Local News

  • LA County Council passes $188M budget

    The Los Alamos County Council passed the proposed budget for fiscal year 2019 in the amount of $188,838,880 Tuesday following two nights of departmental budget hearings.

    The budget, which was arrived at under a flat budget moratorium by County Manager Harry Burgess, will be submitted to the state prior to the June 1 deadline, and will then be adjusted either up or down depending on the outcome of the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s contract status. The outcome of the lab’s bid won’t be made public for at least a couple of months.

    Should the contract come back putting LANL in the for-profit category, the council would start considering budget options, or add backs, submitted by each department.

    “Although flat budgets are easy to listen to and easy to approve, I think we’d all rather be fighting over a list of add backs at this point,” said Councilor Antonio Maggiore. “So I look forward to the contract getting resolved and being able to hack this out in the true, usual fashion and get a little more for the community.”

    But should the contract outcome be not-for-profit, the councilors would then have to look for cuts in the budget.

  • Seoul: N. Korean leader removes major nuclear sticking point

    Associated Press

    SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Thursday that his rival, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, isn’t asking for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula as a precondition for abandoning his nuclear weapons. If true, this would seem to remove a major sticking point to a potential nuclear disarmament deal.

    North Korea, a small, authoritarian nation surrounded by bigger and richer neighbors, has always linked its pursuit of nuclear weapons to what it calls a “hostile” U.S. policy that is embodied by the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea, the 50,000 stationed in Japan, and the “nuclear umbrella” security guarantee that Washington offers allies Seoul and Tokyo.

    Although Moon reported that North Korea isn’t asking for the U.S. troops to leave, he said the North still wants the United States to end its “hostile” policy and offer security guarantees. When North Korea has previously talked about “hostility” it has been linked to the U.S. troops in South Korea.

  • Road to be closed Tuesday

    Torreon Road in Los Alamos will be closed for a sewer repair Monday and Tuesday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
    Local access will be provided for residents and deliveries.
    Contact Cartwrights Plumbing for any questions or concerns at 505-982-2511.

  • School board votes in $37.9M budget

    The Los Alamos School Board voted 5-0 Tuesday to pass a $37.9 million budget for the 2018-19 school year.

    The budget includes a 4.5 percent raise for all staff and teachers starting July 1. Raises for teachers over the last four budgets totaled 10 percent overall.

    Other budget highlights included the addition of a student success coordinator at the Los Alamos Middle School, a middle school math coach and the addition of a part-time Native American liaison for the middle school.

    The board began working on the budget at the beginning of the year, and prioritized the budget according to the goals and directives included in the school board’s Strategic Plan. The board adopted the Strategic Plan in April 2016. The top three priorities of the plan are student well being, student learning and teacher and staff well-being and excellence.

    The suggestion to add a Native American liaison came from the district’s Native American Parent Advisory Council.

    “There was a need to coordinate more closely with the tribal governors and to provide training for culturally appropriate material for students,” said Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus.

  • Los Alamos loses a legend

     He was born with so little, but in the end, had given the community he chose to settle in so much. Los Alamos lost one of its most influential residents Wednesday.

    Nerses “Krik” Krikorian was born on a Turkish roadside in 1921. He was a refugee of the Armenian genocide. He was an immigrant, a chemist and a family man. He passed away Wednesday at 97.

    Krikorian, had such an influence on what Los Alamos is today that in a way, he is still here. He helped found the Los Alamos United Church of Los Alamos, the J. Oppenheimer Memorial Committee and he also helped create the original county charter. 

    He did all these things while working as a chemist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and raising a family. These are just some of the reminders of Krikorian’s dedication to making what started out as a place to put a secret laboratory into a real, working community. 

  • Forecasters: Storm to worsen New Mexico wildfire conditions

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Forecasters say a storm system approaching New Mexico will produce dangerous wildfire conditions in western New Mexico Thursday afternoon and evening and that blowing dust will reduce visibility along east-west oriented routes such as Interstate 40.

    The National Weather Service says key impacts from expected strong winds is that existing or new wildfires will likely spread rapidly and be hard to control and may send burning embers long distances.

    A briefing paper issued Thursday morning says isolated dry thunderstorms may start new fires across central New Mexico with the threat worsened by gusty and erratic winds.

    Meanwhile, snowfall accumulations in New Mexico's northern mountains are forecast to range from 2 to 6 inches with slick road conditions expected in the mountains.

  • Marijuana debate stirs up governor's race in New Mexico

    By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jeff Apodaca on Thursday called for the expansion of New Mexico's medical marijuana program and for legalization of recreational use, saying the poverty-stricken state is missing out on millions of dollars in tax revenues and jobs that could be spurred by the industry.

    Apodaca released his plan solidifying his position as a supporter of legalization as the race for governor heats up.

    Apodaca pointed to New Mexico's history as the first state to allow for research and experimentation with marijuana as a therapeutic drug. It was his father, then-Gov. Jerry Apodaca, who signed that legislation in 1978.

    The research program stalled and it wasn't until 2008 that New Mexico rolled out its medical cannabis program.

    "Why are we shooting for being the last to legalize cannabis for adult use?" Apodaca said.

    The push for legalization comes as New Mexico's medical marijuana program has grown exponentially in just the last two years. Producers licensed under the program reported record sales of more than $86 million in 2017 and the number of patients enrolled now tops 50,000.

  • Police arrest a Los Alamos man on drug charges

    Police investigating activity at a vacant lot off Trinity Drive arrested an 18-year-old Los Alamos man April 9 on two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, possession of a controlled substance (cocaine), possession of marijuana and use or possession of drug paraphernalia.

    At the scene, Los Alamos Police Officer Gabriel Nieto observed three passengers in the vehicle.

    Isaiah Aylmer was in one of the rear passenger seats of the vehicle.

    “Due to the hidden location they are at and previous graffiti issues in the area, I asked them for identification,” said Nieto in his report.

    Nieto then asked who owned a black bag and two backpacks inside the vehicle. Isaiah Aylmer reportedly at first denied ownership of any of the items, but later confirmed that a backpack containing the illegal substances was his, according to police reports.

    He allegedly told Nieto that when they saw him, the other two passengers in his vehicle allegedly passed Aylmer the substances and was told to hide them, according to the report.

    Aylmer was released on his own recognizance and is due to appear in court for a preliminary hearing April 27.

  • Española man arrested on suspicion of drug possession

    Police reportedly found heroin on a suspect while he was being checked into the Los Alamos County Detention Center April 9.

    The suspect, Brandyn Valdez, 22, of Española was arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance, tampering with evidence, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance (heroin) and driving with a suspended or revoked license.

    Police first came in contact with Valdez when a call came in regarding a vehicle driving in and out of a marked lane on East Jemez Road as he was driving toward White Rock.

    Police reportedly pulled Valdez’s car over. Valdez was driving a white pickup truck. Police and Valdez pulled into a parking lot off of Sherwood Boulevard, where police arrested Valdez on suspicion of driving with a suspended license, a charge he was previously cited for earlier in the month.

    While being booked into the Los Alamos County Detention Center, police allegedly discovered suboxone, heroin, and drug paraphernalia hidden on his person that Valdez allegedly didn’t tell the officer who arrested him.

    A preliminary hearing for Valdez’s case is set for May 11 in Los Alamos Magistrate Court.

  • Starbucks to close stores for an afternoon for bias training


    NEW YORK (AP) — Starbucks, trying to tamp down a racially charged uproar over the arrest of two black men at one of its stores in Philadelphia, plans to close more than 8,000 U.S. stores for several hours next month to conduct racial-bias training for nearly 175,000 workers.

    The announcement Tuesday comes after the arrests sparked protests and calls for a boycott on social media. A video shows police talking with two black men seated at a table. After a few minutes, officers handcuff the men and lead them outside as other customers say they weren't doing anything wrong. Philadelphia-area media said the two were waiting for a friend.

    Starbucks, which once urged its employees to start conversations about race with customers, found itself through the looking glass, under fire for its treatment of black people.

    The company reacted from a high level: Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson called the arrests "reprehensible" and said he wanted to apologize to the two men face to face. The company and a lawyer for the two men said they did meet, and Johnson delivered the apology. Starbucks also said the employee who called police no longer works at the store, but declined to give details.