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Local News

  • Chandler outraises Sheehey, reports show

    Democratic candidate Chris Chandler vying for state representative for District 43 outraised her opponent Pete Sheehey by $2,145, according to the second round of campaign finance reports filed Monday.

    Chandler and Sheehey are hoping to replace Los Alamos County resident Stephanie Garcia Richard as the next state representative of the 43rd District. Garcia Richard announced in 2017 she would run for New Mexico Land Commissioner. 

    Chandler reported $4,005 in contributions between April 3 and May 7, with $6,920.84 in expenditures. 

    Sheehey reported $1,860 for the same reporting period and $1,986.57 in expenditures.

    Chandler’s contributions for this May period averaged between $50 and $250, with 26 of them coming from individual contributors and one coming from the Los Alamos National Laboratory. LANL contributed $100 to her campaign.   

  • USDA Sec. Perdue meets with state ag leaders

    SANTA FE – Agriculture and ranching business leaders from New Mexico were afforded an opportunity to voice their concerns to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Monday as he kicked off a four-state “Back to Our Roots” tour in the state’s capitol.

    Perdue’s tour will take him through New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska, where he is highlighting support for farmers and food stamps by the Trump administration at a time when, back in Washington, D.C., House Republicans are pushing for a five-year renewal of federal farm and nutrition policies.

    “We’ll see how the vote comes out in the House this week,” Perdue said. “I applaud Chairman (Mike) Conoway and the committee for passing really strengthened work requirements for our supplemental nutrition program.

    The farm bill in front of Congress at this time could include new work- and job-training requirements for food stamp recipients. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides food aid to about one-fifth of residents in New Mexico, or more than 210,000 households that mostly include children.

    Democrats in Congress are warning that work-requirement changes could reduce benefits to many who need them.

  • New Mexico Dem official bans 'Vote or Die' T-shirt sales

    By RUSSELL CONTRERAS, Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The Democratic chair of New Mexico's largest county has ordered a voting rights group not to sell its "Vote or Die" T-shirt at sponsor events because it's "offensive" and "a blatant threat."

    Democratic Party of Bernalillo County chair Bill Peifer told The Associated Press in an email late Monday that a shirt being sold by Dave Mulryan of Everybody Votes also is abhorrent to gun owners and rural New Mexico residents — voters New Mexico Democrats are seeking to win over.

    "The first, quite simply put, is that it's a very negative message. We always have a difficult time in getting out the vote," Peifer said. "We want the act of voting to be associated with good things happening . . . a positive message."

    Mulryan said in a statement the group believes there is nothing wrong with the shirt.

    "Everybody Votes will continue to offer the "Vote or Die," t-shirt for sale," Mulryan said. "We believe in the message, and we believe in our right to sell it."

  • Police Beat 5-13-18

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department Records. Charges or citations listed in Police Beat do not imply innocence or guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested, server a court summons, or issued a citation.

    May 2
    5:31 p.m. – Los Alamos police took a report on a lost phone in Urban Park. Case inactive.

    May 3
    7:04 a.m. – Los Alamos police took in found property and destroyed it.
    10 a.m. – Los Alamos police investigated the vandalism of a mirror at a park. Investigation inactive.
    3:54 p.m. – Los Alamos police arrested a driver for having a suspended license at Mile Marker 8 on East Jemez Road.
    5:05 p.m. – Freddie Arellano, 39, of Santa Fe, was arrested by Los Alamos police for driving with a suspended license. He was later released.
    8:07 p.m. – Los Alamos police gave a warning to an individual for simple assault.

    May 5
    1:35 p.m. – Los Alamos police investigated a BB shot at a window. Investigation is inactive.
    10:10 p.m. – Los Alamos police responded to a “disturbing the peace” call and issued a citation or a summons at Starbucks Coffee.

  • BPU to decide county’s participation in 
coal plant post 2022

    Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities will recommend to its Board of Public Utilities Wednesday to let the county’s contract for a 3-percent ownership share in the San Juan Generating Station expire in 2022. 

    Consideration of this recommendation will be at the BPU’s 5:30 p.m. meeting Wednesday in Council Chambers at the Municipal Building, 1000 Central Ave.

    The BPU’s decision will be forwarded to the County Council.

    Los Alamos County entered into a plant participation agreement in the mid-1980s with eight other owners of the San Juan Generating Station, a coal-fired plant in the Farmington area. In December 2017, four of the owners voluntarily exited the plant with a penalty, after agreement was reached with the State of New Mexico and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to shut down two of the four units to meet a regional haze rule.

    The remaining owners, which includes Los Alamos, negotiated a new coal supply agreement with San Juan Coal Company, the fuel provider to the plant.

    As part of the new coal supply agreement, San Juan Coal requires notice by June 30 from the owners of their intent to either exit or remain in the plant after the 2022 expiration of the plant participation agreement.

  • Flower Girl
  • LA schools to get pre-K funds

    The Los Alamos School District found out Thursday it is one of 11 districts that will receive first-time funding for the state of New Mexico’s pre-K program.

    The amount of that funding was to be announced on Friday, but school officials had not yet seen those numbers posted by press time.

    New Mexico is adding an additional $10 million to the program for the 2018-19 school year, bringing the program to 11 school districts for the first time.

    “We’re very pleased to have this opportunity to host the first New Mexico preschool program beginning next year,” said Karla Crane, the coordinator of student services for the Los Alamos School District. “We won’t know all the details about how much we’re going to be able to do until we see how much money we’ve been awarded, whether it’s going to be one half day, two half days, things like that. We just don’t have the answers to those questions until we find out that amount. As we receive more information on the specifics we’ll be releasing those details to the public.”

    The state Public Education Department’s announcement means the opening of more than 1,500 additional pre-K spots to serve potentially about 6,800 students statewide.

  • NNSA’s pit decision restores confidence in local economy

    Local and laboratory officials expressed optimism and relief following the decision by the National Nuclear Security Administration to include the Los Alamos National Laboratory in its plutonium pit manufacturing program.

    An internal memo from Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Terry Wallace Jr. to employees Thursday and obtained by the Los Alamos Monitor indicated the lab is looking forward to a brighter future.

    “Let me be clear about how I interpret this decision: I believe NNSA has given the Laboratory a big vote of confidence today,” Wallace wrote to employees. “They are investing an additional $3 billion in new mission space, which includes people, infrastructure, and equipment. This is a significant opportunity to continue contributing to the nation’s security by drawing on our unique expertise in plutonium science.”

    Wallace also said the NNSA’s vote of confidence means LANL will remain at the center of plutonium pit manufacturing for years to come as it helps the Savannah River Site to develop it’s own plutonium pit manufacturing facility and workforce.

  • UNM-LA students celebrate 37th graduation

    Graduates attending the 37th Annual Graduation Convocation of the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos had waited a long time to finally walk across the stage and receive their diploma.

    So delaying the start of the ceremony a few more minutes was not a problem, especially when the graduates learned the reason behind the delay.

    As visitors and participants were filing in to the ceremony held at Crossroads Bible Church on East Road, one of the graduates, Annalynn Martinez, was struck by a car in front of the church and was transported to Los Alamos Medical Center, where she was treated and released later that night.

    After the short delay the ceremony began with the presentation of the colors by the Los Alamos High School Navy Junior ROTC and the singing of the National Anthem by Grace Willerton and Joy Reynolds.

    Dr. Cynthia J. Rooney, the chief executive officer of UNM-LA, welcomed everyone with brief opening comments.

    In her comments, Rooney said UNM-LA’s enrollment this semester was 1,151, which she said is quite an achievement “at a time when enrollment numbers are down” across the country. She also noted that over 100 students earned degrees this year at the school.

  • Autopsy: Pilot in fatal copter crash had fentanyl in system

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A helicopter pilot had a low concentration of fentanyl in his blood during a crash in New Mexico that killed him and four other people including Zimbabwean opposition leader Roy Bennett, according to autopsy results obtained on Friday.

    Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid and pain medication, was found in the autopsy report for Jamie Coleman Dodd, the lead pilot in the January crash in northeastern New Mexico.

    The report didn't say whether Dodd may have been taking fentanyl for health reasons. Prior reports have not indicated that drugs were a cause of the crash.

    Autopsies also were performed on co-pilot Paul Cobb and wealthy businessman Charles Burnett III — also killed in the crash on a grassy mesa top east of Raton.

    All three men died of blunt force trauma. Burns also were a cause of death for Burnett. Bennett's wife, Heather, also died in the crash.

    Cobb had no drugs in his system, while Burnett had alcohol, amphetamine and oxycodone present in his, medical examiners determined.

    The sole survivor of the crash, Andra Cobb, of Texas, later recounted her experience, saying the aircraft hit the ground with a loud bang before rolling forward, stopping upside down and bursting into flames.