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Today's News

  • On the Docket 6-25-17

    April 18
    Jack E. Seckington was found guilty of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and must pay $65 in court costs.

    Ann E. Stewart was found guilty of two counts of failing animals at large and failing to display a rabies tag. Sentence deferred until May 18. Defendant was fined $25 and must pay $120 in court costs.

    Michael Gallegos was found guilty of animals at large. Defendant was fined $25 and must pay $50 in court costs.

    Alice Smith was found guilty of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and must pay $65 in court costs.

    Trina Wa-Kowson was found guilty of speeding in a school zone. Defendant was fined $30 and must pay $65 in court costs.

    Alison Renner was found guilty of speeding in a school zone. Defendant was fined $50 and must pay $65 in court costs.

    Andrew Saunders was found guilty of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and must pay $65 in court costs.

    April 20
    Lorraine Braughton was found guilty of speeding 11 to 15 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $75 and must pay $65 in court costs.

    April 21

  • 2 more plague cases reported in New Mexico's Santa Fe County

    SANTA FE (AP) — The New Mexico Department of Health on Monday confirmed two more human cases of plague.
    The recent cases involve a 52-year-old woman and a 62-year-old woman. The first case this year was reported in early June in a 63-year-old man.

    All three patients, who live in Santa Fe County, were hospitalized but there have been no deaths.

    State public health veterinarian Paul Ettestad said plague can be present in fleas that infest wild rodents in Santa Fe County, including within the city limits of Santa Fe and in other locations around New Mexico.

    "Pets that are allowed to roam and hunt can bring infected fleas from dead rodents back into the home, putting you and your children at risk," he said.

    Health workers are conducted environmental investigations around the homes of the three patients to look for ongoing risk and to ensure the safety of the immediate family members and neighbors.

    Plague generally is transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas but can be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals including rodents and pets. Symptoms include sudden onset of fever, chills, headache and weakness.

  • LA community gathers to remember Undersheriff John Horne

    Los Alamos Undersheriff John N. Horne was honored Wednesday morning at his home church of Calvary Chapel Los Alamos. It was a somber but heartfelt event with many community members in attendance to remember him and celebrate Horne’s life.

    Horne was born Feb. 15, 1963, and passed away June 15, according to his obituary. He died in his home in Los Alamos.
    As people stepped forward to view Horne one last time, his father, John, and family sat in the front row receiving hugs and offers of condolences.

    Pat Kestell, the Senior Pastor at Calvary Chapel, opened the service by welcoming the packed church and said, “Clearly there were many lives that were changed because of John.”

    The pastor and many others wore tropical print in honor of Horne because, according to Kestell, “When he wasn’t wearing his uniform, he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt.”

    Horne’s sister, Debbie Barnes, talked a little bit about Horne’s career and the hobbies he enjoyed. Horne grew up in Los Alamos and worked for the Los Alamos National Lab.

    “My brother had a really creative mind. He envisioned and built many mechanical projects with precision that many wouldn’t even imagine,” Barnes said.

  • Feds investigate after lab improperly ships nuclear material

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Federal regulators are launching an investigation into the improper shipment of nuclear material from Los Alamos National Laboratory to other federal labs this week.

    The National Nuclear Security Administration said Friday it was informed by the lab that procedures weren't followed when shipping what was only described as "special nuclear material" to facilities in California and South Carolina.

    The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are investigating, according a spokesman for the NNSA Los Alamos field office.

    The material had been packaged for ground transport. But instead it was shipped aboard an air cargo service, which isn't allowed by federal regulations.

    Officials say that once the investigation is complete, any responsible parties will be held accountable.

    This marks just the latest gaffe by Los Alamos, the lab that created the atomic bomb. Criticism has been intensifying over the lab's history of safety lapses as work ramps up to produce key components for the nation's nuclear weapons cache.

    Los Alamos Monitor staff writer Tris DeRoma contributed to this report.

  • Bingham trial delayed

    The preliminary hearing for a former Los Alamos detention officer being accused of child sexual abuse has been postponed until Aug. 10.

    Deputy District Attorney Michael Nunez said the charges against Dustin Bingham, 36, are still being investigated.
    “There is still an ongoing investigation,” Nunez said.

    Bingham was arrested May 3 after he confessed to Los Alamos County police to having sexual contact with two children. He is also being accused of secretly setting up secret video and social media accounts for his alleged victims so they could communicate with Bingham without the children’s parents finding out.

    When confronted by police through a conference call between the relatives who reported the crimes to police and Bingham, Bingham allegedly told police that he would sometimes fondle the children “when the girls were wearing bras and sometimes when they were not wearing bras. Dustin also stated he ‘needed help.’” LAPD Det. Ryan Wolking said in his report.

    Bingham is facing eight counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor, one count of child solicitation by electronic communication device and two counts of sexual exploitation of children.

  • County hosts Dump the Pump Day

    Los Alamos County hosted its first ever, local Annual National Dump the Pump Day Thursday.

    Participants were invited to bring their bikes and appetites for a 3-mile community ride, followed by a free lunch of hot dogs, chips and refreshments.

    A few lucky people also had the chance to win the raffle for a mountain bike donated by Wal-Mart, and adult bike helmets donated by the Los Alamos Heart Council.

    The event, which was originally set for May 19 as part of Bike to Work Day, is part of a larger initiative to highlight bicycling as an effective form of transportation in Los Alamos.

    “One of the big goals that we are trying to achieve is to be considered a bike-friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists,” said County Engineer Eric Martinez. “These events recognize the good system for residents to use and also let visitors know that you can also get around town on bikes.”

    Among the participants were members of the Los Alamos Fire Department and Los Alamos Police Department bike patrols.

    “I think it’s a good thing for the community and to show support for getting the word out about biking,” said Ryan Weir of the Los Alamos Fire Department, when asked why he chose to participate.

  • Man threatens woman with a flowerpot

    On June 6, at about 8 p.m., Los Alamos Police Department officer Robert Larson was dispatched to East Jemez to investigate a report of domestic violence, which reportedly involved a flowerpot.

    “I arrived on scene and was met in the front yard by a male later identified as David Byron Lawrence,” Larson said.
    When approached, Lawrence reportedly said, “It was all me, I am stupid and drunk.”

    Larson had Lawrence sit down on the curb to apparently calm down. LAPD Sgt. Andrew Goldie arrived on scene and watched Lawrence while Larson went up to the house.

    Sitting on the front porch were two women smoking cigarettes. One of the females stated she had been the one Lawrence threatened with a flowerpot and then smashed it on the kitchen floor.

    The victim, who wished to remain anonymous, stated, “Larry had been drinking, got crazy. I told him to calm down and he went after me with a pot and broke my glasses and I called for police help and he tore up the house.”

    The witness at the scene echoed this sentiment.

  • Bird rescued behind DP Road

    Dusty Webb of Bad Ass Critters, an animal rescue organization, saved a bird that was found injured behind a business on DP Road Thursday.

    Webb said he believes the bird was a baby that had fallen out of his nest. Since it was first seen injured Monday, the bird had a pair of protectors that would become loud if a person got too close to it. Webb said he believes the two birds are his parents.

    He plans to attempt to help the bird recover, believing it has a severely injured wing from a fall, and possible other injuries.

    Although he is not sure if the bird will ever fully recover, the hope is to get it to a point where it can be released back into the wild.

    “Hopefully someday, maybe we will be able to release this crow,” Webb said. “We can come back here and we can let this crow go, and he will go back to his family.”

    If any sort of animal needs to be helped or rescued, Bad Ass Critters can be reached at 505-603-3997 or on Facebook at Bad Ass Critters, LLC.

    Webb said, “If you call, just ask for Dusty and I’ll help however I can.”

  • LANL defends plutonium production in wake of report

    Los Alamos National Laboratory is fighting back this week in the wake of a critical report on safety issues at its plutonium production facility.

    The report by Patrick Malone and Jared Bennett of the Center of Public Integrity was published beginning Sunday and describes a safety review shutdown in 2013 that has slowed work on the manufacture and testing of new and existing plutonium pits at LANL.

    An internal LANL memo obtained by the Los Alamos Monitor sent to employees Monday at the facility assured PF-4 employees that the facility is safe and ready to expand its plutonium pit manufacturing program.

    “Since 2013, PF-4 programmatic operations and safety management programs have successfully completed seventeen independent external assessments – nine Contractor Readiness Assessments and eight Federal Readiness Assessments,” said LANL Principal Associate Director of Operations and Business Craig Leasure in the memo. 

    Leasure also assured workers that PF-4 has the full support of the Department of Energy in its efforts to ramp up plutonium pit production.

  • Feds: $2.7M in grants available for New Mexico businesses

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Small businesses in New Mexico working on new innovations that could help the U.S. Energy Department will be getting a boost thanks to $2.7 million in federal grant funding.

    The agency announced the grants this week. In all, officials say $116 million in grants will be awarded nationwide for research and development through a technology transfer program aimed at helping small businesses.

    The projects in New Mexico range from the development of a special membrane to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions to research on soil, fuel cells, particle accelerators and high-energy physics.