Today's News

  • County sells another piece of A-19

    County Council approved selling another piece of A-19 land in White Rock to a real estate developer in hopes of getting the long-stalled project off the ground.

    The decision to sell the land was made during council’s regular meeting July 11.

    The development at A-19 has been plagued by delays. Contractors walked off the job in May 2016 after a thick layer of basalt was discovered beneath the site.

    The county negotiated a deal in June, agreeing to pay the developer, the A-19-A-1 Acquisition Group, $2 million to break up the basalt and install utilities.

    Council agreed July 11 to sell 12.76 acres in the northern section for $460,000 to the A-19-A-1 Acquisition group. The parcel is on the north side of NM State Road 4, between the intersections of Sherwood Boulevard and New Mexico State Road 4.

    The county has been working with the A-19-A-1 group to build housing in that area in anticipation of the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s recent announcement to hire thousands of workers to fill an upcoming retirement gap. The homes are expected to cost between $300,000 and $400,000.

  • LANL partners speak out on draft RFP

    Local non-profits, business organizations and representatives of Los Alamos County expressed concern this week about the National Nuclear Security Administration’s initial draft management and operations contract for the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    To those that have seen it, the contract seemed to provide little support to the region or the county, a sharp contrast to the contract held by Los Alamos National Security since 2006.

    The RFP was posted on the NNSA website July 13. Those interested in making suggestions to modify the draft RFP have until July 26 to respond to NNSA.

    Los Alamos County Manager Harry Burgess said he was concerned that the 50-page draft RFP only mentions the county twice.
    With the extensive partnerships the county has enjoyed with the lab through the years,  he said he would have liked to seen more.

    “We feel that given our formal relationship with the operator through fire, utilities, transit and dispatch, it warrants fleshing that out a little bit,” Burgess said.

    The Department of Energy announced in 2015 it was putting LANS’ contract out to bid after LANS failed to meet certain performance criteria. A new contractor is expected to be in control of LANL by 2018. The NNSA oversees LANL.  

  • LA crime stats show downward trend in 2nd quarter

    The Los Alamos Police Department Chief of Police Dino Sgambellone released the crime statistics this week for the second quarter of 2017, which show an overall decrease by 10 percent.

    “Crime continues to drop and that’s great,” Sgambellone said.

    The main purpose of distributing these quarterly crime statistics, which were compiled by the LAPD Records Department, is to let people know what is happening in their community.

    Offenses reported as crime statistics are determined by the FBI Uniform Crime Report Program and are classified as crimes against persons (violent crime) and crimes against property.

    The offenses of murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault make up the violent crime category.

    The property crime category includes the offenses of arson, burglary, larceny and auto theft. Both of these categories combined are referred to as Part I Offenses.

    Property crime dropped from 37 in 2016 to 30 in 2017, which is a decrease of 19 percent.

    Violent crime increased 100 percent from three offenses in 2016 to six in 2017.

  • Domino’s aids LA woman

    The online version of this story has been updated.

    Domino’s will host a fundraiser called “Have a Heart Day” at its Los Alamos location to raise funds for a local woman whose home was lost most of her home to a fire.

    The pizza franchise was touched by her plight and will donate 100 percent of profits from sales in the Los Alamos store on Thursday to help her regain her home.

    On June 24, Bonita Rogozinsky, who works bike patrol at the local ski hill, was in the process of moving into her brand new home when the house went up in flames.

    Rogozinsky and her beloved pets escaped without injury, but the fire destroyed about 75 percent of her home and insurance will not cover the full cost of the loss.

    General Manager Celesta Lasater explained that Rogozinsky had ordered a pizza that day, but called to cancel 15 minutes later.

    According to Lasater, Bonita had said, “Sorry, I can’t get my pizza because my house is on fire,” and then she hung up.
    The call surprised the staff, to say the least.

  • LA gets set for oldest bike race in Southwest

    Tour De Los Alamos will return to the streets of Los Alamos County this Sunday for the 45th consecutive year.

    Labeled by organizers as the “oldest bicycle race in the Southwest,” it has become an annual tradition in the area, one that attracts people from all across the region to the Atomic City.

    “I can’t believe the Tour De Los Alamos has been around as long as it has,” race director Cyndi Wells said.

    The course is a counter-clockwise loop that stretches 27 miles, beginning in downtown Los Alamos and running throughout the entire area.

    “Depending on what category you are in, you may be doing one to three laps,” Wells said.

    Participants in the Senior Men Pro category will be racing for approximately 81 miles on the course that features a variety of uphill and downhill sections. The steepest climb comes near the end of the course, which will be a nearly two-mile uphill climb.

    All other categories of racer will complete either one or two laps of the course, depending on age and skill level.

    The race will begin at Trinity Drive and 20th Street.

    Prizes will be given out to the top finishers in each category. The top prize of the day will be given to the man who completes the three-lap course the quickest. He will earn $300.  

  • UNM-LA to host summer programs to youth

    This year, more than 125 students will participate in the annual Summer Programs for Youth at the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos.

    Last week, the campus hosted elementary school age students. In the Adventures at the University program, students in grades 1-3 experienced a different field of exploration each day, including music, art, engineering, chemistry in the lab, and general chemistry. Students in grades 4-6 selected specific topical classes including computer programming with Minecraft, Robotics with Lego MindStorm kits and a class investigating Chemistry in the Kitchen.

    Now in its 29th year, the Summer Program for Youth at UNM-LA provides exciting, hands-on, activity-based learning sessions focusing on science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) for students in first– 10th grades.

    During the last week in July, UNM-LA will host about 60 teenagers in grades seven-10. From Forensics to Engineering, Game Design and Comics, students will explore STEAM through hands-on activities.

    “We try to provide a selection of subject matter and age-appropriate learning experiences,” says Dr. Gabe Baca, director of Community Education. “All of the classes have been popular and well-received, due to the outstanding teachers and volunteers who have provided assistance for us at every step.”

  • Sheriff investigate corruption? Makes no sense

    Corruption: dishonest or illegal behavior especially by powerful people (such as government officials or police officers) (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

    My fellow councilor Pete Sheehey has proposed a council resolution to more expansively define the roles and responsibilities of the Los Alamos County Sheriff’s Office. The last paragraph of his resolution is very troubling, as it would give the Sheriff the power to perform a criminal investigation should the police department be deemed, in the sheriff’s “reasonable” opinion, to be compromised. I see this expansive power as a fatal flaw in his proposal. To understand my objections, let’s dig deeper into the implications of this role.

  • A word in praise of drilling rigs

    I like drilling rigs. They’re noisy, dirty and dangerous, which appeals to the teenage boy in me. And I’ve always felt the big flag on the derrick is a nice touch. As a combination of hard work, technical savvy and high-stakes optimism, oil and gas drilling is the quintessential American enterprise.

    As with so much of the modern world, we invented it. Years ago, I met an oilman who had a photo of the famous Spindletop Geyser on his office wall, and he was happy to share the story. On Jan. 10, 1901, Lucas No. 1 in southeast Texas struck “black gold” at just 1,020 feet down. The gusher spewed a fountain of crude 150 feet in the air, blowing nearly a million barrels of oil over the landscape before settling down to pump a steady 10,000 barrels a day. As hundreds of derricks sprouted around that lone well on Spindletop Dome the price of oil dropped from $2 a barrel to less than a nickel and the American Century was underway.

  • Los Alamos aims to become ‘bicycle friendly’

    For nearly three years, Los Alamos County’s Public Works Department has been taking steps to make the county a Bicycle Friendly Community. By the end of this year, it may be a reality.

    Each year, the League of American Bicyclists accepts applications from communities around the country and determines whether they qualify as “bicycle friendly.”

    According to its official website, the League “represents bicyclists in the movement to create safer roads, stronger communities and a bicycle-friendly America.”

    Currently, 416 communities around the country are recognized as bike friendly, and more than 100 communities have earned honorable mention status. There are multiple tiers included within the label of bicycle friendly, ranging from bronze status to platinum.

    In New Mexico, Santa Fe is recognized in the silver tier, while Albuquerque and Las Cruces are in the bronze tier.

    In 2016, Los Alamos County submitted an application for consideration, and was given an honorable mention recognition, with guidelines on how they could earn medal status in the future.

    Eric Martinez, the county engineer for Los Alamos County, said that the county looked at all of the recommendations the League of American Bicyclists gave to them, and began working toward accomplishing them.

  • A compromise on the LA sheriff’s office

    Los Alamos County Councilor

    The County Council will consider the role of the Sheriff in Los Alamos in a Special Session Wednesday, July 26 at 6 pm at the LA Municipal Building.  After a contentious campaign, Los Alamos voted last November to keep an elected Sheriff.

    I believe a majority on Council now accepts that our citizens want a functional Sheriff’s Office. I am proposing a Resolution (losalamosnm.us/UserFiles/Servers/Server_6435726/File/20170726_Resolution%2017-08_Sheriff.pdf) to return a reasonable set of duties to the Sheriff’s Office.  This resolution is a compromise that acknowledges the wishes of the majority to preserve a functional elected sheriff’s office, while respecting the concerns of those who voted to eliminate the office.