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Local News

  • 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.

  • Crimestopper tip leads LAPD to suspect

    An anonymous tipster watching a television news report led Los Alamos police to issue an arrest warrant for Michael Gennaro Daddio, a suspect in several recent Los Alamos County home burglaries.

    Daddio, of Corrales, is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Albuquerque. The warrant includes counts for four fourth-degree felony thefts of identity. More charges are expected.

    “The investigation is still ongoing and more charges are expected to be filed by Los Alamos Police and other surrounding agencies,” according to a Los Alamos Police Department statement.

    LAPD Commander Oliver Morris commended all involved in locating the suspect.

    “Residential burglaries are a top priority for the Los Alamos Police Department. The use of L.A. Crime-stoppers and the investigative effort of the Los Alamos Investigations and Patrol Division have a far and effective reach,” Morris said.

    Morris also said the department will continue to be aggressive toward pursuing suspects involved in property crimes.

  • Fire dept. offers free homeowner fire prevention program

    Severe drought conditions may  have made the woodlands and canyons of Los Alamos County a giant fire hazard, but a phone call to the Los Alamos County Fire Department can go a long way toward keeping brushfires out of county neighborhoods.

    The Los Alamos County Fire Department has a program where fire officials can assess a resident’s property for fire hazards. The program is voluntary and free.

    “The biggest goal for the home assessment program is to educate homeowners to the hazards they may or may not have around their homes, and to provide them with a little bit of knowledge on a smaller scale to increase that defensible space around their private property,” LAFD Wildlands Division Captain Kelly Sterna said.

    The data the fire department acquires from the property visit  is only shared with the homeowners.

    The logic behind the program is if residents are informed about fire hazards, giving residents the information they need to correct them can protect a neighborhood from wildfires, and make the fire department’s job of monitoring and remediating fire hazard areas within the county easier.