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Today's News

  • Case of cliff-diving driver dismissed

    State prosecutors dismissed their case against a Los Alamos man that claimed he drove a vehicle off a 200 ft. cliff with his then girlfriend as a passenger.
    The crash occurred near Anderson Overlook on N.M. 502 on Aug. 25, 2014.
    Zachary Sanchez, 32, was indicted by a Santa Fe grand jury in March of 2015 on charges of great bodily harm by vehicle (Driving while under influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug) and driving while license revoked (DWI related).
    Sanchez was scheduled to go on trial in August or September. However, Sanchez was sentenced to three years’ probation July 26 for a DWI charge when he was arrested in April.
    Though injured, the couple survived the 2014 crash. Paramedics found Sanchez inside the vehicle and girlfriend was found outside the vehicle in critical condition.
    “There was a lot of technical evidence in this case so we hired an expert and based off of his opinion and the evidence we’ve had in this case we could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt he was the driver,” said Santa Fe Assistant District Attorney Natalie Perry.
    The Santa Fe DA’s office will not pursue any new or different charges against Sanchez in this case.

  • Case of cliff-diving driver dismissed

    State prosecutors dismissed their case against a Los Alamos man that claimed he drove a vehicle off a 200 ft. cliff with his then girlfriend as a passenger.
    The crash occurred near Anderson Overlook on N.M. 502 on Aug. 25, 2014.
    Zachary Sanchez, 32, was indicted by a Santa Fe grand jury in March of 2015 on charges of great bodily harm by vehicle (Driving while under influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug) and driving while license revoked (DWI related).
    Sanchez was scheduled to go on trial in August or September. However, Sanchez was sentenced to three years’ probation July 26 for a DWI charge when he was arrested in April.
    Though injured, the couple survived the 2014 crash. Paramedics found Sanchez inside the vehicle and girlfriend was found outside the vehicle in critical condition.
    “There was a lot of technical evidence in this case so we hired an expert and based off of his opinion and the evidence we’ve had in this case we could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt he was the driver,” said Santa Fe Assistant District Attorney Natalie Perry.
    The Santa Fe DA’s office will not pursue any new or different charges against Sanchez in this case.

  • Janitor booked for selling pot at county courthouse

    Police arrested a janitor July 21 following a seven-month investigation of a marijuana selling operation at the Los Alamos County courthouse, also known as the Los Alamos Justice Center.
    Los Alamos Police began investigating the marijuana distribution at the location in January, according to court reports.
    Police apprehended Estevan DeVargas, 23, early in the morning without incident while he was working at the courthouse.
    During a search of his belongings, police found three unused needles and a jar of urine, according to the police report.
    When asked by police why he had a jar of urine, DeVargas reportedly told officers it was in case he was asked for a urine sample at work.
    During his interrogation at the Los Alamos police station, DeVargas first denied he was selling marijuana at work. Police reported that DeVargas confessed to selling marijuana following a discussion about surveillance footage.
    “Mr. DeVargas then explained that he had only sold the marijuana to help bring in money for his to take care of his family,” said LAPD Det. Joseph Robinson in his report.
    However, DeVargas refused to give the names of the people he sold marijuana to at work.

  • Council OKs full-time clerk

    Los Alamos County Clerk will now be a full-time position, following a decision by the county council this week.
    After years of discussion following a Charter Review Committee recommendation that the position be changed from part-time, the county council approved the change by a 6−0 vote on Tuesday.
    Vice Chair Susan O’Leary abstained. O’Leary signaled her intention to do so at an earlier meeting on the grounds that she may someday want to run for that office.
    During the CRC process in 2014, several former county clerks advocated for making the position full time. They received support from Sen. Daniel A. Ivey-Soto, (D-Dist. 15), who had served as executive director for the county clerks of the State of New Mexico for several years.
    Ivey-Soto pointed out that since Los Alamos is a Class H county. The clerk must not only fulfill county clerk duties such as overseeing elections, he or she must also function as the municipal clerk, whose duties include overseeing school elections, issuing marriage licenses and maintaining records of property ownership.
    Advocates also argued that the clerk’s duties have grown more complex in recent years due to new mandates required by state statute.
    County Clerk Sharon Stover, whose term ends in December, asked council to approve the change.

  • Section of San Ildefonso Road pedestrian tunnel to close Friday for work

    San Ildefonso Road pedestrian tunnel at the Diamond Drive roundabout will be closed Friday and reopen Saturday to allow a contractor to remove and replace a small section of concrete in the tunnel.

    For information about the work, call the county public works department at 662-8150 or send an email to lacpw@lacnm.us.

  • Today in history July 27
  • Some New Mexico delegates give Clinton a second chance

    SANTA FE (AP) — Some New Mexico political delegates to the Democratic National Convention who traveled to Philadelphia in support of Bernie Sanders are giving Hillary Clinton a second look amid a deluge of testimonials highlighting the presidential nominee's record of public service.

    Sanders delegate John Meade of Santa Fe said Wednesday that the convention has helped him appreciate Clinton's record of community service, and that he plans to vote for her in the fall despite reservations about ties to corporate interests.

    Clinton won the New Mexico primary in June, earning 18 pledged delegates and all 9 superdelegate votes from party leaders. Sanders earned 16 pledged delegates in New Mexico before endorsing Clinton.

    U.S. Reps. Ben Ray Lujan and Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico are speaking to the convention tonight. They support Clinton.

    Bernie Sanders delegate Kathleen Burke, from Bernalillo County, is calling on fellow delegates to protest President Barack Obama when he addresses the Democratic National Convention tonight.

    In a Facebook posting, Burke says Obama is "highly complicit in the silencing" of liberals because he supported Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders for the presidential nomination.

  • Focus legislation on one issue at a time

    The U. S. Senate, as you probably know, left Washington for a lengthy summer recess without passing an appropriation for research on the Zika virus. Though most senators agreed on the funding, Democrats disagreed with provisions unrelated to this issue, which had been included in the bill by Republicans.
    Among those provisions were restrictions on funding for birth control services from Planned Parenthood, weakened clean water laws governing pesticides and, as if the nation needs something else to motivate people to shoot each other, a provision that would have allowed the Confederate flag to be displayed at military cemeteries.
    Let us not, for this moment, debate the Planned Parenthood issue, the pesticide issue or even the Confederate flag issue. Let’s talk about process.
    This process, sometimes called logrolling, is what happens when legislation is written so that in order to vote for one thing that a legislator is in favor of, the legislator has to vote for something he or she opposes.
    In this case, according to the news reports, U. S. senators on both sides are now waiting for a few American babies to be born with tragic deformities so they can point fingers at each other. At least New Mexico, with its low humidity, is not a heavy mosquito state.  

  • Passport to Pajarito program going strong

    The Pajarito Environmental Education Center’s Passport to the Pajarito Plateau program has had a tremendous start this summer, with some 2,000 hikes reporters in the first few months.
    This popular program is a way to get families outside, exploring the trails together, according to PEEC’s spokeswoman Sandra West.
    The program is a partnership between PEEC, Los Alamos County, Bandelier, and the Valles Caldera with generous support from the Delle Foundation.
    Hikers that use the program enjoy the trails in the passport, which are also included in PEEC’s free Los Alamos Trails app for iOS and Android operating systems, and look for a wooden post with a specially designed rubbing plate.
    Each trail has its own custom-designed plate, with artwork by Heather Ward. When the hikers find the post, they make a crayon rubbing of the plate to “stamp” their passports.  After two, five, eight, 12 and 16 hikes, they bring their passports to the PEEC Nature Center to record the hikes on the giant bar graph and receive their prizes.
    Children are especially fond of the whistle/compass combination that they receive for two hikes, and adults love the bandana printed with all the Los Alamos trails that is the prize for 8 hikes, West said in a release about the program.

  • Faith & Science forum today

    The Los Alamos Faith & Science Forum concludes its summer series on the topic “What Makes Us Human?”at 6 p.m. today at Kelly Hall at Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church.
    Dinner will be at 6 p.m., with a presentation at 6:30 p.m. and discussion at 7 p.m. Talks are aimed at a general audience. All are welcome. Follow our blog at lafsf.org.
    Today’s topic is “The Whole Person.” Scientists, philosophers and theologians have developed models of humankind that vary from a whole person to dualism to tricotomies. Gerry Wood came to Los Alamos after completing a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin. In 2004 he retired after 35 years at LANL, working mostly in health and safety areas. For more information see GerryOWood.com.