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Today's News

  • LA community gathers to remember Undersheriff John Horne

    Los Alamos Undersheriff John N. Horne was honored Wednesday morning at his home church of Calvary Chapel Los Alamos. It was a somber but heartfelt event with many community members in attendance to remember him and celebrate Horne’s life.

    Horne was born Feb. 15, 1963, and passed away June 15, according to his obituary. He died in his home in Los Alamos.
    As people stepped forward to view Horne one last time, his father, John, and family sat in the front row receiving hugs and offers of condolences.

    Pat Kestell, the Senior Pastor at Calvary Chapel, opened the service by welcoming the packed church and said, “Clearly there were many lives that were changed because of John.”

    The pastor and many others wore tropical print in honor of Horne because, according to Kestell, “When he wasn’t wearing his uniform, he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt.”

    Horne’s sister, Debbie Barnes, talked a little bit about Horne’s career and the hobbies he enjoyed. Horne grew up in Los Alamos and worked for the Los Alamos National Lab.

    “My brother had a really creative mind. He envisioned and built many mechanical projects with precision that many wouldn’t even imagine,” Barnes said.

  • Feds investigate after lab improperly ships nuclear material

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Federal regulators are launching an investigation into the improper shipment of nuclear material from Los Alamos National Laboratory to other federal labs this week.

    The National Nuclear Security Administration said Friday it was informed by the lab that procedures weren't followed when shipping what was only described as "special nuclear material" to facilities in California and South Carolina.

    The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are investigating, according a spokesman for the NNSA Los Alamos field office.

    The material had been packaged for ground transport. But instead it was shipped aboard an air cargo service, which isn't allowed by federal regulations.

    Officials say that once the investigation is complete, any responsible parties will be held accountable.

    This marks just the latest gaffe by Los Alamos, the lab that created the atomic bomb. Criticism has been intensifying over the lab's history of safety lapses as work ramps up to produce key components for the nation's nuclear weapons cache.

    Los Alamos Monitor staff writer Tris DeRoma contributed to this report.

  • Fireworks show still on despite restrictions

    As Los Alamos County struggles through its first heat wave of the summer, the county is taking no chances when it comes to fire hazards. The county issued stage 2 fire restrictions Thursday, urging all county residents to use care when smoking and cooking outdoors.

    The only exception the county has made was to the Los Alamos Kiwanis Club and its annual July 4 Fireworks Show in Overlook Park.

    The Kiwanis have a state permit to have fireworks at the show. The Kiwanis also have a long association with the Los Alamos Fire Department in planning the show, according to Kiwanis Club members involved with the fireworks show.
    The fire department also performed cleanup operations and evaluation of the area for fire hazards at Overlook Park earlier this month.

    “We sent our recruits down there and already mitigated the area,” Los Alamos County Fire Marshal Jeff Wetteland said. “The recruits cleaned up garbage and cleared the area of dead foliage that would easily catch.”

    The Kiwanis have a strong relationship with the LAFD as a result of planning past shows.

  • LANL defends plutonium facility after critical report

    Los Alamos National Laboratory is fighting back this week in the wake of a critical report on safety issues at its plutonium production facility.

    The report by the Center of Public Integrity was published beginning Sunday and describes a safety review shutdown in 2013 that has slowed work on the manufacture and testing of new and existing plutonium pits at LANL.

    An internal LANL memo obtained by the Los Alamos Monitor sent to employees Monday at the facility assured PF-4 employees that the facility is safe and ready to expand its plutonium pit manufacturing program.

    “Since 2013, PF-4 programmatic operations and safety management programs have successfully completed seventeen independent external assessments – nine Contractor Readiness Assessments and eight Federal Readiness Assessments,” said LANL Principal Associate Director of Operations and Business Craig Leasure in the memo.

    Leasure also assured workers that PF-4 has the full support of the Department of Energy in its efforts to ramp up plutonium pit production.

    The facility is currently manufacturing three to four plutonium pits a year, but at a recent Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board meeting in Santa Fe earlier this month, LANL officials indicated their plan to ramp up production to 80 pits by 2027.

  • Man threatens woman with a flowerpot

    On June 6, at about 8 p.m., Los Alamos Police Department officer Robert Larson was dispatched to East Jemez to investigate a report of domestic violence, which reportedly involved a flowerpot.

    “I arrived on scene and was met in the front yard by a male later identified as David Byron Lawrence,” Larson said.
    When approached, Lawrence reportedly said, “It was all me, I am stupid and drunk.”

    Larson had Lawrence sit down on the curb to apparently calm down. LAPD Sgt. Andrew Goldie arrived on scene and watched Lawrence while Larson went up to the house.

    Sitting on the front porch were two women smoking cigarettes. One of the females stated she had been the one Lawrence threatened with a flowerpot and then smashed it on the kitchen floor.

    The victim, who wished to remain anonymous, stated, “Larry had been drinking, got crazy. I told him to calm down and he went after me with a pot and broke my glasses and I called for police help and he tore up the house.”

    The witness at the scene echoed this sentiment.

  • Bird rescued behind DP Road

    Dusty Webb of Bad Ass Critters, an animal rescue organization, saved a bird that was found injured behind a business on DP Road Thursday.

    Webb said he believes the bird was a baby that had fallen out of his nest. Since it was first seen injured Monday, the bird had a pair of protectors that would become loud if a person got too close to it. Webb said he believes the two birds are his parents.

    He plans to attempt to help the bird recover, believing it has a severely injured wing from a fall, and possible other injuries.

    Although he is not sure if the bird will ever fully recover, the hope is to get it to a point where it can be released back into the wild.

    “Hopefully someday, maybe we will be able to release this crow,” Webb said. “We can come back here and we can let this crow go, and he will go back to his family.”

    If any sort of animal needs to be helped or rescued, Bad Ass Critters can be reached at 505-603-3997 or on Facebook at Bad Ass Critters, LLC.

    Webb said, “If you call, just ask for Dusty and I’ll help however I can.”

  • LANL defends plutonium production in wake of report

    Los Alamos National Laboratory is fighting back this week in the wake of a critical report on safety issues at its plutonium production facility.

    The report by Patrick Malone and Jared Bennett of the Center of Public Integrity was published beginning Sunday and describes a safety review shutdown in 2013 that has slowed work on the manufacture and testing of new and existing plutonium pits at LANL.

    An internal LANL memo obtained by the Los Alamos Monitor sent to employees Monday at the facility assured PF-4 employees that the facility is safe and ready to expand its plutonium pit manufacturing program.

    “Since 2013, PF-4 programmatic operations and safety management programs have successfully completed seventeen independent external assessments – nine Contractor Readiness Assessments and eight Federal Readiness Assessments,” said LANL Principal Associate Director of Operations and Business Craig Leasure in the memo. 

    Leasure also assured workers that PF-4 has the full support of the Department of Energy in its efforts to ramp up plutonium pit production.

  • Feds: $2.7M in grants available for New Mexico businesses

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Small businesses in New Mexico working on new innovations that could help the U.S. Energy Department will be getting a boost thanks to $2.7 million in federal grant funding.

    The agency announced the grants this week. In all, officials say $116 million in grants will be awarded nationwide for research and development through a technology transfer program aimed at helping small businesses.

    The projects in New Mexico range from the development of a special membrane to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions to research on soil, fuel cells, particle accelerators and high-energy physics.

  • Hot temps expected to ease up by weekend

    Temperatures are expected to keep Los Alamos residents hot under the collar this week, but cooler weather is expected this weekend.

    According to Albuquerque meteorologist Kerry Jones, of the Albuquerque Office of the National Weather Service, the hottest days will be today and Thursday, with temps hitting the mid- to late-90s all day.

    It has been 20 years since Los Alamos have seen temperatures this high at this time of year.

    “You have to go back to 1998 to get to a year where we had two consecutive days where temperatures were at or above 94 in Los Alamos. That’s hot,” Jones said.

    Friday, the temperatures will go down into the low 90s and continue to fall through the weekend, with a forecast high of 78 for Sunday in Los Alamos. Residents will also get relief at night, as temperatures will drop into the mid 60s this week.

    “We are going to go from hot and dry to cool and moist. There will also be a really good chance for showers and thunderstorms,” Jones said.

    The heat wave is being caused by a high pressure over west central New Mexico. By Friday, the high-pressure system will start to move south.

  • Rael found guilty on all charges

    David Rael, of Los Alamos, was found guilty Monday all on counts, which were three charges of manufacture, one charge of distribution, and one charge of possession related to the sexual exploitation of children.

    Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer gave her verdict Monday, following a two-day bench trial.

    When Sommer entered the courtroom, she asked the defendant and attorney Marc Walker Edwards to stand and pronounced Rael, 40, guilty of all charges.

    She required Rael to first undergo a psychological evaluation.

    “I’m going to put off sentencing, but I’m going to have Mr. Rael remanded for a 60-day diagnostic,” Sommer said.

    Rael was taken into custody following the verdict.

    According to Sommer, the psychologist will be able to see the criminal charges and take them into account during Rael’s evaluation.

    Assistant Attorney General Jason Yamato said of the verdict, “We are pleased with the outcome.”

    Yamamoto said he believes the right decision was made. Of last week’s trial, he said, “We presented a strong case,” said Yamato, with the help of Assistant Attorney General Celedonia Munoz.

    Although Yamato could not make a comment on sentencing, he said, “The 60-day diagnostic will maybe shed some light.”