Local News

  • Police Beat 6-10-18

    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, served a court summons, or issued a citation.

    May 24
    11:32 a.m. – Rebecca Renee Ward, 18 was booked into L.A. County jail for careless driving and property damage. She was later released.

    12:17 a.m. – Los Alamos police issued a citation/summons for simple domestic battery.

    May 26
    3:56 p.m. – Paul Joseph Springfield, 44, was booked into the L.A. County jail on a misdemeanor warrant from another jurisdiction. He was later released on an $819 bond.

    May 30
    2:02 p.m. – Los Alamos police responded to a domestic violence call of an argument between a parent and child that was reported by a third party after the fact. No charges were filed and the case is inactive.
    10:34 p.m. – Los Alamos police responded to an aggravated assault charge. The case is still active.

    May 31

  • Overpasses on Diamond Drive closing for repairs

    The pedestrian overpasses on Diamond Drive will be closed beginning Monday while crews resurface the steps and bridges.
    Preparation began early Friday morning ahead of the project, which is expected to finish June 25.

    “We anticipate the sandblasting will be done in the first week,” Los Alamos County Public Works Department Senior Traffic Manager Alipio Mondragon said Thursday night. “The resurfacing’s going to follow right behind and that’s going to take a couple of days. The material they’re using will then need a couple of days to dry before we can let anybody on the overpasses.”

    The project will not affect vehicle traffic, however, it will affect foot traffic.

    Pedestrians who usually use the north overpass to cross Diamond Drive are advised to use the crosswalks at Sandia Drive and pedestrians who regularly use the south overpass are advised to use the crosswalk at Canyon Road.

    Because of the closures motorists are encouraged to be on the lookout for increased pedestrian traffic on that stretch of Diamond Drive.

    Mondragon said one of the determining factors in the pace of the project will be the ease in which the current surface can be pulled up.

  • Supporting the local Farmer’s Market
  • Triad’s non-profit status leaves county with questions

    Questions still remain following the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Friday announcement of the new management and operations contract for the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    One of the biggest questions for Los Alamos County officials was Triad National Security LLC’s tax status.

    University of California spokesman Stephanie Beechem said the consortium would not release further details on the contract until the contractor’s transition period begins.

    “Until the DOE/NNSA issues an official notice to proceed, Triad LLC isn’t sharing any further details about our group’s proposal,” Beechem said.

    Whatever happens, the contract is expected to produce less income to the county, as the NNSA reduced LANL’s 3 percent performance fee to 1 percent in its annual $2.5 billion management and operations contract.

    Los Alamos County Manager Harry Burgess said it was not clear to the county if Triad National Security would be taxed on its gross receipts, even though it appears to be a non-profit.

    New Mexico tax laws exempt non-profits from gross receipts tax. If Triad National Security is structured as a non-profit, Los Alamos County may lose an estimated $21 million a year in gross receipts tax revenue. The state also stands to lose about $23 million in gross receipts taxes.

  • Gun shop owner pleads guilty in firearms case

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The owner of New Mexico gun shop has pleaded guilty to selling firearms to minors and convicted felons.

    Prosecutors say 56-year-old Robert Real had a change of plea hearing Thursday in federal court in Albuquerque.

    Real is a licensed firearms dealer and the owner of Shooter’s Outpost in Española.

    He pleaded guilty to seven of eight counts of an October 2017 indictment.

    Prosecutors say Real attended gun shows around New Mexico between March 2016 and February 2017 and admitted to falsifying sales records and selling firearms other than shotguns or rifles to persons under age 21. Real faces up to five years in federal prison. His sentencing hearing hasn’t been scheduled yet.

    Real’s wife and stepdaughter also were indicted in the case, but both have pleaded not guilty.

  • Operations resume at WIPP

    CARLSBAD (AP) — Routine operations have resumed at the U.S. government’s only underground nuclear waste repository following an evacuation in late May that was prompted by the discovery of a misaligned drum of waste.

    Officials at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southern New Mexico confirmed this week that processing and handling resumed June 2.

    In disposing the waste, seven 55-gallon drums are wrapped together in a tight formation to go deep inside the ancient salt formation where the repository is located. The idea is that the shifting salt will eventually entomb the waste.

    Work was halted when employees found one drum wasn’t aligned with the others that made up the waste package. The package was eventually repacked and disposed of underground.

    Officials say no radiation was released and no injuries were reported.

  • N.M. public pension foresee headwinds

    SANTA FE (AP) — Administrators of New Mexico’s main public pension fund for state and municipal workers say the $15.5 billion trust is struggling to catch up with unfunded obligations and to ensure long-term solvency.

    Chief Investment Officer Dominic Garcia of the Public Employees Retirement Association said Thursday odds are against the pension fund catching up soon with its financial obligations to current and future retirees.

    He told a panel of lawmakers that combined retirement plans are 75 percent funded, and that there is an 11 percent chance that assets will catch up with liabilities over the next decade.

  • N.M. voter participation increases

    SANTA FE (AP) — Voter participation in the New Mexico’s primary election this week was 29 percent greater than four years ago.

    New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver announced Thursday an uncertified election tally of 261,615 in the primary election that narrowed competition for two open congressional seats, the governor’s office, several statewide offices and the state House of Representatives. In 2014, voters cast 202,327 primary ballots.

    More than twice as many Democrats voted as Republicans in the closed primary. 

    Many Republicans including gubernatorial candidate and Congressman Steve Pearce ran unopposed, while Democratic candidates crowded into primary contests for governor, congress and public land commissioner. Democratic Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham advanced in the governor’s race.

    Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, will face Libertarian Sandra Jeff and Republican Johanna Cox in the general election.

  • GOP moderate: Tentative immigration deal with conservatives

     WASHINGTON (AP) — A leader of House Republican moderates said Thursday that a tentative deal with conservatives is being discussed to help young “Dreamer” immigrants stay in the U.S. legally. It was unclear if the plan was a potential breakthrough in the GOP’s long-running schism over immigration or would devolve into another failed bid to bridge that gap.

    The proposal emerged the same day that House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said leaders will craft an attempt at compromise on the issue that Republicans could embrace. Ryan is hoping an accord will derail threats by GOP centrists to force a series of House votes on immigration soon that leaders say would be divisive and damage the party’s electoral prospects in November.

    The flurry underscored the escalating pressure Republicans face to address immigration, an issue pitting centrists representing Hispanic and moderate voters against conservatives with deep-red constituents sympathetic to President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant outbursts. Painfully aware of those divisions, leaders had seemed happy to sidestep the issue until the moderates’ rebellion forced their hand.

  • Ski area offers open trails, SummerFest for community

    Forest and trail closures due to Stage III fire restrictions have citizens scrambling to find alternative means of enjoying the great outdoors of Los Alamos County.

    Enter the Pajarito Ski Area.

    Because the ski hill is located on private property it doesn’t have to close down its trails like Los Alamos County and the Santa Fe National Forest do on their lands.

    But that doesn’t mean the skill hill staff isn’t mindful of the restrictions and the ever-present threat of a wildfire.

    “We felt with all of the closures around here, if we had the ability to offer at least a place to hike or to mountain bike that we’d do it,” said Tom Long, the general manager of the ski area. “We can fairly well manage this. I’m not saying that someone’s out there right now building a campfire, but if they did we’d get on it pretty quickly.”

    Long and his staff is gearing up for Saturday’s SummerFest celebration, one of the many big events the ski area host’s each year. He said steps are being taken to remind those coming to SummerFest to be mindful of the situation.