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Today's News

  • Council to mull abolishing sheriff’s office

    The Los Alamos County Council will introduce an ordinance to abolish the sheriff’s office at its Tuesday meeting.
    If adopted, voters would decide the charter question during the general election in November.
    There will be no discussion during Tuesday’s introduction of the ordinance. The public hearing on the ordinance is June 14.
    The county charter places law enforcement duties within the county under the command of the police department. The sheriff’s duties are limited to serving court documents and maintaining the sex offender registry.
    “During budget hearings, the sheriff pointed out that service of process has become a riskier activity than has been traditionally thought,” according to the staff report. “Because the county has no unincorporated area, there is not a need for two law enforcement agencies in the county. However, recognizing that the world and society have changed in ways that increase exposure to violence, it may no longer make sense to have a sheriff’s office with such limited functions.”
    Council may take action on a business item regarding the reassigning the sheriff’s duties Tuesday. The charter provides in Section 304.4 that council may establish departmental duties through resolution.

  • Today in history May 23
  • Parks and Rec reviews spraying policies

    The Los Alamos Parks, Recreation and Open Space Division has announced plans to suspend spraying herbicides on several parks.
    The plan was to spray Roundup and EndRun Broad Leaf Weed Killer on Rover Park, East Park, Community Soccer, Myrtle Green, Ashley Pond, Fuller Lodge, Aquatic Center, Western Area, Urban Park, Barranca Mesa and North Mesa Sports Complex. Spraying was to start May 16 and continue through Friday.
    On May 13, Parks and Rec sent a notice that spraying in those parks would be postponed indefinitely. However, a press release issued May 20 clarified that spraying would continue in other areas. The notice reads:
    “County ordinance requires weed abatement, due to health and safety, and general appearance of the common areas in the community, and so county departments and divisions are continuing their weed control programs in other non-park locations, which include sidewalks, roadside right-of-ways, medians, airport facilities, and parking lots. Weed management also continues at the Golf Course to ensure playability of the turf.”
    The decision to suspend spraying in the parks was reached after citizens raised concerns about health impacts of those herbicides.

  • LAPS rolls out active shooter plan

    Whether you think it’s sad, terrifying or a step in the right direction, a cross section of school employees tasked with keeping kids safe in the event of a “school shooter” scenario presented it’s plan for the future at a school board meeting May 10.
    The six-member group, known as the “District Safety Team” not only outlined their plan for the school board and the administration, but they also explained how it’s going to be implemented between now and the next school year.
    The first thing the team said they did was develop a “standard response protocol” for all the schools. The group reported that when they started their project, each school had different and varying amounts of emergency supplies, radios, even the vocabulary and alert system varied from school to school.
    “It became very obvious that we needed to do something,” Gonzales said.

  • Heinrich discusses gains for LANL, conservation

    In a phone interview with the Los Alamos Monitor Tuesday, Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) discussed some recent successes in the Senate that could have both direct and indirect benefits for Los Alamos.
    The fiscal year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has several gains for Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), including an increase in funding for environmental cleanup from  $185 million to $199 million. Heinrich anticipates that the additional funding – along with the reopening of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) – will reinvigorate the stalled cleanup program.
    “In terms of WIPP, the last time I spoke with the secretary, he assured me that would happen in December. And at that point a lot of the stuff that’s in Area G can start moving back down to the,” Heinrich said. “So there’s an additional $14 million for cleanup and a whole lot of progress once we get WIPP reopened.”
    The Energy and Water Appropriations bill passed by the Senate last week also impacts LANL.
    “The funding levels for everything from weapons activities to nonproliferation to laboratory cleanup and WIPP really bode well for the work that LANL will do over the next fiscal year,” Heinrich said.

  • Police Beat 5-22-16

    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, served a court summons, or issued a citation.

    May 11
    7:49 a.m. – Police reported that a 51-year-old Los Alamos woman was the victim of an accident, no injuries at Diamond Drive.

    5:58 p.m. – Angel Vigil, 24, of Medanales was arrested on a magistrate court bench warrant at the Los Alamos police station. The original charge was shoplifting (more than $250, less than $2500) at Trinity Drive on Oct. 18, 2015.

    6:01 p.m. – Angel Vigil, 24, of Medanales was arrested on a magistrate court bench warrant at the Los Alamos police station. The original charge was bringing contraband into jail on Jan. 26.

    6:23 p.m. – Police reported that a 14-year-old Los Alamos male was the victim of criminal damage to property (less than $1000) at Alabama Avenue.

    7:30 p.m. – Charles Neil, 66, of Los Alamos was arrested for battery upon a police officer at West. Road.

    May 12

  • On the Docket 5-22-16

    May 10
    Dulcinea E. Medina pled no contest in the Los Alamos Magistrate Court of shoplifting ($250 or less) and failure to give information and render aid. Defendant was fined $100 and must pay $134 in court costs. The defendant was also sentenced to 182 days probation.

    Probation conditions are: Defendant must obey all laws and not be arrested, indicted charged or convicted of any other offense. Defendant must also comply with all court ordered conditions of probation. Defendant shall not possess or consume alcohol or enter a liquor establishment. Defendant shall not possess a firearm, destructive device or weapon. Defendant will meet with probation officer within seven days and maintain contact as instructed.
    The defendant shall make restitution as ordered. Money orders or cashiers check of $645 to be payable within 90 days.

    May 11
    Rachel Sanchez  was found guilty at the time of traffic stop of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and must also pay $65 in court costs.

    Daniel J. Ortiz  was found guilty at the time of traffic stop of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and must also pay $65 in court costs.

    May 12

  • LAPD seeks suspect’s identity

    The Los Alamos Police Department Investigations Section is seeking the identity of a suspect in a shoplifting case. The incident took place at Smith’s in Los Alamos, according to an  LAPD spokesman.
    Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the male suspect seen in the surveillance footage.
    The vehicle shown was driven by the suspect, according to police.
    LAPD is offering a reward of up to $100 to anyone who has information on the identity of the suspect.  
    Anyone with information can call L.A. crime stoppers at 662-8282.  Reporting individuals can remain anonymous.
    To see the photos online, visit lamonitor.com.

  • Council rejects call for independent audit

    By a 2–4 vote on Tuesday, the Los Alamos County Council rejected Vice Chair Susan O’Leary’s call for an independent audit of the county’s personnel policies and compliance with those policies.
    Large settlements in five lawsuits against the county in the last five years prompted O’Leary’s recommendation for an audit.
    “Because there have been a number of personnel related lawsuits in a relatively short time period, I think there might be issues with our county personnel system, and in particular with its policies or adherence to personnel policies,” O’Leary said.
    Only Councilor Pete Sheehey voted with O’Leary on the motion. Councilor James Chrobocinski abstained because his brother was involved in one of those lawsuits, but seconded O’Leary’s motion because he felt having a conversation on the issue was important.
    O’Leary insisted that pursuing an independent investigation was necessary from a financial standpoint and a matter of public trust. Her proposal reads,
    “The negative actions that resulted in many of these cases were completely inconsistent with the values shared by the Los Alamos community – values that include treating others with respect and encouraging diversity in the workplace.”

  • Lowriders visit Chamisa Elementary

    Frank Chavez had a lot of great things happen to him in his life, but being the subject of a history report from Chamisa Elementary School meant more to him than anything.
    “I’ve been all over the world...this is the best achievement, the best honor I’ve ever had, is to have a 9-year-old to write a story about me. That’s unbelievable to me,” he said.
    Chavez, and a lot of other figures from world and New Mexico history, was the subject of Chamisa’s annual “wax museum” event, where students dress up as their history subject and give an oral presentation to visitors to the museum.
    Fourth-grade student Alanna Fresquez chose Chavez because of the work he’s done promoting “lowrider” car culture in New Mexico and around the world as president of the New Mexico chapter of the “Duke’s Car Club.” The club is the oldest, continuing, international lowrider car club in existence. The club got its start in 1962 in Los Angeles. The New Mexico club, which is based in Albuquerque, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.