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Local News

  • Briefs 01-31-13

    Mental Health Hotline opens

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico will make its mental health hotline available statewide starting Friday.
    Gov. Susana Martinez announced the expansion of the helpline Wednesday, saying the first step to addressing a mental health crisis is ensuring easy access to services.
    Starting Feb. 1, she says the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line will be available across New Mexico at 1-855-NMCRISIS (1-855-662-7474).
    The crisis line will be staffed by mental health professionals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
    It has previously been available in some of the state’s more densely populated areas.

    Fugitive wanted in N.M. gun case captured in N.Y.

    LOS LUNAS — Los Lunas police say the last person wanted in connection with the Christmas Day burglary of six guns from a local Wal-Mart has been captured by federal authorities in New York.
    Los Lunas Police Chief Roy Melnick says Gary Wilson was arrested Wednesday by agents with the U.S. Marshals Service as he was leaving an apartment in Getzville, N.Y.
    The chief says the 27-year-old Wilson fled the state two weeks ago after police issued an arrest warrant for his alleged involvement in the burglary.
    Wilson is accused of driving the getaway truck and acting as a lookout outside the store.

  • Update 01-31-13

    Brisket night

    The LAHS NJROTC will host brisket night from 5:30-7 p.m. today at the Posse Lodge. A $10 donation includes barbecue pork, potato salad, baked beans, corn, a cookie and drink. Proceeds go toward competition travel.

    Fixing trash carts

    The Environmental Services Division announced it will fix trash and recycling roll carts free of charge. For more information, call 662-8163.

    Sierra Club

    Mariel Nanasi, executive director of New Energy Economy, will speak on “Securing a future with coal in New Mexico,” at the LASE/Sierra Club meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 6 in media room 203, building two at UNM-LA.

    Have a news tip?

    Send press releases, photos and videos to laeditor@lamonitor.com or contact the newsroom at 662-4185.

    Pancake breakfast

    The Los Alamos Sheriff’s Posse Lodge will hold a pancake breakfast from 7-11 a.m. Feb. 3 at the Posse Lodge, 650 North Mesa Road. The cost is $7 for adults and $4 for children ages 10 and younger.

    Garden Club

    The Summit Garden Club will meet Feb. 4, with guest Kimberly Tanner speaking on the topic of “Starting plants from seed, in a very, very small space.” Visitors welcome. For more information, call Nancy Nunnelly at 662-4950.

  • School board OKs $1,000 reward

    If you were looking to buy a Sony Playstation 4, maybe some rims, a new computer or perhaps a special night out with your significant other (guys, Valentine’s Day is around the corner) but you just can’t afford it right now, listen up.

    The Los Alamos School Board is giving away $1,000; all you have to do is pick up a phone.

    The catch is, you’ll be calling the Los Alamos Police Department at 622-8222 to tell them who spray painted the front of Piñon Elementary School Saturday night. That’s it. You don’t have to give your name or anything. If it leads to an arrest and a conviction, you get the money, no questions asked.

    As of now, the police have few clues.

    The only details that are known for sure is that the vandal(s) used mostly red, yellow and blue spray paint, none of it seeming to have been purchased locally. Parents, contractors and other who keep spray paint on hand are urged to check their paint supplies to see if any amounts of those colors are missing from their supply.

  • Projects face delays

    As the Los Alamos County Council debated the current and anticipated budget crunch during its Tuesday meeting, councilors made it clear that deferring capital improvement projects was preferable to lowering standards for customer service through draconian cutbacks or raising taxes.

    County staff recommended deferring $10 million in capital projects spending for up to five years.

    Council voted to defer up to $12.5 million for four years.

    “Essential services are what a government is all about,” Councilor Rick Reiss said. “We need roads. We need a library, but the library may not need to be open 24/7 with big flashing lights.

    “But there are essential services that no private entity is going to provide. We’ve got to do certain things, like pick up the trash. And if we’ve got money to pick up the trash and that’s all the money we have, then we’re going to pick up the trash. If we have money to build an addition onto a pool, that’s not an essential service and if we don’t have any money, then we can’t build it.”

  • Today in History, January 31st
  • Dog found in NM reunited with Kentucky owner

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Mandi Smith's 5-month-old puppy disappeared from the family's Fort Campbell, Ky., yard 18 months ago. So when Smith got a call saying Pooka had turned up in northern New Mexico, she says she was more than a little surprised.

    "At first I thought someone was playing a trick on me," the 26-year-old Smith said Wednesday, adding that she played the voicemail from the Espanola Valley Humane Society more than once.

    "I thought I'd never see her again."

    But it was no joke. The now 2-year-old Chihuahua-dachshund mix, also known as a "chiweenie," was found wandering the streets in Espanola on Jan. 12. She was traced back to her military family by a microchip that Smith says had been installed just days before she went missing.

    Smith and the dog were reunited Wednesday at Albuquerque's airport.

    Surrounded by cameras and reporters, it was unclear if Pooka recognized Smith. But she clearly looked content to be snuggled in her arms.

  • County Staff recommendations

    The Gross Receipts Tax revenue for fiscal year 2013 and for future years, is projected to be significantly lower than in previous years. Since this is the primary funding source for most general governmental operations and capital projects, some changes must be made in order to move back toward having a balanced budget.
    Given this context, Council would expect that the FY 2014 proposed budget would be developed with noticeable changes in all of the following six categories. Changes in each area should be pursued to the extent deemed helpful and practical.
    1. Fund balance — use of fund balance is expected when severe revenue fluctuations occur. The following parameters serve as guidelines.
    a. Use of up to 100 percent of the fund balance committed for revenue stabilization through the end of FY 2016 is acceptable as long as the projected balance at the end of FY 2017 returns to the policy target level of 5 percent of revenues. This is an extension beyond the current financial policies.
    b. Manage all other variables so that the unassigned fund balance is maintained at the policy target level of 20 percent of revenues.
    c. Re-evaluate all fund balance levels for potential re-programming and possible re-capture back into the general fund.

  • Update 01-30-13

    Brisket night

    The LAHS NJROTC will host brisket night from 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday at the Posse Lodge. A $10 donation includes barbecue pork, potato salad, baked beans, corn, a cookie and drink. Proceeds go toward competition travel.

    LALT deadline

    The deadline for receiving proposals for plays to be performed in the 2013-14 Los Alamos Little Theatre season is Thursday. Visit lalt.org for instructions.

    Sierra Club

    Mariel Nanasi, executive director of New Energy Economy, will speak on “Securing a future with coal in New Mexico,” at the LASE/Sierra Club meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 6 in media room 203, building two at UNM-LA.

    Have a news tip?

    Send press releases, photos and videos to laeditor@lamonitor.com or contact the newsroom at 662-4185.

    Pancake breakfast

    The Los Alamos Sheriff’s Posse Lodge will hold a pancake breakfast from 7-11 a.m. Feb. 3 at the Posse Lodge, 650 North Mesa Road. The cost is $7 for adults and $4 for children ages 10 and younger.

    Garden club

    The Summit Garden Club will meet Feb. 4, with guest Kimberly Tanner speaking on the topic of “Starting plants from seed, in a very, very small space.” Visitors welcome. For more information, call Nancy Nunnelly at 662-4950.

  • Isotope differences clarified

     Geologists have known for decades that the sandstones near Santa Fe and Española contain uranium. The yellow and brown mineral coatings on sand grains will kick a Geiger counter but are not rich enough to be mined at the present time. Most water wells in the area contain detectable uranium. More than 200 private and public wells contain uranium in excess of the drinking water health standard of 30 parts-per-billion and some wells contain hundreds of ppb. The primary health concern of uranium in drinking water is kidney toxicity.
    Los Alamos National Laboratory sits west of the Santa Fe-Española area, west of the Rio Grande. A New Mexico Environment Department investigation in 1995 concluded that the uranium in rocks and groundwater east of the Rio Grande, in the Santa Fe-Española area, was naturally occurring and did not come from LANL. These findings have been confirmed by a second study by NMED, LANL and three water-quality businesses in Santa Fe.
    One way to distinguish between natural and manmade uranium is by testing for its different isotopes. U-234, U-235 and U-238 are naturally occurring isotopes. U-236 is a manmade isotope that does not occur in nature. The ratios of natural isotopes, and the presence or absence of U-236, can be used to fingerprint sources of uranium.

  • County selects branding company

    Los Alamos County’s Economic Development Division announced Tuesday that it has selected Nashville, Tenn.-based North Star Destination Strategies, Inc. to conduct targeted research to define and develop a unified brand for the community of Los Alamos.
    This six to eight-month project is scheduled to kick-off next week with the research and planning phase, starting with the collection and assessment of existing data, including research, plans, communication and media, as well as an “in-market” visit to tour the community and to conduct interviews.
    Then, new research will be conducted, including an online community survey, a resident profile and a competitive positioning review, as well as both qualitative and quantitative perception studies.
    The data collected will be used to create a strategic brand platform or storyline that defines the target audience, frame of reference, point of difference (what makes Los Alamos unique) and benefit (to the prospective audience).