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Today's News

  • Today in history Dec. 12
  • New Mexico Airlines currently not flying

    New Mexico Airlines, which flies to Los Alamos Airport and the Albuquerque Sunport, is currently grounding its flights around the state.

    FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford told KOAT-TV that New Mexico Airlines recently decided to ground its planes because of mechanical issues. The airline primarily flies smaller aircraft that seat up to nine passengers.

    Airline officials did not immediately return a call for comment Friday morning, but a reservation center agent told the Associated Press that flights are canceled until further notice.

    Los Alamos County issued a statement this morning, saying it had contacted New Mexico Airlines. Philo Shelton, the county's public works director, said New Mexico Airlines is hoping to have the problem resolved by the end of the week.

    The county subsidizes flights by New Mexico Airlines out of Los Alamos Airport. The contract with the airport runs through June 2015.

    Check LAMonitor.com for more information.

  • UPDATED: Fewer dollars for cleanup in federal budget

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Recovery efforts stemming from a radiation leak at the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository could get a $100 million boost in federal funding under a budget measure pending in Congress.
    The U.S. Senate was expected to vote on the $1.1 trillion appropriations bill Friday, a day after it narrowly passed the House.
    The measure also calls for slashing funding for cleanup of long-term radioactive and hazardous waste at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The lab was on track to meet a major milestone this year for packing up and shipping tons of Cold War-era waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, or WIPP, before one of its containers ruptured and forced the indefinite closure of the repository.
    The lab was pressured by Gov. Susana Martinez's administration to remove thousands of barrels of waste from outdoor storage by the summer.
    That deadline came and went, and now hazardous waste cleanup efforts at Los Alamos and other U.S. Department of Energy facilities across the country are stalled thanks to WIPP's closure.
    Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has said reopening WIPP is a priority.
    While some cleanup projects at the lab have been downsized, watchdog groups voiced concerns that cutting Los Alamos' funding would send the wrong message.

  • Martinez proposes teacher pay bump

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez announced an $11.5 million package of proposals that includes paying new teachers more and creating a mentorship program that her administration hopes will eventually lead to improvements in student achievement.
    New Mexico consistently ranks at or near the bottom when it comes to education, and Martinez said during a visit to Zuni Elementary School in Albuquerque that increasing pay for starting teachers by $2,000 will help make the state’s recruitment efforts more competitive.
    If approved by the Legislature, starting pay for a teaching job would be $34,000 per year, and any teacher currently earning less would receive a raise.
    “Starting teacher salaries are too low in New Mexico, so we need to raise them again,” Martinez said in a statement.
    Last year, the state budget included an increase in the minimum salary for new teachers to $32,000 per year.
    The latest proposal would cost the state an estimated $6.7 million to raise the base salary again.

  • Update 12-11-14

    County Council

    The next scheduled meeting of the Los Alamos County Council is at 7 p.m. Dec. 16 at the municipal building.

    Meeting canceled

    The Juvenile Justice Advisory Board’s Dec. 17 meeting has been canceled because of holiday conflicts. JJAB’s next meeting will be 6 p.m. Jan. 21, in Building No. 1, Camino Entrada Road.

    Tree permits

    Santa Fe National Forest will continue to sell Christmas tree permits from now until Dec. 24. Permits can be purchased at any SFNF ranger station or, locally, at the Los Alamos Historical Museum.

    Luminaria sand

    Los Alamos County’s Traffic and Streets division is again providing free sand for residents for making luminarias.
    Sand for luminarias — also called farolitos — is available at the following locations around Los Alamos County:

    • Overlook Park, south parking lot
    • Urban Park, 42nd Stree parking area
    • Sullivan Field
    • Barranca Road at Navajo Street on Barranca Mesa
    • North Mesa soccer fields

  • CYFD asks for $10M

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — It will take an infusion of about $10 million if New Mexico wants to move ahead with and expand reforms to improve the way child abuse cases are investigated and tracked in New Mexico, child welfare officials told lawmakers Wednesday.
    The Children, Youth and Families Department made its case for the funding during a Legislative Finance Committee meeting.
    The request encompasses the costs of numerous policy changes and directives the agency made in the wake of the death of Omaree Varela, a 9-year-old Albuquerque boy who police say was repeatedly kicked by his mother. The case set off a firestorm of criticism against Albuquerque police and the child welfare agency for not removing the boy from his home after receiving earlier reports of abuse.
    Jennifer Padgett, the agency’s deputy secretary, acknowledged the gaps identified by the Varela case and told lawmakers the reforms are targeted at making sure cases such as Omaree’s don’t fall through the cracks.
    “Can we say 100 percent that there will not be another tragedy at the hands of a child’s parents? No. Do we have the infrastructure and the proactive measures in place to do everything we can to prevent it? We’re working on that,” she said.

  • Passing The Time

    Sisters Sara and Caroline Khan keep themselves busy while mom does some Christmas shopping at the Fuller Lodge Arts Center. Residents were out in full force Saturday as they shopped till they dropped during Winterfest, the annual celebration organized by Los Alamos MainStreet.

  • Lab physicist honored for national security work

    Associate Director for Experimental Physical Sciences Mary Hockaday of Los Alamos National Laboratory was the recipient of two significant honors this week.
    Hockaday earned a 2014 fellowship from the Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and also a Distinguished Alumni Award from the New Mexico State University (NMSU) Alumni Association.
    “I have been truly surprised, humbled and honored by these awards,” Hockaday said. “I greatly appreciate the folks who took to undertake my nominations.”
    Hockaday’s AAAS recognition comes for “exemplary leadership at Los Alamos National Laboratory in support of the nation’s nuclear security and in realizing the technologies to foster that security,” according to the AAAS awards committee site.
    The accomplishments of the new Fellows will be celebrated at the 2015 AAAS annual meeting, convening next year under the theme “Innovations, Information, and Imaging.”
    At the Annual Meeting, the new Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin Feb. 14 at the AAAS Fellows Forum in San Jose, California.
    Election as a Fellow of AAAS is an honor bestowed upon members by their peers.
    Fellows are recognized for meritorious efforts to advance science or its applications.

  • Drug dealer's driver earns probation

    Daniel Hoth, 29, a Los Alamos resident, who was driving a drug dealer around White Rock last year to do drug deals, was sentenced recently in Rio Arriba County District Court.
    Even though the events, which according to court documents happened between Oct. 1 and Nov. 6 of last year, happened in Los Alamos, Hoth was sentenced in Rio Arriba County because of another case occurring in Los Alamos County District Court that day.
    Hoth who was sentenced in mid-November, received three years of supervised probation with drug court.
    He, along with Albuquerque resident David Simmons, were arrested by police on Nov. 6 of last year. They were picked up at the corner of Rover Boulevard and N.M. 4 after police observed them acting suspiciously.
    A search of Hoth’s car turned up methamphetamine and assorted drug paraphernalia. The two were arrested, and Hoth was charged with trafficking controlled substances (distribution, narcotic or meth, first offense), conspiracy to commit trafficking (by distribution, narcotic or meth), possession of a controlled substance (felony, narcotic drug) and use or possession of drug paraphernalia.
    As part of his plea agreement, Hoth agreed to waive his right to a trial. If he violates his probation, the original penalties will be reinstated. If happens, Hoth could face a maximum nine years in prison.

  • Light Bright

    Runners joined the Los Alamos Triatomics for its Christmas Lights Run around the Denver Steels and Western Area Wednesday night, passing a house on the corner of Sandia and Diamond Drives, displaying several inflatable decorations. Runs are scheduled for Mondays and Wednesdays through Dec. 22.