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Local News

  • Authorities probing cyber attack against city of Alamogordo

    ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) — Authorities are investigating a possible cyber attack against the city of Alamogordo.

    The Alamogordo Daily News reports Alamogordo City Administration discovered that the city's finance department was the victim of the fraudulent emails after city finance employees were misled by official looking emails from a contractor.

    Officials say the fraudulent emails asked to make changes to account information that led to payments being redirected to a fraudulent vendor account.

    City Attorney Petria Schreiber says no resident's information was compromised or given out.

    Schreiber says city officials turned over the case to the police department, FBI and IRS.
     

  • New Mexico AG seeks to void Hispanic land grant transfer

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas is seeking to void a 2003 land transfer from a historical Hispanic land grant on grounds it was illegal.

    Balderas announced Wednesday his office has filed a complaint against the Colorado-based nonprofit group Al Frente de Lucha over a title transfer of property belonging to La Merced de Los Pueblos de Tierra Amarilla in northern New Mexico.

    La Merced de Los Pueblos de Tierra Amarilla land grant was established in 1831 by Mexico to encourage ranchers to settle in the New Mexico territory. The Spanish government also made similar grants before 1821.

    A 2016 state audit found the La Merced board approved the sale of assets without board approval.

    Al Frente de Lucha did not immediately return an email from The Associated Press.
     

  • Electric car show brings spark of ingenuity to ScienceFest

    BY ISAAC FASON
    lanews@lamonitor.com

    The Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities hosted an electric vehicle show Saturday at the Nature Center as a part of Los Alamos ScienceFest.

    The show contained a wide range of electric vehicles, including a 2018 Tesla 3, a 2015 Nissan Leaf, a 2018 Chevrolet Volt, a 2013 Toyota RAV4 and many more.

    The vehicle that possibly stood out the most among the sleek modern vehicles, however, was a 1981 Jet Electra Van owned by Jim Redman.

    Redman has owned the vehicle for “about 4-5 years, I bought it from a guy up in Taos,” he said.

    In terms of everyday utility, the van is not as reliable compared to the more modern cars at the show.

    “This is just a fun vehicle, a classic vehicle to drive around,” said Redman. “I would like to drive it more but there’s always a project with it. Mostly I like to use it for driving around town, going grocery shopping, something like that.”

    Even though the van is not Redman’s primary vehicle, many people in Los Alamos have seen it.

    “I drive this usually in the parades, so it is fairly well known around town and I was invited to come show it off today,” Redman said on his involvement in the show.

  • ScienceFest loaded with experiments

    This year’s ScienceFest seemed to have more experiments going on than ever before, much to the delight of parents and their kids.

    On Saturday, the five-day festival’s Discovery Day, thousands flocked to exhibits at Ashley Pond Park, Bradbury Science Museum and Fuller Lodge to see what was happening.

    “It’s all hands on, so they can play with all the stuff,” said Jacob Aldersebaes, who was heading to Ashley Pond Park to stop by the large number of booths set up at the park with his son Sebastian, 4, and Sebastian’s friend Felix. “It’s not like a museum where you have to stand behind glass or a rope. Here, they can actually play with it.”

    And play they did.

    At the Bradbury Science Museum booth, Ada Mjolsness, 7, was hooking wires to a small motor that she powered with a hand crank as mom and dad watched.

    “It’s an amazing event. We’re shocked at how many things there are to do,” said Ada’s mother, Lora. “They can actually, touch, feel and experiment. To me that’s the key to getting kids interested in science. It’s about teaching them what an experiment actually is and noting the results of it.”

  • Fleur de Lys makes it official Saturday

    Patrons snacked on lemony macarons painted as uranium yellowcake, crackers spread with French pâtés and drank champagne and pastis French summer drink, as County Councilor Antonio Maggiore welcomed the owners of Fleur de Lys to Los Alamos Saturday.

    The French tearoom and grocery store has actually been open for six months, but owners Marcel and Stephanie Remillieux wanted to make sure everything was in place before the official grand opening.

    With ScienceFest happening throughout Los Alamos and the fact that in France Saturday was Bastille Day, which is French National Day, the Remillieuxs thought it would be a perfect time to celebrate.

    Also, Marcel Remillieux said, they wanted to make sure everything was in place inside the store. Since Fleur de Lys opened in February, the Remillieuxs have added a counter and dining space to their store and learned to make pastries, adding many more items to the menu. Those items include crepes, sandwiches, quiches and home baked croissants.

    When they first opened, they relied on a French pastry shop in Santa Fe to supply product, but since then the community has reached out to help them grow and become even more popular.

  • Mason: Off to a ‘pretty good start’

    Taxes and transition were among the topics addressed by Los Alamos National Laboratory Director-Designee Thomas Mason Monday during his visit to the Secret City.

    Mason, who was at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for 19 years – 10 as its director – made the Monitor his first stop after meeting with LANL employees earlier in the morning as part of the transition process that will see Triad National Security, LLC, take full management control of the lab by Nov. 1.

    “So far I think we’re off to a pretty good start,” Mason said. “We got the notice to proceed on July 3 that said transition starts on July 5. That gave us a couple of days to book our plane tickets and get out here for last Monday. Then we jumped right in and began getting ourselves oriented.”

    Mason said there was a lot of legwork that had already been done by the time he arrived in Los Alamos.

  • Lujan Grisham claims opioid overdoses fell on her watch

    SANTA FE (AP) — Congresswoman and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham is touting in a new television ad a reduction in drug overdoses during her tenure as New Mexico’s health secretary.

    The Republican Governors Association, an ally of U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce and other GOP gubernatorial candidates, calls the ad misleading and says drug overdose deaths actually increased under Lujan Grisham’s watch.

    Both candidates are pledging to address stubbornly high rates of overdose deaths in New Mexico that exceed the national average.

    A look at how the statement compares to the facts:

    LUJAN GRISHAM: “When I was secretary of health, we lowered overdoses through better treatment.” Lujan Grisham led the department from August 2004 through June 2007.

    THE FACTS: That was only true for illicit drugs such as heroin in some years, and not those counted as dying from a combination of drugs. Lujan Grisham’s campaign cited a 21 percent decline in heroin deaths from 2005-2006.

    But statewide annual drug overdose deaths increased steadily from 304 in 2004 to 439 in 2007, according to the state Department of Health. The rate of opioid-related overdose deaths from illicit drugs and pain-relief medication also increased.

  • Flow trail contract awarded, construction timeline discussed

    The bike flow trail project now has a contractor and a timeline of how it will proceed, but local horse owners still have major concerns about the location.

    At a meeting Thursday, Los Alamos County Community Services Manager Brian Brogan presented a seven-step outline to the Parks and Recreation Board.

    Mountain Capital, of Colorado, the winning bidder of the contract, will first consider options of where to build the flow trail. The contract was approved in February. There is no official timeline for the project.

    In earlier Los Alamos Monitor articles about the flow trail project, the most favored location for the trail was Bayo Canyon, a location that horse owners in Los Alamos County do not agree with.

    At Thursday’s meeting, president of the Los Alamos Stable Owners Association, Amy Rogers, submitted a two-page statement on behalf of the association on why the group think it would be bad to build a trail in that location, which is a primary access point to the horseback riders into the Los Alamos County trail system.

    “We have specific concerns in four major areas, including access for horses, safety, the impact on Bayo Canyon Trail use by Los Alamos County residents, and historic preservation,” Rogers said.  

  • Judge: No law enforcement duties for county sheriff

    A First District Court Judge Wednesday ruled in favor of Los Alamos County, supporting the county’s request to bar Los Alamos County Sheriff Marco Lucero from performing law enforcement duties. 

    Lucero’s attorney said he plans to appeal the decision.

    Lucero filed his lawsuit in August 2017, demanding the New Mexico First District Court decide whether state law take precedence over the Los Alamos County’s Charter, which allows county council to divide duties between the Los Alamos County Sheriff’s Office and Los Alamos County Police Department as it sees fit.

    In 2017, the Los Alamos County Council opted to reduce the sheriff’s operational budget to about $7,000 a year and transfer process serving duties and Lucero’s executive assistant to the Los Alamos Police Department. Lucero’s undersheriff and two deputies were laid off, leaving just Lucero with one duty to perform – maintaining the Los Alamos sex offender registry.

    First District Court Judge Francis Mathew cited a previous, 1976 Los Alamos case where the same issue was discussed.

    In that case, then Los Alamos County Sheriff Larry Vaughn filed a complaint similar to Lucero’s, saying that the county was illegally limiting his duties as sheriff, contrary to state law.

  • Public gets first tour Manhattan Project sites

    Submitted to the Monitor

    The U. S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration’s Los Alamos Field Office and Los Alamos National Laboratory partnered with the U. S. Department of Interior, National Park Service, for a pilot tour of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Los Alamos Thursday and Friday as part of  ScienceFest.

    “I believe today’s tour provided a meaningful experience to all the participants and we look forward to planning the next one,” said Steve Goodrum, NNSA Los Alamos field office manager.

    The tours featured a visit to the Pond Cabin, which served as an office for Emilio Segrè’s Radioactivity Group studying plutonium; a battleship bunker used to protect equipment and staff during implosion design explosives testing, and the Slotin Building, site of Louis Slotin’s criticality accident.

    The sites became accessible to the public through guided tours. The sites are “behind the fence,” or on secure government property that is otherwise not accessible without security clearance.

    About 100 members of the public from around the nation were able to participate in the tours, which are the first of their kind at Los Alamos.