Today's News

  • County files cease-and-desist order against sheriff

    Los Alamos County filed a temporary cease-and-desist order Thursday against Sheriff Marco Lucero in the First Judicial District Court, asking the court to order him to stop all law enforcement activities.

    The county is accusing the sheriff of violating the state constitution by carrying out the duties reserved for the police department.

    “The Respondent persists in his belief that he has a legal duty to engage in law enforcement activities and therefore the Respondent is likely to continue to engage in law enforcement activities” county attorneys said in the order.

    The county accuses Lucero of “making arrests, filing criminal complaints and conducting criminal investigations.”

    The county’s cease-and-desist order was filed in response to a motion Lucero filed in the same court Aug. 29, a motion requesting the court to order the Los Alamos County Council to restore the duties of the sheriff’s office.

    On May 24, 2016, council moved all process-serving responsibilities from the sheriff’s office to the Los Alamos Police Department, after Lucero expressed concerns for his deputies’ safety. The question of whether to retain a sheriff also stems from that issue.

  • Eddy County magistrate judge removal sought over emails

    CARLSBAD (AP) — A New Mexico agency charged with investigating judicial misconduct is seeking the removal of an Eddy County magistrate judge over racist and sexist emails.

    The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports New Mexico Judicial Standards Commission petitioned this week for a permanent removal from office of Eddy County Magistrate Court Judge Henry Castaneda.

    According to the petition, Castaneda allegedly used state-owned equipment to accept and forward emails through his court account that contained "offensive, degrading, pornographic, racist and sexist" content.

    The agency says the behavior violates the judiciary's code of conduct.

    Castaneda served as a magistrate judge from 2003 through 2010, and took the bench again in 2013.

    Castenada, a Democrat, defeated Republican Fred Joe Hill by garnering 58 percent of the vote in 2014 in Eddy County to regain the bench.

    He did not immediately return a phone message.

    Monitor staff contributed to this report.

  • New Mexico seeks comments on statewide bicycle network

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico transportation officials want to establish a statewide bicycle network and they're asking for the public's help.

    The Transportation Department announced Wednesday that it has set up a website where cyclists and others can share information as part of the planning process for prioritizing routes that are safe and offer the most connectivity.

    The agency has contracted with Bohannan Huston, Inc. and Alta Planning + Design to develop the NM Bike Plan. It's scheduled to be done by summer 2018.

    Officials say the plan will help guide roadway improvements and incorporate bicycle infrastructure such as wide shoulders or separate trails as part of regularly-scheduled maintenance or major construction.

    Bicycle planning is also being done on the regional level in the Albuquerque area, Santa Fe, Las Cruces and Farmington.

  • New Mexico lawmaker donates Harvey Weinstein's contributions

    SANTA FE (AP) — U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico donated money that was given to his campaign by Hollywood producer and Democratic Party benefactor Harvey Weinstein.

    Weinstein has recently been accused of rape and sexual harassment by multiple women — accusations that he has denied.

    The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Tuesday that Weinstein donated a total of $5,400 to Heinrich's campaign.

    Campaign spokeswoman Marsha Garcia says that money was donated to Community Against Violence, a nonprofit in New Mexico.

    Searches of state and federal databases showed no other contributions by Weinstein to any other New Mexico politician.

  • LANL scientists decry state science standards

    More than 60 Los Alamos scientists and engineers say the state’s proposed science education standards lack scientific rationale in regards to its treatment of climate change and evolution, among others.

    “There is absolutely no scientific rationale for weakening the treatment of these subjects…” according to a letter included in full-page advertisement signed by the individuals, all of whom are identified as Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellows.

    The ad ran Monday in the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper.

    The state Public Education Department proposed the new science education standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in mid-September. The proposal draws on national standards called Next Generation Science Standards, or Next Gen, already adopted in several states.

    However, the proposal makes changes to the national standards in areas of climate change, evolution and natural selection, as well as the manner and length of time the earth has aged. PED’s proposal has been panned by the Los Alamos school board, among others. Area students were critical of it at a meeting in Los Alamos last week.

  • New flags presented Tuesday
  • New Mexico regulators move ahead with clean energy proposal

    ALBUQUQUERQUE (AP) — A New Mexico regulatory panel on Wednesday narrowly cleared the way for more discussion on a proposed clean energy standard that supporters say would protect utility customers and shareholders from the costs and risks associated with future environmental regulations.

    The Public Regulation Commission voted 3-2 to host workshops in Santa Fe next week despite the concerns of two commissioners.

    Commissioner Patrick Lyons argued that the meetings should be held in northwestern New Mexico, where electric utilities are looking to retire their coal assets. He said the resulting loss of jobs and tax revenue should be part of the discussion.

    "It's time to start looking at the economic impact," Lyons said, echoing concerns voiced by some Democratic and Republican state lawmakers.

    The New Mexico Attorney General's Office and consumer advocates are petitioning the commission to consider the proposed standard, which calls for utilities to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants that serve customers in the state by 4 percent a year through 2040. Supporters say that could amount to a reduction of several million tons of carbon dioxide, considered a prime contributor to global warming.

  • New Mexico AG: Transgender people deserve equal protections

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas says gender identity discrimination threatens millions of people living and working in the United States and that they deserve every protection under the law.

    Balderas, a Democrat, made the comment in a letter sent Tuesday to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in response to a memo issued last week that said federal civil rights law does not protect transgender people from discrimination at work.

    Sessions called the interpretation a "conclusion of law, not policy," and said the move should not be construed to condone mistreatment of transgender people.

    Balderas argued that interpreting the Civil Rights Act to the harmful exclusion of Americans who deserve equal protection is a policy decision that contradicts the spirit of a law that was created to prevent discrimination.

  • It’s Pumpkin Patch Time
  • County to close N.M. 4 Oct. 20 for 24 hours

    The county’s Department of Public Utilities announced Tuesday that a section of N.M. 4 will be closed to all traffic for 24 hours starting Oct. 20.

    The closure will start at 9 p.m. Oct. 20 and continue through the evening of Oct. 21. N.M. 4 will be closed between N.M. 502 and East Jemez Road – Main Hill Road and the Truck Route.

    According to Los Alamos County, the closure will allow DPU crews to install a large diameter water pipeline in between the two highways.

    The installation is part of a DPU project to drill a new drinking water well in Los Alamos Canyon. The well will supply water to White Rock.

    DPU’s contractor is installing the water line to connect the new well to an existing line under the eastbound lane of N.M. 4.
    On Oct. 20-21, traffic going between Santa Fe and White Rock will be detoured through Los Alamos townsite.

    The DPU suggested that motorists plan trips accordingly in anticipation of the work and that extra time may need to be allowed during those dates.

    For Los Alamos County DPU customers, no interruption of service is anticipated.

    Questions about the project or the closure may be directed to the DPU by calling 662-8333 by emailing CustomerCare@lacnm.us.