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Today's News

  • Pipe fitter accused of taking copper from lab

    Police arrested a Los Alamos Laboratory pipe fitter July 14 for allegedly stealing $15,000 to $20,000 in copper fittings and pipe from tech areas 3, 48 and 35.  
    The suspect, Joshua J. Montoya, 22, of Velarde, was arraigned in court Friday.
    Montoya was charged with one count larceny (over $2,500 but less than $20,000). He was released Friday after posting a portion of a $5,000 cash/surety bond.
    LANL officials reported to the Department of Energy Office of the Inspector General July 12 that some of the copper was taken sometime between the night of July 9 and the morning of July 12.
    Investigators were able to trace the copper to Gallegos Scrap Metal LLC, a scrap yard in Española.
    The scrap yard’s owner, Tim Gallegos, reportedly told investigators July 13 that Montoya sold him the copper. Investigators were able to match Montoya to the sales records and driver’s license information Gallegos kept of the sales.  
    After a more thorough examination of the records, LANL investigators and the Los Alamos Police Department reported they determined Montoya had stolen copper materials from LANL several times a week since May 31.

  • DPU offers to relocate water meters

    The Los Alamos Board of Public Utilities voted in May to offer to move water meters located near customer’s houses to the property line at no cost to the customer.
    Vice Chair David Powell introduced that motion in response to a report by a subcommittee charged with investigating an issue raised by resident George Chandler, who received a bill for $5,839.99 for repairing an aging water delivery line on his property.
    Chandler asked the board to change DPU rules and regulations to say that DPU owns and maintains the delivery line from the main to the water meter, and the owner owns and maintains the service line from the meter to the residence or commercial property.
    The subcommittee investigated DPU policies and found that Rule W-2, Water Service Connection, DPU Rules and Regulations, dated May 5, 2006, states that when the water meter is installed in close proximity to the residence or establishment, the cost of operation and maintenance of that portion of the delivery line that extends across the property from the water main to the water meter is the responsibility of the property owner, as is the service line. The water meter is the responsibility of DPU.
    Stating that this was common practice in New Mexico and the United States, the subcommittee recommended no change to the rule.

  • Public meeting to address New Mexico's wild animal policy

    SANTA FE (AP) — Wildlife advocates and New Mexico lawmakers are planning to discuss outdoor safety and a state law that led to the death of a mother black bear in June following an attack on a marathon runner in the Valles Caldera National Preserve.

    The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening in Santa Fe.

    Participants will include several environmental groups, the New Mexico Game and Fish Department and Karen Williams, the marathon runner who was attacked June 18 in the Valles Caldera.

    The black bear was killed the next day for rabies testing.

    Williams wants to change state regulations that mandate the euthanization of any wild animal that attacks a human for rabies testing.

    Williams argues that the bear, which was acting in defense of its cubs, showed no signs of rabies.

  • County attorney Ehler to retire

    After just four years with Los Alamos County, County Attorney Rebecca Ehler retires at the end of this week.
    Before coming to Los Alamos, Ehler served as Alamogordo city attorney from 1993-2002, before transitioning to legal advisor for the Alamogordo’s Department of Public Safety in order to spend more time with her family.
    Prior to that, Ehler was the first county attorney hired by New Mexico’s Chaves County, serving for nearly five years as legal advisor and for a time as acting planning and zoning administrator. During that time she won a decision against the New Mexico Department of Taxation and Revenue in the New Mexico Supreme Court on behalf of several counties.
    When asked how Los Alamos compared to her previous positions, Ehler replied, “Harder, because they have the resources to delve more deeply into issues then some other localities. So that’s good, because you can feel more confident in the responses you give and it’s bad, because sometimes it can slow things down, and it’s just overall more intense.”

  • Presbyterian pulling out of New Mexico health exchange

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Officials with Presbyterian Health Plan say the insurance company will no longer offer individual and family plans on the Affordable Care Act marketplace in New Mexico starting next year.

    The Albuquerque Journal reported Monday that Presbyterian has sent letters to members notifying them of the changes.

    The decision to stop offering coverage will affect 10,000 exchange members, 80 percent of whom now receive federal subsidies.

    Presbyterian officials say patients who purchased on the exchange used medical services 30 percent more than other patient groups off the exchange.

    In January, Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico stopped offering individual insurance plans through the state health exchange.

    Company officials say it lost $19.2 million in 2015 on the 35,000 individuals covered by plans they purchased on and off the exchange.

  • Anonymous tips help solve criminal incidents

    Tips reported to the Los Alamos County Crime Stoppers are proving to be effective.
    The Los Alamos Police Department has successfully solved multiple criminal incidents that were reported to the department’s Criminal Investigations Section. LAPD is hoping to continue the success of community members reporting on criminal activity.
    “LAPD would like to thank the local media and the public for their assistance related to these incidents,” LAPD Commander Oliver Morris said. “These tips show that the citizens, job-holders, and visitors in our area wish to assist the Los Alamos Police Department in our mission to provide quality pro-active law enforcement services to help keep our community safe and hold those accountable who choose to commit crime in our area.”
    Among the type of cases that were solved this year due to anonymous crime tips are shoplifting and unlawful taking of a motor vehicle.
    Twenty-three year-old Raymond Green of Española, 38-year-old Concha Herrera of Truchas and 49-year-old Elias Gallegos of Española were charged or had warrants due to shoplifting cases. Crystal Padilla, 33, of Santa Fe, and 39-year-old Antonio Lopez, of Santa Fe, were charged or had warrants issued due to unlawful taking of motor vehicle cases.

  • County attorney Ehler to retire

    After just four years with Los Alamos County, County Attorney Rebecca Ehler retires at the end of this week.
    Before coming to Los Alamos, Ehler served as Alamogordo city attorney from 1993-2002, before transitioning to legal advisor for the Alamogordo’s Department of Public Safety in order to spend more time with her family.
    Prior to that, Ehler was the first county attorney hired by New Mexico’s Chaves County, serving for nearly five years as legal advisor and for a time as acting planning and zoning administrator. During that time she won a decision against the New Mexico Department of Taxation and Revenue in the New Mexico Supreme Court on behalf of several counties.
    When asked how Los Alamos compared to her previous positions, Ehler replied, “Harder, because they have the resources to delve more deeply into issues then some other localities. So that’s good, because you can feel more confident in the responses you give and it’s bad, because sometimes it can slow things down, and it’s just overall more intense.”

  • Game times set for little league softball regional

    The four-day schedule for the Little League Junior Softball Southwestern Regional is set and the top southwestern junior softball teams know who they will face Saturday through Monday at the North Mesa Sports Complex.
    Los Alamos County Little League earned a spot in the regional as the host and will have four games to try to earn a spot in the knockout stage. There are five teams competing in the regional but only four will advance to the knockout stage.
    Los Alamos will open the regional at 10 a.m. Saturday against West Texas (Oil Belt Little League). Los Alamos will play again at noon and will face Louisiana (Vidalia Girls Softball).
    On Sunday, Los Alamos will start the day with a 10 a.m. match-up against East Texas (La Grange Little League). The pool play portion of the regional will end Monday at 10 a.m. with Los Alamos taking on Deming Little League, who is the New Mexico representative.
    In other Saturday games, Louisiana will play East Texas and Deming will face West Texas. On Sunday, Deming will square-up against Louisiana and East Texas, while Louisiana and West Texas will end the action for the day. The two Texas representatives will face-off on Monday.

  • County: Los Alamos 911 line out

    Los Alamos Police Department’s dispatch center is reporting that the 911 phone lines are out.

    The dispatch center has forwarded 911 calls to Santa Fe’s police dispatch center as an interim solution. Santa Fe dispatch is then working the calls made to 911 back to LAPD dispatch using cell phones to relay information.

    Phone technicians are on their way to the dispatch center to try and resolve the issue and Century Link is also investigating the phone line, according to county spokeswoman Julie Habiger.

    Radio transmissions are not impacted and dispatchers are able to receive and transmit information with public safety services through the radio system. There is no estimate yet on when 911 line service may be restored, Habiger said.
      

  • Historical Society seeks nominations for 2016 LA history award

    Nominations are now open for the 2016 Los Alamos History Award, an annual prize recognizing significant contributions to preserving the world-changing history of the Los Alamos community.
    Nominations are due by Aug. 19, and the award winner will be announced at the Los Alamos Historical Society’s Annual Gala and Experience Auction on Sept. 10.
    Factors that weigh heavily in consideration for the award include depth and breadth of achievement over time, volunteer commitment, and a lasting impact. Both individuals and organizations are eligible.
    Posthumous awards are not made, and self-nominations are not allowed. Staff and board members are not eligible during the period of their active service. Awardees are selected through a rigorous, blind voting process by the Historical Society’s board of directors.
    Nomination forms are available online at the Los Alamos Historical Society’s website, losalamoshistory.org, or in the Los Alamos History Museum’s temporary space at 475 20th St., Suite C. They are due by at 5 p.m. Aug. 19, and can turned in at the temporary museum space or at the Historical Society’s administrative offices, upstairs in the north wing of Fuller Lodge.