Local News

  • Drought on tap to intensify over US Southwest

    By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Rivers are drying up, popular mountain recreation spots are closing and water restrictions are in full swing as a persistent drought intensifies its grip on pockets of the American Southwest.

    Climatologists and other experts are scheduled Wednesday to provide an update on the situation in the Four Corners region — where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet.

    The area is dealing with exceptional drought — the worst category. That has left farmers, ranchers and water planners bracing for a much different situation than just a year ago when only a fraction of the region was experiencing low levels of dryness.

    With the region's water resources strained, a top federal official has resumed pressure on states in the Southwest to wrap up long-delayed emergency plans for potential shortages on the Colorado River, which serves 40 million people in the U.S. and Mexico.

    "We face an overwhelming risk on the system, and the time for action is now," Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner

    Brenda Burman said Tuesday. She spoke before the Imperial Irrigation District in Southern California, one of the biggest single users of the Colorado River.

  • Congress makes way for Holtec as meetings end

    The public still has time to comment on the Holtec project, a temporary nuclear waste storage facility planned for southeast New Mexico.

    If the Holtec project receives the necessary approvals from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the 1,045-acre nuclear waste storage facility will be built in Lea County, 32 miles east of Carlsbad and 34 miles west of Hobbs.

    The project is about 12 miles away from the Department of Energy’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Facility, where Los Alamos National Laboratory ships some of its nuclear waste.

    Holtec International wants to also initially store up to 8,680 metric tons of waste underground at the site waste that will be transported to the site by rail from all over the country. The waste will be high-level radioactive waste mainly in the form of spent fuel rods from nuclear reactors.

    The U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor May 10 of the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act, an act that will allow for the Department of Energy to build temporary facilities to consolidate and store nuclear waste while a permanent facility is built. 

    In 1987, Congress set aside 147,000 acres in Nye County, Nevada, for a permanent facility at Yucca Mountain.

  • Game & Fish congratulates county on bear awareness campaign

    The New Mexico Game Commission recognized Los Alamos County’s efforts in keeping the bears away from people, and people away from people.

    Stewart Liley, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish’s Wildlife Management division chief, said at a meeting held in Los Alamos Tuesday, Los Alamos County has seen an increase in the area bear population over the last seven years.

    He noted the county has taken successful steps to keep the populations separated by controlling the bear’s exposure to trash generated by humans.

    “The biggest thing is trying to reduce that attractant, to reduce the attractant for bears coming into town,” Liley said.

    The Game and Fish Department did this by working with the county’s trash collection service and the Los Alamos Medical Center, one of the main places in the county that produces waste bears are attracted to.

    The department also helped the county’s trash collection service distribute bear-proof trash carts to residents, which Liley said has had the biggest impact on keeping bears out of county neighborhoods.

  • Kite Festival fans gather in White Rock

    Tell Carveth Kramer or Sam Pedregon to “go fly a kite” and they’ll happily say, “Sure!”

    And then they’ll disappear off to some wide-open field for a couple of days.

    For almost 20 years that wide-open field has been at Overlook Park in White Rock for the Los Alamos Arts Council’s Kite Festival.

    “We’ve been to every festival they’ve had, like 19 years,” said Carveth who, along with his wife, Luella, sell handmade banners in their hometown of Taos.

    The couple set up several of their banners, which are staked into the ground, on both Saturday and Sunday for the spectators to enjoy.

    They also fly big kites of various shapes, styles and colors before stepping back so the younger fliers can enjoy the airspace.

    “We get here early in the day, set up our banners and fly our big kites,” he said. “Then around noon we pull off the field and turn the field over to the kids because it’s their day.”

    Kramer, 74, credits Pedregon and his wife, Barbie, of Pueblo, Colo., for getting him started in the banner business.

  • Luján touches base with visit to Los Alamos

    Ben Ray Luján brought his campaign back to familiar territory on Sunday with stops in Los Alamos at the Sierra Club and the John F. Kennedy Dinner.

    Luján, the Democratic U.S. Representative for New Mexico’s 3rd congressional district, grew up in Nambé and said he is happy any time he can return to the area.

    “It’s always important to be home,” he said Sunday afternoon at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. “I take advantage of every opportunity I can to be here. We’re on a plane every week and when we’re in New Mexico I’m on the road. We’re honored to represent a district of about 47,000 square miles. It takes about eight and a half hours to drive across it. It’s a beautiful district, but because of the number of counties we represent we do our best to make sure we get into every county.”

    A member of the cross country and track teams in high school, Luján recalled many times when he competed against the Los Alamos Hilltoppers, some he calls friends to this day.

    “I had a lot of fun during those times,” he said. “We had an incredible coach, Alan Lockridge, and we had some great meets – several of them right here in Los Alamos. Back when we ran cross county the course was still in the canyon.”

  • Video: Officer tells lawmaker he can smell alcohol

    By MARY HUDETZ, Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico state lawmaker insists in video released by police Tuesday that she had not consumed any alcohol, but the officer who stops her says he can smell it as he handcuffs and detains her on suspicion of drunken driving.

    "Are you kidding me?" Rep. Monica Youngblood, an Albuquerque Republican, says after she is placed in a police vehicle. "I fight for you guys every time I get the chance. Seriously."

    Youngblood, 41, was taken into custody early Sunday at a DWI checkpoint stop in Albuquerque, where she complied with a field sobriety test but refused to take a breathalyzer test.

    She told the officer in the recording that she hadn't had a drink since the day before.

    Youngblood was later released from jail on her own recognizance after she was arrested on one count of aggravated DWI — a petty misdemeanor.

    She is expected to face a judge on June 13.

    The hearing date will come after New Mexico's primary election. Youngblood is running unopposed on the GOP ballot.

    Youngblood, a three-term lawmaker, has sponsored and supported multiple bills over the years aimed at toughening drunken driving penalties.

  • LAPS honors 18 retirees

    Even though Los Alamos Public Schools is losing a combined 333 years of experience with the retirement of 18 employees this year, Superintendent Dr. Kurt Steinhaus knows the district is stronger moving forward because of the contributions of this group.

    “It is a group that provided decades of service – and really high quality service – to Los Alamos schools,” he said. “If you look at the picture last year and the picture this year we have a lot fewer retirees this year and a lot more teachers returning as well. So I’m happy about that.”

    The certified retirees (and their years of service to the district) include: Laura Parker (31), teacher; Kathryn Anderson (26), speech pathologist; Barbara Musgrave (23), teacher; Judy Nekimken (23), teacher; Julia Goen (19), librarian; Ronda Harmon (18), teacher; Barbara Kress (17), teacher; Elizabeth Laskey (12), teacher; Kenneth Holmes (11), librarian; and Carole Kirby (6), nurse.

  • AP Poll: Young adults feel stress of long-term care

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Most young adults haven’t given much thought to their own needs as they get older, but a significant number are already providing long-term care for older loved ones, according to a new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

    And while those who have caregiving experience put in fewer hours than their older counterparts, they’re more likely to feel stressed out by the experience.

    According to the poll, a third of American adults under age 40 have already provided care for an older relative or friend, and another third expect to be called upon to do so within the next five years.


    According to the survey, 17 percent of young adults are currently providing long-term care to an older loved one, and another 19 percent have done so in the past.

    Three-quarters of younger caregivers spend less than 10 hours a week providing care, compared to most caregivers over age 40 who provide at least 10 hours of unpaid care a week. But despite putting in fewer hours of unpaid work, younger caregivers are more likely than older caregivers to say their care responsibilities are at least moderately stressful, 80 percent to 67 percent.

  • Famous jazz musician teaching ‘the joy of music’ to LA

    World-renowned musician, author and entrepreneur Jon Barnes’ biography reads like a jazz song.


    He’ll start off with an idea, where he’ll then push, prod and rehearse it, do some more research, sometimes collaborating with others until he has something completely different and unique to give to the world.

    Whether that’s a book, a composition or a new way to teach kids about music, Barnes enjoys every bit of the process.

    He took his first steps into his career as a jazz trumpet player when he was eight years old. 

    He remembers being in a room with family and passed a trumpet no one else could make a note come out of, and the rest is history. Ever since, he’s been playing his own unique song, a song he’s never stopped playing or innovating. For an indefinite time, Los Alamos County residents are welcome to join him.

  • Man threatens couple with ax in road rage incident

    Police arrested a 23-year-old Los Alamos man Monday for allegedly threatening a couple with an ax during a road rage incident. 

    Jerry Ray Chase was arrested at the Shell gas station at the intersection of Diamond Drive and Arkansas Avenue. He was initially charged with two counts of aggravated assault (with intent to commit felony) and later charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. 

    Police were called to San Ildefonso Road around 9:30 a.m. when eyewitnesses reported being threatened by a man with an ax.

    The witnesses, who was driving down San Ildefonso Road in separate vehicles ahead of Ray’s green Ford Explorer. The cars driven by the eyewitnesses stopped in the road to avoid hitting deer crossing San Ildefonso Road. Ray drove around the two cars in front, stopping briefly to yell at the people in the cars before continuing on down San Ildefonso Road. 

    At the bottom of the hill near the San Ildefonso Roundabout, the two witnesses saw Ray’s vehicle pulled over to the side of the road. The vehicles stopped in the road to tell Ray why they stopped.