Today's News

  • Council approves $6.5 million for pool

    The Los Alamos County Council Tuesday approved the use of up to $6.5 million in capital improvement funds to build a multi-generational pool that will be attached to the Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center.

    Design for the project is expected to begin in February 2018 and construction may start in February 2019 and continue through January 2020. The heated pool will feature a slide and a lazy river. The dimensions will be about 80 feet by 25 feet. The new building will also feature family changing rooms and other amenities.

    Looming large over the pool discussion was the future of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    The lab’s management and operations contract is scheduled to go to a new contractor next year. If the lab’s contract goes to a non-profit contractor, the county, and the state, would lose millions of dollars in proceeds from the gross receipts tax. New Mexico does not apply a GRT tax to non-profits.

    Some councilors wanted to put the vote off until next year, after the contract issue with the lab was settled, and the county had a better idea of its financial picture.

    Some residents also brought up the issue during public discussion.

  • Small fire reported in Jemez Ranger District

    UPDATE (4:30 p.m.): The fire is now 3- to 4-acres and is now 40-percent contained.

    A small brush fire started about 12:30 p.m. today in the Jemez Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest.

    The 2- to 3-acre Guadalupe Fire is producing heavy smoke near Forest Road 376 and the smoke is visible as far south as Rio Rancho, according to Forest Service officials.

    Officials are asking travelers along FR 376 to be mindful of fire personnel and equipment in the area. The fire is burning through logging slash and pre-made piles.

    Three fire engines are reporting to the fire. A 10-person hand crew out of Santa Fe, knows as the “Returning Heroes” has been ordered to respond.

  • Electric vehicle donation sparks interest

    The electric vehicle “crew” – seven advanced auto shop students at Los Alamos High School – assembled in the dry cold of Wednesday morning outside the classroom/shop building.

    They were going to take their first look at the innards of Tony Tomei’s converted Honda Civic station wagon.

    Tomei had decided more than a year ago that his hand-assembled electric vehicle, or EV, a masterpiece of simplicity and silence, needed a home where it would do the most good.

    What better good than educating the future?

    Still, there’s a little bit of a feeling of loss, he said.

    “I’m a little sad. It’s been a lot of work and a lot of love. I’ve used it to promote the use of electric vehicles,” he said.

    Tomei’s neighbor, LAHS auto shop teacher Scott Pomeroy was one of those with access to students. Tomei also considered the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos and Santa Fe Community College, he said.

    A long-time proponent of the EV movement, Tomei said he hoped to pass on the knowledge he had acquired in the ways a four-wheel vehicle powered by electricity by way of rechargeable batteries is different than one powered by gasoline from fossil fuels.

  • Candyman expansion heralded; more music, less gas

    When the Candyman – an iconic music store in Santa Fe – began stocking a few counters with guitar strings, reeds and other musicians’ necessities at the Los Alamos Music Academy on DP Road last year, the building’s light-filled foyer captured his imagination, said Rand Cook, co-owner along with his wife, Cindy.

    Light pours in from the two-story block of windows and plants thrive in the atrium.

    “I wanted to fill it with guitars,” Cook said.

    His vision has come true.

    Without displacing LAMA, the Cooks expanded the selection of items to include electric and acoustic guitars, ukuleles and banjos, cymbals and other percussion instruments, along with a broader selection of electronics.

    Room 102, which used to be a music room for students, now provides a visual feast of guitars and other stringed instruments.

    The expansion was completed recently, in time for holiday shoppers, and is actually the second time the Cooks have expanded at the location.

    Last spring, the store expanded its hours to help those looking for equipment and supplies outside of the hours open for LAMA students.

  • Health care options expanded for some New Mexico vets

    ALAMOGORDO (AP) — Specialized care for some veterans in southern New Mexico will be more accessible thanks to a recent decision by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

    Members of New Mexico's congressional delegation say the agency is giving veterans in Alamogordo the new option to seek advanced care at the VA medical center in El Paso, Texas.

    Until now, veterans in Alamogordo needing specialized care have been referred to the Albuquerque VA hospital, which is more than three hours away.

    U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce and Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich urged VA officials to make the administrative changes after hearing from veterans who said they were delaying or foregoing care because the drive to Albuquerque was too difficult.

    Several members of the state Legislature also advocated for the change.

  • Diamond Drive closure today

    Los Alamos County Traffic and Streets Division will close the northbound and southbound lanes on Diamond Drive at the Los Alamos County Fire Department from 1-3 p.m. today to install new firetruck crossing signs

    Motorists are asked to proceed with caution through these work zones.

  • LAFD personnel deployed to California wildfires

    For the third time in the past four months, personnel and equipment from the Los Alamos Fire Department were sent west to help battle wildfires in California.

    The LAFD’s Wildland Fire team has joined a task force of fire fighting agencies from New Mexico to work on the wildfires in California as of Thursday morning.

    Some wildfires there have scorched more than 100,000 acres this week near Ventura, Calif., and Los Angeles, fed by fierce Santa Ana winds and dry vegetation.

    LAFD Captain Tim Johnson, Driver Engineer Van Leimer and Firefighter Brian Palmer left Thursday morning in the fire department’s Brush 1, a Wildland Engine. Brush 1 is one of two county-owned wildland firefighting apparatus, according to a prepared statement by Wildland Division Chief Kelly Sterna.

  • Sheriff: 3 dead in New Mexico school shooting

    AZTEC, N.M. (AP) — A shooting at a New Mexico high school left two students and the suspect dead Thursday, authorities said as schools throughout the small town shut down for the day.

    Police did not release any details about the shooter but confirmed the other two people who were killed attended Aztec High School. No other injuries were reported, officials said.

    "The families of the victims were notified immediately. They are in our thoughts and prayers," state police said in a statement on social media.

    State and federal authorities are investigating what led to the shooting and did not immediately release any details about the circumstances. A news conference was planned.

    The school of about 900 students was cordoned off as authorities cleared the campus and teens were taken to another location.

    A crowd of nervous parents gathered outside City Hall in the moments after the shooting to wait for more information as officers tried to reassure them about the safety of their children.

    Despite the closure of all schools in Aztec, authorities said there were no other credible threats to students at the high school or other schools in the neighboring communities of Bloomfield or Farmington.

  • New Mexico Legislature won't release harassment records

    SANTA FE (AP) — The New Mexico Legislature is declining to release records about two complaints of sexual harassment involving Statehouse maintenance staff.

    Legislative Council Service Director Raul Burciaga on Thursday said the documents are exempt from public disclosure under provisions of the state Inspection of Public Records Act regarding matters of opinion in personnel files.

    Legal representatives for the Legislature say there have been only two formal complaints of workplace harassment, in response to public records request about complaints dating back to January 2013. None involve lawmakers or lobbyists.

    It is unclear how the complaints were resolved.

    New Mexico lawmakers are preparing to rewrite anti-harassment policies for the Statehouse that were adopted in 2008.

    Female lobbyists and elected officials say sexual harassment goes unchecked in the Capitol amid ineffective complaint procedures.

  • Aztec shooting victims in thoughts, prayers of LAPS school officials

    The deadly shooting Thursday at a public school in the Four Corners is deeply troubling, said the Los Alamos Public Schools board and the superintendent.

    The shooting left three people dead – two students and the alleged – at Aztec High School in Aztec Thursday morning.

    “Our hearts go out to the victims and their families,” Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus and the LAPS school board said following a request from the Monitor for a statement.

    The victims, their families and the entire Aztec community are in their thoughts and prayers, they said in the prepared statement.

    They also wished to acknowledge the quick actions of the school staff and Aztec’s first responders.

    The eight Los Alamos schools are updating safety plans and conducting training sessions to educate staff and students in response to an active shooter or other safety threat, according to the statement.

    The district has been training with a standard response protocol called Lock Down, Lock Out Evacuate, and Shelter in Place. More details are available at a website: iloveuguys.org/srp.html.