Today's News

  • House ethics panel clears NM Democrat, Texas Republican

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Ethics Committee said Tuesday it is dropping separate investigations against Democratic Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico and Republican Rep. Roger Williams of Texas.

    Lujan, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, was accused of using the House chamber to raise money for campaign purposes during a June 2016 sit-in on gun control.

    Williams, an auto dealer, was accused of a conflict of interest in offering a 2015 amendment to a transportation bill that would have benefited auto dealers.

    The ethics panel said neither Lujan nor Williams violated House rules, but cautioned that both lawmakers acted in ways where mistakes are possible. The panel urged all House members to seek guidance from the ethics committee when in doubt.

    A spokesman for Lujan called the complaint politically motivated and without merit.

    The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, a conservative-leaning watchdog group, filed a complaint last year alleging that Lujan and other Democrats violated ethics rules by using the House chamber to raise money for campaign purposes. Specifically, the group said Lujan and others sent campaign emails featuring photos of themselves during the June 2016 sit-in.

  • Senior softball falls in regional tournament

    Facing some of the toughest teams in the country, the Los Alamos County Little League Senior Softball team advanced to the semifinals of the regional championships this week. The team came just two wins short of a trip to the national championship tournament.

    Los Alamos County earned its berth in the regional tournament in Vidalia, Louisiana, after winning the New Mexico state championship two weeks ago. The team competed against teams from Colorado, Louisiana, Arkansas and two teams from Texas.

    In the first game of the tournament, Los Alamos County showed they were a real threat, defeating the team from Aurora, Colorado 23-0.

    Pitcher Savana Luster proved to be the most valuable player of the game, throwing five scoreless innings, and giving up just three hits. She also struck out nine.

    The offense was clicking on all cylinders, collecting 21 hits throughout the game.

    The team scored 11 runs in the second inning, and another nine in the third inning. Katie Wilmer led Los Alamos County with four RBIs. Jade Tucker and Alicia Gonzales each added three.

    The team did not fare as well in the second game, falling to the host team from Vidalia, Louisiana 13-0.

  • Salmon aims to grow PGA LEAD program

    New Mexico State University’s golf management program is once again among the forerunners of the Professional Golfers Association of America training opportunities.

    Josh Salmon has joined the second 15-member cohort of the national PGA LEAD program.

    Salmon is a program specialist with the NMSU PGA Golf Management Program housed in the College of Business marketing department.

    The PGA of America established PGA LEAD to identify, mentor and progress PGA members from diverse backgrounds along a guided path to leadership roles in the association. The program also aids in developing individuals who desire to serve and make an impact on nonprofit boards within their communities.

    “I was surprised when PGA of America’s president Paul Levy called to tell me the news,” Salmon said. “It was January and I hadn’t heard anything since applying in November.”

  • Romero named president of NCJFCJ

    Judge John Romero, Jr. of the Second Judicial District Court, Children’s Court Division in Albuquerque will become president of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges in July 2018.

    Romero will be the first president representing New Mexico in the organization’s 81 years.

    The NCJFCJ board of directors recently elected Romero as president-elect, after serving as a member of the organization for 13 years, with five years on the board. He will serve in that capacity until taking the president’s title.

    Romero also serves on the NCJFCJ Governance and Family Violence and Domestic Relations committees.

    He is also the lead judge for the NCJFCJ’s National Judicial Institute on Domestic Child Sex Trafficking, which has educated more than 400 judicial officers nationwide to better identify children at risk of child sex trafficking, and encourage judicial leadership to help improve outcomes for victims.

  • On the Docket 7-30-17

    June 12
    Branden Garcia pleaded no contest to possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The defendant was fined $150 and must pay $195 in court costs.

    Keith Yeske was found guilty of failing to appear in court for a non-traffic incident. Defendant was fined $25 and must pay $60 in court costs.

    Karla Fresquez was found guilty of having animals at large and failing to display the proper rabies tags. Defendant was fined $50 and must pay $120 in court costs.

    Zachary Martinez was found guilty of failing to display a current and valid registration plate. Defendant was fined $25 and must pay $65 in court costs.

    Isabel Hernandez pleaded no contest to speeding 11 to 15 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was sentenced to defensive driving school and the sentence was deferred until Aug. 12.

    Elizabeth Ortega was fined $50 for speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit and must pay $65 in court costs.

    June 13
    John Middleditch was found guilty of failing to yield/stop at a traffic sign. Defendant was fined $50 and must pay $65 in court costs.

    David Martinez was found guilty of having animals at large and failing to display the proper rabies tags. Defendant was fined $25 and must pay $120 in court costs.

  • Police Beat 7-30-17

    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.

    July 19
    11:30 a.m. — LAPD bomb squad investigated a suspicious package. Case is inactive.

    12:43 p.m. — Ryan A. Roller, 34, of Los Alamos was arrested for battery against a household member and false imprisonment of that household member.

    July 20
    9:30 a.m. — LAPD bomb squad investigated an unattended bag. Case is inactive.

    2:30 p.m. — Police investigated a report of fraud and identity theft.

    4:12 p.m. — Ashley Lopez, 20, of Alcalde was arrested possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

    July 21
    11:26 a.m. — Kevin Herring, 39, of Los Alamos was arrested on a municipal court warrant.

    7:08 p.m. — James Scott, 36, of Española was arrested on for two active warrants and driving on a suspended license.

  • Utilities to stop building billion-dollar nuke reactors

    COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The owners of two nuclear reactors under construction in South Carolina decided Monday to cease operations at the project, which has been beset by delays and cost overruns.

    While the decision will save customers billions in additional costs, the two utilities may get little to nothing refunded of the billions they've already paid for the now-abandoned project.

    The reactors were set to be among the first built in the U.S. in decades.

    Santee Cooper's board said the decision to end construction will save customers an estimated $7 billion. The utility had already spent about $5 billion for its 45 percent share of the project, and completing it would have cost an additional $8 billion, plus $3.4 billion in interest. It also likely wouldn't have been finished until 2024. The first reactor initially was supposed to be online earlier this year.

    South Carolina Electric & Gas, which owns 55 percent, announced its plans shortly after Santee Cooper's unanimous vote. That utility's executives will brief state regulators Tuesday.

  • Community heals after tragedy

    In the wake of the tragic accident involving 19-year-old Trevor Matuszak, Los Alamos community members paid their respects and focused on how to begin the healing process.

    Matuszak’s funeral was Thursday, which was followed by a reception and luncheon at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Los Alamos.

    The Karen McLaughlin Parish Hall was completely packed with families, teachers and friends. A slideshow of pictures gave onlookers a view into his all-too-short life.

    The local teen was obviously very loved by his peers, as was apparent with the sea of young faces. A group of Los Alamos High School athletes even wore their sports jerseys in memory of Matuszak.

    A friend from high school, Alison Crane, described him as a genuinely nice person. “He was so much fun,” she commented.

    As for those that responded to the crisis in White Rock Canyon July 23, the officers, firefighters and dispatchers will have separate debriefings.

    Matuszak died after a fall in the area of Hell’s Hole in the canyon that night when climbing with friends.

    Typically, debriefings are a way for first responders to sort through the multitude of feelings that can accumulate after such an incident and learn about helpful resources.

  • Technology Boost
  • County sends NNSA concerns about lab bid

    Los Alamos County’s manager raised “serious concerns” last week with the National Nuclear Security Administration’s draft request for proposals regarding the new management and operations contract for the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    County Manager Harry Burgess expressed his concerns in a 13-point letter to the NNSA sent by email on Wednesday.
    The NNSA released the RFP July 13.

    Burgess told the NNSA the draft RFP does not go far enough in attracting the best contractor for the job.
    “In its current form, LANL will be unable to maintain the high standard in which it operates and meet the goals that are stated in the draft RFP,” he said in the letter.

    In the RFP, NNSA has cut the contractor’s performance fee from 3 percent to 1 percent, a move some critics said will keep the best and most capable from applying for the job, since they may not think the risk would be equal to the reward.

    “The arbitrary cap on fees included within the draft RFP contradicts NNSA’s goal of hiring the best contractor for LANL,” Burgess said. “This arbitrary cap will reduce the number of interested and qualified bidders on the final RFP.”

    Los Alamos County Council Chairman David Izraelevitz also encouraged the NNSA to lift the performance cap.