Local News

  • N.M. 502, Trinity lead county news

    First of a series
    N.M. 502 takes another turn

    More than a year ago, council decided to table plans to redesign the entire length of Trinity Drive and focus on a small portion of N.M. 502 already approved for federal funding in FY2014.

    A Technical Advisory Committee comprised of staff and citizen stakeholders was charged with evaluating various plans and presenting a recommendation to the transportation board.

    In February, the transportation board and council both approved a plan to redesign a section between DP Road and Airport road.

    The plan changed again in December when it failed to meet NMDOT and FHWA approval, risking $3.8 million in State Transportation Improvement Program funds earmarked for the project.

    The February proposal called for two lanes with left turn medians through the Eastern Area.  NMDOT and FHWA advised the county it must widen the highway to four lanes between Central Avenue and an area just east of Canyon Road to meet level of service for side streets in the area.

  • Church fire tops the list

    Here is a look at some of the top police, fire and rescue stories of 2012.

    It took close to three hours but the Los Alamos Fire Department extinguished a major fire at New Beginnings Fellowship Assembly of God Church at 112 East Road on July 4.

    Deputy Fire Chief Justin Grider confirmed the fire was out around 1 p.m. It looked as if the fire was out earlier but LAFD was contending with hotspots in the rafters of the chapel.

    Grider said the chapel was a total loss and the main church received smoke damage.

    After a lengthy investigation, it was later determined that the fire’s cause was electrical.

    Paint truck skids off N.M. 4

    The forest was awash in white and yellow paint.

    A white 1998 International flatbed truck, carrying 1,000 gallons of yellow and white road striping paint, was heading eastbound on N.M. 4 near mile marker 49, when it exited the roadway and fell approximately 200 feet before coming to rest in the forest Sept. 18.

    The vehicle driven by Francisco Maes, 51, of Willard, unleashed its colorful cargo on the way down the embankment. Maes suffered injuries that were reported to be serious and was flown by helicopter to Christus St. Vincent in Santa Fe. 

    He later said his brakes went out.

  • PF-4 a top concern of DNFSB

    On the day before Christmas, the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board took on the role of Scrooge as it made its report to Congress on the status of significant unresolved issues with the Department of Energy’s Design and Construction Projects.

    The report cited a couple of projects taking place at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    In a letter from DNFSB’s Peter Winokur to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the seismic safety issue at the Plutonium Facility took center stage.

    Here are the highlights of Winokur’s report about PF-4.

    • On Oct. 26, 2009, the DNFSB issued a recommendation, which addressed the need to reduce the potential consequences to the public from a seismic event at PF-4, as analyzed in a Documented Safety Analysis. In October 2011, the National Nuclear Security Administration approved a revision to the PF-4 DSA. The revision included a refined accident analysis for seismically-induced events and asserted that all postulated accident scenarios have mitigated dose consequences to the public that are below the Evaluation Guideline of 25 rem Total Effective Dose The mitigated dose consequence is a key driver for the seismic upgrades planned at PF-4, because it indicates whether additional seismically qualified controls are required to protect the public.

  • State Dept. strengthens Haiti travel warning

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department has issued a revised Haiti travel advisory, warning Americans planning to travel to the Caribbean island nation about robbery, lawlessness, infectious disease and poor medical facilities.

    "U.S. citizens have been victims of violent crime, including murder and kidnapping, predominantly in the Port-au-Prince area. No one is safe from kidnapping, regardless of occupation, nationality, race, gender or age," the department said.

    The new travel warning was released Friday to replace a less strongly worded advisory issued in June.

    In recent months, travelers arriving in Port-au-Prince, the capital and largest city, on flights from the United States have been attacked and robbed after leaving the airport. This year, at least two U.S. citizens were shot and killed in robbery and kidnapping incidents, the State Department said.

    "Haitian authorities have limited capacity to deter or investigate such violent acts or prosecute perpetrators," the department said.

  • Today in History for December 29th
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  • Happy holidays from NCRTD

    This year the North Central Regional Transit District hosted a Holiday Giving Tree in its Jim West Regional Transit Center headquarters to benefit the foster children of Rio Arriba and Los Alamos Counties, through the Española Center for the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department. Drivers and administration were quick to snap up gift tags for recipients and before long, the tree was surrounded by brightly wrapped gifts. Representatives from CYFD joined RTD drivers and staff by the tree as they came by the RTD headquarters to collect presents that were being dispersed to the kids at their holiday party Dec. 13. NCRTD/Courtesy

  • Rio Arriba County Sheriff suspects cartels in slayings

    ESPAÑOLA (AP) — The Rio Arriba County Sheriff said he believes the recent execution-style slayings of two men and the case of two other men found dead in a burned out trailer are linked to Mexican drug cartels.

    Sheriff Tommy Rodella said one of two men found dead in the burned trailer in Medanales on Dec. 21 was a suspect in the double murder 11 days earlier in Hernandez. Those bodies were also found in a mobile home that had been set on fire.

    Rodella said the slayings have all the earmarks of a Mexican cartel hit.

    “There was drugs involved,” he said. “And I think because of the level of drug dealing that has been going on now for some time I think that is indicative that the (cartels) are here. The thing is, that this isn’t the first case where someone has been murdered and burned. That sends a hell of a message.”

    Rodella said 20-year-old Tomas J. Sanchez was one of two people found dead inside the burned trailer.

    He said he was the top suspect in the Dec. 10 deaths of 53-year-old Matthew Maestas and 47-year-old Joseph Eugene Valdez, both of whom has been shot five times before their trailer was set on fire.

    The men, who were friends, were found dead in Maestas’ trailer home and appeared to have been targeted by someone they knew.

  • Sheehey's main goal: Boosting retail

    Third in a three-part series

    Municipal Judge Alan Kirk swore in new councilors Steve Girrens, Kristin Henderson and Pete Sheehey, along with new county clerk Sharon Stover last week.

    The priorities each of the new councilors has established as they prepare to take up the reins may point to some shifting alliances as the council is reformulated after the first of the year and it may also shed some light on how these new councilors will reshape local governance during the next four years.

    Pete Sheehey
    “The thing that I was talking about all through the campaign and people were telling me about as I was knocking on doors was priorities,” Sheehey said. “Can we really afford all the things we’ve committed to and are they the most important things that we should be spending our money on?”

    Sheehey’s priorities are public safety, infrastructure and support for public education, economic development and recreational amenities — in that order. He asserts that most of the people he has talked to have similar priorities and questions whether the previous council followed those priorities when they decided on CIP funding.