Local News

  • Kiwanis Club waits for OK for fireworks

    The fireworks for the annual Fourth of July celebration at Overlook Park in White Rock have been purchased and are stored in a safe location in Los Alamos.

    Now comes the wait to see if the Kiwanis Club will be able to shoot off those fireworks at the annual celebration in White Rock.

    Los Alamos Fire Chief Troy Hughes will make that decision on Friday.

    “We’ve spent about $18,000 on fireworks this year and that’s about 5,600 shells,” said Kiwanis Club member Pat Soran, who is in charge of planning and coordinating the annual fireworks display. “We have a magazine that’s been certified by the ATF that we store the fireworks in here in Los Alamos. It has to be certified every three years and you have to have one regardless of whether you’re storing them for one day or several years.”

    The display was canceled the year of the Cerro Grande fire, as well as the next two years, forcing the Kiwanis Club to store those fireworks in the magazine for three years.

    “They stay in good shape,” said Soran. “I guess it’s like wine, they get better with age.”

    When it comes to fireworks Soran knows his business.

  • Overhauling the Overpass
  • Brenners file civil rights suit against county

    A Sandoval County resident filed a civil rights suit in federal court May 22, alleging that certain Los Alamos County councilors violated his and his mother’s federal and state constitutional rights.

    Patrick Brenner claims that former Los Alamos County Councilor James Chrobocinski and Councilor Susan O’Leary used their positions as councilors to harass him and his mother, Lisa Brenner, who is also named in the suit.

    Patrick Brenner said their troubles began in 2016, when he expressed his dissent to O’Leary and Chrobocinski on an upcoming vote for a $20 million bond sale that was set for May.

    Brenner claims in the suit that Chrobocinski threatened to undermine his candidacy for council if he didn’t come out in favor of the vote, which Chrobocinski and O’Leary were promoting through their political action committee, Los Alamos Futures.

    Patrick Brenner claims things came to a head when he learned from the media that an email he sent to council expressing his dissent to council over the recreation bond issue was going to be made public.

  • Parks offer activities despite fire restrictions

    Even though the threat of fire – not to mention an actual fire – has shut down portions of two local parks, officials want to assure potential visitors there are still plenty of activities to enjoy at both locations.

    Stage 3 fire restrictions have forced the closing of portions of both Valles Caldera National Preserve and Bandelier National Monument. And at Valles Caldera, the San Antonio Fire has limited areas where visitors can access the preserve.

    “Despite the fire restrictions, there are still a variety of opportunities for people visiting Valles Caldera,” said Kimberly DeVall, the chief of interpretation and education at the preserve. “Many visitors have been going on short, easy-guided hikes and van tours. These are wonderful opportunities to learn more about the preserve from our park rangers.”

    DeVall added that other visitors “have enjoyed watching the elk nursery herds and the prairie dogs scurrying about.”
    Valles Caldera has closed access to its backcountry and has suspended all fishing, equestrian, hiking and biking activities because of the restrictions.

    The preserve’s front country is partially open with ranger-guided activities. There are no self-guided activities.

  • New Mexico residents to testify on atomic bomb fallout

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Residents of a New Mexico Hispanic village near the site of the world's first atomic bomb test say they were long ignored about the lingering health effects and were expected to share their stories with Congress.

    The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium plans to travel to Washington, D.C., to testify Wednesday before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee about how the Trinity Test hurt generations of Tularosa residents.

    Consortium members say many who lived in the area weren't told about the dangers and were diagnosed with rare forms of cancer. They say they want acknowledgment and compensation from the U.S. government.

    "It's time, and we are excited to share our stories," said Tina Cordova, a co-founder of the group and cancer survivor. "We've tried to testify before, but the hearing was canceled. Hopefully, we will get to speak this time."

    Scientists working in Los Alamos developed the atomic bomb as part of the Manhattan Project, which provided enriched uranium for the weapon. The secret program also involved facilities in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and Hanford, Washington.

    The bomb was tested in a stretch of desert near towns with Hispanic and Native American populations.

  • Squash Blooms in Season
  • Fed finds biggest US banks strong enough to survive shock

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve says that all of the 35 largest U.S. banks are fortified enough to survive an economic shock and keep on lending. Banks’ hypothetical losses from credit cards increased in the latest “stress tests,” however.

    The first round of the central bank’s annual stress tests, released Thursday, shows that as a group, the 35 big banks have benefited from a steadily recovering economy to gain strength and build up capital buffers against unexpected losses. It was the eighth annual check-up for the banks, mandated by Congress after the 2008 financial crisis that triggered the Great Recession.

    The Fed said it applied its toughest-ever “severely adverse” scenario for the economy in this year’s tests to see how the banks would fare. The hypothetical scenario calls for a severe global recession and a U.S. unemployment rate of 10 percent, compared with the current 3.8 percent.

  • Fire Training
  • Utility work begins on Loma Vista

    After an underground electric line failed June 14, affecting properties on the south side of Loma Vista, line crews with the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities restored power through a temporary repair. 

    Permanent repairs began Wednesday under contract with Paul Parker Construction and will continue through the end of the month. 

    Crews will trench on the south side of Loma Vista between Los Arboles and crossing the north and southbound lanes of Oppenheimer to replace the damaged conduit and cable.

    Construction crews will work from 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday but the road will remain open. Traffic will be restricted to one lane around the construction zone as it moves along Loma Vista and then across Oppenheimer.  Driveway ingress and egress will be maintained for residents.  Street parking will be prohibited on Loma Vista during construction hours.

    After construction is finished, a brief power outage will be scheduled to tie the new cable into the existing electric distribution system.

    For questions, call DPU through the Customer Care Center at 505-662-8333 or visit CustomerCare@lacnm.us.    

  • Ex-police chief loses fight with county, insurance co.

    Former Los Alamos Police Chief Wayne Torpy’s three-year legal battle with Los Alamos County and its insurance company over lost benefits ended June 11, after a judge determined he was not entitled to nearly $70,000 in compensation.  

    Torpy lodged a complaint in February 2015 against Los Alamos County for breach of contract and the county’s insurance company, Union Security for unfair trade and insurance practices.

    First Judicial Court Judge Francis J. Mathew decided against Torpy’s claims, saying that the county and the county’s insurance company, Union Security Insurance Company, were right in denying Tory’s claim for lost benefits.

    Torpy claimed the county denied him money the county took out of his paycheck in lieu of Social Security for the eight and a half year’s Torpy was the county’s police chief.

    Torpy claimed that when he started with the county, he was given a written promise that he would be paid 60 percent of his monthly salary through the county’s insurance company, Union Security, if he ever became permanently disabled.

    In 2012, Torpy suffered a heart attack and a stroke, which resulted in him becoming permanently disabled.