Today's News

  • New Mexico wildfire destroys 24 homes, pushes east

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Hundreds of firefighters battling a fast-moving blaze that has destroyed two dozen homes and numerous other structures in central New Mexico are bracing for hot, dry and windy weather as they look for any chance Friday to slow the flames.

    Fire managers released the damage assessment overnight after saying previously that the blaze destroyed some structures near the small community of Chilili as it made a big push Wednesday night.

    Authorities also expanded the mandatory evacuation zone to include a few more subdivisions to the north and east, but they could not immediately say how many homes were affected or how many were directly threatened by the fire.

    Dozens of residents left their homes in the Chilili area Wednesday after the fire made a big push. Residents packed their vehicles with clothes, photo albums and other belongings, and some loaded animals into livestock trailers as a wall of smoke loomed between them and the border of the Cibola National Forest.

    Gov. Susana Martinez declared an emergency, clearing the way for state resources to help with the fire. She surveyed the blaze via air Thursday evening and received a briefing from state and federal officials.

  • ‘Safety Town’ heads into second year

    For the next two weeks, a bumper crop of soon-to-be kindergartners will be navigating “Safety Town,” a partnership program between Los Alamos Public Schools and the Los Alamos Police Department.
    By the time it ends, they will probably know more than their parents about how to navigate traffic safely by bike and by foot and how to stay safe at home and when they’re playing outdoors.
    “All of the planned activities are a combined effort with Los Alamos County employees and the Los Alamos Police Department,” Superintendent of Schools Kurt Steinhaus, in a letter to parents about the program. “Keeping your child safe at school is our top priority.”
    Safety Town was introduced last year by Los Alamos Police Chief Dino Sgambellone as a way to show kids going off to school for the first time how to keep safe when their parents aren’t around.
    The program was popular last year. This year, Safety Town has three classes of 57 students at Mountain Elementary School. Last year, there were 39 students enrolled.
    For the next two weeks, the kids will tackle a different topic everyday, including bike safety, “stranger danger” animal awareness, fire safety, water safety and other subjects. Each day begins at 9 a.m. and ends at noon.

  • Today in history June 17
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  • Keller awaits parole hearing

    Los Alamos resident Zachary Keller, 27, pled not guilty June 8 in magistrate court to charges he hit his ex-girlfriend.  
    The ex-girlfriend called police shortly after the alleged incident took place June 7 and filed a complaint against him.
    She told police that they had been arguing earlier in the day. Keller told her he wanted to move out of the apartment they shared together.
    According to the girlfriend, the argument became more heated as he started moving his things out of the apartment.
    She told police that she stood in front of him in an attempt to get him to stay. That’s when she said he “threw her to the ground.”
    “(The victim) showed me her arms, and there were noticeable red marks on both her right and left arms, which is consistent with her story,” an officer reported in a report filed in court.  
    Keller pled “not guilty” to the battery charge. If convicted, he could spend up to a year in jail.
    Keller was also ordered to remain in custody because, according to Los Alamos District Court, Keller had also violated the terms of a drug treatment program he was enrolled in as part of his sentence for crimes he committed in January.
    Keller was released June 12.

  • Surgeon general calls for greater investment in opioid fight

    ALBUQUERQUE — U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on Tuesday called for more government investment in addressing the nation’s opioid epidemic, saying only half of the 2 million people who need treatment for addictions have access to it.
    Murthy’s comments came as he toured a substance abuse center in Albuquerque, New Mexico’s largest city. New Mexico had one of the highest overdose death rates in 2014, especially among adults 21 to 35, the most recent federal data showed.
    Nationally, overdoses from heroin, oxycodone and other opiates killed more than 28,000 Americans in 2014, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
    Murthy and others are advocating for more funding because of that figure, along with a “treatment gap” that Murthy says deprives roughly a million Americans from getting the counseling, medication and other services they need to beat addictions.
    Social stigma and a lack of treatment centers — especially in communities that need it most — share some of the blame for stifling access to care, he said.

  • Wildfire burns 800-1,000 acres, forces residents from homes

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Authorities don't have a containment estimate yet for a wildfire burning in the Manzano Mountains southeast of Albuquerque but say good weather helped firefighters attack the fire overnight.

    The so-called "Dog Head Fire" in part of the Cibola National Forest east of Los Lunas started Tuesday and grew to over a square mile by Wednesday morning after its growth slowed overnight.

    Officials issued voluntary evacuation advisories for areas northeast of the fire, but Forest Service spokeswoman Donna Nemeth says there's no immediate estimate on how many people left their homes or otherwise affected.

    Nemeth says there are no reports of homes being immediately threatened.

    The fire is being fought by ground crews and air tankers.

    Cause of the fire is under investigation.

  • LA Makers opens Monday
  • McDonald focuses on law enforcement, charter

    Editor’s note: second in a series profiling candidates running for local and state offices.

  • Today in history June 15