Today's News

  • Gun safety advocates pump money into New Mexico

    SANTA FE (AP) — State legislative elections and big spending by a gun-safety group are thrusting New Mexico into the national tussle over access to firearms and whether current restrictions and background checks are sufficient to stem violence.

    Everytown for Gun Safety, a national organization advocating for universal background checks on firearm purchases, made several recent contributions to Democrat-aligned political committees in the state, including a $100,000 donation to Patriot Majority New Mexico, according to campaign finance disclosures filed this week.

    Patriot Majority New Mexico is a Washington-based super PAC that channels unlimited contributions, frequently from labor groups, to political efforts in New Mexico under rules that prohibit direct coordination with parties or candidates.

    The focus of Everytown’s new effort is to support champions of gun safety in the state’s Legislature, Everytown spokeswoman Mackey Reed said. The entire New Mexico Legislature is up for election in November.

  • Gays and Catholicism: Pope’s words open door to confusion

     PROVIDENCE, R.I. — An ideological tug of war over the firing of a Rhode Island church music director for marrying his same-sex partner illustrates the confusion that permeates some U.S. Roman Catholic parishes over Pope Francis’ words on homosexuality.

    Francis’ famous declaration “Who am I to judge?” in 2013 energized Catholics who had pushed the church to accept gays and lesbians. Now, some gay Catholics and supporters who hoped for rapid acceptance find themselves stymied by many bishops and pastors.

    Francis is being cited by both the music director, Michael Templeton, and by Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin, known for taking a hard line on church teaching about marriage and abortion. Tobin has criticized Francis, writing after the pope’s summit on the family two years ago that “Francis is fond of ‘creating a mess.’ Mission accomplished.”

    The pope has upheld Catholic teaching on homosexuality, reiterating the church’s opposition to same-sex relationships. But his shift in tone and broad statements about mercy have left a trail of comments that amount to a Rorschach test open to interpretation, say those who have closely followed Francis.

  • October brings changes to Bandelier

    As the leaves, things at Bandelier National Monument are also moving from summer to fall. On Sunday, the Visitor Center hours will go to 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 

    The last day for the Atomic City Transit shuttles will be Tuesday, and after that, visitors are welcome to drive in to the Visitor Center parking lot throughout the day until the buses resume in late spring. 

    The White Rock Visitor Center will change their hours to 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. on Wednesday. 

    The Centennial celebrations for Bandelier and the National Park Service continue into the fall. Monday, there will be a special guided walk on the Main Loop Trail as part of the observance of International Archeology Day.  Sunday, there will be a photo workshop, emphasizing panoramas and wide views of landscapes. 

    Thursday is the anniversary of the establishment of the Bandelier Wilderness, and there will be a backcountry hike led by the head of the park Trails program.  The hike will be moderate to strenuous, eight-10 miles, and take about eight hours. For the photo workshop and backcountry hike, numbers are limited so signups are required; those interested should call the Bandelier Visitor Center at 672-3861 ext. 517. 

  • Los Alamos eyes grabbing solar power from building windows

    LOS ALAMOS (AP) — A Los Alamos National Laboratory team is trying to develop a project that would grab solar power from building windows.

    Team leader Victor Klimov said this week researchers are developing solar concentrators that will harvest sunlight from building windows and turn it into electricity.

    Klimov leads the Los Alamos Center for Advanced Solar Photophysics.

    The team currently is taking quantum dot, solar-powered windows from the laboratory to test at a construction site. 

    It is trying to prove that the technology can be scaled up from palm-sized demonstration models to windows large enough to put in and power a building.

    Their study will be published this week in the journal, Nature Energy.

  • Mountaineers to meet Oct. 25

     Ever wonder what it would be like to stand on the highest point in Antarctica? Come to the Los Alamos Mountaineers meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Nature Center, to hear from adventurer Eiichi Fukishima, who will talk about Antarctica’s Mt. Vinson. 

    Fukishima’s talk will begin at 7:15 p.m. The Los Alamos Mountaineers meeting will start at 7 p.m. and cover information about upcoming outings.

    This is a tale of the first ascent of the last high point of any continent to be climbed. 

    The genesis of the trip is mundane and exciting, with an intrigue, some suspense, and many questions that would not be answered until we were actually on the climbs. 

    The Los Alamos Mountaineers meetings are always free to the public, and no registration is required. 

    For more information about this and other Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) programs, visit peecnature.org, email programs@peecnature.org or call 662-0460.

  • Community Calendar


    Gentle Walks at 9 a.m. at the Nature Center. A gentle walk for which the emphasis is on discovery, not mileage gained. Free. More information at peecnature.org.


    Dia del Rio: White Rock Canyon Clean-up from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Nature Center. Help us keep our open spaces beautiful. Join the County’s Open Space Specialist, the Los Alamos Fire Department staff, and other volunteers to clean up White Rock Canyon, one of our treasured landscapes. Free.


    Energy Efficiency Home Tour from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Nature Center. See energy efficient homes in Los Alamos County. Get ideas for making upgrades to your home. Free. More information at peecnature.org.


    Feature Film: “We are Stars” at 2 p.m. at the Nature Center. This exciting, family-friendly film connects us to the evolution of the Universe and explores the secrets of our cosmic chemistry. Cost is $6 for adults, and $4 for children. 


    PEEC-nic at 2 p.m. at the Nature Center. Come to PEEC’s annual member meeting to enjoy fun activities, delicious desserts, and fresh-pressed apple cider. Free.


  • Customers to see gas rates decrease

    The 10-percent increase in water rates will be offset by a 10-percent decrease in gas rates.
    The Los Alamos County Council unanimously approved the new rate on Tuesday.
    The rate reduction will serve to draw down a high cash balance in the gas fund. Staff policy is to maintain $2 million in reserve. The balance currently stands at $6 million. The reduction will be implemented by reducing the fixed rate billing charge by 20 percent.
    Vice Chair Susan O’Leary objected to using the service charge as the mechanism for reducing rates.
    “I think you have policy that requires rates to cover cost of service. You have used this as justification to raise rates in other utilities, but ignore this logic in this instance,” O’Leary said. “There are other ways to address this that don’t involve rate adjustments that could cause problems down the road that could have been avoided.”
    O’Leary suggested that options such as sending customers a rebate would have been a better solution, and asked the board to reconsider this rate with that in mind.
    Councilor Steve Girrens proposed loaning the excess to the county’s cash-strapped utilities. The county charter requires that the utilities operate independently, but do allow loans between them.

  • Police Beat 9-30-16

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department Records. Charges or citations listed in Police Beat do not imply innocence or guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested, served a court summons, or issued a citation.

    Sept. 13
    9:02 a.m. — Police reported that a 17-year-old Los Alamos male was the victim of criminal damage to property (less than $1000) at Diamond Drive.

    11:14 a.m. — Zachary Sanchez, 32, of Los Alamos was arrested on a magistrate court bench warrant at the Los Alamos police department. The original charge was aggravated driving while under the influence with a blood alcohol concentration of .16 or more at the intersection of Canyon Road and Rim Road in April.

    1:15 p.m. — Police reported that 15-year-old Los Alamos female was the victim of criminal sexual penetration: force/coercion at Trinity Drive.

    2:17 p.m. — Police reported that a 26-year-old Los Alamos woman was the victim of harassment.  

    Sept. 15
    7:45 a.m. — Shawn Trujillo, 19, of Chimayo was arrested on a magistrate court bench warrant in the 1600 block of Trinity Drive.

  • Miles, founder of Monitor, dies at 95

    Dan Miles was a pioneer in many ways.
    He came to Los Alamos with the idea of starting a newspaper for a town that didn’t have one.
    He was one of the three founders of the Los Alamos Monitor.
    Miles started the newspaper with John Barnett and Mark McMahon in 1963, in a small office above a jewelry store.
    They started with nothing more than two typewriters, a headline machine and four employees.
    Miles was also a geologist for the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    He died Wednesday at his home in Los Alamos. He was 95.
    His daughter Beki Welsch recalled some of the memories of her father’s time at the newspaper.
    As the Monitor’s advertising executive, Miles once secured an ad for the liquor store… and it ended up being placed on the same page as the police blotter and the DWIs.
    “The liquor store immediately cancelled their ad,” Welsch said with a laugh. As the paper’s main financial backer and money man, that’s just one of the many ups and downs Miles experienced in the Monitor’s early years.
    There was a bust in the oil business at the time, and they thought it would be a good idea to start a paper in Los Alamos.

  • UNM president says he won’t seek a 2nd term

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — With declining enrollment and a smaller allotment from the cash-strapped state, the University of New Mexico is bracing to have $22.5 million less to spend in fiscal year 2017.
    The school also will be looking to hire a new president.
    Robert Frank announced Friday that he won’t seek to renew his contract after it ends on May 31, 2017. “I am pleased with what we have accomplished during my presidency, and it will be with great pride that I hand over the reins to the next president, who can build upon our successes,” Frank said in a statement.
    He was hired by UNM in January 2012.
    The Board of Regents now has eight months to choose the school’s 22nd president.
    Board President Rob Doughty said the search would begin no later than next spring, and an interim president would be appointed if a successor to Frank isn’t found in a timely manner.
    On Thursday, Frank announced the university will put a freeze on hiring, and all college officials will perform departmental audits of temporary and part-time staff positions. Those positions that aren’t deemed to be critical will likely be cut.
    He said the expected losses mean everything from programs to staff and administrative positions could face cuts, The Santa Fe New Mexican reported.