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Today's News

  • Road upgrades to start this year

    Upgrades and improvements to Los Alamos County roads used by the Los Alamos National Laboratory to transport waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant will start sometime this year, according to National Nuclear Security Administration representatives.

    Representatives of the NNSA presented an update to the Los Alamos County Transportation Board Dec. 5 on it’s plan to upgrade Los Alamos County roads used to transport LANL waste.

    The NNSA has already secured agreements with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to start the project, and contract bids for the work, which will include the laying of asphalt, milling and filling are set for early 2018 and the spring.

    “They are tapped to manage the project and design the project,” NNSA Representative Carol Brown said.

    The road upgrades include sections of NM 502, State Road 4, and East Jemez Road.

    Upgrades will include milling and filling certain sections of the road, including getting rid of some dips on NM 502 near Totavi.

    The NNSA expects the road projects to be completed by the end of 2018.

    The only project that won’t be included is the East. Jemez Road, State Road 4 intersection.

  • Woods charged with taking Council on Cancer funds

    A former county clerk candidate, realtor and president of a local cancer support organization spent a night in jail this week after she was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of embezzling $3,500 from the Los Alamos Council on Cancer.

    Amy Woods, 68, of Los Alamos was charged with embezzlement following the investigation into missing money at the Council on Cancer that started Dec. 29. Council on Cancer’s Vice President Diane Hammon and Treasurer Elida Summers asked police to look into the case after they suspected money missing, according to the report.

    The regional cancer organization was founded in 1956, according to its website. The organization’s slogan is “furthering the education, prevention and treatment of cancer.”

    According to Summers, she discovered the funds were missing during a year-end check of council’s finances.
    Summers also told police that Woods had confessed to taking the money, and that she promised to pay it back.

    Hammon and Summers decided to report the incident to police, because they were afraid Woods would not be able to pay the money back to the council. 

    At the Los Alamos Police Department, Det. Ryan Wolking asked Hammon and Summers to call Woods so he could get a confession from her, according to the police report.

  • LAHS boys basketball dominates Pojoaque

    The Los Alamos High School boys basketball team returned home Tuesday evening, defeating Pojoaque Valley High School 65-32.

    This was just the team’s second home game of the season, with the first coming on Dec. 1 against St. Michael’s High School. Tuesday’s game marks the end of a tough start to the season for the Hilltoppers, in which the team played 10 of its first 11 games on the road.

    “There was a little more pep in their step in warm-ups tonight,” LAHS head coach Mike Kluk said. “I think they like playing for the home crowds, and I think we shoot a little better here from the outside, so I’m hoping that plays to our favor.”

    The boost of playing in front of the home crowd seemed to help the Hilltoppers early, as the team played aggressive defensively, and knocked down some key shots.

    One of the big moments of the game came early on, when senior guard Ramon Roybal knocked down a deep 3-pointer as time expired in the first quarter to give the Hilltoppers a 14-9 lead.

    LAHS seemed to use that shot to build momentum heading into the second quarter, as the Hilltoppers jumped all over Pojoaque on both ends of the floor. LAHS held Pojoaque scoreless over the first five minutes of the quarter, building a sizable lead.

  • Los Alamos Planning and Zoning Commission seeks new members

    The Los Alamos Planning and Zoning Commission, or P&Z, is actively recruiting new members for its nine-member citizen committee.

    The committee is appointed by the County Council to hear and make final decisions on most development applications, including Subdivisions, Site Plans and Special Use Permits.

    P&Z also makes recommendations to council on planning policy, rezoning cases and the development of and amendments to the Comprehensive Plan.

    The commission was instrumental in the development and approval of the new Comprehensive Plan in 2016.

    In the past year P&Z reviewed and recommended approval of a new Mixed Use zoning district, and, in separate applications, the rezoning of over 56 acres to Mixed Use. These actions are in support of Comprehensive Plan policies to help create new housing opportunities in Los Alamos.

    The next 24 months will again be an exciting time as P&Z finalizes the review of: the A-19 subdivision (160 market rate single family homes in White Rock); a Site Plan for the LASO site (150 market rate apartments near the hospital); and plans for 70 new affordable apartment units on DP Road, among other projects.

  • Albuquerque Republican announces bid for state treasurer

    New Mexico native Arthur Castillo of Albuquerque announced his candidacy Thursday for state treasurer.

    As the former CFO for the Office of State Treasurer and Director of Budget and Finance, Arthur Castillo said he has the passion for New Mexico and experience to manage the State Treasurer’s Office. 

 

    “As a proven financial planner, budgeting professional, grant writer, and administrator, I plan to restore honesty, responsibility, and accountability to the Office of State Treasurer,” Castillo said. “With ethical and responsible leadership, we will work together to right New Mexico’s financial woes.” 



    As a fourth-generation New Mexican, son of a World War II Veteran, father of a Navy lieutenant and veteran, Castillo said he understands the value of hard work and service.

    Growing up with humble roots, he has firsthand experience with the dedication it takes to achieve the American dream.
 With a goal of protecting the permanent fund, maximizing efficiency in the office, Castillo said he wants to improve financial education not only among the staff but also among the public.

    Citing an embarrassing lack of transparency as a primary concern within the current administration, Castillo reinforced his commitment to fair and transparent government.

  • Sessions terminates US policy that let legal pot flourish

     

    By SADIE GURMAN, Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration threw the burgeoning movement to legalize marijuana into uncertainty Thursday as it lifted an Obama-era policy that kept federal authorities from cracking down on the pot trade in states where the drug is legal. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will now leave it up to federal prosecutors to decide what to do when state rules collide with federal drug law.

    Sessions' action, just three days after a legalization law went into effect in California, threatened the future of the young industry, created confusion in states where the drug is legal and outraged both marijuana advocates and some members of Congress, including Sessions' fellow Republicans. Many conservatives are wary of what they see as federal intrusion in areas they believe must be left to the states.

  • Number of flu cases in New Mexico double this year

    The New Mexico Department of Health reported Thursday a spike in the number of flu cases across New Mexico in the last few weeks.

    Compared to the same time last year, influenza-like illness activity was twice as great, with this year’s flu season not yet reaching its peak. 

    The number of flu-related deaths has risen in New Mexico to six, and flu-related hospitalizations, especially among residents age 65 and older have been steadily increasing since October, the beginning of the flu season, health department officials said.

    Since October, the health department has investigated 12 flu outbreaks in facilities around the state, seven of them in the last few weeks.

    “We have not seen an increase in flu activity this early in the winter in the past five years,” said Department of Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher. “No matter what, the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from flu is to get vaccinated. Everyone six months and older who have not yet gotten vaccinated should get their flu vaccine as soon as possible.”

    Flu vaccine is produced every year and is always made to address the top flu strains of the previous season. 

    Flu shots remain highly recommended for the following high-risk groups:

  • Trump moves to vastly expand offshore drilling off US coasts

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration on Thursday moved to vastly expand offshore drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic oceans with a plan that would open up federal waters off California for the first time in more than three decades.

    The new five-year drilling plan also could open new areas of oil and gas exploration in areas off the East Coast from Florida to Maine, where drilling has been blocked for decades. While some lawmakers in those states support offshore drilling, the plan drew immediate opposition from governors up and down the East Coast, including Republican Govs.

    Rick Scott of Florida and Larry Hogan of Maryland, who pressed Trump to withdraw their states from consideration.
    The three Democratic governors on the West Coast also blasted the plan and vowed to do "whatever it takes to stop this reckless, short-sighted action."

    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the plan, saying that responsible development of offshore energy resources would boost jobs and economic security while providing billions of dollars to fund conservation along U.S. coastlines.

  • Dow Jones industrials climb above 25,000 for the first time

    NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow Jones industrial average is trading above 25,000 points for the first time Thursday, just five weeks since its first close above 24,000.

    The Dow broke through five 1,000-point barriers in 2017, on its way to a 25 percent gain for the year, as an eight-year rally since the Great Recession continued to confound skeptics.

    Strong global economic growth and good prospects for higher company earnings have analysts predicting more gains, although the market may not stay as calm as it has been recently.

    The Dow has made a rapid trip from 24,000 points on November 30, partly on enthusiasm over passage of the Republican-backed tax package, which could boost company profits this year with across-the-board cuts to corporate taxes.

    "For a long while in 2017 I would say the biggest driver was excitement and anticipation over tax reform, but at a certain point I think there was a handover to global economic growth really helping to carry the stock market," said

    Invesco Chief Global Markets Strategist Kristina Hooper.

  • Official: Cibola County may be bankrupt by end of February

    GRANTS (AP) — A New Mexico county is facing the prospect of bankruptcy in 60 days and the likelihood of having to move forward with layoffs and liquidate assets, officials said.

    Cash-strapped Cibola County is in "crisis mode" after years of overspending and the recent discovery that it sent a bounced check to the for-profit prison company CoreCivic, interim County Manager Valerie Taylor said.

    The Gallup Independent reports that Taylor has contacted the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration Local Government Division Special Director Michael Steininger to straighten out the finances.

    Taylor said in all likelihood the state would bail out Cibola County with a loan and establish a repayment plan for the county if it can't pay its debts

    "If we do not make significant changes, I believe we are going to be insolvent by the end of February," Taylor said at a county commissioners meeting.

    The county overspent by $9.5 million from 2013 to 2016 and wrote the $7 million bounced check to CoreCivic in November.

    The county has a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to serve as a pass-through for payments to CoreCivic, which houses immigrant detainees at a prison in Milan.