Today's News

  • Lawsuits piling up against HSD reveal doctored audit report

    What a difference one sentence can make!
    The decision by the state Human Services Department to strike one crucial sentence in an auditor’s report gave it carte blanche to yank the funding of 15 behavioral health providers.
    This is just one revelation in the 10 inevitable lawsuits, three of them filed last week, against the state for a move that was questionable from the outset.
    To recap, in February 2013 HSD hired Public Consulting Group to audit 15 providers and look for evidence of fraud.
    This was not a page-by-page forensic audit, intended to shake out the spiders, but a sampling of invoices. So, from $42,500 in overbilling found in the samples, the consultant conjured up $36 million in suspected overbilling.
    That alone was spongy evidence, but here’s the real kicker: the consultant reported that all 15 failed the audit, but also said there was no evidence of widespread fraud nor was there “credible allegations of fraud,” or significant concern about consumer safety, according to documents filed in the lawsuits.

  • Counterterrorism policy faces mounting criticism

    WASHINGTON (AP) — At the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, it was a cause for celebration: Meticulous intelligence analysis backed by Hellfire missiles had paid off, once again.
    The CIA launched a drone strike last month on a Yemeni beach at three men it determined were al-Qaida militants. One of them turned out to be Nasser al-Wahishi, about as important a figure as agency man-hunters could hope to eliminate. He had been both al-Qaida’s second in command and the leader of the group’s dangerous Yemeni affiliate.
    American officials touted the death as a big victory. But did the demise of another senior extremist, the latest in a long line to be taken off the battlefield, make the United States and its allies any safer?
    To many experts, including a growing number of former Obama administration national security advisers, that proposition is less convincing by the day.

  • Update 7-2-15

    Gordon's Concert

    This week’s Gordon’s Summer Concert will be the 531st Air Force Band. The band will perform at 7 p.m. Friday. The concert will be at Ashley Pond. All Gordon’s Summer Concerts are free.

    Co-Op Market

    The Los Alamos Co-Op farmers market will be Saturday. The market runs from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the co-op’s location on Entrada Drive.

    County Council

    Los Alamos County Council will have its next regular meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday. It will be in council chambers.

    Firecracker 5K

    The Family YMCA of Los Alamos will host its Firecracker 5K race Saturday at 8 a.m. The race will start and end at the YMCA’s facility. Registration is open. Call 662-3100 for information.

    Artists Market

    There will be an artists market Saturday at the White Rock Visitor Center. Artists markets are held once a month at the Visitor Center through October. It goes from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. For information, call 661-4836.

    Gentle Walks

    The Los Alamos Nature Center will host a Gentle Walk starting at 8:30 a.m. Friday. The walks consist of short hikes that feature less than 300 feet of elevation change. For more information about the walks, call the Nature Center at 662-0460.

  • Services return to the United Church of LA

    The membership of the United Church of Los Alamos was thrilled recently as they resumed their Sunday services in the main sanctuary.
    Phase two of a multi-phase project was recently completed with a vast number of improvements made to the interior and the exterior of 2525 Canyon Rd.
    According to Pastor David Elton, the interior work included a new entrance, renovated reception area, the addition of new hardwood floors and new restroom facilities.
    The exterior enhancements found workers leveling the ground between the education building and sanctuary and creating a significantly larger parking lot behind the sanctuary off of Rose Street.
    Mich Rich Contractors, Inc., of Albuquerque was the builder for the sanctuary construction project and both staff and committee members enjoyed working with them and are pleased with the outcome.
    “This is the second phase, however, because of the generous giving of the congregation we were able to combine a number of phases of the master site plan,” said Elton. “I’m proud of the fact that the church fulfilled their top priority in the completed work to make our facilities more accessible for everyone.”

  • Bandelier hosting citizens' ceremony

    For the fourth year in a row, Bandelier National Monument is partnering with the United States Citizenship and Naturalization Services to host a naturalization ceremony at the park on Independence Day.
    For Saturday’s ceremony, 18 candidates from 9 countries, after working for years to fulfill their requirements, will be taking the oath and becoming the newest citizens of the United States.
    The candidates come from China, France, Iraq, Jordan, Mexico, the Phillipines, South Korea, Ukraine and Vietnam.
    The ceremony begins at noon behind the Bandelier Visitor Center. Keynote speakers will be noted author, poet, music teacher and Los Alamos Living Treasure Stephanie Sydoriak, herself an immigrant — originally from Ukraine in 1913— and Bandelier Superintendent Jason Lott.
    In addition, Michele Jacquez-Ortiz will also be speaking, representing New Mexico’s Congressional Delegation.
    Alicia Solomon, noted soloist with the Santa Fe Opera, Symphony and Desert Chorale,  will sing the National Anthem and Eagle Scouts from Troop 129 will parade the colors.
    Refreshments will be provided by the Rotary Club and there will be flags, gifts and flowers for the new citizens.

  • Schools excited about real estate deal for land

    For the past several years, the Los Alamos Public Schools has kept a wary eye on its declining enrollment levels, wondering if and when the decline was going to stop.
    The decline has been so steady that there has been talk of closing either Piñon Elementary School or Chamisa Elementary in response to the decline, or even expanding one school to accommodate the other’s student population.
    However, thanks to a recent real estate deal between the county and a company known as the A-19-A-1 Site Acquisition Group, LLC, that choice may never have to be made.
    According to county documents concerning the land deal, the name refers to the number assigned to a 70-acre parcel of land next to the White Rock Visitors Center. The land once belonged to the U.S. Department of Energy, but was sold to Los Alamos County in 2002.
    Recently, the county sold it to A-19-A-1 Site Acquisition Group, LLC. According to the county’s requests for proposal, the county was looking for a developer that could develop the site for a mixed use of apartments and shopping areas on the site.

  • ’Topes use big innings to beat Reno

    It was a night for big innings as the Albuquerque Isotopes (35-45) used a pair of five-run frames, including a five-run sixth, to beat the Reno Aces (37-43) 11-8 Wednesday night at Isotopes Park.
    Kyle Parker drove in a team-high four runs on the evening.
    Reno and Albuquerque traded five runs each in the second inning as both teams batted around. The Isotopes’ half of the inning was capped by a two-out, two-RBI triple from Parker.
    The Aces regained the lead with single runs in the third and fifth before the ’Topes answered with a run in their half of the fifth courtesy of Angelys Nina’s sacrifice fly.
    Albuquerque again exploded for five runs in the sixth inning. There were six singles in the frame, including a two-run, go-ahead knock from Parker.
    Matt McBride was named to the Triple-A All-Star Game Wednesday afternoon and backed it up by going 1-for-3 with two runs scored, an RBI and two walks Wednesday night. McBride extended his team season-longest hitting streak to 15 games and is batting .411 (25-for-59) with 17 runs scored, nine doubles, three homers and 15 RBI during that stretch.

  • Ball makes the cut at tournament

    Los Alamos’ Ted Ball reached the final of the 39th New Mexico — West Texas Amateur Championship at New Mexico State University golf course on Sunday
    Ball shot a 77 on his first round and an 80 in his second round to move on to the final day.
    He was ahead of six golfers, tied with six other golfers at 157 and within two strokes of seven other golfers.
    In his third round, however, Ball shot an 88 to slip multiple spots. He finished 41st overall in the tournament.
    Paul Cook also represented Los Alamos in the amateur championship. He failed to make the final after shooting a 90 and 92.
    New Mexico State University’s Kenneth Fadke held on down the stretch to claim the tournament’s title.
    The Hobbs native made par on the first playoff hole following an impressive final round 67 to come out on top. Fadke stumbled with a second round 73, but sandwiched a 65 and 67 on either side of it finishing at 11-under.
    A final round seven-under 65 vaulted El Paso’s Devin Miertschin back into the race with a 15-foot birdie exclamation point on the final hole that forced a playoff with Fadke. But, in the end, Fadke was able to hold off the hard-charging Miertschin following a his three-putt bogey in the playoff.

  • Building their dreams with picks and shovels

    When some people look at a mountain, they see a pretty landscape filled with plants, flowers, trees and cool looking rocks.
    When other people look at a mountain, they see terrain that would be fun to ride their bike down — fun turns and a whole bunch of things to jump off.
    At Pajarito Mountain, the lines mountain bikers fantasize about can become a reality, if they’re willing to build the trail themselves.
    “If you’re in with the trail-building group, you can pretty much build whatever you want, as long as it’s somewhat safe,” Alex Adams said. “That’s very cool, and very rare too.”
    Before Tom Long took over as Pajarito’s general manager, Long said people used to build trails on the mountain “under the cover of darkness.” He changed that when he took over about a decade ago.
    “I encouraged them and they jumped into it whole-hearted,” Long said. “They’ve done a superlative job.”
    Neal Pederson has volunteered since then and is now the lead dog on the crew.

  • Today in history July 2