Today's News

  • 19-year-old student looks to make a difference, files for County Council

    By far the youngest candidate to file for elected office Tuesday in Los Alamos County was Los Alamos High School graduate and University of New Mexico-Los Alamos nursing student Quentin David Dimick, 19.

    As the stream of other candidates came through the county clerk’s office, Dimick, a Democrat, filled out paperwork.

    “I guess I’m a little nervous, but I feel confident in my abilities,” Dimick said. When asked about what made him decide to run, Dimick said. “It’s time for the young people of Los Alamos to make a difference.”

    Dimick’s dad, Denis, a Libertarian, said he was very proud of his son and his bid for public office.

    “Politically, I disagree with him, but I support him, because it’s their world, and they might as well try and make the changes they want now,” Denis Dimick said.

    Los Alamos County had few other surprises on filing day, but many candidates streamed in to the county clerk’s office to file paperwork to run for county council, sheriff, municipal judge, county assessor, magistrate court judge and probate judge.

  • Push for gun laws faces resistance in most states

    IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The campaign for tighter gun laws that inspired unprecedented student walkouts across the country still faces an uphill climb in a majority of states, an Associated Press review of gun legislation found.

    The AP survey of bill activity in state legislatures before and after the Parkland, Florida, school shooting provides a reality check on the ambitions of the “Enough is Enough” movement. It suggests that votes like the one in Florida, where Republican lawmakers defied the National Rifle Association to pass new gun regulations, are unlikely to be repeated in many other states, at least not this year.

    The student-led activism might yet lead to future reforms, but for now, the gun debate among most lawmakers still falls along predictable and largely partisan lines, with few exceptions, according to the analysis.

    Because Congress shows no sign of acting, state legislatures dominate the national debate over guns. And major changes won’t be easy to achieve in statehouses that are mostly controlled by the gun-friendly GOP.

  • US and French companies form venture for nuke waste storage

    HOBBS (AP) — A Dallas company and a France-based multinational corporation are forming a joint venture to license an interim storage site in West Texas for high-level nuclear waste.

    Orano USA and Waste Control Specialists announced on Tuesday their intent to form the joint venture as a competing group tries to promote its proposal for southeastern New Mexico, the Hobbs News-Sun reports.

    Waste Control Specialists had notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission three years ago of its plan to seek the license to build the facility in rural Andrews County, Texas, that would store spent fuel rods from power plants. There's currently no such disposal site in the U.S.

    The proposed site is five miles east of Eunice, New Mexico.

    Orano USA is a division of the Paris, France-based Orano company that specializes in nuclear power and renewable energy.

    The move comes as a debate over what to do with spent fuel generated by the nation's nuclear power plants. Backers of another plan to build a temporary storage site in southeastern New Mexico are pressing Washington officials to support their proposal.

  • Fire warnings issued for 6 states in nation's midsection

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The National Weather Service has issued fire warnings for six states in the nation's midsection.

    The Red Flag warnings issued Friday include most of Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, southern Kansas, northeastern New Mexico, southeastern Colorado and southeastern Missouri.

    Oklahoma Forestry Services has already requested and received firefighters and equipment from Alabama, Kentucky and Louisiana because of the fire threat that is expected to continue into next week. Additional firefighters and equipment from Georgia and Mississippi are on the way.

    Forestry spokeswoman Michelle Finch-Walker says they are positioned at various areas of the state and that could change daily in anticipation of which area is under the greatest threat of wildfire.

    Finch-Walker said the firefighters and equipment could be sent to any of the other states as needs arise.

  • LAHS students show support for Parkland victims

    Students gathered on the front lawn of Los Alamos High School this morning to show their support for the victims of the recent shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

    The event was organized by students and included a speech by state Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard.

    Members of the Los Alamos Police Department were on hand to provide protection for the students at the event as well as support to LAHS.

    “As the principal here my first concern is for the safety and well-being of our students,” said LAHS Principal Carter Payne. “We have a lot of diversity and individuality here and we’re happy to support and honor that and this was a way we could do that. We are happy to support the students in this manner.”

    LAHS student Sophia Jeffery thanked the administration for “its flexibility” in allowing the students to organize the event. She also thanked the League of Women Voters for being on hand to register students to vote and thanked LAPD for being present “to make sure our safety was not compromised.”

    After the crowd observed a minute of silence for the 17 victims of the shooting in Parkland, Garcia Richard addressed the gathering.

  • US, states agree to collaborate on Mexican wolf recovery

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The U.S. government and state officials have signed an agreement that furthers their intentions to work together to recover an endangered wolf that once roamed the American Southwest.

    The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish announced the agreement with Arizona and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Thursday. The agreement is aimed at getting Mexican gray wolves to the point where they can eventually be removed from the endangered species list.

    As part of the effort, a field team that includes members from the states' wildlife management agencies will provide input to determine the timing, location and the circumstances for releasing wolves into the wild in Arizona and New Mexico.

    New Mexico Game and Fish Director Alexandra Sandoval called the new agreement an act of good faith.

  • A-19 builder asks for redesignation of land

    Citing rising costs of basalt removal, the developer of a 161 residential home project in White Rock is asking Los Alamos County Council to designate the land a public improvement district.

    If the council agrees, it will allow the developer, A-19-A-1 Acquisition Group, to finance infrastructure through a bond sale. A portion of the assessment is then factored into the homeowners’ property tax bill.A-19-A-1 representative Adam Thornton said he was not asking the county for any more money, just to pass an ordinance or a resolution that would make it possible for his company to take advantage of New Mexico’s public improvement district statutes in an effort keeping project costs down.

    “We have had a significant increase in the cost of development,” Thornton said. “The amount of basalt that we have had originally estimated that we would be processing and the cost to deal with that has gone up past what we have ever possibly have considered a reasonable contingency amount,” Thornton said.

    Thornton estimated there’s 120,000 cubic yards of basalt they have to process.

    “The original estimates we had on the earthwork were just over $3 million. Those estimates have gone up close to ($6 million) now,” Thornton said during a barrage of probing questions from council.

  • Guys and Dolls rolls the dice on love and wins

    By Tris DeRoma

    The Los Alamos Light Opera’s version of Guys and Dolls is a great little escape, if only for a few hours.

    Directed by Laurie Tomlinson and produced by Cindy Hines, LALO’s family-friendly Guys and Dolls is a treat for the eyes and ears from start to finish.

    With mesmerizing choreography and excellent musical direction by Gretchen Amstutz, one will easily get lost in the adventures of Sky Masterson (Bear Schacht), Sarah Brown (Joy Reynolds), Nathan Detroit (Jeff Favorite) and Miss Adelaide (Elisa Enriquez) as they gamble on their dreams in 1930s New York.

    This year, the Light Opera is performing at the Crossroads Bible Church, while the Duane Smith Auditorium undergoes renovations.

    Maybe it’s just us, but the intimacy of the smaller venue helped to really pull one into the musical and root for the characters. Being so close and eye level to the stage made the dazzling ensemble pieces even more mesmerizing, the duets more intimate.

  • Business needs, transparency rules find balance at spaceport

    The spaceport finally caught a break after years of flak. Three breaks, in fact.

    Even so, Spaceport America was in the crosshairs of a sustained transparency debate in the recent legislative session.

    As media and watchdog organizations like to remind you, transparency and open records in government are vital to a healthy democracy. But as an old business reporter, I also understand how cautious and downright paranoid high tech companies are about their internal information. They’re secretive for a reason.

    So when headline writers at the New Mexican exclaim, “Transparency takes hit,” after the passage of a bill protecting customer information at the spaceport, I’m afraid I can’t agree.

    The bipartisan Senate Bill 98, called the Commercial Aerospace Protection Act, started out exempting Spaceport client information from the state’s Inspection of Public Records Act  unless the company waives confidentiality. IPRA is the sacred cow of New Mexico journalists.

  • UNM advances to NIT Sweet 16

    It was an offensive display for the ages, or at least for the Lobo postseason history books. New Mexico blistered and battered a stout Rice squad to the tune of 93 points, a Lobo postseason record, as New Mexico advanced to the Round of 16 in the WNIT for the third time in school history with a 93-73 victory over the Owls.

    The win pushed UNM’s win record to 25-10, tying for the third-most wins in school history, and now just one away from tying for the most wins in school history. The Lobos also improved to 19-2 in home games this season.

    The Lobos trailed for much of the opening quarter, and after taking a 13-12 lead, found themselves down 14-13 at the 2:39 mark of the first quarter. That, however, was Rice’s last lead, as Madi Washington hit a three-pointer to spark a 14-0 run that put Rice behind the 8-ball. Washington’s three made it 16-14, and then she hit another 39 seconds later.

    Jaisa Nunn, who went over the 1,000-point mark in the game, hit a short jumper in the lane in the waning moments to give UNM a 21-14 lead.

    They weren’t done. Nunn opened the scoring in the quarter and then Cherise Beynon hit back-to-back baskets and suddenly UNM was up 27-14.