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Today's News

  • Council moves process-serving to LAPD

    The Los Alamos County Council passed a resolution on Tuesday that transfers process-serving duties from the Los Alamos Sheriff’s Office to the Los Alamos Police Department.
    The principal job of a process server is to deliver or “serve” legal documents to a defendant or person involved in a court case.
    The sheriff will continue to monitor sex offenders as delegated by statute.
    The motion passed 4−1, with Councilor Pete Sheehey opposed. Councilors David Izraelevitz and James Chrobocinski were not present.
    Sheehey argued that the issue should be postponed until June 14, when Sheriff Marco Lucero, Izraelevitz and Chrobocinski could attend. He cited the short notice given for Tuesday’s item (it was posted with the agenda on Friday) and the fact that no operational or legal analysis has been done.
    “I make a motion to table this item until the next regularly scheduled meeting, June 14, when both this item and the previous related item regarding a charter amendment on the sheriff can be fully prepared by all the departments, the sheriff and others can be here to make their case,” Sheehey said.
    Council votes on a ballot issue to eliminate the sheriff’s office entirely on June 14.
    Sheehey’s motion failed for lack of a second.

  • Probate judge resigns

    By a 5–0 vote, the Los Alamos County Council accepted Probate Judge Bill McKerley’s resignation on Tuesday and took steps to fill the position through the end of the year.
    McKerley was appointed to the position on Feb. 16, after previous Probate Judge Christine Chandler resigned. He recently learned of changes to the Code of Judicial Conduct – instituted Dec. 31, 2015 – that prohibit part-time judges from engaging in political conduct such as fundraising and endorsing candidates.
    McKerley serves as chair of the Republican Party of Los Alamos County. After consulting with County Attorney Rebecca Ehler, he chose to keep that position and instead resign as probate judge. He tendered his resignation to council Chair Rick Reiss in a letter dated May 19.
    On Tuesday, McKerley apologized to council and the county’s citizens and offered to help with the transition in any way he could.
    “I just want to say thank you to the council for giving me the opportunity to serve. It was an honor,” McKerley said.
    McKerley also thanked the clerk’s office, which assists the probate judge.
    “They are an outstanding group of people. They serve selflessly, and the new probate judge coming in will be served very well with this outstanding group,” McKerley said.

  • 911 report: Crime down, pocket dials up

    The Los Alamos Police Department’s annual 2015 report contains a lot of information on the county’s crime.
    It also has a lot to say to residents about 911 calls.
    In 2015, 911 Dispatch received over 360 accidental calls from cell phones and about 747 abandoned 911 calls.
    While the numbers may not sound like much compared to the nearly 6,000 total calls received that year, every call must be checked out. That, according to the report, takes considerable time and manpower.
    “When a 911 call is abandoned, the dispatcher must call back the number and send an officer to confirm that everything is OK,” said a statement in the report telling residents to be mindful about making 911 calls.
    Accidental cell phone calls usually originate from a cell phone being loose in purses, pockets and backpacks, the report said.
    Toddlers playing with phones also triggered some of those 911 calls.
    “Locking your cell phone helps to prevent accidental 911 calls,” the report suggested.

  • Española bank robber gets 40 months in plea deal

    A Los Alamos County resident who terrorized a teller while robbing an Española bank was sentenced to 40 months in prison.
    The sentencing was part of a plea agreement worked out by Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Han and Fidel Naranjo’s defense attorney, Andras Szantho.
    As part of the agreement, Naranjo agreed not to appeal the 40-month sentence for a lesser term, nor try to get a reduction in fines or costs.
    Naranjo must also make victim restitution and pay back $700, the amount of money police weren’t able to recover of the nearly $3,500 he stole from the New Mexico Bank and Trust on 411 Carr Lane.
    “If the defendant ... should nevertheless seek a downward departure or variance, including a departure or variance from the guideline criminal history category, the United States shall have a right to treat this plea agreement as null and void and to proceed to trial on all charges before the court,” read a statement in court documents.
    Before Han and Szantho worked out the agreement, Naranjo was looking at 20 years in prison or more for the crime and a $250,000 fine. The incident occurred on a Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 2.
    On that day, Naranjo’s accomplice, Kendra Brophy, 29, drove him to the bank.

  • Los Alamos Main Street earns national award

    Los Alamos MainStreet was selected as a winner of the 2016 Great American Main Street Awards, chosen by the National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
     Los Alamos MainStreet was picked as “One to Watch,” for being a neighborhood making progress toward revitalizing its downtown district.
    Suzette Fox, Los Alamos MainStreet executive director stated, “I am so honored and delighted to receive the national designation.”
    “I would like to thank to the National MainStreet Center, New Mexico MainStreet, Los Alamos County and the Los Alamos Commerce & Development Corporation for their support and encouragement. This award would not have been possible without the help of the Los Alamos MainStreet Board, the Los Alamos Historical Society and countless people in our community. ”
    A statement issued by Patrice Frey, president and CEO of the National Main Street Center, reads, “The 2016 GAMSA winners have succeeded in making their towns an exciting place to live, work, play and visit through implementing our historic preservation-based methodology for downtown revitalization.

  • Unruly group responsible for disturbance at Trump rally in Albuquerque

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A day after a riot erupted outside a Donald Trump rally, Albuquerque officials blamed the downtown melee not on impassioned politics but on an unruly group intent on creating chaos in a city that has seen more than its share of violence.
    Some participants openly admitted that they set out to cause disruption. Many in the crowd were seen with gang tattoos and at one point chanted to Trump supporters that they controlled the streets.
    “I woke up all hung over and stuff,” said Chelsea Rae Gray, a 24-year-old musician. “And then I said, ‘Let’s see what kind of chaos we can get into.’” She said she came to the protest in her pajamas and stole some Trump T-shirts from vendors during the confusion.
    “Then I burned them,” she said.
    Cleanup crews spent Wednesday clearing away broken glass and charred debris in the largest city in the nation’s largest Hispanic state. The mayor and police were tallying up the damage that spread to several blocks near historic Route 66.

  • Michelle Obama to speak at Native American commencement

    SANTA FE (AP) — Michelle Obama plans to address 105 Native American high school graduates Thursday during a commencement speech that comes as she tries to spotlight the plight of tribal youth in the final months of her husband’s presidency.
    The first lady’s commencement address at Santa Fe Indian School is being delivered as part of an Obama initiative that aims to remove “barriers to success” for Native American youth — a group the White House says make up the nation’s “most vulnerable population.”
    High poverty rates, aging school buildings, and health and housing disparities within tribal communities have been blamed for Native American graduation rates that fall just below 70 percent and are the lowest of any group in the country.
    Against this backdrop, the Santa Fe Indian School — owned and operated by the 19 pueblo tribes of New Mexico — has emerged as a bright spot, with a graduation rate on par with the national average of 82 percent and nearly every member of the 2016 class college-bound in the fall.
    The graduating seniors — who played a part in inviting Obama to their school — said they expected uplifting, empowering remarks from the first lady on their big day.

  • Bill Clinton campaigns in New Mexico

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Former President Bill Clinton has wrapped up a two-day swing in New Mexico with a low-key rally at a packed Albuquerque community center.
    Clinton told the crowd Wednesday that his wife, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, plans to address income equality and college debt and bring back manufacturing jobs to the United States.
    He also made a pitch to the working class, saying he understands their frustrations and that his wife doesn’t want to leave anyone behind.
    Clinton’s visit comes days after Democratic rival Bernie Sanders drew thousands to rallies in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and southern New Mexico.
    Though Hillary Clinton hasn’t campaigned in New Mexico, her team has opened offices in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces and Las Vegas.
    New Mexico’s primary election is June 7.
     

  • Congressman calls on New Mexico in water dispute

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico’s only Republican member of Congress has joined the fight between ranchers and the federal government over access to water on national forest lands, saying the state can do more to protect the private property and water rights of its citizens.
    The U.S. Forest Service has fenced streams, springs and other watering holes to protect the habitat of an endangered mouse. The agency has repeatedly defended its actions, saying it has responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act to ensure the survival of the rodent.
    But U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce told a group of reporters Wednesday that the agency is blindly implementing laws without regard to the effects on livelihoods, customs and culture in rural New Mexico.
    “They’re required to look at those things, but they tend to enforce one piece of the law at the exclusion of the others,” Pearce said during a conference call from Washington, D.C.
    The congressman, whose district covers most of the southern half of the state, said the federal government is trampling on property and water rights in New Mexico as it has in other Western states.

  • The games go on: ’Toppers head to all-star games

    All of the state championships have been decided, but there are still a handful of contests to be played.
    The top teams have proven themselves, but now the games turn into regional battles. Does the North or South have a tougher crop of seniors?
    On June 10, five of the eight Class 5A/6A North/South All-Star classics will be played.
    Los Alamos will be represented in three of them that weekend and one more in July.
    Two ‘Toppers scored spots on the North all-star baseball team. Connor Mang and Lane Saunders will both represent the North in the 5A/6A series.
    The baseball teams will play one game at 7:30 p.m. June 10 and then play twice more June 11.
    The baseball series is taking place at Apodaca Park in Las Cruces.
    Ashlynn Trujillo will represent Los Alamos in the 5A/6A all-star basketball game. That contest will take place at 7:30 p.m. June 10 at the Santa Ana Star Center, following the 1A/2A all-star game.
    Michelle Alexander will also represent the North in the all-star tennis classic June 10 and 11. One unique thing about the tennis all-star classic is that boys and girls play together on the same team, unlike the high school season where they usually compete at the same tournaments, but on separate teams.