Today's News

  • Council OKs water rate hike

    Customers will be seeing a 10-percent rate increase in their water bills. The Los Alamos County Council unanimously approved the new rate Tuesday.
    The rate hike addresses shortfalls created by a combination of reduced consumption and the high costs for maintaining the system.
    “We still have a very large and very complex water system with some aging infrastructure, so we still have to maintain that. The size and complexity of the system has not reduced any because of the reduced water sales,” Department of Public Utilities (DPU) Deputy Utilities Manager for Finance and Administration Robert Westervelt told council.
    Westervelt countered the notion that decreased sales are due to the tiered water rate and rate increase implemented in 2014. He illustrated how water consumption has decreased steadily since 2003, which he attributed to water conservation and sharply reduced usage at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).
    According to Westervelt, cooler weather and consistent rainfall throughout the irrigation season has also contributed to reduced sales in recent years. He pointed to 2013, a year in which most of the rainfall fell during one brief period. Drought conditions during the rest of the year resulted in high water sales.

  • Defense Secretary Carter wraps up tour of LANL

    Defense Secretary Ash Carter wrapped up his visit to New Mexico Wednesday with a four-hour tour of the Los Alamos National Laboratory with Lab Director Charlie McMillan.
    One of the main stops on his tour was “Plutonium Facility 4,” the country’s only plutonium science, technology and manufacturing center. Carter observed operations in the pit casting area of the facility, where molten plutonium is molded and shaped to fit inside nuclear weapons.
    At the end of his tour, Carter expressed his thanks and appreciation for the LANL employees who made the plutonium cores and other nuclear weapon components.
    “A strong plutonium science and manufacturing capability is essential to the U.S. nuclear deterrent and cannot be underestimated,” Carter said. “I want to express my sincere appreciation for the difficult and vitally important work done at Los Alamos to help assure the development, assessment and security of the nuclear triad.”
    McMillan, who also accompanied Carter on his tour was glad Carter was able to make the trip to Los Alamos National Laboratory, according to LANL’s website.

  • LA students rank high in bullying, dating violence

    A state survey released Wednesday revealed that sexual dating violence, suicide ideation and bullying among Los Alamos students is higher than the state average.
    The statistics for sexual dating violence shows that Los Alamos ranks seven points higher than the state average of 9.2 percent.
    In 2013, the sexual violence question was added to the survey to distinguish it from other acts of physical violence. It includes “any coercion of a sexual nature.” That includes kissing, touching or being physically forced to have sexual intercourse.
    Los Alamos students that seriously considered suicide is five points higher than the state average of 16.5 percent.
    The survey also noted that incidents of bullying at school were 8.2 percentage points higher than the state average of 18.4 percent. Incidents of electronic bullying, students harassing each other through social media and other platforms of communication, was three points higher than the state average of 13.7 percent.  
    The survey, “The New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey” was done as part of a nationwide monitoring system of the nation’s youth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Prep football: ’Toppers eye .500 against Demons

    Staring district play on a two-game winning streak and with a .500 record would be huge for the Los Alamos football team.
    Only Santa Fe High stands in the way of the Hilltoppers accomplishing that. Both teams will square off at 7 p.m. tonight at Ivan Head Stadium in Santa Fe.
    After last week’s 50-14 win at Gallup, Los Alamos now stands at 2-3 on the season.
    The Demons are 0-4 so far this season, and have been outscored 148-52.
    Los Alamos will look to exploit the Santa Fe secondary, which has allowed numerous big plays in the first four weeks. The Hilltoppers will attempt to do that by using the dual-threat ability of quarterback Nick Quartieri, and the physicality of fullback Dylan Irish.
    Quartieri leads Los Alamos with 13 rushing touchdowns this season. He’s also thrown four touchdown passes.
    The Hilltoppers defense had one of its best performances last week, and the Demons haven’t had much success at the quarterback position.
    Senior Adrian Blea is expected to start for Sant Fe at quarteback on Friday. Blea’s best performance of the season came against Taos, when he threw for 125 yards a two touchdowns. Blea has also thrown seven interceptions this season.
    Dominik Barela has also seen some time under center for the Demons. But, he to has been turnover prone.

  • Residents welcome to view county info

    Residents are invited to stop by the Municipal Building lobby from 1-3 p.m.  Oct. 5 to view a variety of information about county services, programs and events.
    The county is hosting the event as part of its “customer service week” activities from Oct. 3-7. The week is sponsored by the Department of Public Utilities’ Customer Care Center.
    Refreshments will be served and county staff will be on hand to answer questions.

  • State Briefs 9-28-16

    Health officials: 3 more West Nile virus cases in N.M.

    SANTA FE (AP) — The New Mexico Department of Health has announced three more cases of West Nile virus around the state.
    During the past month, health officials say a 53-year-old Bernalillo County man, a 57-year-old Dona Ana County man and a 40-year-old McKinley County man have been diagnosed with the virus transmitted by a mosquito bite.
    All three men were hospitalized.
    Health officials say the three newest West Nile cases doubles the total of human cases identified in New Mexico so far this year.
    The three previous cases were reported in Rio Arriba and Valencia counties.
    Health officials say New Mexico typically sees most of its West Nile virus cases in August and September, but may potentially see case through October this year because of late-season rains.

    Lawsuit over Gov. Martinez’s
    campaign emails dismissed

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A 2-year-old civil lawsuit over emails released from Gov. Susana Martinez’s hijacked email account has been dismissed.
    The Albuquerque Journal reports on Monday, court filings showed that both parties have agreed to dismiss the case with prejudice, meaning it can’t be refiled.
    Attorneys in the case declined to comment.

  • LANL recognized for diversity efforts

    Los Alamos National Laboratory was recognized for its diversity efforts by STEM Workforce Diversity Magazine, in its newest issue. The magazine named LANL a 2016 top 20 government employer, the only national laboratory to achieve this recognition.
    Rankings were based on an annual survey of randomly-selected readers of the publication, according to Tamara Flaum-Dreyfuss, president and publisher of Equal Opportunity Publications, Inc., which publishes the trade publication.
    Readers selected the top 20 government employers as those “they would most prefer to work for or believe would provide a positive working environment for STEM professionals who are members of minority groups,” said Flaum-Dreyfuss.

  • County Clerk’s office offers election registrar agent training

    With the Nov. 8 general election fast approaching, the Los Alamos County Clerk’s Office is gearing up voter registration efforts. Towards that end, Clerk Sharon Stover and Elections Manager Gloria Maestas conducted an election registrar agent training on Sept. 14.
    Seven women attended the training, where they learned about the dos and don’ts of registering voters in New Mexico.
    “This is really an important part you are playing, of getting people registered,” Stover said. “Whatever we can do to assist that, we want to make sure that everybody has an opportunity to vote.”
    A significant part of the presentation was a training video produced by Los Alamos Chief Deputy Clerk Adrianna Ortiz and New Mexico State Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto (D-District 15), who is executive director of NM Clerks, LLC, an organization representing all 33 county clerks. Ivey-Soto was at one time state election director in the Secretary of State’s office.
    The Los Alamos County Clerk’s Office initiated the idea of creating a video, which is now being used by several clerk’s offices throughout the state.

  • Flying like an Eagle
  • Council eyes three economic projects

    When Dekker/Perich/Sabatini presented the results of several months of scoping and public input on proposed Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) to the Los Alamos County Council Sept. 20, they pointed out that three proposed economic development projects seemed to have community support. Council, for the most part, echoed that sentiment.
    Dekker/Perich/Sabatini Principal/Urban Planner Will Gleason and Craig Bouck, president and CEO at Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture, who made the presentation, provided options and probable costs for Deacon Street improvements, 20th Street expansion and DP Road improvements.
    The economic development projects would not be part of the proposed $20 million recreation CIP bond. Council allocated $4 million toward the three projects in March. The consultants’ “opinion of probable costs,” which represents “our best calculation at this point based on a number of assumptions about the project,” totaled $6.7 million.
    The probable costs for those projects are:
    • Deacon Street improvements: $1.2 million to $2.1 million depending on the chosen design. Improvements include pedestrian-scaled lighting, landscaping, reconfigured parking and pedestrian linkages to Central Avenue.