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Local News

  • County files new argument in sheriff case

    Los Alamos County attorneys filed a reply in Santa Fe First Judicial Court they hope strengthens their position in its argument for an injunction to the Los Alamos County Sheriff from carrying out his duties.

    The county filed its request for the temporary restraining order in October in response to Lucero’s lawsuit against the county. The county, as well as the plaintiff in the case, Los Alamos County Sheriff Marco Lucero are scheduled to argue their case in Los Alamos County District Court May 10.

    The county submitted a brief April 20 arguing that because the county voted to become an incorporated county in 1964 and that the residents also voted in 1976 to limit the duties of the Los Alamos County Sheriff to duties that didn’t include law enforcement, Lucero is violating an amendment in the county charter, a charter that is protected by the state constitution because Los Alamos County is an incorporated county.

    “When the Sheriff of the Incorporated County engages in law enforcement duties, the Sheriff surpasses his lawful authority as given to him by the citizens of the Incorporated County as provided for and permitted by the State constitution, and in doing so, violates the specific constitutional rights of self-government vested in the citizens of the Incorporated County,” a statement in the brief said.

  • Police Beat 4-29-18

    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.

    April 18
    10:38 a.m. –Los Alamos  police arrested an individual on a warrant.
    7:08 p.m. – Los Alamos police investigated and aggravated assault case, and arrested a suspect.
    9:03 p.m. – Trenton Paul Engelking, 20, of Los Alamos was booked into the Los Alamos County Detention Center.
    9:03 p.m. –  Michael Weiss was booked into the Los Alamos County Detention Center on a magistrate court bench warrant, attempting to escape the custody of a police officer, aggravated assault against a household member, resisting/evading or obstructing an officer, tampering with evidence and unlawful possession of a firearm or destructive device by a felon.
    4 p.m. – Los Alamos police were called out to investigate a suspicious package at Tech Area 55.

    April 19
    2 .a.m. – Los Alamos police referred an emergency evaluation to another agency.

  • Community celebrates reopening of Duane Smith Auditorium

    As the late afternoon light filtered through the new glass lobby of Duane Smith Auditorium some school board officials were just thankful.

    “We’re very appreciative of the community effort it took to get this done,” School Board President Jenny McCumber said about the auditorium’s new lobby and other improvements. “Just standing in here with the sun shining in, it’s so bright.

    We’re happy we’re finished, and we’re excited about Topper Revue.”

    Topper Revue, the Los Alamos High School’s annual showcase of student talent, was officially the first event Thursday night to be shown at the auditorium since renovations started on the building two years ago.

    Many county officials and relatives of Duane Smith showed up Thursday night to reopen the auditorium.

    “This facility has hosted so many great events, school events, community events, it really is a central part of the community,” Los Alamos County Council Chair David Izraelevitz said.

    The schools and the county share the auditorium. The 944-seat auditorium is one of the largest venues north of

    Albuquerque. The Los Alamos Concert Association has brought world-class entertainment to the complex, and it is also used quite a bit for school functions.

  • Regional Coalition passes joint powers agreement

    ESPAÑOLA – The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities passed an amended and restated joint powers agreement Friday, but not before amending the amended version.

    The coalition met at the Española City Hall Council Chambers without enough members present for a quorum, which would have allowed the meeting to be official.

    However, the members who attended in person called one of the absent members and put him on speaker phone, in order to make the meeting official.

    In attendance were Santa Fe County Commissioner Henry Roybal; Los Alamos County Councilor Christine Chandler; Taos County Commissioner Mark Gallegos; and Española City Councilor Peggy Sue Martinez, who was sitting in as an alternate. Town of Taos Councilor Darien Fernandez attended via conference call.

    The coalition reworded a portion of the existing joint powers agreement to show it is concerned with supporting the wishes of the communities it represents.

    Under the section of the agreement that entails the purposes of the coalition, with respect to the Los Alamos National Laboratory and LANL-related activities and issues, is the point detailing the promotion of economic development.

  • US regulators set public meetings for nuclear fuel proposal

    ROSWELL (AP) — Federal regulators have scheduled a series of public meetings as they consider a plan to temporarily store spent nuclear fuel from commercial nuclear reactors around the United States at a proposed site in southern New Mexico.

    The first meeting hosted by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will be Monday on the Eastern New Mexico University campus in Roswell.

    Another meeting will follow Tuesday in Hobbs and a third will be May 3 in Carlsbad.

    The public comment period will last through May on the application filed by Holtec International.

    Holtec and a coalition of local leaders from southeastern New Mexico first announced plans three years ago to construct a below-ground space for temporarily housing tons of spent nuclear fuel. The company is seeking an initial 40-year license.
     

  • Nuclear agency authorizes construction on New Mexico complex

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The National Nuclear Security Administration is beginning work on a multimillion-dollar complex in New Mexico that will serve as a new workspace for some 1,200 employees.

    The agency says construction was recently authorized to begin. Bids were solicited over the winter and officials estimated at that time that the new building could cost between $100 million and $250 million.

    The current facility includes a former military barracks at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque. Some portions date to the early 1950s and are in poor condition. Because of the age of the buildings, officials say routine maintenance is costly and inefficient.

    The new building is expected to reduce the agency's total deferred maintenance by about $40 million.

    The agency expects construction to be done in the first part of the 2021 fiscal year.
     

  • New Mexico Supreme Court rejects governor's vetoes

    SANTA FE (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court sided with lawmakers Wednesday in a dispute over the extent of the governor's veto powers, ordering that 10 bills vetoed by Republican Susana Martinez in 2017 go into effect because she offered no immediate explanation to the Legislature.

    In oral arguments before the court, an attorney for the Democratic-led Legislature said Martinez made it difficult or impossible to respond to her concerns about proposed legislation by not providing her reasoning in writing, or by waiting until long after the vetoes.

    "The Constitution requires the objections must accompany the allegedly vetoed bills," Chief Justice Judith Nakamura said. "Because the objections did not accompany the bills, they became law."

    Martinez, a second-term Republican who cannot run for re-election this year, previously said the Legislature was overstepping its authority.

    Paul Kennedy, an attorney for the governor, argued Wednesday that lawmakers eventually received written explanations for five of the contested vetoes, leaving enough time to revise the bills or attempt an override vote.

  • State ed officials pursue school retention plan

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico education officials are proceeding with a proposal that would require public schools to administer improvement and intervention plans and in some cases hold back students who have literacy skills below grade level.

    Education Secretary-designate Christopher Ruszkowski is proposing the new rules that would apply to students in kindergarten through third grade.

    Under the measure, schools would be required to hold back students who are struggling with reading proficiency based on a state assessment.

    The proposal would allow exemptions in certain circumstances. Parents could also sign a waiver to allow the student to move on to the next grade level, but retention would be mandatory if the student’s reading is still below proficiency at the end of the following year.

    “It seeks to codify that which is already found in state statute – which already includes language requiring additional instruction for students who can’t read,” Ruszkowski told the Albuquerque Journal.

  • Judge to decide county email, privacy complaint

    Santa Fe District Judge Gregory Shaffer said Wednesday he would issue a decision soon as to whether emails authored by Los Alamos County Council member Susan O’Leary can remain private.

    “The court is going to take the matter under advisement,” Schaffer said. “I’ll issue my own written opinion on the emails at issue on or before May 7.” 

  • LA Gun Show remains popular with locals

    The Los Alamos Gun Show went off without a hitch this weekend as gun sellers, gun buyers, gun traders and a few political candidates stopped by the event. 

    The gun show has been a steadfast county tradition that has successfully withstood the tides of politics in the 10-plus years of its existence. 

    The show’s founders speculated that the reason it is so popular is that there aren’t a lot of places nearby where people can purchase a firearm.

    “This is a great family event, and we have a lot of active sportsmen in here,” said one of the founders of the event. “There’s not a lot of options to buy guns, so we enjoy being able to bring this to the enthusiasts in the area. It’s very popular event.”

    The organizer also had an opinion about the recent attempts to add more regulation to gun shows and protests against the gun show in general that have cropped up through the years.