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Today's News

  • Fire department gets high marks

    An international accreditation agency tasked with grading fire departments from around the world for safety and how effectively they serve their community has recommended that the Los Alamos Fire Department be reaccredited.
    LAFD is one of only 207 departments out of 35,000 in the United States that’s been granted the accreditation, which is performed by the The Center for Public Safety Excellence, Commission of Fire Accreditation International. The department is also the only one accredited by the CFAI in the state of New Mexico.
    According to CFAI Assessor Gary Aleshire, their process is so rigorous and extensive, it’s an accomplishment just to get an on-site visit.
    “There’s 78 core competencies that have to be met before we can even consider doing an on-site visit,” he said.
    LAFD Deputy Chief Justin Grider said the approval means many things to the LAFD.

  • Elected officials update council

    Budgets for the offices of elected officials — county assessor, county clerk and probate judge — passed unanimously without discussion on Tuesday. (See Sunday’s Los Alamos Monitor for more on the sheriff’s office budget.)
    County Assessor Ken Milder and County Clerk Sharon Stover provided updates on their departments’ activities on Monday.
    Milder’s Chief Deputy Assessor Joaquin Valdez noted that the assessor’s office is funded through both the general fund and the property valuation fund. The department was able to decrease general fund expenditures 2.6 percent in its FY2016 budget, while property valuation fund expenditures increased 14 percent.
    A recent audit by the New Mexico Property Tax Division confirmed that the department had generated approximately $15.3 million in property tax revenue.
    The department is currently working with Deputy County Manager Brian Bosshardt to render property owned by private Los Alamos National Laboratory contractors onto the county’s tax roles. According to Valdez, this would not only increase the county’s tax base, Los Alamos’ low property taxes would also benefit the contractors.

  • Multi Cultural Fair
  • Police Beat 4-24-15

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

    April 16
    10:42 a.m. — Malcolm Torres, 21, of Santa Cruz was arrested through a magistrate court bench warrant at the Sandoval County Jail. The original charge was driving while under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more on East Road, May 24, 2014.

    Noon — Marion Loope, 32, of Los Alamos was arrested for battery upon a peace officer at the Los Alamos police station.

    April 17
    10:08 a.m. — Jay Jones, 41, of Placitas was arrested for assault and battery upon health care personnel in the 3000 block of West Road.

    12:06 p.m. — Theron Sandoval, 34, of San Felipe was arrested through a magistrate court bench warrant at the Sandoval County Jail.

    1:57 p.m. — Maxine Martinez, 44, of Santa Cruz was arrested for unlawful use of a license, and driving when privilege of doing so has been revoked on N.M. 502.

  • Ice cream recalls raise questions about cause

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Major recalls from two well-known ice cream companies due to the discovery of listeria bacteria raise questions about how the pathogen could have contaminated multiple ice cream manufacturing plants — and whether the discoveries are related.
    Blue Bell Creameries of Texas and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams of Ohio — extremely popular brands in their home states — took all their products off shelves this week. Blue Bell ice cream is linked to 10 illnesses in four states, including three deaths. There are no known illnesses linked to the Jeni’s recall, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    The recalls are unusual: Listeria is rarely found in ice cream because it can’t grow at freezing temperatures.
    “At this time, the FDA does not believe that the finding of listeria in one sample of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is related to the outbreak and recall associated with Blue Bell Ice Cream,” said Food and Drug Administration spokesman Jeff Ventura. “We are continuing to investigate both situations and will provide updated information to consumers as we learn more.”

  • Los Alamos Co-op Market appoints interim general manager

    The Los Alamos Cooperative Market Board of Directors has appointed Triny Vigil, formerly the co-op’s meat and cheese manager, to assume the role of interim general manager during the store’s transition between general managers. The community is encouraged to stop by the co-op to welcome him to his new role, ask questions and supply feedback. He will also be available to speak to co-op members at the co-op’s annual meeting from 4-6 p.m. Sunday at the Holiday Inn Express. Board President Tracy McFarland will give the State of the Co-op address at the co-op annual meeting.
    Steve Watts serves his last day as general manager today and will be retained through May 24 to act as an operations consultant to help with the co-op’s leadership transition. Steve Watts served as the co-op’s general manager for 4-1/2 years. During which time, he led the co-op through opening the store, engaging the community, realizing double digit growth, purchasing the building and establishing a strong management team.  

  • American Indian actors quit film over offensive script

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A group of American Indian actors walked off the set of an Adam Sandler movie this week over complaints about stereotypes, offensive names and scenes they say disrespected Native American religious practices.
    Actor Loren Anthony told The Associated Press on Thursday that he and eight others quit the production of the satirical Western “The Ridiculous Six” after producers ignored their concerns about its portrayal of Apache culture and the inappropriate use of props.
    Anthony said the script included offensive names for Native American female characters and a scene where a Native American woman urinated while smoking a peace pipe. Another scene used chicken feathers on teepees, he said.
    “Right from the get-go, it didn’t feel right. But we let it go,” said Anthony, a Navajo actor who started work as an extra on the movie Monday. “Once we found out more about the script, we felt it was totally disrespectful to elders and Native women.”
    “The Ridiculous Six” is produced by Sandler and Allen Covert and is slated for a Netflix-only release. Production began this month in Santa Fe and elsewhere in northern New Mexico.
    The film is a comedy designed to lampoon stereotypes, Netflix said.

  • Regulators inch closer to decision on power plant

    SANTA FE (AP) — The future of an aging coal-fired power plant that provides electricity to more than 2 million people in New Mexico and other parts of the Southwest rests in the hands of state regulators.
    The Public Regulation Commission on Wednesday received a briefing from a hearing examiner on his recommendations regarding a plan by the state’s largest electric provider to replace part of the San Juan Generating Station with a mix of more coal, natural gas, nuclear and solar power.
    Hearing examiner Ashley Schannauer told commissioners they shouldn’t approve the plan unless some changes are made. His concerns center on uncertainties surrounding the ownership makeup of the plant and the lack of a coal-supply contract beyond 2017.
    When asked by the commission why other utilities were looking to divest their ownership in the plant, he said some are bound by regulations that discourage investment in coal power. The costs of complying with future federal pollution regulations also have encouraged electric providers to look to other sources.
    Even though two of San Juan’s units are scheduled to close in 2017, PNM is in line to assume a greater percentage of ownership as other utilities drop out, he said. “PNM’s position as the owner of last resort magnifies the risk to PNM ratepayers,” he said.

  • Nature center opens its doors

    Rain showers hovering over Los Alamos Wednesday could not dampen the spirits of the crowd waiting expectantly for the ribbon cutting for the Los Alamos nature center.
    The project has been five years in the making, since retired Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) board President Chick Keller saw an advertisement announcing that the county was accepting applications for capital improvement projects (CIP).
    “Immediately the whole weight of PEEC’s expertise had to come in and we just kept working and we hired a few more people,” Keller said. “And the volunteers — there has just been hundreds and hundreds of hours of planning going into all this. And I can’t name the number of people who have been involved.”
    Current board President Felicia Orth also stressed the collective efforts of not only founding and subsequent board members, but dozens of volunteers. Those supporters not only helped determine the design for the visually stunning structure but donated time, money and expertise to the developing exhibits inside and out.

  • Charter introduced for proposed environmental committee

    At the beginning of the year, Los Alamos resident Reid Priedhorsky got up at a school board meeting and asked why there were far fewer trees on the new Aspen Elementary School campus, theorizing that some died to construction-related causes.
    While administration officials acknowledged that some trees were indeed removed to make room for the new campus, others died from tree beetle attacks and lack of water.
    In any case, Priedhorsky succeeded in getting a dialogue going about how public oversight on environmental issues can be introduced into school construction projects.
    Priedhorksy and others proposed a committee be formed. At a recent school board meeting, a charter for the proposed committee, “The Los Alamos Public Schools Natural Resources Committee,” was discussed.
    While it seemed that Priedhorsky and others wanted a committee without district employees or members of the Los Alamos School Board on it, board member thought that wasn’t a good idea.
    “I think it’s very important for us to send a message back to the steering committee that ‘no, you work under the guidance of the board, you report back to the board,’ ” said board Vice President Matt Williams at the meeting.