Today's News

  • Trying to unlock secrets of dead serial killer

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The suspect, hands and feet shackled, fidgeted in his chair, chuckling at times as he confessed to a brutal killing.

    Israel Keyes showed no remorse as he described in merciless detail how he'd abducted and strangled an 18-year-old woman, then demanded ransom, pretending she was alive. As the two prosecutors questioned him, they were struck by his demeanor: He seemed pumped up, as if he were reliving the crime. His body shook, they said, and he rubbed his muscular arms on the chair rests so vigorously his handcuffs scraped off the wood finish.

    The prosecutors had acceded to Keyes' requests: a cup of Americano coffee, a peanut butter Snickers and a cigar (for later). Then they showed him surveillance photos, looked him in the eye and declared: We know you kidnapped Samantha Koenig. We're going to convict you.

    They aimed to solve a disappearance, and they did. But they soon realized there was much more here: a kind of evil they'd never anticipated.

  • LA can’t hold off Santa Fe rally

    For three quarters, the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team played as well or better than the Santa Fe Demons in a big District 2-4A contest.
    In the fourth quarter, however, the Demons’ powerful offense showed up.
    Santa Fe, the No. 1 team in Class 4A and the only undefeated team in all of New Mexico, showed why it held those distinctions. Santa Fe scored 18 points and held the Hilltoppers to just 8 points to come away with a victory and spoil the Hilltoppers’ upset bid Friday at Griffith Gymnasium.
    The Demons’ powerful scoring tandem of Jackie Martinez and Kayla Herrar combined for 16 of those 18 fourth quarter points as they took a 53-47 victory.
    It was a disappointing loss for the Hilltoppers, who led for the bulk of Friday’s contest. A win would’ve given the Hilltoppers sole possession of first place in the early going of the District 2-4A race and a whole heap of momentum for another very tough contest this week against Española Valley.
    “We definitely had ourselves in this game the whole time,” Los Alamos head coach Ann Stewart said. “That was our goal and hopefully, we’d pull it out. At the end, I think fatigued set in. Maybe we were getting tight and nervous. Hopefully, as we play tighter games, we can withstand that.”

  • Sports Briefs 01-27-13

    LALL organizational meeting is Tuesday at Mesa Public Library

    An informational and organizational meeting for the upcoming Los Alamos Little League season is set for Tuesday.
    The meeting will be at 6 p.m. It will be in Mesa Public Library’s third floor meeting rooms.
    Anyone interested in coaching, helping organize or serving on the board for this year’s LALL season is invited to attend.

    Renegades to visit ice rink again

    The New Mexico Renegades semiprofessional hockey team will host the Wichita Thunder at Los Alamos County Ice Rink Feb. 9.
    The Renegades, a Junior A team located who play in Rio Rancho, compete in the Western States Hockey League Mountain Division.
    Pregame is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. Public skating will be available that day from 1-3:30 p.m.

    Spring sports meeting set for Feb. 7

  • On Schedule 01-27-13

    Boys basketball: West Las Vegas at LAMS, seventh grade, 4 p.m.; eighth grade, 5 p.m.

    Boys basketball: Española Valley at Los Alamos, C team, 4 p.m.; JV, 5:30 p.m.; varsity, 7 p.m.

    Girls basketball: Los Alamos at Española Valley, C team, 4 p.m.; JV, 5:30 p.m.; varsity, 7 p.m.

    Boys basketball: Los Alamos at Capital, C team, 4 p.m.; JV, 5:30 p.m.; varsity, 7 p.m.; LAMS Invite, seventh and eighth grade, TBA.

    Swimming and diving: Los Alamos at Santa Fe Invite, boys and girls, TBA.

    Wrestling: Los Alamos at Robertson Invite, varsity, TBA.


    Swimming and diving: Los Alamos at Santa Fe Invite, boys and girls, 8:30 a.m.

    Girls basketball: Capital at Los Alamos, C team, 4 p.m.; JV, 5:30 p.m.; varsity, 7 p.m.

    Boys basketball: LAMS Invite, seventh and eighth grade, TBA.

    Wrestling: Los Alamos at Robertson Invite, varsity, TBA.

  • People in the News 01-27-13

    Ealey ranked 32nd in nation at OSU

    Former Los Alamos High School star track and field athlete Chase Ealey, one of the most dominant performers in school history, is starting her collegiate career off with a bang.
    Ealey, a freshman at Oklahoma State University, has won three consecutive shot put events for the OSU Cowboys as they are starting their indoor season.
    In the Jan. 19 Wildcat Invitational, hosted by Kansas State (Manhattan, Kan.), Ealey eclipsed her personal best throw in the shot put with a mark of 51 feet, 10 inches. That throw, which was not only one of the top 25 in the country at that point, placed her second in OSU school history for women’s shot put.
    Currently, Ealey is the 32nd-ranked thrower among Division-I competitors. She is one of eight members of the Cowboys program with a national ranking.
    Ealey graduated LAHS in 2012 as one of the most decorated athletes in school history. Individually, she won four consecutive 100 meter titles, along with two state championships in shot put and javelin. She was the Class 4A high-point athlete in both 2011 and 2012.

    Paige named region’s Coach of Year

  • Council assesses budget crisis at Tuesday meeting

    Los Alamos County Council’s mid-year budget review will be anything but normal. Staff has estimated a $9.5 million shortfall in projected revenues for FY2013, and further contractions for ensuing budget years.

    Staff had noted decreasing revenues during the yearly audit, estimating a $6.5 million shortfall based on revenues through August 2012. But Los Alamos National Laboratory spending dropped dramatically in September compared to previous years, resulting in a $3 million reduction in gross receipts tax flowing into county coffers. The county received that report in November, along with the news that the state was refunding part of LANL’s 2011 GRT, with the county’s share set at $3.5 million.

    “It is a moving target. Any budget is our best guess. So we’re projecting revenues based on history, based on information we receive from news media as well as directly from the lab,” County Administrator Harry Burgess said. In this case, LANL’s expenditures were far lower than the amount budgeted for the year, which is what the county’s early projections were based on.

  • Officials may mull tax hike

    The possibility of raising taxes is also likely to be a controversial issue. The agenda documentation for Tuesday's council session includes a comparison of the Los Alamos County’s taxes with the rest of the state.

    The comparison shows that the county’s rates are considerably below average. The summary includes:

    • Los Alamos ranks 23rd lowest GRT rate of the 33 counties. (7.3125 percent — this is .2519 percent or more than a ¼ cent less than the average of 7.5644 percent)

    • Los Alamos has the lowest (ranked 33rd) imposed Property Tax rate of all 33 counties. (10.598 mils; next lowest is 2.477 mils higher at 13.075 mils; Los Alamos is 5.515 or 34 percent below the average of 16.1133 mils)
    • Los Alamos ranks 32nd and 33rd lowest for residential and non-residential, respectively, levied mil rates.

    • If adjusted by adding two mils of property tax, Los Alamos would still have the lowest imposed Property Tax rate.

    • If adjusted by adding a new 1/16th cent GRT increment, Los Alamos would rank 22nd lowest GRT rate.

    Find more on this and other agenda documentation at losalamosnm.us.

  • Police detain suspected armed man

    On Friday afternoon, around 2:30 p.m. suspect Jesse Velasco, while walking at Ashley Pond, called police and told them he had a gun, according to officials. After a brief conversation with Velasco, police arrested him and brought him in, even though it turns out he did not have a gun. As of press time it is not known whether Velasco was charged.

  • Aviation industry might take off with tax relief

    Pilots in New Mexico may have a fantastic views to look at when they are airborne and no doubt, the arid climate is a plus when it comes to preserving a plane’s condition. However, that’s just about all most pilots — and anyone else connected to the aviation industry in New Mexico — believes it has going for them.

    According to some, the tax structure really comes down hard on a type of business that has yet to blossom in the state. Many of those in the aviation business find the state’s seven percent gross receipts tax on aviation supplies and services oppressive, especially when it comes to maintenance.

    When the hail storm hit Los Alamos last October, all of the pilots affected had to ship their damaged planes out of state to a facility in Colorado because there is no aviation repair facility in New Mexico equipped to handle it — or at least one that would repair the hail damage for the right price, which is typically dictated by what an insurance company is willing to pay.

    According to Los Alamos Airport Manager Peter Soderquist, 18 airplanes were damaged in the storm and many of those were considered a total loss. To his knowledge, not one of the aircraft was repaired in-state.

  • Report points to Tritium facility issues

    The Department of Energy Office of Enforcement conducted an independent review of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Weapons Engineering Tritium Facility Safety Significant Tritium Gas Containment System recently.

    The Los Alamos Site Office made the assessment and it evaluated the functionality and operability of the TGCS (a vital safety system) and to ensure that the system complied with DOE orders and standards.

    Tritium is a radioactive form of hydrogen, used in research, fusion reactors and neutron generators. The radioactive properties of tritium can be useful. By mixing tritium with a chemical that emits light in the presence of radiation, a phosphor, a continuous light source is made and it is commonly used in exit signs or gun sights, for instance. However, as with any radioactive substance, limiting exposure is recommended.

    After the two-week assessment, which took place last year, LASO and the Independent Oversight committee came away with nine findings.