the legislature declared Aug. 3 as Ernie Pyle Day in 1945. Event organizers will celebrate Pyle's 117th birthday on Thursday with a keynote address by longtime war correspondent Joe Galloway and a speech by a University of New Mexico journalism professor.

    Event organizers and participants hope that Pyle will one day receive his own national holiday.

  • Off to the races

    For the 45th straight year, competitors in the Tour De Los Alamos turned the streets of the county into a high-speed cycling course, resulting in an unforgettable event.

    The race, which was described by organizers as the “oldest bicycle race in the Southwest,” attracted more than 100 people to the area.

    Race director Cyndi Wells said that people came from hundreds of miles around to take part, including multiple racers from Texas and Colorado.

    “I’m always super excited to see lots of people coming in from out of town,” Wells said.

    She said that although there are some people who come back year after year for the race, it is the infusion of new racers each year that keeps the race as successful as it has become.

    “We had lots of people say that they would definitely be coming back next year, and that they would be bringing even more of their friends with them,” Wells said.

    Registration has steadily increased in the past few years, and Wells said she expects that to continue into the future.

    “I think after the great race we had this weekend, the word is going to really get out about our race and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the turnout looks like next year,” Wells said.

  • New Mexico: Patients can skip surprise emergency-care bills

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico state insurance regulators are making it clear that emergency medical services cannot be billed at higher rates when patients are treated outside an insurance provider's network of doctors and hospitals.

    The Office of the Superintendent of Insurance issued a bulletin this week to health insurance companies in response to public concerns about patients who receive surprise bills for services outside of an insurance provider's network.

    The bulletin said insurers cannot bill policyholders for balances that accrue from out-of-network care during medical emergencies, clarifying provisions of current law.

    The guidance from Insurance Superintendent John Franchini does not apply to the treatment of non-emergency conditions at emergency facilities.

    Agency polling shows that about one-third of patients statewide have received large surprise bills over the past two years for out-of-network care.

  • Missing juvenile offender considered armed and dangerous

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Authorities are looking for a 15-year-old boy who is missing from a state juvenile facility in Albuquerque.

    The New Mexico State Police said Malachi Sanchez is considered armed and dangerous and that he has not returned to the Sequoyah Adolescent Treatment Center since leaving Saturday. Circumstances of the youth's departure from the facility were not released.

    He is described as Hispanic, 5-foot-9, 112 pounds with hazel eyes and brown hair. He has a tattoo on his left hand with three dots and the letter "C''.

    The State Police said anyone with information his whereabouts should call 911.

  • Traffic restricted on East Jemez Road following water line break

    UPDATE: Thursday: 2:45 p.m.

    Crews continued to repair a water line break on East Jemez Road Thursday.

    The roadway is restricted to one westbound lane. Eastbound traffic is blocked, and is expected to reopen at 9 p.m. No eastbound (downhill) traffic will be allowed until the road reopens. Only westbound (uphill traffic) will be allowed.

    Drivers are advised to avoid the area if possible. Any updates will be provided as more information is made available.


    East Jemez Road was restricted to one lane Wednesday following a water line break on East Jemez Road near the Los Alamos Transit Mix station. 

    The roadway is down to one lane open with traffic control providing access in both direction intermittently, according to the Los Alamos Police Department. LAPD has received reports that the eastbound traffic will be blocked beginning at 6 p.m. today until 4 p.m. Thursday. 

    No downhill traffic will be allowed during that time and only westbound will be allowed, according to LAPD. Drivers are advised to avoid the area if possible. Any updates will be provided as more information develops.

  • House ethics panel clears NM Democrat, Texas Republican

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Ethics Committee said Tuesday it is dropping separate investigations against Democratic Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico and Republican Rep. Roger Williams of Texas.

    Lujan, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, was accused of using the House chamber to raise money for campaign purposes during a June 2016 sit-in on gun control.

    Williams, an auto dealer, was accused of a conflict of interest in offering a 2015 amendment to a transportation bill that would have benefited auto dealers.

    The ethics panel said neither Lujan nor Williams violated House rules, but cautioned that both lawmakers acted in ways where mistakes are possible. The panel urged all House members to seek guidance from the ethics committee when in doubt.

    A spokesman for Lujan called the complaint politically motivated and without merit.

    The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, a conservative-leaning watchdog group, filed a complaint last year alleging that Lujan and other Democrats violated ethics rules by using the House chamber to raise money for campaign purposes. Specifically, the group said Lujan and others sent campaign emails featuring photos of themselves during the June 2016 sit-in.