Local News

  • N.H. Store Owner Frets Over 'Fiscal Cliff'

    David Pastor, the owner of an appliance store in southern New Hampshire, worries that the fiscal cliff debate is hurting his sales.

  • Video: In honor of 12-12-12
  • Most Googled in 2012: Whitney, PSY, Sandy

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — The world's attention wavered between the tragic and the silly in 2012, and along the way, millions of people searched the Web to find out about a royal princess, the latest iPad, and a record-breaking skydiver.

    Whitney Houston was the "top trending" search of the year, according to Google Inc.'s year-end "zeitgeist" report. Google's 12th annual roundup is "an in-depth look at the spirit of the times as seen through the billions of searches on Google over the past year," the company said in a blog post Wednesday.

    People around the globe searched en masse for news about Houston's accidental drowning in a bathtub just before she was to perform at a pre-Grammy Awards party in February.

    Google defines topics as "trending" when they garner a high amount of traffic over a sustained period of time.

    Korean rapper PSY's "Gangnam Style" music video trotted into second spot, a testament to his self-deprecating giddy-up dance move. The video is approaching a billion views on YouTube.

  • Update 12-12-12

    Swearing in

    The public is invited to attend the official swearing in ceremony for newly elected officials at 10 a.m. Dec. 21. in the Municipal Courtroom of the Justice Center. A reception with light refreshments will follow in the lobby of the Justice Center.

    'Topper alumni

    The Hilltopper Alumni Society’s holiday social will be from 4-7 p.m. today at Dixie Girl, 1789 Central Ave. This is an opportunity for graduates of Los Alamos High School to mix and mingle. All Hilltopper Alumni are welcome to attend.

    County Council

    County Council will meet at
    7 p.m. Dec. 18 in Council Chambers.

    Film series

    The White Rock Family Friendly Series presents “Brave,” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the White Rock Town Hall.

    Have a news tip?

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

  • Apple farm dispute goes to hearing

    SANTA FE (AP) — The operators of a historic New Mexico apple orchard that was destroyed by fire and flooding last year are locked in a battle with the state over the future of the land.
    The longtime operators of Dixon’s Apple Orchard began efforts Monday to resurrect a previously rejected plan to lease the farm to San Felipe Pueblo, the Albuquerque Journal reported Tuesday.
    Becky and Jim Mullane appealed State Land Commissioner Ray Powell’s rejection of their $2.8 million lease proposal involving the pueblo and hope ongoing hearings on the issue might bring a reversal.
    Powell, in rejecting the pueblo lease deal, said continuing the 75-year lease agreement reached with the farm by then-Land Commissioner Patrick Lyons in 2007 is not a good deal for the state land trust, which benefits public schools and other entities.
    The leased property includes 8,500 acres adjacent to the orchard for which the Mullanes pay just $100 a year, a rate that would be locked in for decades if the lease assignment with the pueblo is accepted, Powell noted.
    Former state District Judge James Hall is scheduled to hear testimony this week and will make a recommendation in the form of a report to Powell, who can accept or reject the findings.

  • Speeds reduced next week

    Los Alamos County staff has been working with the New Mexico Department of Transportation to have N.M. 502 speed limits reduced in the Eastern Area. This is the first step in a plan to address residents’ complaints about sound levels.

    NMDOT performed a speed study and recommended reducing the speed limit to 40 mph along the airport and to 35 mph at Airport Road.

    The county received notification yesterday that the plan has been approved. New traffic signs should be installed by the end of next week.  

    Once the speed limit changes have been in place a month or so to allow drivers to adjust, staff will check sound levels to determine additional sound mitigation measures.

    At Tuesday’s council meeting, residents expressed concerns that a new study will delay the construction of a sound wall.

    Public Works Director Philo Shelton responded that there could be a small delay in the projected start date, but he anticipates the sound wall will be completed by the end of the 2013 construction season.
    Eastern Area resident Sue Pope asked that construction vehicles for the Trinity Site project be required to use the truck route to reduce noise levels.

  • N.M. 502 slogs forward

    The saga of N.M. 502 continues.

    The Los Alamos County Council voted 6-1 on Tuesday to adopt a new plan for road improvements that meets New Mexico Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration criteria.

    The plan revises one adopted by council in February that failed to meet NMDOT and FHWA approval, risking $3.8 million in State Transportation Improvement Program funds earmarked for the project.
    Councilor Geoff Rodgers made the motion to approve the proposal, which passed 6-1, with Councilor Vincent Chiravalle opposed.

    “We have to achieve a balance and that balance is probably going to satisfy no one. And the balance that’s been presented is the best that we’re going to get within the constraints that we face with the threat of losing the federal funding to at least fix part of this project,” Rodgers said.

    The compromise integrates a plan proposed by NMDOT in 2007 with the option approved in February. Council had rejected the 2007 plan because it failed to adequately address the concerns of residential neighborhoods and the county’s desire for a more community-oriented, multi-modal approach to road design.

  • County, NNSA modify fire protection agreement

    The National Nuclear Security Administration and the Los Alamos Fire Department have come to terms on a modified Cooperative Fire Protection Agreement to ensure emergency response capabilities for Los Alamos National Laboratory and Los Alamos County.

    County Administrator Harry Burgess and Kevin Smith, manager of NNSA’s Los Alamos Site Office, signed the agreement last Thursday afternoon.

    The modifications will be in effect for the next nine months, with a renewal agreement targeted for completion in September 2013. The renewal agreement requires Los Alamos County Council approval.

    Under the modified agreement, NNSA provides significant funding for fire department salaries, facilities and major equipment. In exchange, the fire department commits to performance-based standards of emergency response, training, certification, security compliance and specialized hazardous event capabilities.

    The benefit to NNSA is reliable fire protection capability deployed in proximity to its facilities, which are widely scattered around Los Alamos County. The benefit to the county is that homeowners and non-laboratory enterprises are served cost-effectively by an exceptionally capable emergency response system.

  • Crews wrapping up work on Trinity Drive water main break

       DPU crews have been working all night repairing a 12-inch water line that ruptured along the eastbound lane in the 3700 block of Trinity Drive.

    “Crews were on sight immediately and they have been working all night,” DPU spokesperson Allison Majure said.  

    DPU's Julie Williams-Hill said the leak was repaired by 7:30 a.m. but crews were still working on road repairs as of noon today.


    Vicki Martinez of the Los Alamos Medical Center said she was unaware of any problems at the hospital, which is located nearby.

  • Espanola man who killed teens on pilgrimage dies

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — An Espanola man who pleaded guilty to killing a teenage couple during a religious pilgrimage in 2000 has died in an Albuquerque hospital.

    Department of Corrections Director of Public Affairs spokeswoman Christina Rodda says 32-year-old Carlos Herrera was taken to the hospital from a state prison on Dec. 4 and died Monday. Rodda tells the Santa Fe New Mexican that it appears Herrera died of natural causes.

    The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator plans an autopsy this week.

    Herrera pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Karen Castanon and Ricky Martinez in 2000. He was serving two consecutive 30-year life sentences.

    The 17-year-old teen sweethearts were participating in the annual Good Friday pilgrimage to Chimayo when they were killed.