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Today's News

  • Votes trickle in for school elections

    Tuesday is Election Day for the Los Alamos Public (LAPS) School Board and the UNM-Los Alamos Advisory Board elections. Early voting ends at 5 p.m. today.
    Election Manager Gloria Maestas reported that as of Thursday morning 224 absentee ballots had been received, a small number considering that LAPS District 1 has 2,477 eligible voters and District 2 has 5,036.
    The county has 14,152 registered eligible voters who can vote in the UNM-LA election.
    “School board elections, unfortunately, have a lower turnout. But this is the highest number we’ve had in the last two school board elections,” Maestas said.
    Those who want to vote by mail must submit an absentee application, which is available online at or at the clerk’s office on the second floor of the municipal building. Online applications must be filled out and signed, then returned to the clerk’s office in person, emailed to clerks@lacnm.us or faxed to 662-8008.
    The clerk’s office can mail absentee ballots until 5 p.m. today.
    Absentee ballots may be marked in person (in-person early voting) at the clerk’s office until 5 p.m. today. All absentee ballots must be physically in the clerk’s office by 7 p.m. Tuesday.    

  • LAPS ready for state budget cuts

    Officials from the Los Alamos Public Schools estimate legislation signed by Gov. Susana Martinez Wednesday will set the district back about $1 million for school year 2016-17.
    Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus assured district employees that in spite of the shortfall, there will be no teachers or staff employees laid off.
    “We will be looking for savings outside the classroom,” Steinhaus said.
    Some cost saving measures will include relying on local expertise within the district for problem solving, Steinhaus said.
    Steinhaus and the school’s Chief Finance Officer Lisa Montoya saw the $1 million hit coming long before the January legislative session. To avoid a budget deficit, they started planning this year’s current budget with the financial loss in mind.
    “When we started planning the last budget, which was in March of last year, we looked at oil prices, and we knew that oil prices were lower than what the state budget was built on,” Steinhaus said. “We anticipated that we would have to start tightening our belts, so we started to look for savings way back then. You never know. We don’t have a crystal ball, but we planned ahead just in case.”

  • LANL, WIPP officials to discuss shipment restart

    Officials from the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Los Alamos field office of Environmental Management will meet next week with officials at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad to discuss when shipments of transuranic waste from LANL will resume.
    Los Alamos Environmental Management Field Office Manager Doug Hintze revealed a part of the plan at a January meeting of the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities.
    The topic of the meeting with WIPP will be about what the shipping process will look like and what the priorities will be. “All I can guarantee is that Pete (Maggiore, NNSA Los Alamos Field Office administrator) and I are going to be fighting for Los Alamos,” Hintze said at the meeting.
    Shipments from the lab to the plant were interrupted in February 2014 when a drum of radioactive waste stored in an underground storage chamber at WIPP leaked waste. After an investigation by the Department of Energy, it was found that the lab packed the drum with an organic kitty litter. Inorganic, clay kitty litter is commonly used in the industry as an absorbent of radioactive waste. The kitty litter used in the exploding drum was organic (wheat based), which caused a chemical reaction inside the barrel which led to an explosion that contaminated much of the storage area at WIPP with radioactive waste.

  • Crime down, DWIs up in LA

    Rape, assault, burglary and larceny in Los Alamos declined substantially in 2016, while crimes like auto theft and arson increased by 100 percent from last year, according to the Los Alamos Police Department’s annual report.
    In 2016, there were three cases of rape, 13 cases of aggravated assault, one case of aggravated robbery, 12 cases of larceny, six cases of auto theft and two cases of arson.
    The most dramatic shift was in drunken driving cases, with DWI cases going up by 24 cases – or 75 percent – in 2016.
    Vehicle accidents decreased by 15.5 percent in 2016.
    The LAPD began publishing quarterly and yearly crime reports in 2014.
    LAPD wanted to highlight the DWI cases because of the dramatic increase and the seriousness of the issue, said LAPD Chief Dino Sgambellone.
    The department is working on ways to identify what times of the year and day DWI crimes are more likely to occur most in an effort to better understand and combat the issue, Sgambellone said Thursday.
    “We’re doing a more substantive analysis using the day, time of the week, age, gender and other forms of data to see if there are any trends that we can devote some prevention and education resources, too,” Sgambellone said.

  • County website unavailable Saturday

    The Los Alamos County website will be unavailable on Saturday, Feb. 4, due to regularly scheduled maintenance.

  • Prep boys basketball: ‘Toppers fall at Capital, 58-36

    It was one of those games where the Los Alamos boys basketball team couldn’t capitalize from a hefty size advantage.
    Instead, the Hilltoppers couldn’t cope with the speed of the Capital guards, as the Jaguars pulled away late and handed Los Alamos a 58-36 loss Tuesday night in Santa Fe.
    “We were not surprised that we lost,” Los Alamos coach Mike Kluk said. “We didn’t play all that well and it was disappointing.”
    The Hilltoppers fell to 1-2 in District 2-5A and 9-11 overall, while Capital stayed within a game of first place and improved to 17-4 overall.
    In its previous two games, Los Alamos was able to get productivity from post players. But those games happened 11 and 14 days prior to Tuesday, as games against Goddard and Española Valley were cancelled and rescheduled.
    “I don’t know how much it had to do with us not playing in over a week,” Kluk said. “We had a week of practice leading up to Espanola but that didn’t end up happening, Maybe that had something to do with it.”

  • Prep girls hoops: Capital upends LA

    The Los Alamos girls basketball team was unable to ride the wave of momentum that it created after last Monday’s big win against Albuquerque Academy.
    The Hilltoppers fell to 6-16 overall and 1-3 in District 2-5A, after dropping a 50-47 decision against Capital Wednesday at Griffith Gym. The Jaguars picked up their first district win and improved to 4-18 overall.
    Capital’s Miranda Cortez took over in the final two minutes. Cortez drove to the basket and tied it 45-45 with 2:16 left in the game and on the ensuing possession she gave the Jaguars a 48-45 lead. Kyannah Cole was fouled and knocked down a pair of free throws to make it 50-45 with 23 seconds left.
    Los Alamos once again started firing on all cylinders in the first quarter. The Hilltoppers outscored Capital 19-13 in the opening eight minutes. The second quarter was a different story. Los Alamos’ only second quarter points were three free throws by Rebecca Green. Meanwhile, the Jaguars got four points a piece from Cortez, Cole and Deeanza Booker to take a 25-22 lead at halftime.
    In the third quarter, Elena Abeyta provided five points for Los Alamos but that wasn’t enough to avoid being outscored by Capital 11-10 in the period.
    Abeyta paced Los Alamos with 10 points, while Sienna Ahlers added eight.

  • Today in history Feb. 2
  • New Mexico Land Office suggests land swap for border wall

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn is proposing a federal land swap in order to make room for President Donald Trump's promised border wall.

    In a letter to Trump signed Wednesday, Dunn proposed to swap state surface and mineral estate rights within three miles or less of the U.S.-Mexico border for what he called "more desirable" land in Chaves, Lincoln and Otero counties.

    Dunn's office said that if the Trump administration refuses the swap offer, the federal government will have to pay New Mexico $3 million for an easement to construct the wall on state land.

    Last month, Trump signed an executive order demanding the immediate construction of a wall across nearly 2,000 miles of the border. The federal government needs to own all land within a few miles of the border for construction.

  • 2017 State Legislature: Better vehicle mileage crimps NM’s road fund

    BY BRUCE KRASNOW
    The New Mexican