Today's News

  • DPU negotiates minimal penalty to power deal

    Los Alamos County Department of Public Utilities officials told county elected officials Tuesday they had negotiated an exit plan for the small-scale nuclear reactor pilot project should the county want to withdraw from the investment in the future. 

    Deputy Utilities Manager Steve Cummins told a joint session of Los Alamos County Council and the Board of Public Utilities that it had successfully negotiated a financial penalty down to $80,000, with its partners, should the county decide to pull out of the project by March 2019.

    Department of Public Utilities has been considering getting some of its power from the Carbon Free Power Project, a nuclear power project that is in the planning stages by NuScale Power.

    The main part of the project will consist of 12, 50 megawatt light water, nuclear reactor modules designed by NuScale, which plans to build the project in Idaho. NuScale plans to have the reactors online by 2025.

    The Department of Public Utilities, as a member of the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, has an eight-megawatt share in the project. So far, 34 members of UAMPS, including Los Alamos have subscribed to the project. The project is expected to generate 600 megawatts of power. So far, partners have purchased 183 megawatts.

  • New Mexico residents aim to tell Congress about bomb fallout

    By RUSSELL CONTRERAS, Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Residents of a New Mexico Hispanic village near the site of the world's first atomic bomb test want to share their stories with Congress about health problems they say are linked to the explosion.

    The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium is raising money so its members can travel to Washington, D.C., this summer and testify about the effects of the Trinity Test on generations of Tularosa residents and others who lived near the site.

    Tina Cordova, co-founder of the Downwinders, said around 10 members are planning to go before the Senate Judiciary Committee but no date has been scheduled.

    "Two previous hearings have already been canceled so we are anxious to go and share our story," Cordova said.

    Scientists working in the then-secret city of Los Alamos developed the atomic bomb as part of the Manhattan Project. The secret program provided enriched uranium for the atomic bomb. It also involved facilities in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and Hanford, Washington.

    The bomb was tested in a stretch of desert near towns with Hispanic and Native American populations.

  • New Mexico candidates for governor join bipartisan forum

    SANTA FE (AP) — Republican and Democratic candidates for governor in New Mexico have agreed to participate in a public forum Sunday about the public's right to access government documents and other transparency issues.

    New Mexico Foundation for Open Government Executive Director Peter St. Cyr said the participation of all gubernatorial candidates is a testament to widespread concerns about transparency in government as an essential component of democracy.

    A live webcast of the forum in Albuquerque is planned on the foundation's Facebook page.

    Republican Gov. Susana Martinez cannot seek a third term in November elections. U.S.  Rep. Steve Pearce is the only Republican candidate for the top statewide office. The Democratic nomination is being sought by U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, state Sen. Joseph Cervantes, former media executive Jeff Apodaca and educator Peter DeBenedittis.

  • Española Valley easily advances to state semis

    After the quarterfinal round of action at the NMAA state basketball tournament, only the Española Valley boys’ team remains representing District 2-5A.

    The Sundevils, which has dominated all season, has advanced to the semifinals after defeating Valencia 68-51 in the first round, and St. Pius 61-41 in the quarterfinals, continuing a trend of sprinting past 5A competition this season.

    Heading into the quarterfinals, there was a possibility of No. 1 Española Valley facing 2-5A rival, and No. 4 seed, Capital in the semifinals. However, in Wednesday’s quarterfinal round, Capital fell to Artesia 65-63, eliminating the Jaguars.

    Española Valley will face Artesia in the semifinals before a potential championship matchup with No. 2 seed Los Lunas Saturday afternoon.

    On the girls’ side of the bracket, there are no 2-5A schools remaining in contention for the state championship.

    No. 7 seed Española Valley was the final team remaining from the district.

    After advancing to the quarterfinals with a 57-52 win over No. 10 seed Belen, the Sundevils fell in the second round to No. 2 seed Bloomfield, which easily advanced 57-33.

  • LAHS rolls to win over Santa Fe in home opener

    Behind a strong pitching effort and a balanced offense, the Los Alamos High School baseball team won its home opener 5-0 against Santa Fe High School Wednesday night.

    Starting his second game of the season, junior Arthur Steinkamp dominated on the mound. Early on, it was evident that he had command of the strike zone, and had the Demons’ lineup completely fooled.

    In five innings of shutout ball on the mound, Steinkamp allowed just two hits and struck out six batters, walking just one. Only one batter reached third base for the Demons in the game.

    Luke Kirkland pitched the final two innings of the game for the Hilltoppers. He worked around a pair of walks to keep Santa Fe scoreless, and struck out one batter to secure the victory.

    At the plate, the Hilltoppers struck early and kept the pressure on throughout the afternoon.

    In the first inning, Hunter Swavely got things started with a triple down the left field line, exciting the crowd gathered at Bomber Field.

    He scored when the next batter, James Neal, lined a single into left field.

    After advancing on an error, Neal scored when Vincent Marciano followed with a single of his own, giving the Hilltoppers a 2-0 lead.

  • LAHS baseball earns fourth place in first tourney

    The first tournament of the year didn’t go the way the Los Alamos High School baseball team expected, as the Hilltoppers went 1-2 and earned fourth place at the eight-team event.

    The tournament began well for LAHS, winning the first game against Shiprock 9-1 behind a strong pitching performance by Jacob Rutten, who pitched all 7 innings, allowing 1 run and throwing 84 pitches.

    Pitching proved to be much more of a challenge the rest of the weekend, beginning Friday against Centennial.

    Junior Arthur Steinkamp started the game on the mound and pitched into the fourth inning. He allowed 4 runs on nine hits, and did not issue a walk or strikeout despite struggling with command.

    Walker Eaton and Luis Bojorquez followed on the mound. Eaton allowed 4 runs and Bojorquez allowed 2 runs.

    Offense was hard to come by for the Hilltoppers in the game as well, with LAHS’ only runs coming on an impressive 2-run home run by Vince Marciano in the 6th inning.

    Centennial won the game 10-2, sending LAHS to the third-place game.

    Friday’s struggles carried over to Saturday, as the Hilltoppers fell 11-0 to Oñate, and collected only 4 hits in the game.

  • Hilltoppers aim to remain state contenders

    Though it may look like a year of rebuilding for the track and field teams at Los Alamos High School, but counting the Hilltoppers out at the state level would be a mistake.

    Both teams at LAHS lost a lot of talented seniors last year, forcing new, younger athletes to step up and fill the void.

    Those will be big shoes to fill, as last year’s senior class led both teams to top-four finishes at the state meet, including a runner-up finish for the girls’ team.

    Despite having to retool, optimism remains high that the momentum from last year will continue into the new season.

    “I just think we have a great team dynamic,” girls’ head coach Aaron Padilla said. “We had a standout freshman class last year that are sophomores now, so I feel like the talent and work ethic is there.”

    With 45 girls on the team, Padilla’s numbers are lower than last year, but he doesn’t necessarily see it as a negative.

    “We have a lot of quality girls on this team, and not just good athletes but good students and good people,” Padilla said.

    In terms of what he expects his team to be strong in, Padilla said relays would likely continue to be strong, as they were last year.

  • Atomic City Update: Former LAHS athletes find success after high school

    Unlike any other state I’ve seen, New Mexico honors and cares about its homegrown athletes. From Lovington’s Brian Urlacher, to Artesia’s Landry Jones and Albuquerque Academy’s Alex Bregman, star athletes are celebrated here unlike anywhere else when they find success later in life.

    And Los Alamos is no exception. Ever since he graduated, basketball star Alex Kirk has been doing exciting things and the town has taken notice. From playing in the NBA, to various countries overseas, he has never stopped making headlines. Now a member of Alvark Tokyo in Japan’s National Basketball League, he has decided to give back to the community that gave him his start in the midst of the best season of his professional career.

    This week, the Alex Kirk Foundation announced that it is offering a scholarship opportunity for members of the Española and Los Alamos Teen Centers, operated by the Family YMCA.

    One member of each teen center will be awarded $1,000 for participation in programs and services offered by the center.

    “We are looking for teens that have been actively engaged in the unique programs each Teen Center offers,” Kirk said. “And also for perhaps going above and beyond, like taking a leadership role or being a great peer mentor.”

  • LAHS softball prepared for big success

    The Los Alamos High School softball team is a confident and motivated group that appears ready to do whatever it takes to find success in May.

    Last season, the Hilltoppers won District 2-5A with an 11-1 record, and advanced to the state championship tournament as the No. 11 seed.

    However, for the fourth year in a row, that was the end of the road. Since 2014, LAHS has earned a spot in the state tournament only to lose by double digits in the first round.

    Ever since the season ended, the Hilltoppers have worked hard to reverse that trend, and believe this year’s group has what it takes to make a run at the state championship.

    For head coach Randy Burditt, the main reason for that optimism is how many girls he has returning from last year’s team and the amount of talent he will be able to put on the field every day.

    “That’s going to be our strength is our returners,” Burditt said. “They all worked hard in the offseason to get better, stronger, faster.”

    Among the returners Burditt will be counting on heavily this year is senior Jayde Tucker, the team’s starting catcher.

    “She comes with the credentials of holding the team together, and holding the pitching staff together,” Burditt said.

  • Former New Mexico senator starts prison term for corruption

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Former New Mexico state Sen. Phil Griego has begun serving a jail term for fraud, bribery and other convictions stemming from accusations he misused his elected office to profit from a real estate deal.

    Defense attorney Thomas Clark said Thursday that Griego turned himself over to the state Corrections Department in Los Lunas to serve an 18-month sentence.

    A judge has asked that the 70-year-old Griego be confined in a facility reserved for elderly inmates or those with health difficulties rather than with the general prison population. Corrections officials have yet to decide where to hold Griego.

    Griego initially was fined $47,000 and sentenced to 12 years in prison. A judge waived all but 18 months. Griego may serve as little as 9 months with credit for good behavior.