Today's News

  • Wildfire prompts smoke advisory for northern New Mexico

    SANTA FE (AP) — State health and environment officials have issued a smoke advisory for part of northern New Mexico due to a lightning-caused fire in the Carson National Forest.
    The advisory will remain in effect through Friday for Vallecitos Canyon and surrounding communities.
    The fire has grown to about three square miles since being sparked June 3. Crews are working to secure the perimeter and clear out unburned fuel.
    Fire officials say the blaze is about 15 percent contained.
    Officials are advising residents to close their windows overnight through the early morning until the smoke lifts and visibility improves. They say smoke can irritate the respiratory system and intensify chronic heart and lung problems.

  • Suspect captured

    Ramon Acosta has been apprehended by Española police.

    “Ramon Acosta was located by Española Police Department last night and taken into custody,” LAPD Cmdr. Oliver Morris said.

  • UPDATE: Police locate suspect

    Española Police Department located suspect Ramon Manuel Acosta Wednesday night and he was taken into custody, according to the Los Alamos Police Department.

    Los Alamos police are searching for a 36-year-old man named Acosta. Acosta has a criminal history of armed robbery and aggravated assault, according to police.

    Acosta fled a crash scene on foot into the canyon south of Camino Cereza at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. He had an active warrant for a probation violation stemming from a robbery charge, police said in a release.

  • Truck crashes into lamp post on Trinity Drive

    Police and fire officials responded to a one-vehicle crash around 12:30 p.m. today at the intersection of Trinity Drive and 4th Street.

    A white Ford Ranger pickup truck heading westbound on Trinity crashed into a lamp post. The pickup truck came to a stop in the parking lot of the Hilltop Inn and Spa, which closed in 2012 and is no longer occupied.

    No one was injured, but the 44-year-old man driving the truck was cited for careless driving.

    Police at the scene would not release the man’s identity.  As police secured the scene, the westbound lane of Trinity Avenue was closed off for approximately 30 minutes while utility crews shut off power to the lamp and secured the debris.

  • Bullet strikes New Mexico official's truck at Canyon Road

    SANTA FE (AP) — The windshield of an unoccupied pickup truck used by New Mexico State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn was hit by a bullet during a shooting on a road in Santa Fe lined with galleries and restaurants, the commissioner said Wednesday.
    No injuries or arrests were reported.
    Dunn, a Republican, said he did not know whether he might have been targeted.
    He discovered early Wednesday that a bullet had punctured the driver's side of the windshield of the parked, state-owned pickup truck.
    He said the discovery was disorienting and troubling given the nearly simultaneous news of the shooting of Republican Rep. Steve Scalise in Washington, D.C.
    Santa Fe police provided no further information about the investigation.
    Pastry chef Ericka Rodriguez, 37, said she heard about six shots fired on Tuesday afternoon from inside the kitchen at the Geronimo restaurant, where she works.
    "There were several shots that I heard, about six," she said. "I couldn't see anything and at first I didn't know they were gunshots, until I heard more."
    At the time, she said, she was in a pastry kitchen in an outbuilding next to the restaurant and stayed hidden until police arrived.
    Police declined to comment on her description of events.
    Dunn was elected to statewide office in 2014 and is contemplating a possible run for governor or Congress in 2018.

  • Open Range Days prove successful for Los Alamos Sportsmen's Club

    The Los Alamos Sportsmen’s Club welcomed the public to their club this weekend for its first Open Range Days, something club member and organizer Steve Porter called a “safe and successful event.”

    The event took place Saturday and Sunday at the Los Alamos Sportsman’s Club. A total of four ranges were set up outside, one for pistols, one for rifles, one for archery and one for high-powered machine guns and semi-automatic weapons.

    In addition, a gun show was set up inside that featured more than 20 vendors, selling a variety of products, from guns, to ammo, as well as jewelry. Outside, a barbecue lunch was provided by Smokin Bear BBQ, which Porter described as “really good, authentic barbecue.”

    Overall, he considered the entire event a success, saying that the machine gun shoot was “excpetionally good,” and that everything from the guns they had available to the targets set up down-range were top-of-the-line.

    He expects this first-time event to be done again in the future, and that it will become even more successful the next time.

    Porter said the club is looking to add new members, and that those interested can visit la-sc.org to learn more about the club and sign up to become a member.

  • Council OK's 20th Street contractor

    Los Alamos County Council unanimously approved a contract for a construction firm to begin work on extending 20th Street across Trinity Drive. When finished, the project will link 20th Street to six 20,000-square-foot empty, county-owned lots on the other side of Trinity Drive.  

    Gandy Dancer of Albuquerque secured the winning bid of $998,068.50. The approval also will allow for the county to use $1.3 million in capital improvement funding to add utilities and 600-foot extension of 20th Street that will connect all the plots.

    At least one resident took issue with the project, which will begin in July and continue through October.

    “I cannot believe that you are considering approving $1 million to extend 20th Street, while you took that money out of the recreation bond and the recreation budget,” resident David Sutton said. “If developers want to build there then they should put up some of the money from the sale of the land and they should also pony up the bucks to build the road.

  • LAFD cleans up for fireworks shows

    The Los Alamos Fire Department Cadet Class No. 27 attended to potential fire hazards at Overlook Park Monday in White Rock.

    The class did a general clean up of trash and conducted wildland fire mitigation.

    Deputy Chief Steve Dawald was present alongside the cadets and explained, “They’re clearing a lot of the dead and down…things that are more of a fire hazard.”

    The purpose of the community project was to enhance the safety of the area in preparation for the upcoming Fourth of July fireworks display sponsored annually by the Los Alamos Kiwanis Club. 

    One recruit from Class No. 27, Randall Robles, told the Monitor that fuel build up consists of dead trees or brush that have fallen to the ground and might easily catch on fire. This kind of clean up is not necessarily done every year, but

    LAFD patrols that area and whenever the fuels do build up, they are sure to clear it out.

    “A couple years ago, some spot fires did happen because of the fireworks,” said Robles, so the goal is to prevent future occurrences.

  • Rael heads to trial for child porn possession

    Los Alamos resident David Rael, who was arrested in 2014 for allegedly downloading child porn onto his computer, will face a bench trial before Judge Mary Marlowe-Sommer this week in the First Judicial Court in Santa Fe.

    Rael was arrested in May 2014 following a yearlong investigation conducted by the New Mexico Attorney General’s office and the Los Alamos Police Department.

    The investigation centered on the Ares peer-to-peer file sharing network, and its usage by some to distribute child pornography.

    During the investigation, investigators from the AG’s office discovered a user from Los Alamos who downloaded several files that depicted boys and girls under the age of 18 involved in various sexual situations with adults.

    With help from the LAPD and internet service provider CenturyLink, investigators were able to track the downloads to Rael’s apartment.

    When asked about the files on his computer, Rael attributed that to being blind in one eye, and being intoxicated at the time of the alleged downloads.

    Rael, accompanied by his private attorney at the time, Bill Snowden, entered a not guilty plea in Los Alamos District Court in Sept 2014.

  • Gunman who shot top GOP congressman had history of arrests

    BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois man who shot a top Republican congressman and several other people Wednesday while they practiced baseball outside the nation's capital had several minor run-ins with the law in recent years and belonged to a Facebook group called "Terminate the Republican Party."
    James T. Hodgkinson, 66, was fatally shot by police during the attack. Hours later, Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders said the gunman had been among the many volunteers on his presidential campaign.
    Court records show that Hodgkinson's legal trouble started in the 1990s with arrests for resisting police and drunken driving. His most serious problems apparently came in 2006, when he was arrested on a battery charge. Records indicate he has not been involved in any legal cases since 2011.
    Until recently, he ran a home-inspection business out of his home in Belleville, in the southwestern corner of the state, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, according to Hodgkinson's Facebook page.
    He also wrote frequent letters to his hometown newspaper, the Belleville News-Democrat, which published nearly two dozen letters between 2010 and 2012, many of which included complaints about the same theme: income inequality.