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Local News

  • Crab Fest set for Feb. 23

    The Rotary Club of Los Alamos is having its 10th annual Crab Fest fund raiser from 5:30-9 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Knights of Columbus Hall at the intersection of Trinity Drive and DP Road.

    The Crab Fest is an opportunity to enjoy family-style all-you-can eat crab legs and prawns (and chicken), participate in live and silent auctions, and help raise money for service projects both in the community and internationally.

    All proceeds benefit the Los Alamos Public Schools school safety initiatives, education grants, scholarships, community funding requests, and international projects in Mexico, Guatemala and Nepal.

    Auction items this year include autographed photos of sports greats Phil Mickelson, Willie Mays, Michael Jordan and Arnold Palmer, and an autographed Cowboys Legends football helmet and autographed Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) boxing gloves. 

    There are props from the “Manhattan” TV series; original artwork by Tatiana Klimov, Kathi Geoffrion Parker, Secundino Sandoval, and Michael McCabe. 

    There are Taos Ski Valley passes, a helicopter ride, wine, Nambé ware, and gift certificates. This year we are offering a ski trip to British Columbia and a classic Wrigley Field rooftop experience.

  • House committee advances $462M infusion for education

    BY ROBERT NOTT
    The New Mexican

    The House Education Committee on Saturday unanimously advanced a bill that would appropriate $452 million in new public school funding in the coming fiscal year for at-risk students in New Mexico and millions more for small schools.

    The action comes as lawmakers and the governors are drafting an overall state budget for fiscal year 2020 that includes a $400 million to $500 million infusion for education to help fulfill a state District Court ruling in a lawsuit that says New Mexico has shortchanged several groups of students with the highest needs -- those learning English as a second language, special-needs students, low-income kids and Native American children.

    District Judge Sarah Singleton of Santa Fe issued a final decree Thursday in the case, in which a group of plaintiffs argued New Mexico is failing to provide an adequate education for these students.

    In her final ruling, Singleton again wrote that state leaders and the Public Education Department have violated the state constitution and “the rights of at-risk students by by failing to provide them with a uniform statewide system of free public schools sufficient for their education.”

  • N.M. to provide US Capitol its next Christmas tree

    TAOS (AP) — This year’s U.S. Capitol Christmas tree will be coming from northern New Mexico.
    U.S. Forest Service officials announced Tuesday that a tree will be cut from the Carson National Forest just outside of Taos.

    The chosen tree will be displayed on the Capitol’s west lawn next December.

    The state will also send along 70 smaller companion trees to adorn other government buildings in Washington.

    Forest rangers say communities across New Mexico will be invited to help hand-make ornaments for the tree throughout the year.

    Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says it is an honor for the state to be represented in this way.

  • Crime on the rise in LA

    According to the Los Alamos Police Department’s annual crime report, crime tracked by the department increased by 8 percent last year.

    Property crime increased by 8.9 percent over 2017. In 2018, 110 property crimes were committed in Los Alamos County.

    There were 19 burglaries, eight more compared to 2017. There were 88 larcenies committed in 2018, the same amount were committed in 2017.

    Two auto thefts occurred last year, the same amount as in 2017, but in 2018, the county had one arson.

    There were 25 violent crimes committed in 2018, the same amount that was committed in 2017.

    In 2018, there were no homicides or manslaughters reported.

    However, there were five rapes reported to police, one more than in 2017.

    In 2018, there was only one aggravated robbery, but there were two aggravated robberies in 2017.

    There were 19 aggravated assaults committed in 2018, the same amount were committed in 2017.

    Los Alamos police wrote fewer traffic tickets in 2018, according to the numbers. Minor offenses, DWI incidents and vehicle accidents increased. In 2017 police wrote 2,110 traffic tickets and in 2018 they wrote 1,573. In 2017, there were 32 DWIs and 44 in 2018.

  • LANL employee arrested after federal agent finds possible child porn on lab computer

    A Los Alamos National Laboratory employee was arrested Feb. 14 after a federal agent found possible inappropriate materials and possible child pornography on a lab computer.

    Steve J. Sandoval, 54, was arrested by local police following a federal investigation that started in April 2018. Sandoval was booked into the Los Alamos County Detention Center at 8:36 p.m. Feb. 14 and later released.

    Federal agents searched Sandoval’s personal computer and catalogued several images and videos of suspected child pornography, according to his arrest report. Sandoval voluntarily allowed federal agents to search his personal computers, according to the report.

    Los Alamos police were notified in September 2018 of possible crimes by a special agent with the Department of Energy’s Technology Crimes Section in the Office of the Inspector General.

    The federal agent told police that Sandoval was interviewed April 11, 2018, for having “inappropriate” materials and “possible” child pornography on his work computer.

    From personal computers and digital storage devices taken from Sandoval’s home in the course of the investigation, federal agents reportedly catalogued 68 images and videos of suspected child pornography, according to the arrest report.

  • Hudson’s account of Iwo Jima to be discussed at Mesa Public Library

    Though Bill Hudson died four years ago, his memory still lives on through friends and family, who are preserving his legacy.

    At 2 p.m. Sunday at the Mesa Public Library, World War II historian Nancy Bartlit and Bill Hudson’s biographer, Karen Tallentire, will talk about Hudson’s experiences as a 19-year-old U.S. Marine at the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.

    They will also talk about his contributions to the Los Alamos community after the war. An hour-long Canadian documentary, “Uncommon Valour: The Battle for Iwo Jima” will also be shown. The documentary features an interview with Hudson.

    Hudson died in 2015 at the age of 90. Throughout his life, he often gave public talks about Iwo Jima and how important the battle was for the Allies.

    Bartlit and Tallentire have been giving the talk for the last two to three years. They hope to keep the memory of Iwo Jima and Bill Hudson’s role in it alive in the community, especially in the minds of Los Alamos’ youth.

    “This is Bill’s dream. That the history, what happened on Iwo Jima, the sacrifices that were made are understood by Los Alamos High School kids,” Bartlit said.

  • N3B gives cleanup update

    The chief scientist of water programs at N3B, the contractor in charge of cleaning up decades-old contamination sites at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, said significant progress is being made in cleaning up a chromium plume at Mortandad Canyon.

    N3B Scientist Danny Katzman made his remarks at a Voices of Los Alamos meeting at the Unitarian Church of Los Alamos earlier this month.

    While a permanent solution to cleaning the plume is a few years off, according to the project’s official timeline, Katzman said they’re starting work this year on stopping the plume from expanding past the lab’s boundary with San Ildefonso Pueblo,  and also into Los Alamos County’s drinking water well field.  

    According to Katzman, one of the ways they hope to accomplish that is by converting one of six injection wells they have along the plume’s boundary into an extraction well. Katzman said computer modeling showed them the new extraction well would help reduce the footprint of the plume over time, and keep the chromium from migrating into a nearby county drinking water well.

  • Moratorium on new charter schools passes first hurdle

    By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — No new charter schools would be allowed to open in New Mexico until 2022 under a proposal that has cleared its first legislative hurdle.

    The bill has the support of Democrats and teacher unions. It passed the House Education Committee on a 10-3 vote Wednesday.

    Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham also has voiced support for imposing a moratorium on opening new charter schools until state leaders have time to review how those in place are performing.

    Some parents testified that putting the brakes on new charter schools would limit options for families in a state that has struggled for decades to boost success rates within the public school system.

    The bill's supporters argue that charter schools siphon money from traditional schools and that the state is facing costly court mandates for improving opportunities for minority and low-income students.
     

  • More New Mexico counties adopt resolutions against gun bills

    By The Associated Press

    Two more rural counties in New Mexico have passed resolutions saying they will not require their sheriffs to enforce a series of gun-control proposals that have gone before state lawmakers.

    Commissioners in San Juan County in the state's northwest corner and in Eddy County in the southeast have adopted "Second Amendment Sanctuary County" resolutions Tuesday.

    Sheriffs in Curry, Quay, Socorro and Union counties recently presented similar resolutions that commissioners have adopted in response to the proposed state legislation.

    The proposals include a bill that would expand requirements for background checks on gun sales. Another measure would allow for courts to order people who are deemed to be a threat to themselves or others to temporarily surrender their guns to law enforcement.
     

  • New Mexico to sue Trump over emergency wall declaration

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico plans to join other states in suing President Donald Trump over his emergency declaration to fund a wall at the U.S. border with Mexico, the state's Democratic attorney general and governor announced Monday.

    Trump says immigrants are invading the country and has declared a national emergency to bypass Congress to use money from the Pentagon and counterdrug efforts to fulfill his promise of completing the border wall.

    Hector Balderas and Lujan Grisham said the president's declaration would improperly divert funds from crucial efforts to protect New Mexican residents and also put the border state's economy at risk.

    Lujan Grisham has repeatedly challenged Trump's description of a security crisis on the border and recently withdrew most of the state's National Guard contingent, leaving about a dozen troops in a well-traveled corridor for cross-border migrants.

    On Monday, she said Trump's border wall doesn't address real humanitarian and safety problems at the border.

    "There is zero real-world basis for the emergency declaration, and there will be no wall," she said in a statement.