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Today's News

  • Police Beat 4-8-18

    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.

    March 28
    5:18 p.m. – Los Alamos County Police investigated an Internal Revenue Service scam.

    March 29
     12:15 a.m. - Samuel Herrera, 31, of Santa Fe was arrested by Los Alamos County Police on a magistrate court bench warrant, and booked into the Los Alamos County Detention Center.

    8:31 p.m. – Police found drug paraphernalia while patrolling La Mesa Mobile Home Park.

    10:23 p.m. – Gregario Luis Trujillo, 29, of Española was arrested by Los Alamos County Police on a magistrate court bench warrant and booked into the Los Alamos County Detention Center.

    10:53 p.m. – Los Alamos County Police investigated a possible harassment incident at the McDonald’s restaurant on Trinity Drive.

    March 30
    2:59 p.m. – Los Alamos County Police investigated a larceny.

  • Code ordinance break OK’d by council

    Applause and a few cheers greeted the Los Alamos County Council at its regular meeting Tuesday night following the council’s vote to approve a 60-day moratorium on code enforcement within the county.

    The vote was unanimous among the council, passing by a 6-0 margin. Councilor James Chrobocinski was absent.

    Chrobocinski and Councilor Antonio Maggiore originally brought the resolution before the council. Following much civil discussion of the hot topic – by members of the audience and councilors alike – Maggiore read the resolution after the addition of some amendments by the councilors.

    The moratorium does not hold for violations that have already been received by the code enforcement staff as well as violations immediately affecting health, safety and welfare.

    The council did specify that appropriate action would be taken to address any situations involving a perceived or increased fire risk, which was a big issue with regard to fire danger.

    Los Alamos Fire Department Chief Troy Hughes pointed out that his department’s main concern is protection against the threat of fire.

  • Scant snow, rain leave reservoirs around West below average

    FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Scant snow and rain are leaving reservoirs around the West well below average.

    The bright spots are the Green River basin in Wyoming and the Duchesne in northeast Utah. And, forecasters say near-normal March temperatures in the Colorado River basin mean snow hasn't melted as quickly.

    Still, the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center says there's only a 10 percent chance that enough precipitation will fall this spring to bring inflows back to average.

    Weather patterns in the next couple of weeks could bring rain and snow to West and boost water supplies, but confidence in the forecast is low right now.

    The lackluster runoff won't immediately affect millions of Colorado River water users.

    But the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says another dry year could trigger shortages.
     

  • New Mexico border wall work to begin Monday

    SANTA TERESA (AP) — Work will begin soon to replace existing vehicle barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border in southern New Mexico with a new bollard wall.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that a groundbreaking near the Santa Teresa port of entry on Monday will mark the official start of construction along a 20-mile stretch of the border.

    The $73 million contract for the work was awarded to a Montana company in February.

    With a new wall, federal officials say agents working in southern New Mexico will be better equipped to stop drug trafficking and illegal crossings in the area.

    Environmentalists have sued over the project, saying the federal government overstepped its authority in waiving laws as a way to speed construction. A federal judge recently sided with the government in a similar case in California.
     

  • New Nuclear Security chief visits Los Alamos National Laboratory

    The new Department of Energy Undersecretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty toured Los Alamos National Laboratory facilities Friday and address employees.

    “The work that’s done at Los Alamos is critical to the nation’s nuclear security and central to our stockpile stewardship mission,” she said to a standing-room-only audience of employees. “Los Alamos was established to develop a scientific solution to win World War II, and it has remained a truly extraordinary place where cutting-edge science and engineering are deployed in service to the nation.”

    Gordon-Hagerty was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in February. This was her first visit to the laboratory as NNSA administrator.

  • Geisik hearing delayed

    Stephen Geisik, 27, of Hernandez, a former Los Alamos resident, was granted a postponement of an evidentiary hearing Thursday. The new hearing date is May 4.

    Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer granted the move after Geisik’s attorney, Jennifer Burrill, asked for more time.

    “He’s facing a probation violation, and there are some allegations that involve some other agencies that we’re trying to get paperwork from,” Burrill said.

    Geisik was arrested Feb. 23 for violating the 20-year parole sentence he received April 6, 2015.  At that time he pleaded guilty to three counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor second degree (child under 13) and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

    Geisik moved to Hernandez July 15, 2017, and registered as a sex offender with the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Department in Española. His two children were living with him at the time.

    When Children Youth and Families officials made a second visit to his house Jan. 20, they removed his children and told him he had to get rid of his cats and buy mattresses for his kids. Geisik said he complied with their order. On Feb. 23 though, he was arrested.

  • County’s plan to use drones for inspections draws critics

    Los Alamos County’s plans to use drones for roof and construction inspections is already drawing fire from a group of local residents.

    County Council Candidate Helen Milenski said she’s concerned, not so much about the person who may request the roof inspection, but the neighbors next door and those who live in the general vicinity of the camera’s eye.

    “I waived my right to privacy because of that permit, but did my neighbor, or the neighbor down the block?” Milenski said.  

    Los Alamos County Council Chairman David Izraelevitz said he feels there really isn’t an issue with the Los Alamos County Development Office using a drone to do roof inspections.

    When asked about the expectations of privacy and other issues, Izraelevitz said there would be policies in place that will protect residents.

    Izraelevitz said the drones would also save the town money in the long run by preventing medical and legal liability.

    “Why wouldn’t you want to find a way for your workers not to climb on roofs?” Izraelevitz said.

    County Development Office Manager Paul Andrus said worker safety was the main reason why the drone was purchased.

  • New Mexico candidate forum focuses on vulnerable populations

    By MORGAN LEE, Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Four candidates for governor of New Mexico squared off in a forum Thursday about how to shore up care networks for the severely disabled, elderly and residents coping with addiction and mental health issues.

    Specialty health care providers sponsored the discussion about shortages in the health care workforce, burdens of an aging state population and responses to Medicaid reforms sought by the Trump administration.

    The conversation at a university auditorium in Albuquerque veered off into prescriptions for reviving a lagging state economy and delved into mental health issues linked to gun violence.

    Seizing on concerns about workforce shortages in health care, U.S. Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Steve Pearce said he wants to require "able-bodied" adults to "go back to work" if they are on Medicaid. He said later that work could be in the form of apprenticeships that lead to new opportunities.

    The Trump administration in January said it would allow states to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients. It already approved proposals from Kentucky, Indiana and Arkansas. More than one-third of New Mexico residents are enrolled in Medicaid health care for people with low incomes and disabilities.

  • LA County roads take a front seat this month

    In spite of Los Alamos County’s request for a lean budget this year, the county’s roads and streets are getting a lot of positive attention.

    In the county’s proposal for its fiscal 2019-20 budget, released Saturday, the Public Works Department shared some good news about the condition of Los Alamos County’s 300-mile network of roads and streets.

    At the end of 2017, the Public Works Department did an in-depth assessment of its streets and roads, giving the 300-mile network a pavement condition index rating of 65.

    “The survey shows that 6 percent of the roads were rated as excellent, 20 percent of the of the roads received a good rating and 45 percent were listed as fair. One percent was listed as poor and 12 percent of the roads were listed as unacceptable.

    Los Alamos County Public Works Department Manager Shelton sees the roads improving in the coming years, as public works continues ongoing maintenance and repairs. If council approves this budget, the department’s budget will have about $4 million in the new budget to keep maintaining and improving the roads.

  • Fire dept. a step closer to $400,000 grant

    The Los Alamos Fire Department has moved a step closer to receiving a $400,000 grant that would help the department better control the ladder fuels that often help wildfires gain their momentum.

    LAFD actually started working toward this grant almost two years ago and was awarded the Phase I portion of the $400,000 in August 2017.

    The process is now moving into Phase II after a period set aside for public comment.

    “You always want to hear from the public because this is their county and they use these lands as much as we do,” said LAFD Wildland Division Chief Kelly Sterna. “We want to make sure everybody’s concerns are addressed.”

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved the LAFD’s final draft, and copies were made available to the public on March 29 at the Mesa Public Library. The public has 30 days from that date to comment on the final draft.

    “We want to see the public come back with comments,” said Sterna. “We had a non-required public meeting to kick off the project and we had some concerns that were brought forward. You want to try to address those whether it’s about a prescription we wrote to try to mitigate these fuels or just looking at the area in general to see if there’s an actual need to get in there and mitigate.”