Today's News

  • Council OKs full-time clerk

    Los Alamos County Clerk will now be a full-time position, following a decision by the county council this week.
    After years of discussion following a Charter Review Committee recommendation that the position be changed from part-time, the county council approved the change by a 6−0 vote on Tuesday.
    Vice Chair Susan O’Leary abstained. O’Leary signaled her intention to do so at an earlier meeting on the grounds that she may someday want to run for that office.
    During the CRC process in 2014, several former county clerks advocated for making the position full time. They received support from Sen. Daniel A. Ivey-Soto, (D-Dist. 15), who had served as executive director for the county clerks of the State of New Mexico for several years.
    Ivey-Soto pointed out that since Los Alamos is a Class H county. The clerk must not only fulfill county clerk duties such as overseeing elections, he or she must also function as the municipal clerk, whose duties include overseeing school elections, issuing marriage licenses and maintaining records of property ownership.
    Advocates also argued that the clerk’s duties have grown more complex in recent years due to new mandates required by state statute.
    County Clerk Sharon Stover, whose term ends in December, asked council to approve the change.

  • Gov. Martinez announces departure of NMED Sec. Flynn

    Gov. Susana Martinez announced late today New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ryan Flynn would step down effective Aug. 12.

    Flynn served as Cabinet Secretary since 2013 and as Environment’s General Counsel from 2011 to 2013. Butch Tongate, Deputy Cabinet Secretary, will serve as acting Cabinet Secretary.  

    “Secretary Flynn has put his heart and soul into protecting our environment and always put New Mexicans first,” Martinez said in a press release sent late Friday.

    Martinez is credited with spearheading a number of settlements while secretary of NMED, including negotiating an agreement with Los Alamos National Laboratory for the cleanup of legacy waste from the Manhattan Project and Cold War Era.

    Martinez also commended Flynn for his leadership in negotiating the settlement between the state and the Department of Energy during the Gold King Mine spill and taking action on the Kirtland Air Force base spill.

    Flynn also lead the state through the radiation leak at the Department of Energy’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad. Flynn negotiated the largest settlement in the history of the United States between the Department of Energy and any state for the accidental release of radiation — a total of $74 million, Martinez said.

  • Saturday Comprehensive Plan meeting cancelled

    Los Alamos County announced Friday that the Planning and Zoning Commission work session on the Comprehensive Plan, scheduled for Saturday, July 30, has been cancelled due to inadequate notice. A second work session, scheduled for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 6 in Council Chambers, in the Municipal Building, 1000 Central Ave., will continue as planned. A date to reschedule the cancelled meeting has not yet been determined.

  • Janitor booked for selling pot at county courthouse

    Police arrested a janitor July 21 following a seven-month investigation of a marijuana selling operation at the Los Alamos County courthouse, also known as the Los Alamos Justice Center.
    Los Alamos Police began investigating the marijuana distribution at the location in January, according to court reports.
    Police apprehended Estevan DeVargas, 23, early in the morning without incident while he was working at the courthouse.
    During a search of his belongings, police found three unused needles and a jar of urine, according to the police report.
    When asked by police why he had a jar of urine, DeVargas reportedly told officers it was in case he was asked for a urine sample at work.
    During his interrogation at the Los Alamos police station, DeVargas first denied he was selling marijuana at work. Police reported that DeVargas confessed to selling marijuana following a discussion about surveillance footage.
    “Mr. DeVargas then explained that he had only sold the marijuana to help bring in money for his to take care of his family,” said LAPD Det. Joseph Robinson in his report.
    However, DeVargas refused to give the names of the people he sold marijuana to at work.

  • Case of cliff-diving driver dismissed

    State prosecutors dismissed their case against a Los Alamos man that claimed he drove a vehicle off a 200 ft. cliff with his then girlfriend as a passenger.
    The crash occurred near Anderson Overlook on N.M. 502 on Aug. 25, 2014.
    Zachary Sanchez, 32, was indicted by a Santa Fe grand jury in March of 2015 on charges of great bodily harm by vehicle (Driving while under influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug) and driving while license revoked (DWI related).
    Sanchez was scheduled to go on trial in August or September. However, Sanchez was sentenced to three years’ probation July 26 for a DWI charge when he was arrested in April.
    Though injured, the couple survived the 2014 crash. Paramedics found Sanchez inside the vehicle and girlfriend was found outside the vehicle in critical condition.
    “There was a lot of technical evidence in this case so we hired an expert and based off of his opinion and the evidence we’ve had in this case we could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt he was the driver,” said Santa Fe Assistant District Attorney Natalie Perry.
    The Santa Fe DA’s office will not pursue any new or different charges against Sanchez in this case.

  • Bike patrol practice
  • Crash on N.M. 4 injures driver

    A red Ford pickup truck failed to negotiate a curve on N.M. 4 and ran off the side of the highway, crashing into brush. The driver was heading toward Los Alamos when the accident occurred around 2 p.m. Thursday.
    The driver was injured and the accident caused a small brush fire. Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire quickly. The driver was taken to Los Alamos Medical Center for care.
    Paramedics and firefighters attended to the unidentified driver of the truck before transporting him to the hospital.

  • Urban multiuse path plan gets stamp of approval

    Brenda Fleming’s vision of an urban pedestrian/bicycle path through downtown Los Alamos is one step closer to realization.

    Fleming presented a citizens’ petition advocating for such a path to the Los Alamos County Council on May 3. Council embraced the idea and directed staff to research the options with Fleming and the Transportation Board.
    On Tuesday, council approved a conceptual map of proposed routes developed by a T-Board subcommittee.

    Although the map marks several alternate routes, County Engineer Eric Martinez described what he called the “high priority corridor” with the greatest potential for a trail separated from vehicular traffic, something advocated for by both petitioners and the T-Board.

    The ideal corridor would connect to the Canyon Rim Trail at 20th Street. Planning is underway to extend the Rim Trail to that point. Council approved $1 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funds for easement acquisition during this year’s budget hearings.

    In the meantime, a connector from the Rim Trail to “shared road” bike lanes on Knecht is being built as part of a current construction project.

    The preferred route includes a multiuse path along the 19th Street corridor, past significant points of interest to the nature center and aquatic center

  • Traffic delay on Diamond Ave. expected

    The transport of the last of seven portable classrooms Tuesday night may disrupt traffic along Diamond Avenue as the mover makes it way from Los Alamos Middle School to Los Lunas.
    A truck from Desert Wind Transport plans to leave the middle school with the 28-foot-wide building at 7 p.m.
    The route will require the driver to drive through the roundabout on North Mesa and San Ildefonso roads in the wrong direction. Traffic disruption is expected in the roundabout.
    The truck, escorted by police, will then drive down Diamond Drive to the Sullivan Field parking lot to avoid the walkover bridge at Trinity Drive. The building is too tall to drive under the bridges, said Shirley Crawley, of Desert Wind Transport.
    The driver will exit Los Alamos through the truck route as it makes it way to the School of Dreams Academy in Los Lunas, Crawley said.
    Desert Wind Transport was contracted to move seven buildings from the middle school this week, but a mechanical failure with one of the moving trucks made it necessary for one of the buildings to be moved Tuesday.
    For questions, call Crawley at 505-793-4066.

  • Ex-pastor waives hearing in child porn case

    Former Los Alamos Baptist Church pastor Paul Cunningham waived his right to a preliminary hearing in court Tuesday. His case for allegedly downloading child pornography will be sent to district court.
    In Los Alamos Magistrate Court, Cunningham, 54, dressed in an orange striped jail uniform, sat quietly in the back two bench rows away from the other inmates. He was taken back to his cell shortly after court began.
    Cunningham’s attorney, Stephen Aarons, did not appear with him in court, and could not be reached for comment.
    Cunningham did not have a district court date as of Tuesday. He is also still being held on a $5,000 cash surety bond. He’s been in custody since his arrest. Assistant District Attorney Kent Wahlquist said that he would be filing Cunningham’s new court appearances later this week.
    Cunningham, 54, was arrested June 16 after an investigation by Los Alamos Police Department and the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office. According to investigators,  sexually explicit images of child pornography were discovered that had apparently been downloaded onto a computer allegedly owned by Cunningham.