Today's News

  • Council tables sheriff’s resolution, opts for study

    Los Alamos County Council, in a special meeting Wednesday, voted to table a resolution by Councilor Peter Sheehey that would have restored the duties of the Los Alamos County sheriff.

    The council instead decided to approve Councilor James Chrobocinski’s plan to create a commission to further study the issue.

    “I’m concerned that a resolution getting us back to basically where we were before is not going to be any sort of permanent solution,” Chrobocinski said. “No one was happy with it before, and restoring things the way they were isn’t going to solve anything.”

    Chrobocinski instead said he wanted to see the sheriff’s duties written into a charter amendment, a move that would make it more difficult for future county councils to take away the powers of the sheriff.

    In January, Los Alamos County voters approved a referendum to have council restore the office of the sheriff. In November 2016, the county voted to have the Los Alamos Police Department take over most of the sheriff’s office duties. The move left Sheriff Marco Lucero with no staff and only one duty, to manage the sex offender registry.

  • Power restored in White Rock

    The power was restored in White Rock at 6:53 p.m. Wednesday after more than four hours. The Public Service Company of New Mexico and The Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities determined the cause of the outage to be a lightning strike that hit a building within the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    “We had to coordinate with LANL and PNM to get the system back up," DPU Spokesperson Julie Williams-Hill said. Earlier in the day, PNM and LANL thought there may have been a break in a transmission line outside of the county’s power grid.

    White Rock experienced a total power failure at 2:30 p.m. At 4 p.m., the county set up portable generators at the major intersections in White Rock to handle the traffic from the 5 p.m. commute.

    Williams-Hill thanked the utility companies involved in finding the source of the problem. “Thank you PNM, LANL and all our customers in White Rock,” Williams-Hill said in an update on the DPU's Facebook page.

  • Interior secretary to visit Las Cruces amid monuments review

    LAS CRUCES (AP) — U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is scheduled to visit Las Cruces this week in connection with the Trump administration's review of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

    Zinke is slated Thursday to take part in a public meeting at the Las Cruces Convention Center with the mayors of Las Cruces, Mesilla, Anthony and Sunland Park.

    The Rio Grande del Norte National Monument and the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument are among 27 monuments where a review ordered by President Donald Trump might remove protections previously considered irreversible.

    The review is rekindling a fierce debate about oversight of lands marked by ancient petroglyphs and towering mountain spires.

    The New Mexico Cattle Growers Association is urging Trump to eliminate certain large-scale national monuments.

  • Pre-trial set for Santa Cruz man

    Santa Cruz resident Celso Ramos, 37, of Santa Cruz, was arrested July 13 in Los Alamos on a magistrate and district court warrant on charges relating to possession of heroin.

    In early 2015, Ramos was arrested as part of a series of drug trafficking arrests that took place in Los Alamos on Feb. 17-20, 2015, and yielded several prescription drugs and slightly more than two ounces of heroin (58.2 grams).

    According to court documents, police were called to a White Rock neighborhood because Ramos and a 29-year-old woman named Deanna Doss were seen acting suspicious.

    LAPD first received reports of the couple “walking up and down driveways.”

    Police made contact with the couple in the parking lot of the Smith’s grocery store in White Rock.

    When questioned and searched, police found four fully loaded syringes of heroin in his backpack. The amount of heroin in the syringes turned out to be more than 2 ounces. While searching Ramos at the detention center, police discovered an additional 2.5 grams of heroin, according to the report.

    Ramos was charged with trafficking controlled substances (possession with intent to distribute, narcotic or meth, first offense), possession of a controlled substance (felony narcotic drug) and use or possession of drug paraphernalia.

  • Domino’s donates to local fire victim

    Domino’s presented a check for $1,486.21 to Bonita Rogozinsky Tuesday, whose home was almost destroyed by a fire on June 24.

    The pizza franchise was touched by her plight and decided to donate 100 percent of its profits from sales on July 20 to help with the cost of rebuilding her home.

    Rogozinsky held back tears as close friends arrived one-by-one to show their support during the intimate ceremony.

    “We really wanted to help,” said Domino’s Regional Manager Vincent Alton as he addressed the small crowd. “We were extremely pleased with the turnout.”

    The turnout translated to about double the normal amount of orders on a typical Thursday, and Alton said he was proud of all the hardworking employees who took on the challenge. Rogozinsky thanked them and gave each one a warm hug.

    Rogozinsky and her beloved pets escaped without injury, but the fire destroyed about 75 percent of her home and insurance will not cover the full cost of the loss. She had recently purchased the house and had owned it for less than 24 hours.

    General Manager Celesta Lasater learned about Rogozinsky’s situation after she had called to cancel a pizza she had ordered just minutes before.

    Wanting to help, Lasater received permission from her superiors to organize this fundraiser.

  • State News Briefs 7-26-17

    New Mexico adjusts rules for dark-money groups in politics

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico campaign finance regulators are making some adjustments as they move forward with a proposal for more detailed financial disclosures from nonprofit advocacy groups that attempt to influence elections.
    In response to public comments, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver on Tuesday released revised rules aimed at so-called dark money groups that can spend unlimited amounts to influence elections and ballot measures when acting independently.
    Several conservative-backed groups with a statewide and national presence say Toulouse Oliver is overstepping her authority by requiring that independent expenditure groups disclose their contributors.
    Toulouse Oliver says New Mexicans have a right to know who is paying for ads that attempt to influence their vote. Revisions rules would raise the spending threshold to $2,500 before independent expenditure groups must reveal their contributors.

    New Mexico to get $18M from Volkswagen emissions settlement

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico is set to receive $18 million following a settlement connected to the Volkswagen smog device emissions scandal.

  • Preserving friendships

    Los Alamos County Council Chair David Izraelevitz handed over a Proclamation of Friendship to History Museum Director Judith Stauber Monday, who shook his hand enthusiastically. 

    The proclamation is an offering of friendship between the Los Alamos History Museum and its Japanese counterparts, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the Nagasaki Atomic Museum, in order to preserve and understand the history behind the different perspectives of the Manhattan Project story.

    Stauber and Board Member Michael Redondo are looking forward to traveling to Japan in early August to personally deliver the proclamation and the 1,303 handmade origami cranes to the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    Stauber and Redondo will also attend memorials on Aug. 6 and 9, the anniversaries of the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, respectively.

  • Scientist union weighs in on contract

    A union of technicians and scientists that has a chapter at the Los Alamos National Laboratory recently commented on the National Nuclear Security Administration’s recent request for proposals for the laboratory’s contract.

    Jeff Colvin, executive vice president of the University Professional and Technical Employees, was pleased with how the contract seems to give non-profit organizations a chance to successfully bid.

    “UPTE believes that the present for-profit contract is the root cause of many problems besetting LANL, so that the draft RFP fee structure represents a big step in the right direction,” Colvin said.

    Of particular interest to the union is the contract’s performance fee, which in the proposal, has been cut from 3 percent to 1 percent.

    “UPTE first commends the NNSA for eliminating the Performance-Based Incentive (PBI) management bonus and re-structuring the new management and operations contract to be largely a fixed fee contract, with the fee capped at 1 percent,” Colvin said. “With the 0.5 percent award fee, applying only to DOE’s (Department of Energy’s) portion of the lab budget, it means that overall, this is a management fee structure that levels the playing field between for-profit and non-profit contractor bids.”

  • LA gets set for oldest bike race in Southwest

    Tour De Los Alamos will return to the streets of Los Alamos County this Sunday for the 45th consecutive year.

    Labeled by organizers as the “oldest bicycle race in the Southwest,” it has become an annual tradition in the area, one that attracts people from all across the region to the Atomic City.

    “I can’t believe the Tour De Los Alamos has been around as long as it has,” race director Cyndi Wells said.

    The course is a counter-clockwise loop that stretches 27 miles, beginning in downtown Los Alamos and running throughout the entire area.

    “Depending on what category you are in, you may be doing one to three laps,” Wells said.

    Participants in the Senior Men Pro category will be racing for approximately 81 miles on the course that features a variety of uphill and downhill sections. The steepest climb comes near the end of the course, which will be a nearly two-mile uphill climb.

    All other categories of racer will complete either one or two laps of the course, depending on age and skill level.

    The race will begin at Trinity Drive and 20th Street.

    Prizes will be given out to the top finishers in each category. The top prize of the day will be given to the man who completes the three-lap course the quickest. He will earn $300.  

  • Mosquitos that can carry Zika found in Otero, Hidalgo counties

    Mosquitos that can transmit Zika virus have been found in Otero and Hidalgo counties, the state health department announced Tuesday.

    This is the first time a species of mosquito that can transmit Zika virus has been located in this part of the state. There have been no identified human cases of Zika virus in either county.

    Zika virus can be transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. The mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus.

    Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites.

    Mosquito surveillance in New Mexico’s southern counties is part of an ongoing collaboration between the state health department and New Mexico State University.

    These recent discoveries bring the total number of counties in the state with mosquitos capable of spreading Zika to eight. Mosquitoes that can carry Zika virus have been trapped and identified in Doña Ana, Eddy, Chaves, Sierra, Lea, Luna and now Otero and Hidalgo counties.