Today's News

  • County to select from 4 attorney candidates

    The four candidates for the open county attorney’s position were in town for interviews last week. The Los Alamos Monitor interviewed them during a meet and greet last Thursday.

    Joseph Alvin Leaphart is currently city attorney and solicitor for the City of Statesboro, Georgia, where he has been for five years. Leaphart created the in-house council position for Statesboro. 

    “They had an outside council on a contractual basis before that, so I helped start that office and get that office organized,” Leaphart said. 

    He describes Statesboro as a university town, and sees his experience dealing with the university system as somewhat analogous to dealing with Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). 

    Leaphart also has 16 years of trial practice.

    “Over the years of practice I’ve just handled a wide variety of legal matters that affected local government,” Leaphart said. 

    When asked what attracted him to the position, he replied, “I’ve always loved the Southwest. It is basically the Southwest and the beauty of the natural environment, and the unique community that you have here. It’s just a very special place.”

  • Watchdogs concerned about readiness of WIPP

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A series of recent ceiling collapses at the federal government’s only underground nuclear waste repository has watchdogs calling on officials to ensure safety before moving ahead with a planned reopening later this year.

    U.S. Energy Department officials and the contractor that manages the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southern New Mexico will update the public on the collapses during a meeting Thursday evening.

    A radiation release forced the closure of the repository in February 2014. Since then, thousands of tons of waste left over from decades of nuclear weapon research and development have been stacking up at sites around the country, hampering the government’s multibillion-dollar cleanup program.

    The waste is meant to be entombed in storage rooms carved out of a salt formation deep underground. 

    Contamination and limited ventilation has made maintenance of the salt rock walls and ceilings difficult, but officials have said the recent collapses happened in areas that are restricted and will not affect plans for resuming some operations before the end of the year.

  • Alamogordo officials vote to OK off-road vehicles on streets

    ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) — Alamogordo officials have voted to allow the use of off-road vehicles on city streets.

    The Alamogordo Daily News reports (http://bit.ly/2dNI5db ) that city commissioners voted in favor of the change but it won’t be official unless it is finalized at the Nov. 1 commission meeting.

    Southwest Suzuki Kawasaki owner Tyler Johnson says many of his customers have asked about Alamogordo’s law. He says he supports the change, explaining that it simplifies things for ATV users who need to go slightly down a paved road to access another dirt trail.

  • County website down Saturday

    The county announced Thursday its website at losalamosnm.us will be temporarily unavailable beginning late Saturday evening for planned server updates and upgrades. 

  • 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.

  • Church Listings

    Baha’i Faith

    For information, email losalamosla@gmail.com. For general information, call the Baha’i Faith phone at 1-800-228-6483.

    Bethlehem Lutheran

    Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, a member of the ELCA, is located at 2390 North Road, 662-5151; See a map at bethluth.com. The Eucharist is celebrated with a classic liturgy each Sunday at 9 a.m., followed by fellowship time with refreshments starting at 10:30 a.m. A service of Midday Matins with Communion is celebrated at 11 a.m. The preaching is biblical by our Pastors, Rev. Bruce Kuenzel and Rev. Nicolé Ferry, the music is lively, children are welcome and abundant, and a well-staffed nursery is provided. All are welcome! Come Join the Family.

    Bryce Ave. Presbyterian

    The church is located at 3333 Bryce Ave. The Rev. Henry Fernandez preaches, bapca.org, info@bapca.org. For information, call 672-3364.

    Calvary Chapel

  • Vote for bail reform to fix system of turnstile thugs

    One item on your ballot this November is bail reform, an issue with so much support and study it’s a no-brainer. But House decisions muddled by campaign donations came close to killing reform in the last legislative session.
    The issue: Everyone has a right to get out of jail by paying a bond, but over time it’s given us a turnstile system in which the most dangerous criminals get out if they have the money, while many who pose no risk remain behind bars because they can’t afford bail – at a cost of $100 a day to the county.
    “We often release high-risk people who commit new crimes and hold people who are no threat to us at all,” said Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Daniels in a talk before New Mexico Press Women. “We’re releasing boomerang thugs and packing jails with people who don’t belong there. They’ve become debtors’ prisons.”
    It explains why some of our worst crimes have been committed by people who had been in jail but bonded out.
    “How did we end up with a system where money decides who gets out?” Daniels asked.
    We inherited it. The system is so old it goes back to the earliest laws in England. The commercial bail-bond industry has grown steadily since 1900, and, judging by the number of bondsmen stationed near courthouses, is a booming business. Judge for yourself whether that growth is benign or malignant.

  • Make sure every dollar you give to charity counts


    Financial Matters


    eciding to make a charitable contribution can arise from a desire to help others, a passionate commitment to a cause or the aim to give back to a group that once helped you or a loved one. Choosing which organizations you want to support can be difficult. There are over a million public charities in the United States according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, and every dollar you give to Charity A is a dollar you might not be able to match for Charity B. 

    Whether it’s a friend’s charity run or supporting an animal rescue, often the decision to give comes down to a mix of internal and external factors. You have to determine which causes are most important to you, and with outside help you can compare how effective various charities are at using their funding.

    Many non-profits do incredible work, but it’s always smart to verify their claims. You can start your due diligence by double checking an organization’s tax-exempt status using the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Exempt Organizations Select Check Tool. 

  • 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.