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Today's News

  • Rivera to be evaluated

    A Los Alamos woman accused of stabbing and slashing her sister’s boyfriend will be examined for competency, Los Alamos Magistrate Pat Casados decided on Friday.

    Andrea Rivera, 30, will be evaluated to determine if she can assist in her own defense of three charges related to the Nov. 4 incident, which left Cory Kershner, 28, severely injured and Rivera’s sister, Sara Cooper, struggling to save him.

    Rivera appeared in Magistrate Court on Friday with her public defense attorney Kelly Golightley.

    A preliminary hearing to determine probable cause had been scheduled for Friday, but Casados agreed with Golightley’s motion to determine competency in front of a state district court judge. A preliminary hearing had been scheduled for Friday in Casados’ courtroom.

    Rivera faces two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, third-degree felonies, and one count of tampering with evidence, also a third-degree felony, following the alleged attack at a Los Alamos apartment.

    Rivera allegedly attacked Kershner after the trio had been drinking alcohol. According to the account Rivera’s sister told police, Rivera became agitated and Kershner tried to calm her down after sending Cooper to a bedroom.

  • LAPS School Board approves opening negotiations with custodial contractor

    A proposal to privatize night-time custodial duties at the high school and middle school brought out several members of the Los Alamos Public Schools custodial staff Tuesday during a school board meeting.

    The board decided to give Assistant Superintendent Lisa Montoya permission to negotiate with SSC, a company headquartered in Knoxville, Tenn., for a contract worth $447,000, but said they don’t want any current custodial staff to lose their jobs as a result.

    At the request of a reporter following the board’s vote, Quinn Taylor, assistant head custodian at Los Alamos High School, answered questions regarding concerns by custodial staff.

    There is at least one custodian who does not want to leave the night shift, because he or she has a day job as well, Taylor said. He’s concerned about the move, he said.

    “I’m not in favor of it – people are worried about what is going to happen,” Taylor said after the vote.

    In her presentation, Montoya said the district’s custodial staff has six to eight  vacancies, despite efforts to fill them. The current custodial staff is being asked to work overtime to cover the vacancies.

  • University leaders make case to keep managing Los Alamos lab

    SANTA FE (AP) — University of California leaders say that despite safety and operational lapses at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, the university system alone has the experience and expertise to manage the nuclear weapons lab — a role the school essentially has had since the lab's inception.

    University officials were in Santa Fe last week to meet with the University of New Mexico, New Mexico Tech, Santa Fe Community College and a representative with the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities to plead its case to continue to oversee the lab.

    Kim Budil, the University of California's vice president for national laboratories, said the lab "has consistently been rated for their excellence in science and in support of their missions" in the 12 years since the university began co-managing the lab as part of a consortium with three private companies, the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper reported.

    The university has managed Los Alamos since the 1940s. Then-lab Director Pete Nanos temporarily shut down operations in 2004 after a student was injured and classified disks went missing. Thousands of other issues came to light, and the Department of Energy put the lab contract out for bid in response.

  • Community Calendar 12-3-17

    TODAY
    Nature Yoga and Trail Run at 11:45 a.m. at the Nature Center.
Practice yoga with Christa Tyson at the nature center, where you have a great view of nature. Optional: Arrive at 10:30 a.m. to join Christa for a pre-yoga run. Admission: yoga or run for $7/$5 for members; yoga and run for $12/$8 for members.

    Feature Film: Mysteries of the Unseen World
at 2 p.m. at the Nature Center. Discover what is normally too fast, too slow, too small, or outside the visible spectrum. There is far more to nature than meets the eye. Cost is $6 for adults, $4 for children.

    North mesa Stables welcomes the public to take a evening stroll through the stables. Leave the vehicle in the ball fields parking lot off North Mesa Road. Dogs must be on a leash. Owners decorate in the spirit of the holidays.
    MONDAY
    Nature Playtime, Sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of NM
at 10 a.m. at the Nature Center. Join local families for fun, hands-on activities, hikes, games, and stories in nature. Free.
    TUESDAY
    Kiwanis meets from noon to 1 p.m. the first three Tuesdays of each month in Kelly Hall at Trinity-on-the-Hill Episcopal Church, 3900 Trinity Drive.  Eileen Sullivan, the new library director for Los Alamos County, will be the speaker.

  • Police Beat 12-3-17

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department records.
    Charges or citations listed in the Police Beat do not imply guilt or non-guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested, served a court summons or issued a citation.

    Nov. 20
    4:58 p.m. – Police were called on a report of man who was intoxicated.

    Nov. 21
    8:52 p.m. – Police arrested an individual on a probation violation.

    Nov. 22
    3 p.m. – Police were called to a report of animal bites. An animal was impounded.

    Nov. 23
    4:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.  – Two incidents of dog bites, respectively, were reported in Los Alamos.

    Nov. 24
    3:30 p.m. – Police reported finding a white purse at Ashley Pond.

    Nov. 25
    5 a.m. – Santana Casias, 22, of Española, was arrested in Rio Arriba County by a State Police officer on a warrant issued by Los Alamos Municipal Judge Alan Kirk in connection to a traffic citation issued in October. The warrant was for $500 cash only.

  • Townsend tapped to lead House GOP working group

    New Mexico House Republican leadership tapped Rep. Jim Townsend (R-Artesia) Friday as chair of the newly formed Policy Development Working Group for the House Republican Caucus.

    The group will provide a forum to develop legislative proposals, offer policy recommendations, and set long-term strategic goals. 

    “New Mexicans want fresh ideas to solve the problems facing our state, and Jim Townsend is the right person for this job,” said House Republican Floor Leader Nate Gentry (R-Albuquerque). “New Mexico continues to fall behind under the current Democrat legislative leadership. Instead of throwing more money at failed policies that are clearly not working, we need to set a new direction for our state. Rep. Townsend will help us find the right course to create a better New Mexico.”

    “I am excited by this opportunity to develop innovative solutions for New Mexico,” said Townsend. “The current plan offered by Democrat House and Senate leaders is just a continuation of stale policies that have put New Mexico at the bottom of all the good lists and the top of all the bad lists. We must embrace bold new strategies to turn our state around.”

  • Judge orders New Mexico department to release information

    SANTA FE (AP) — A New Mexico judge has order the state Department of Game and Fish to release the email addresses of individuals who applied for state hunting licenses in 2015 and 2016 to Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn.

    The Albuquerque Journal reports Dunn requested the information involving roughly 80,000 hunters earlier this year, but the department redacted some contact information including email addresses, citing a new internal policy.

    Dunn filed a lawsuit in his personal capacity against the department in May.

    The judge in his ruling this week says the department did not cite a legitimate exemption when it redacted the requested information.

    Department officials say they disagree with the ruling and plan to appeal, claiming that releasing the information could put customers at risk for identity theft and other crime.
     

  • McFall wants to help the poor, cut government

    Steve McFall, a Republican candidate who announced a run for Congressional Dist. 3 Wednesday, has walked a mile in someone else’s shoes, and then some.

    Seven years ago, he was involved in a custody battle with his ex-wife that left him nearly homeless and destitute, with just $3.16 to his name. To top it off, he also sustained an injury to his left arm that required an expensive surgery.

    The way he talks today from his home in Angel Fire and six credits shy of getting his degree in psychology from the University of New Mexico, he would take the same walk again.

    Without taking that long road back to good health and financial stability he said, he would not have been inspired enough to run for Congress.

    This will be McFall’s second run for the seat. He left the first race in 2014 while running in a three-way primary race against Republicans Michael Lucero and Michael Romero.

    His journey taught him a lot about how the federal government treats the vulnerable and the poor.

  • Report: US agency holding nuke bombs grapples with oversight

    By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy has its share of challenges as it conducts some of the world's most high-tech research, maintains a stockpile of nuclear weapons and cleans up after decades of bomb-making.

    A report released this week outlines some of those management struggles while providing a look at the expansive scope of the department's responsibilities and costly liabilities.

    According to work over the past year, the agency's inspector general says a growing problem is oversight and management of more than 11,300 contracts to keep operations humming at 17 national laboratories, dozens of contaminated sites and other facilities.

    BIG JOB, BIG BUDGET

    The Energy Department is the largest civilian contracting agency within the federal government. About 90 percent of the $30 billion it gets each year goes toward contracts.

    The inspector general's findings this year on the oversight of those contracts is nothing new because federal accountants have called contract management within the agency "high risk" since 1990. The difference is officials are starting to look closer at subcontractors.

  • LAPD hearing nets varied responses

    Assessors from a national law enforcement accreditation organization heard mixed reviews of the Los Alamos Police Department during a public hearing Tuesday.

    While Greg White, a candidate for local sheriff, said he had personally experienced “incompetence and corruption,” at the hands of a few members of the department, County Councilor Rick Reiss told the assessors that Los Alamos has a “strong, comfortable and safe” community due in part to the police force.

    Reiss said he was speaking as a private citizen.

    The two assessors representing the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. or CALEA, heard from White, Reiss and a third member of the public, Vincent Chiravalle, who also spoke in support of the police department.

    The Los Alamos Police Department applied for accreditation with the organization two years ago after letting its state accreditation lapse. Seeking accreditation with CALEA requires an initial payment of approximately $11,000 and approximately $4,000 annually.

    Two other departments in New Mexico, the Farmington police and the State Police, are accredited by CALEA’s website.

    The national organization’s requirements include written directives for many of its 484 standards for law enforcement.