Today's News

  • Ohkay Owingeh still needs help with housing project

    The Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo has collected about $150,000 of the $500,000 the pueblo was hoping to collect in order to finish a 12-year-old housing rehabilitation project.

    A $500,000 tax credit has been awarded to the Ohkay Owingeh Housing Authority to incentivize tax contributions.
    The credit will allow donors who contribute to the project to get a tax credit on any New Mexico tax obligation equal to half of one’s contribution to the project.

    If someone owes $10,000 in state income tax, for example, and they give $5,000 to the pueblo project, then their tax bill would be only $5,000.

    Ohkay Owingeh Housing Authority needs $3.5 million to complete the project.

    The Ohkay Owingeh Housing Authority is confident they will accomplish this goal.

    “I feel we really made some strides in the past couple of weeks,” Ohkay Owingeh Housing Authority Development Officer Leslie Colley said. “We’ve finally got the ball rolling on these final groups of houses.”

  • LA’s Christmas Tree guy is back

    Los Alamos County’s favorite Christmas tree seller is back.

    This year, Andrew Alire, of Alire Christmas Trees is waiting for customers to come on down to the lot next to the Knights of Columbus on Trinity Drive and purchase their favorite Christmas Tree.

    Alire has been selling trees in Los Alamos for 16 years. He first started at Sullivan field, before settling at his more visible and accessible location next to the Knights of Columbus. The simple laws of supply and demand told him to come to Los Alamos and try his luck.

    “Everybody needs a tree for Christmas, right?” Alire said.

    This year, Alire has 300 trees to sell. They come from the Carson National Forest. They’re all white firs, and they will cost $11 a foot.

    Alire said he likes nothing better than coming to the county every year to sell trees. To him, it’s more than a business. It gives him a chance to catch up with old friends who also happen to be customers.

    “I get to see my loyal customers every year,” Alire said. “As they get older, the younger generation starts buying from me and the operation keeps getting a little bigger every year.”

    Alire thinks they they know why they keep coming back every year.

  • Options proposed to late start time at high school

    About 60 percent of students at Los Alamos High School would support a “z” period – a later start time to let growing minds sleep in a bit each school day.

    But that leaves 40 percent who want the current schedule, with a class start time of 7:50 a.m., the school’s principal, Carter Payne, told the Los Alamos Public Schools board earlier this month.

    The board is considering a later start time for high school students following a report from New Mexico First, commissioned by the school district. The public policy think tank was also hired to hold discussions at the high school, along with talks at all the other schools.

    The report is available on the LAPS website; the discussions occurred in October. The board has an upcoming work session on Thursday, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Aspen Elementary, but the agenda for the meeting hasn’t been announced as of Friday.

    The board also reviewed results of a survey on the school district’s website; slightly less than half of those responding to the website question were in favor of a later start time, slightly more than half were opposed.

    Payne represented a group of high school staff looking for alternatives to a change that would impact all students – and their parents – while still offering the popular “late start.”

  • ‘A window of joy’

    For the seventh year, the window of Village Arts on DP Road offers a touch of old-fashioned whimsy of the season, direct from the imagination of Diana Norwood.

    “I hope I give people a moment of joy,” she said.

    Norwood’s brainchild this year is inspired by “Jingle Bells” with a wintry scene – well-dressed dolls, teddy bears and other stuffed animals cavort through a snowy forest lit by holiday lights and cheerily decorated trees.

    Norwood of Los Alamos approached Ken Nebel, owner of Village Arts, shortly after the arts and crafts supply and custom-framing store moved from downtown Los Alamos to the eastside road, the home of a collection of stores, auto shops, the Los Alamos Monitor, and other commercial endeavors.

    “I said `you have a great, deep window and I’ve got goodies that might make a pretty decoration. If I can use the window, maybe we can bring people to the store,’” Norwood said.

    The tradition has taken on a life of it’s own.

  • Panel: Safety concerns remain at nuclear waste storage site

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A federal nuclear review panel still has some safety concerns about Los Alamos National Laboratory's new multimillion-dollar storage facility for radioactive waste.

    The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board said in a recent report that more reviews will be needed as operations ramp up but that limits placed on the amount of material and the types of containers allowed at the facility will provide adequate protection of public health and safety at least for the near term.

    The board noted in the report made public last week that eliminating or downgrading safety protocols at the lab's

    Transuranic Waste Facility "could result in a potential exposure" to the public or workers.

    The buildings that make up the $97.5 million facility were completed in early 2017 after several years of construction. Officials said the project came in under budget and they consider the report as positive.

    The facility was designed to store and prepare for shipping newly generated waste from nuclear weapons research as a means of meeting state-mandated cleanup requirements. The waste includes tools, clothing, gloves and other items that have come in contact with radioactive elements such as plutonium.

  • Utilities investigate cause of power outage


  • Calderon leads LAHS to victory

    Through two games, it appears the best word to describe the Los Alamos High School girls’ basketball team is resilient.

    Tuesday evening, in the team’s home opener, nothing came easy for the Hilltoppers. Yet for the second game in a row, the team found a way to get it done, defeating St. Michael’s High School 53-42.

    “It was an ugly win, but it was a win,” LAHS head coach Josh Archuleta said. “But we will take an ugly win over a loss any day.”

    Early on, it appeared that the Hilltoppers would have no issue defeating the Lady Horsemen as LAHS jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead on baskets by Becca Green and Susana Gallegos.

    But after that quick burst, the Horsemen climbed right back into the game, outscoring the Hilltoppers 10-2 the rest of the quarter and heading into the break with a 10-9 lead.

    “We came out hot initially, but after that we just let St. Michael’s hang around,” Archuleta said.

    The Hilltoppers responded well in the second quarter, as the rebounding and shooting improved. All game long, the inside presence of the Hilltoppers, led by Green and Natalie Gallegos, made the game difficult for St. Michael’s as every rebound was contested on both ends of the floor.

  • Businesses unsettled by DACA uncertainty


    Barring congressional intervention, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is ending, and DACA recipients — or “Dreamers” — are subject to deportation when their work permits expire if they didn’t get an extension before the Oct. 5 deadline.

    The demise of the program has created uncertainty among employers who are required to fire DACA recipients the day after their permits expire but risk discrimination charges if they act too soon to terminate — or even identify — DACA recipients on their payrolls.

    Companies risk fines for employing ineligible workers. They’re also advised to prepare carefully for this sudden change in circumstances for up to 800,000 young people whose parents brought them into the United States without proper documentation when they were children.

    A delicate question

    All employees, regardless of their citizenship status, must fill out an I-9 form and provide multiple forms of identification to verify their eligibility to work in the United States. Noncitizen workers carry papers that authorize them to work here temporarily; the paperwork includes a code that specifies the basis for the permit, but employers are discouraged from using the code to identify DACA recipients.

  • N.M. banks too small? Loan opportunities wanted

    Some banks are too small to succeed, suggests Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade and presumably someone who knows his way around the financial world. Maybe “too small” means having assets under $10 billion, Ricketts wrote in the Oct. 30 Wall Street Journal.

    Presented with Ricketts’ observation, a senior executive of a New Mexico-based bank chuckled. He’s not talking about New Mexico, the banker said.

    Maybe Ricketts has a point. Consider: Wells Fargo Bank of San Francisco, headquartered near the Union Square shopping mecca, counts $8.5 billion of deposits in New Mexico. For the whole bank, the deposit total is around $1.3 trillion. At less than 1 percent of the company, New Mexico doesn’t make afterthought status.

    Wells’ New Mexico deposit total dropped $450 million between June 30, 2016, and June 30, 2017, according to the deposit market share report from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, a regulator. That loss is more than the total deposits of all but 15 banks doing business in New Mexico. Three of the 14 branches closed across the state during the period were Wells Fargo branches. The state had 473 branches as of June 30.

  • New airport manager finds old home in LA

    For native son and Los Alamos County’s newest airport manager, it’s good to be home.

    Cameron Humphres, who spent two years managing the Santa Fe Municipal Airport started work as the manager of Los Alamos Airport Nov. 6.

    “How awesome is it to serve the very community where you were born and that gave you the impetus to pursue aviation in the first place,” Humphres said.

    Though Humphres’s family moved to Albuquerque when he was just 3 years old, ties to his family kept him coming back to Los Alamos throughout his childhood.

    He has fond memories of going to the airport with his grandfather to watch the planes take off and land, as well as at Kirtland Air Force Base, when Humphres’ father was in the Air Force.  His grandfather pursued aviation as hobby, but came to work at Los Alamos National Laboratory during the early days of the Manhattan Project as an electrician.

    When Humphres was a B-1 pilot in South Dakota, he flew in a training program with Paul Tibbets Jr., the grandson of Paul Tibbets, the 509th Composite Group pilot who dropped the first atomic bomb in combat over Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.