Today's News

  • Henderson’s main issues are housing, new park

    Editor’s note: This is the third in a series profiling candidates running for local and state offices.

    Housing is a key issue for Kristin Henderson, who is running for reelection to the Los Alamos County Council. Housing stock and prices are two of those concerns.
    “Obviously, it’s not the job of the council to build houses,” Henderson said. “But there are a couple of things we can do.”
    Henderson has been working with staff on a plan for getting empty house back on the market that she would like to see to fruition.
    “Depending how you look at it, we have between 80 and 500 empty houses. So even if it’s just 80, that’s a lot of houses in a small town,” Henderson said.
    According to Henderson, the county must first determine whether there are patterns to so many houses sitting empty and then come up with programs to address those issues.
    One possibility Henderson suggested is a program for homeowners who need help making a dwelling livable.

  • Tourism discussion continues

    The Los Alamos County Council continued its discussions about a tourism master plan/economic development strategy at its Tuesday work session.
    Vice Chair Susan O’Leary first introduced the idea at council’s March work session. She came back on Tuesday with examples of other master plans that the county might model its own after.
    O’Leary defined the reason for developing such a plan with the questions, “How do we turn these tourists into an economic development opportunity that provides strong benefit to residents and businesses?” and “What do we need to do to manage this opportunity in a coordinated, efficient and focused way?”
    O’Leary provided tourism master plans from Southlake, Texas, Tompkins County, New York and the Northern Maine Tourism Action Plan for councilors to review, but suggested using the White Rock Master Plan (WRMP) as a model. Copies of those plans are posted with Tuesday’s agenda at losalamos.legistar.com.

  • 'Solar Tree' dedicated
  • Los Alamos High School band practices for parade

    To prepare for their participation in a parade coming up in Washington D.C., the Los Alamos High School Band will be practicing their marching skills on County roads from 9:30–10 a.m. June 29.
    The band will be led by police escort, and the students will march down Nectar Street, continue on to Rose Street, then travel down Canyon Road to the high school.
    Motorists can expect a moving operation and should use caution in these areas during this time.

  • Former Los Alamos pastor busted for child porn

     Police arrested the former pastor of First Baptist Church in Los Alamos Friday for allegedly distributing and possessing child pornography.

    Paul Cunningham, 54, was arrested and charged with one count of possession and one count of distribution of pornography.

    Cunningham was a minister at First Baptist Church at 2200 Diamond Drive, but had recently resigned.

    The Los Alamos Police Department was apparently tipped off to Cunningham’s activities Feb. 11, when Los Alamos County Sheriff Marco Lucero and Deputy Sheriff John Horne brought a “zip” file to LAPD Sgt. John Rodriguez’ attention. The file was from a Det. Brian Adams of the Westminster Colorado Police Department. Adams, was conducting a child pornography case in his jurisdiction when he came across Cunningham’s IP address (an address assigned by an internet service provider).

    He suspected Cunningham was sending child pornography files to a suspect in Colorado.

  • Council moves some sheriff’s funds to police

    Los Alamos County Council approved a budget adjustment last week that moves money from the budget of the sheriff’s office to the Los Alamos Police Department.
    The budget adjustment allows an office specialist’s services to be transferred to the LAPD and makes it a full-time position.
    The move, made at the June 14 meeting, is in response to a resolution council passed last month, which moved process-serving duties from the sheriff’s department to the police department.
    “The primary issue there is retention of existing knowledge,” County Manager Harry Burgess said. “Within the sheriff’s department there is a senior office specialist position, which has a large role in that process serving issue, and we’d like to benefit from that particular person’s abilities and knowledge, as the police department embarks on a duty they have not performed before.”
    Sheriff Marco Lucero argued that his office should keep the office specialist, who also maintains the sex offender registry and answers phones.
    When questioned, he estimated that approximately 60 percent of the office specialist’s time is devoted to process-serving administration and 40 percent on other duties.

  • Today in history June 23
  • Marathoner recovers from bear attack

    A woman who was attacked by a black bear Saturday in the Jemez Mountains is now recovering at home.
    Karen Williams was running in the 2016 Valles Caldera Runs in the Jemez Mountains near Los Alamos when she was attacked by a black bear Saturday. She was released from the hospital Sunday, and posted details about the encounter on Facebook.
    The female black bear attacked Williams after she surprised it as she was coming over a hill. The bear bit at her neck and head, but went away when Williams curled up and played dead.
    “I tried to look around but was having trouble seeing much,” the Los Alamos resident described on her Facebook page Monday. “I tried to sit up but was nauseated and my arms didn’t seem to work right.”  
    Her husband, Mike Engelhardt told the Los Alamos Monitor Tuesday Williams just wanted to put the incident behind her.
    “She’s getting better and just wants to go on with life,” he said.
    Englehardt assured friends and family on Facebook that Williams was recovering after the harrowing encounter.   

  • Health officials urge public awareness about dangers of tularemia

    Officials from the New Mexico Health Department are urging residents to educate themselves about the dangers of tularemia, a bacterial-borne disease most prevalent this time of year.  
    While the New Mexico Department of Health has not confirmed any cases in humans in Los Alamos County this year, the department confirmed 33 cases of cats and dogs infected by tularemia in Los Alamos, Bernalillo, Santa Fe, Taos and Torrance counties last year.
    Tularemia is also known as “rabbit fever,” since rodents are the main carriers and incubators of the bacterial infection.
    There was also one case of a 51-year-old Los Alamos County man getting the disease last year. He was hospitalized, treated and has since made a full recovery.
    This year, the DOH has confirmed four cases of tularemia in pets, and no human cases.
    The disease is named after the bacterium Francisella tularensis. It is passed to animals through infected ticks and deer flies. Humans can also get it through ticks and deer flies and handling infected animals. Infection is usually followed by symptoms that include chills, fever, diarrhea, muscle ache, joint pain, skin and mouth ulcers, chest pain, painful lymph glands, sore throat and pneumonia.

  • CIP consultant approved

    Los Alamos County Council approved a $560,000 contract with Dekker/Perich/Sabatini for architectural and engineering services for the proposed 2017 Capital Improvement bond projects at its June 14 meeting.
    The consultants will be required to bring all 12 projects up to the same level of schematic design, select a preferred site if there are alternatives to consider and refine current cost estimates to help support a finalized list of projects to carry forward for a $20 to $25 million bond issue.
    Dekker/Perich/Sabatini will also provide estimates for annual operation, maintenance and staffing requirements and extensive public outreach.
    The contract was approved 6-0. Steve Girrens was not in attendance.
    Council also approved $4,411,444 for a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System which will replace the software used by Information Management, Financial Management, Human Resources and Payroll and Utilities Management.
    The budget council approved for the project included a $2,099,058 budget revision. Council had previously approved a budget of $2,312,386.