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Local News

  • X-mas tree permits on sale Monday

    Santa Fe National Forest offices and various vendors in Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Pecos and Las Vegas will begin selling personal-use Christmas tree permits for $10 beginning Monday, through Dec. 24. 

    Permit holders may also cut their tree(s) on Monday. If you plan to cut your tree on Thanksgiving Day, purchase your permit ahead of time because all Forest Service offices will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. 

    Permits can be purchased at the following locations.

    • Los Alamos Historic Society and Gift Shop, 1921 Juniper, 662-4493;

    • REI, 500 Market Street, Santa Fe, 982-3557

  • BPU passes sewer rate hike

    The Los Alamos Board of Public Utilities voted unanimously on Wednesday to endorse an increase in sewer rates proposed by the Department of Public Utilities.

    The hike is necessary to cover the costs of repairing and replacing the 50- to 60-year-old infrastructure. The proposed ordinance increases overall sewer rates but also simplifies residential customers’ bills to a restructured flat fee every month. 

    It removes the variable rate that is based on the amount of potable water consumed during winter months. The ordinance also includes continuing annual rate increases of eight percent for the next four years beginning in June 2013 to meet the critical future capital expenses of the sewer collection and wastewater treatment systems.

  • Police pursue charges against local man

    Santa Fe Police Captain Aric Wheeler said Thursday night that animal cruelty charges are expected to be filed against Los Alamos restaurateur/realtor Jake Smith, soon.

    Wheeler said the police have been in contact with the Santa Fe District Attorney’s Office about the appropriate charges after the decomposed bodies of two dogs that apparently starved to death were taken from Smith’s Santa Fe apartment earlier this month.

    The police and DA are working to determine whether to file felony or misdemeanor charges.

    “There is cruelty to animals at different levels and we are looking at previous case law,” Wheeler said. “We have to determine what type of cruelty to animals case this falls under.”

    Wheeler and the police department want to file felony charges but it is not their call.

  • Park design gets favorable response

    Final design plans for Ashley Pond Park renovations received a largely positive response from approximately 25 residents who attended an informational meeting Wednesday. 

    Los Alamos County Parks Manager Dick McIntyre and project consultant George Radnovich, a principal of Sites Southwest, LLC, presented the design plans and responded to a wide range of questions. 

    The main purpose of the redesign is the restoration of Ashley Pond, which is in the early stages of eutrophication — a depletion of oxygen in the water. The pond will be completely reconstructed with new aeration systems and wetlands as well as landscape buffers and drainage solutions to decrease runoff — all focused on improving water quality.

    The 90 percent design review included modifications based on feedback from earlier meetings. The pond will retain a fountain at the center and a new waterfall that will help with aeration has been relocated to the western side of the pond, away from the location for a permanent stage.

    The sidewalk between the new stage, which projects out over the pond. and a dance platform was widened to 18-feet to provide better access around the pond during concerts.

  • Probe points to lax practices

    First in a series

    A recently released 116-page federal report said the accident involving Technetium-99 at the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Neutron Center was “entirely preventable.”

    The federal report detailed how on Aug. 20, a LANL worker at the Neutron Science Center unknowingly opened a canister, which contained an uncontrolled radioactive substance.

    It was quickly determined that the contamination had spread offsite and response teams were immediately brought in. 

  • Petraeus believed terrorists behind Libya attack

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Ex-CIA Director David Petraeus told lawmakers during private hearings Friday that he believed all along that the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya was a terrorist strike, even though that wasn't how the Obama administration initially described it publicly.

    The retired general addressed the House Intelligence Committee in his first Capitol Hill testimony since resigning last week over an extramarital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell, but he did not discuss that scandal except to express regret about the circumstances of his departure.

    Lawmakers said Petraeus testified that the CIA's talking points written in response to the assault on the diplomat post in Benghazi that killed four Americans referred to it as a terrorist attack. But Petraeus told the lawmakers it was removed by other federal agencies who made changes to the CIA's draft.

  • Stock up on Twinkies... Hostess Ceases Operations, 18,500 Out of Work
  • Today in History for November 16th
  • 4 dead, 17 hurt when train hits Texas vets parade

    MIDLAND, Texas (AP) — Authorities say four people are dead and 17 others are injured after a train slammed into a parade float headed to a West Texas event honoring wounded veterans.

    City of Midland spokesman Ryan Stout says the crash happened at a Union Pacific railroad crossing around 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

    Stout says 10 of those injured are in critical condition at Midland Memorial Hospital, while the seven others are in stable condition.

    National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Peter Knudson says the NTSB is investigating. A message left with a Union Pacific spokeswoman was not returned.

    The parade was supposed to end at a "Hunt for Heroes" banquet. The wounded service members were then going to be treated to a deer-hunting trip this weekend.

  • Gonzales nominated for federal court

    President Barack Obama has nominated U.S. Attorney Ken Gonzales to a federal district court judgeship in New Mexico.
    Gonzales’ nomination was among seven announced by the White House Wednesday. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Gonzales will replace retiring federal Judge Bruce Black of Santa Fe.
    Gonzales was one of five candidates recommended to the president in September by New Mexico’s two U.S. senators.
    Gonzales has served as U.S. attorney since 2010. Before that, he spent 11 years working as an assistant U.S. attorney.
    He also is a major in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.
    A graduate of the University of New Mexico law school, he began his legal career as a clerk for Joseph Baca, chief justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court.
    U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall applauded the nomination of Gonzales.