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Today's News

  • Students, staff gear up to head back to school

    In just a few short days, students of all ages will be grabbing their backpacks, sharpening their pencils, and tucking in new textbooks in preparation for the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.

    The first day of school is Thursday for all elementary schools, the middle school and high school in Los Alamos.

    “I think it’s going to be a really good year,” said incoming Sophomore Michael Aslan. Aslan waited in the ever-expanding line outside Los Alamos High School with his father Wednesday morning in order to complete his registration.

    Aslan pointed out the new high school principal, Carter Payne, who was checking students in at the head of the line.

    Since Payne was the Topper Freshman Academy principal last year, many parents and students are already familiar and comfortable with him.

    “The last few days have been pretty smooth,” said Athletic Secretary Stephanie Fabry of the registration process.

    Fabry, along with other helpful staff, roamed the halls answering questions and directing students to the next appropriate line.

  • Los Alamos GOP elects new leadership

    Thursday’s Republican Party of Los Alamos began with some controversy when party member James Whitehead challenged the legitimacy of the current party leadership.

    Whitehead claimed, among other things, that former County Clerk Sharon Stover was no longer a voting member of the party’s central committee when she voted in the party’s June election.

    “It is my understanding that Sharon Stover after the conclusions of the elections in November and the swearing in of her replacement she was no longer a voting member of the Central Committee…,” Whitehead said. “Because this person participated in this election, I’m concerned that the election was not conducted properly, and therefore is not valid.”
    Republican Party of New Mexico vice chair Rick Lopez told Whitehead he should take his complaint up with the state party.

  • LANL coalition mulls benefits with new contract

    Worried about what benefits and retirement packages may look like under a new contract with the Los Alamos National Laboratory, The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities invited one of its advisors to provide insight Friday.

    Consultant John Jekowski, of Innovative Technology Partnerships, discussed the options with the coalition.

    Los Alamos County Councilor Chris Chandler, Los Alamos’ representative on the board, asked Jekowski what the likelihood the current benefits structure will remain intact through the transition process.

    “That is the concern of folks that have invested a lot of time in the laboratory, what’s going to happen to my retirement, what’s going to happen to my benefits.” Jekowski said. “The way I read the draft RFP, they’re marching more toward industry standards for benefits packages. “There’s a rule of thumb that’s used now that bidders can’t offer more than a 105 percent of the benefits that would be identified by a statistical analysis by credentialed benefits providers.”

    Jekowski also said he and his colleagues have been watching the contract transition process now occurring at Sandia National Laboratories closely.

  • Judge: Bills vetoed by Gov. Martinez should be law

    SANTA FE (AP) — A state district judge on Friday sided with Democratic lawmakers who asked that certain vetoes by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez during the last regular legislative session be invalidated, setting the stage for the proposals to become law.

    Judge Sarah Singleton ruled that the governor did not follow proper procedures when she nixed 10 bills without providing an explanation. The judge directed the Secretary of State’s Office to enter the bills in question into their respective chapters of state law once final paperwork is submitted, a process that could take a few weeks.

    Martinez’s lawyers plan to ask for a stay to keep the bills from becoming law while they appeal the ruling.

    “We’re disappointed in this decision because there is no question the governor vetoed these bills,” said Joe Cueto, a spokesman for the governor. “It’s telling how some in the Legislature love running to the courts when they know they don’t have the support to override a veto.”

    Lawmakers had argued that issuing the vetoes without any explanation made it impossible to understand the governor’s objections so that they could revise the bills for possible approval.

  • New Mexico land office goes after Texas ‘dirt bandits’

    SANTA FE (AP) — The New Mexico State Land Office is going after a West Texas county after it was learned that loads of dirt, sand and gravel were disappearing from a parcel of state trust land along the border.

    An investigation found that Hudspeth County crews have been using material from the site for road improvements, Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn said. Mining at the site appears to have started a few years ago.

    The dirt bandits have been using a dusty byway from Hudspeth County to access the site in southern New Mexico, he said.

    The State Land Office has owned the mineral and surface rights on the property since 1958, so Dunn is asking Hudspeth County that all mining stop until New Mexico is compensated for the resources that have been taken and a mining lease is issued.

    Hudspeth County Attorney Kit Bramblett said Friday there’s some confusion around the location of the pit, which contains a layer of rock-hard caliche, or calcium carbonate.

    “There’s a fence just north of this gravel pit, an old fence. We’ve always interpreted it as being the state line,” he said.

    “We need to make a determination of exactly where the line is and then we’ll talk about what has happened.”

  • On The Docket 8-13-17

    June 29
    Nathan Wales was found guilty of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and must pay $65 in court costs.

    Esther Brunette was found guilty of failing to display a valid registration plate while parked and was fined $25. Defendant must also pay $65 in court costs.

    Mohammad Rahman was found guilty of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was sentenced to defensive driving school, and the sentence was deferred until July 31.

    Lenora Romero was found guilty of speeding 11 to 15 miles an hour over the speed limit and failing to provide a proper operator’s license. Defendant was fined $125 and must pay $130 in court costs.

    Clarise Martinez was found guilty of following another vehicle too closely and was sentenced to defensive driving school as well as community service. The sentence was deferred until Sept. 29.

    Karolyn B. Reiswig was found guilty of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and must pay $65 in court costs.

    William M. Wood was found guilty of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and must pay $65 in court costs.

  • Police Beat 8-13-17

    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.

    Aug. 3
    10:20 a.m.—Aleah Stahl, 36 of Los Alamos was arrested on a magistrate court bench warrant.

    3:43 p.m.—Trevor Ray Martin, 21, of Albuquerque was arrested on Trinity Drive for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

    5:06 p.m.—Monique Daisy Badonie, 22, of Albuquerque was arrested on a municipal court warrant.

    11:00 p.m.—Brock Koehler, 29, of Los Alamos was arrested for a warrant related to a misdemeanor in another jurisdiction.

    Aug. 4
    9:30 a.m.—LAPD reported a semi-feral kitten bit an individual while trying to contain the feline.

    9:27 a.m.—Police reported a dog bite.

    10:50 p.m.—Los Alamos Police investigated a report of harassment.

    Aug. 5
    3:51 p.m.—A bicycle was found at Urban Park and turned into the Los Alamos Police Department.

    Aug. 6

  • Atomic City Update: Will LA get a new golf course?

    During Tuesday night’s County Council meeting, councilors approved a plan to spend Capital Improvement Plan funds on three recreation projects, including $4.5 million to be used on improvements at the Los Alamos County Golf Course.
    According to a person familiar with the situation, however, there may be much more going on than installing a new irrigation system and repairing the greens at the existing site.

    The longtime member of the Los Alamos golfing community said there may be internal discussions among the county council and the golfing community about a plan to construct a new course.

    The plan involves selling the existing golf course to a realty company and using the money from that sale to fund a new course in Pueblo Canyon.

    The realty company would build some 350 lots on the 140 acres now occupied by the golf course. The belief among the golfing community is that the land would net the county approximately $18 million.

    That, along with the property taxes that would be collected on the new 350 lots and the $4.5 million awarded from the CIP funds, would give the county around $25 million to build the new course, with no tax increase required.

    The money would allow the county to build a course that would be among the top in the state, and perhaps one of the top 50 courses in the country.

  • N.M. congressional delegation pushes for protection of LANL employees

    New Mexico’s congressional delegation delivered a letter to the undersecretary for Nuclear Security Wednesday, imploring him to do right by the employees of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and to “protect or strengthen” the final request for proposals before it is released.

    The National Nuclear Security Administration released the draft RFP in July. Many northern New Mexico non-profit organizations and Los Alamos County government officials were concerned about the lack of language in the RFP pertaining to community and financial support.

    In their letter, which was signed by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM), U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) and U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

    The delegation made workforce recruitment and retention its top priority and forging partnerships with the community second out of six priorities.

    “We believe it is critical that the contract protect the jobs of the existing workforce, including right of first refusal, hiring preference and protection of benefits and pensions,” the delegation said in the letter.

    The delegation also said highlighted priorities that should prove reassuring to the county government and other partners with LANL.

  • Council OK’s sewer, water rate hikes Tuesday

    The Los Alamos County Council approved an 8-percent rate increases for sewage rates and potable water rates Tuesday. The rates will take effect in the next billing cycle.

    The rates were already approved by the Board of Public Utilities in June.

    Motivation for both increases included the replacement of the White Rock Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is expected to cost between $13 and $14 million.

    The sewage rate increase will mean an average monthly payment of $47.46 a month, or $569.52 a year.

    For potable water, the rate hike will mean $471.60 a year, or $39.30 a month.

    Council approved the rates based on an agreement that the Department of Public Utilities and the BPU will meet with council throughout the year to discuss possible ways to keep rates from going up on a yearly basis.

    All of the projections DPU officials presented at the meeting showed yearly increases for both rates as the only way to pay for the new plant and to take care of aging infrastructure.

    During the hearing, council members questioned DPU officials on their reasoning behind the rate increases.