Local News

  • Police Beat 8-18-19

    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.

    Aug. 7
    10 a.m. — Los Alamos police bomb squad was called out on an incident. Case is inactive.

    10:49 p.m. — Los Alamos police cited/summoned a suspect for simple battery.

    Aug. 9
    2:12 p.m. — Los Alamos police responded to a burglary in Los Alamos. Case is still active.

    Aug. 10
    9:12 p.m. — Los Alamos police went out on an animal call. Case is active.

    Aug. 11
    11:26 a.m. — Los Alamos police investigated an incident where a motor vehicle was stolen from a residence. Case is active.
    12:25 a.m. — Los Alamos police responded to a domestic disturbance. Case is inactive.

  • Farmington aims to keep open San Juan Plant

    FARMINGTON — Farmington city officials on Friday signed an agreement with a company that proposes outfitting the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station with carbon-capture technology in an effort to extend the power plant’s life beyond its planned closure in 2022.

    Under the agreement, the city would keep its 5% share in the plant and Enchant Energy Corp. would acquire a 95% ownership interest from other utilities that will be divesting in the plant.

    Public Service Co. of New Mexico plans to shut down the facility as it moves toward a 2040 emissions-free goal and the state begins implementing a new energy law aimed at transitioning to more renewable resources. The utility’s decommissioning application is pending before state regulators along with proposals for replacing the lost capacity once the plant closes.

    Environmentalists oppose keeping the plant open, saying there are now less expensive and cleaner options.
    Camilla Feibelman with the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club said it’s unlikely that anyone would want to purchase the electricity generated by the coal-fired plant.

    But the pending closure has left elected leaders in northwestern New Mexico looking for ways to ease the socio-economic challenges that will come with the plant’s decommissioning.

  • BPU to consider more solar

    The Board of Public Utilities will consider Thursday whether to approve a 1.32-megawatt solar Power Purchase Agreement on the East Jemez Road landfill.

    The public is invited to attend the regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers.

    Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities staff will present the agreement at the meeting. If approved, the agreement will be forwarded to the Los Alamos County Council for consideration.  

    The proposed 1.32-MW photovoltaic solar array would be installed adjacent to the existing 1MW array on the closed landfill owned by the Department of Energy and leased to Los Alamos County.

    Under the terms of the agreement, Los Alamos Solar II, LLC would deliver photovoltaic generated electricity to the DPU at a price of $0.0585 per kilowatt hour (kWh) for a 25-year term.

    It is estimated that the new PV system would generate on average 2,250 MWh per year which is about 2% of the county’s annual load, according to the DPU. 

    With a BPU-approved goal to be a carbon neutral electric provider by 2040, this project would bring the DPU one step closer, the DPU said Friday.

  • Meet County Shelter Manager Paul Sena

    The first thing you notice about Paul Sena, the Los Alamos County Animal Shelter’s manager, is that he’s genuinely happy with his job. No matter what time of day it is or what task he’s involved in, he always seems to have a smile for the customers who approach the counter at the shelter.

    Sena said there’s one reason for that, and that is, he truly loves what he does.

    “This is my dream,” Sena said.  “I’m doing what I love to do. Thanks to God, I’m still able to do that and support my family. I never had any intention of leaving the county, so when this opened up, it was right in my field. It kept me where I’m happy, it kept me in a good job, it allows me to get back into what I love to do, which is work with animals.”

    Sena described himself as the type of kid that was the one that took the time to  nurse the family dog back to health and gladly spent hours on his grandfather’s farm caring for the livestock and poultry.

    Sena started his professional life as a veterinary technician before he even graduated high school, working for Dr. Kathleen Ramsay at the Cottonwood Veterinary Clinic in Espanola.

    He did that for a number of years, where he quickly earned a reputation for being one of the best vet techs in the valley.

  • El Rigoberto’s to expand in White Rock at the end of August

    Restaurant entrepreneurs Fernando Loya and Andres Gomez have a few simple rules when it comes to building successful restaurants: don’t overthink it, and go where you’re wanted.

    Loya said that’s what made their El Rigoberto’s Taco Shop in Los Alamos such a huge success. And it’s that success is what led them to start another El Rigoberto’s Taco Shop in White Rock, which they said should be open by the end of August.

    The new restaurant will be at 25 Bonnie View Drive.

    “People that lived in White Rock always kept telling us to open one in White Rock. We’re going there because the people asked us to,” Loya said.

    And don’t worry, El Rigoberto’s Los Alamos is staying right where it is, inside the Central Park Square Shopping Center.

    Talk about going where you are wanted… that shop only came to be five years ago when their original Rigoberto’s, which was once located on Riverside Drive in Española, fell into disrepair.

    “The building was falling apart and the landlord didn’t want to fix anything,” Loya said.

    However, they did note that they were getting a lot of customers from Los Alamos coming to their Española store.

  • New Mexico oil production improvements cause economic boom

    SANTA FE (AP) — An economic boom in southeast New Mexico has been attributed to skyrocketing oil production.

    The Albuquerque Journal reported Friday that New Mexico's revenue exceeded projected levels allowing lawmakers to authorize a $663-million spending increase for the budget year that started in July.

    Officials say the 11% increase is expected to be used toward teacher salary increases, education spending, highway repairs and construction.

    Officials say improvements to drilling techniques made New Mexico the nation's third-highest oil producing state and contributed to mass production in the Permian Basin about 290 miles (467 kilometers) from Albuquerque.

    Officials say revenue levels came two years after a steep decline forced lawmakers to cut spending.
    Economists are expected to release official revenue estimates later this month.


  • Very large oversize load to travel on New Mexico highways

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Officials say a very large oversized load will be traveling at very slow speeds on several highways across part of New Mexico the next couple of days.

    The state Department of Transportation says the so-called "super load" will be escorted by state police as it travels Friday night, Saturday and Sunday from Texas to Albuquerque, with stops in Vaughn and Bernardo.

    Highways that are part of the route include U.S. 380, U.S. 60 and Interstate 25.

    Sandia National Laboratories spokesman Troy Rummler says the load consists of a large electrical transformer that will be used for Department of Energy research.

    Albuquerque-based Sandia is a federal installation involved in the nation's nuclear weapons program and international nonproliferation efforts.

  • Triad gives $500K in grant funds to small biz group

    Triad National Security, LLC announced Wednesday it would provide a nearly $500,000 grant to the Regional Development Corporation for regional small businesses across northern New Mexico.

    The Los Alamos National Laboratory operator provided the capital through loans and a tribal diversity fund.

    “The Laboratory boosts the region’s economy through employment and procurement, and we are always looking for direct ways to increase that impact,” said Thom Mason, director of Los Alamos National Laboratory and president of Triad. “Triad’s partnership with the RDC helps businesses provide jobs across all of Northern New Mexico.”

    RDC, a local economic development nonprofit based in Española, works to boost economic diversity with a focus on native-owned, technology and manufacturing businesses.

    Triad’s investment will fund a range of RDC activities, including micro-loans for technology-based and manufacturing businesses, and a tribal economic diversity fund that makes awards to native-owned companies, according to LANL.
    The funding was announced at an event at the National Center for Genome Resources in Santa Fe Wednesday, which coincided with an RDC workshop for entrepreneurs giving information on its loan programs.

  • Scientists: July set new global heat record

    The Associated Press

    BERLIN — July was the hottest month measured on Earth since records began in 1880, the latest in a long line of peaks that scientists say backs up predictions for man-made climate change.
    The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday that July was 1.71 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the 20th century average of 60.4 F for the month.

    Because July is generally the warmest month on the calendar, meteorologists say this means it also set a new all-time monthly record for the past 140 years.

    Last month’s temperatures narrowly topped the previous July record, set in 2016, by 0.05 F.

    The results had been expected after several European countries including France, Belgium and Germany reported that July smashed previous national temperature records. The Swedish hamlet of Markusvinsa recorded a sizzling 94.6 F, the highest temperature measured north of the Arctic Circle.

    According to NOAA’s records, 9 of the 10 hottest Julys on record have occurred since 2005 and last month was the 43rd consecutive July above the 20th century average.

  • Virgin Galactic reveals outpost for space tourism

    The Associated Press

    UPHAM — Spaceport America is no longer just a shiny shell of hope that space tourism would one day launch from this remote spot in the New Mexico desert.

    The once-empty hangar that anchors the taxpayer-financed launch and landing facility has been transformed into a custom-tailored headquarters where Virgin Galactic will run its commercial flight operations.

    Two levels within the spaceport include mission control, a preparation area for pilots and a lounge for paying customers and their friends and families, with each element of the fit and finish paying homage to either the desert landscape that surrounds the futuristic outpost or the promise of traveling to the edge of space.

    From hotel rooms to aircraft cabins, the Virgin brand touts its designs for their focus on the customer experience. Spaceport is no different.

    Earthen tones help ground visitors on the first floor. The social hub includes an interactive digital walkway and a coffee bar made of Italian marble. On the upper deck, shades of white and gray speak to Virgin Galactic’s more lofty mission.