Today's News

  • Today in History for December 7th
  • Former lawmaker released from prison

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A former Democratic legislative leader who was convicted of conspiracy and mail fraud for his role in an Albuquerque courthouse fraud scandal was released from federal prison Thursday.
    Manny Aragon, 66, had been serving time in Colorado since June 2009, said federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman Ed Ross.
    Prison officials said Aragon has served enough of his 5 1/2-year sentence to make him eligible for a halfway house. It’s not immediately clear where Aragon would be going.
    Aragon’s attorney, Ray Twohig, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
    Aragon was accused of pocketing $650,000 in a scheme with four other people to bilk the state out of $4.2 million during construction of the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Courthouse.
    Prosecutors had said the kickbacks were given to Aragon and other defendants after false invoices were submitted to the state. The money often came in bundles of thousands of dollars at a time.
    Aragon pleaded guilty in 2008 to three federal felony counts of conspiracy and mail fraud. In addition to his prison sentence, he was fined $750,000 — the bulk of which he forfeited to the government — and was ordered to pay at least $649,000 in restitution.

  • NNSA conducts training for Iraqi first responders

    The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) this week is conducting an Advanced International Radiological Assistance Program Training for Emergency Response (I-RAPTER) course in Las Vegas, Nev., for a group of 15 Iraqi first responders headed by the Iraqi Radioactive Source Regulatory Authority (IRSRA).
    The course focuses on border radiation monitoring, alarm interdiction and adjudication, characterization of detained or suspect cargo, and source recovery with extensive hands-on equipment operations using a wide range of radiation sources.
    “This course demonstrates NNSA’s commitment in assisting Iraqi first responders to be prepared to handle hazardous material following a radiological incident or event,” said NNSA Associate Administrator for Emergency Operations Joseph Krol. “We will continue to provide our technical expertise and assistance to Iraq and to countries around the world.”
    The course, a follow on to a March 2013 I-RAPTER course taught in Amman, Jordan, for Iraq and Jordon, is being conducted by personnel from NNSA and taught by instructors from Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., and NSTec’s Remote Sensing Laboratory from Joint Base Andrews and Nellis Air Force Base.

  • State officer in van shooting on leave

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The New Mexico State Police officer who fired shots at a minivan full of children during a chaotic October traffic stop has been placed on administrative leave, an agency official said Thursday.
    Officer Elias Montoya was placed on paid leave Wednesday pending a disciplinary investigation into the shooting outside the northern New Mexico tourist town of Taos, State Police Chief Pete Kassetas told The Associated Press.
    Kassetas called for an internal investigation after video from a police cruiser’s dashboard camera taken Oct. 28 drew national attention.
    The video showed Montoya shooting at the minivan as a Memphis, Tenn., woman drove away from a chaotic traffic stop that included another officer bashing her van’s window with his nightstick. The motorist, 39-year-old Oriana Farrell, had been stopped by state police for speeding and fled twice after arguing with an officer. Montoya fired three shots at the minivan, which also was carrying Ferrell’s five children. Montoya wrote in a police report that he aimed “at the left rear tire in an attempt to immobilize the vehicle.”
    The footage also showed Farrell disobeying the officer’s orders, including driving off after being told to take her keys out of the vehicle.

  • Scientists honored at Consortium

    Senator Tom Udall recognized Sangeeta Negi of the New Mexico Consortium (NMC) for achieving a two-fold increase in bio-mass productivity in algae Friday. Loreen Lamoureux, a graduate student at the University of New Mexico (UNM) was recognized for her work on rapid e-coli detection methods.

    “These NMC mentored researchers have bridged groups, disciplines, institutions and very long distances to perform exceptional work with an impact on society,” said Katharine Chartrand, NMC Executive Director. “They embody the spirit of the NMC and the future of science.”

    UNM student Loreen Lamoureux develops techniques to rapidly detect e-coli in the meat food supply. This collaboration involving researchers from UNM, the University of Nebraska (UN), LANL and the NMC seeks to detect e-coli contamination early in the meat packing process in order to prevent e-coli outbreaks.

    Lamoureux worked as part of a team led by Dr. Rodney Moxley of UN to purify a key biomarker from seven different strains of shiga toxin carrying E. coli.

    The team developed assays for the biomarkers and biophysical methods for the characterization of molecular interactions of the biomarkers in cell membranes.

  • Police Beat 12-06-13

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department Records. Charges or citations listed in Police Beat do not imply innocence or guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested, served a court summons, or issued a citation.

    Nov. 29

    10:20 a.m. ­— Gerardo Almanza-Ruiz was arrested on a charge of warrant other jurisdiction-misdemeanor at 2591 Trinity Drive.

    3:56 p.m. — A 55-year-old Los Alamos man told police that he was the victim of informational case only at 11th Street.

    5:22 p.m. —A 27-year-old Los Alamos woman reported that she was the victim of harassment at Trinity Drive.

    9:12 p.m. — A 42-year-old Los Alamos woman told police that she was the victim of informational case only at Arkansas Avenue.

    Dec. 1

    9:22 a.m. — A 22-year-old Los Alamos man reported that he was the victim of breaking and entering at Trinity Drive.

    Dec. 2

    5:40 p.m. — A 48-year-old Los Alamos man told police that he was the victim of striking an unattended vehicle at Iris Street.

    Dec. 4

  • Update 12-06-13


    Winterfest weekend today through Sunday. 6 p.m. Saturday is the Winterfest Parade. The theme is “Winter Wonderland” and there is a need for three judges to partake to decide who best reflects that theme. To sign up to be in the parade, chamberorganizer.com/members.


    The Los Alamos County Council will hold a work session at 7 p.m. Tuesday in White Rock Fire Station No. 3.

    Creche display

    The community is invited to display their Nativity Sets for the 20th Annual “Creches From Around The World” exhibition today at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1967 18th Street.


    Visit with Santa from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at HOPE Pregnancy Center’s Open House, 1183 Diamond Drive, Suite E.

    Author's Speak

    Authors Speak Series. 2 p.m., Sunday Fuller Lodge. Valerie Plame Wilson and Sarah Lovett will discuss the novel “Blowback,” the new espionage thriller by former CIA ops officer Wilson and thriller writer Lovett.

    Crafts fair

    Christmas Arts and Craft Fair. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary of Los Alamos. Proceeds go toward helping local needy families, Santa Fe soup kitchen and a state orphanage. 

  • Local hospital gears up for ACA

    Los Alamos Medical Center is ready and willing to help county residents maneuver through healthcare changes triggered by the Affordable Care Act.

    “A very good friend of mine said, ‘Feliciano, I look at it like this. Either we’re going to be a part of the process or the process will supersede us,’” said LAMC’s Chief Executive Officer Feliciano Jiron.

    “Hence, all of our efforts to educate the public, partner with different organizations and associations, partner with our county government, and work with our state agencies; because the process is going forward. How we become a part of that process and how we steer people in the right direction is a role that we have to play as a hospital and as a community organization.”

    LAMC is taking a multi-pronged approach toward providing the public with information about the ACA and assistance with signing up for insurance.

    “We thought it was important to go out and create an opportunity to educate the public, because of the fact that as a hospital and at LifePoint (LAMC’s parent company) we’ve recognized that there were some shortcomings with some of the implementation and education of the public,” Jiron said.

  • Cold weather hits area again

    Los Alamos received a blast of arctic weather as a cold front passed through the area Thursday and Friday.

    Temperatures were in the teens but that did stop some construction workers at Smith’s Marketplace. The National Weather Service says bitter cold temperatures will continue to grip much of northern and central New Mexico, with freezing fog and flurries or light snow in some areas but limited impact overall.

    Light freezing drizzle is forecast to expand across the eastern plains Friday night with occasional snow or sleet.

    Forecasters say a storm system will move into the Four Corners region late Saturday and drop snow over the northern mountains.

    The storm system dumped more than six inches of snow in Northern New Mexico Thursday, but Los Alamos was spared.

    On Thursday, New Mexico State Police said Sandoval County sheriff’s Sgt. Robert Baron, 47, was transported to University of New Mexico Hospital after he was struck by a vehicle while directing traffic on Interstate 25 near the San Felipe Pueblo. Baron was listed in critical condition Thursday evening.

    Sheriff Doug Wood and other members of the force were standing vigil with Baron’s wife and 10-year-old son as the sergeant remained in a medically induced coma.

  • Lab gets two new associate directors

    Los Alamos National Laboratory recently announced two new associate directors: Mary Hockaday is the associate director of the Experimental Physical Sciences Directorate and Cheryl Cabbil joined the laboratory Monday as associate director for Nuclear and High Hazard Operations.

    “Mary is a 30-year veteran of the lab and currently serves in a joint role as the deputy associate director for the Weapons Physics directorate as well as leading LANL’s MaRIE signature facility effort,” said laboratory director Charlie McMillan. “She is skilled and passionate in communicating with the scientific and customer communities on issues concerning laboratory capabilities and national security.”

    “Cheryl brings a distinguished track record for developing and implementing nuclear facility management programs, for improving nuclear and high hazard conduct of operations, nuclear safety bases, integrated safety management, R&D laboratory operations and nuclear quality assurance,” McMillan said. “She has demonstrated leadership skill in working with regulators, including the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, stakeholders and staff to identify common ground and gain consensus.”