Local News

  • Such a Goose
  • After brief relief, forecasts indicate drought will continue

    By KELLY P. KISSEL, Associated Press

    Dry weather will prolong the wildfire threat through summer in the southwestern United States, even though weekend showers temporarily relieved drought conditions in parts of the area, forecasters said Monday.

    The drought is rooted in a dry spell that began in October and is considered "extreme" from southern California to central Kansas. Conditions are even worse in the Four Corners region and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, warranting their description as "exceptional."

    "The proverbial spigot shut off," said Brian Fuchs, a climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. "Drought isn't necessarily a signal for wildfires, but it can exacerbate the conditions that do take place."

    Climatologists consider the months from October to April to be a "recharge" period, with showers and snow replenishing water supplies in the Southern Plains. However, the most recent significant rain in the area came in early October.

  • Bulging drum did not contain radiological waste

    A drum with a bulging lid hazardous material remediation crews responded to at the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Sigma complex Monday contained no radioactive materials, said a lab spokesman Thursday.

    “The material in a plastic waste drum was a combination of water, mineral oil and metal powder. The bulge in the plastic lid was likely caused by a small amount of water reacting with the metal powder,” a spokesman for the lab said. “The metal powders were composed of typical alloys such as stainless steel, titanium alloys, and aluminum alloys.”

    A waste management coordinator was performing a routine inspection when the inspector saw the bulging lid.

    The lab spokesman said there was very low risk of an explosion and the barrel was disposed of.

    “A small cut was made in the plastic using a robot. The pressure was relieved through the slit. The barrel has since been packed into a 55 gallon metal drum with a pressure relief device for disposal,” the lab spokesman said.

    On April 16 at 2:30 p.m., a partial evacuation took place at the Los Alamos National Laboratory when the bulge in the drum was discovered. No workers were harmed during the incident, and the area where the drum was stored was rendered safe a few hours after the incident.

  • Community invited to opening of Duane Smith Auditorium

    The community is invited to the ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially re-open the Duane W. Smith Auditorium at 6 pm. Thursday.

    The short ceremony will be followed by light refreshments.

    The Duane Smith Auditorium, originally called the Civic Auditorium, was built in 1950. It stood as the main facility in which local organizations could host plays and performances due to its spacious stage and seating area.

    Even today, it serves the Los Alamos schools and the community, from Los Alamos National Laboratory to Los Alamos Concert Association.

    Since then, upkeep and renovations have been ongoing.

    About eight years ago, the school district replaced the main curtain and the rigging in Duane Smith and repainted the main hall. Four years ago, the district also replaced all the seating.

  • Police Beat 4-22-18

    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 11
    2:36 p.m. — Melinda M. Madrid, 36, of Hernandez was arrested and then released  for driving with a suspended license and having two magistrate court bench warrants totaling $1200.
    4:59 p.m. — Los Alamos police issued a summons to an individual for being in possession of a controlled substance.

    April 12
    11:30 a.m. — Los Alamos police responded to a medical call.
    1:45 p.m. – Los Alamos police investigated a larceny involving stolen door mats. Investigation is inactive.

    April 13
    10:55 a.m. — Los Alamos Police investigated an incident of vandalism.

    April 14
    8:34 p.m. — Los Alamos police investigated a possible act of vehicle tampering. Investigation is inactive.

    April 16
    Midnight — Los Alamos police investigated a dog bite case.

  • LA woman arrested for aggravated battery

    A 35-year-old Los Alamos woman was charged with aggravated battery and a dangerous manner and aggravated battery misdemeanor after choking her mother and holding a knife to her throat.

    The defendant, Marion Loope, was arrested April 15 outside the home she shares with her mother.

    The defendant’s mother told police at the scene her daughter accused her of taking her medication. Loope then attacked her, hitting her head against a door frame before attempting to strangle her. Loope then got a knife and held it to her mother’s throat from behind.

    “I did notice a lump on the back of her head, a mark on her neck and a cut in the webbing between her thumb and index finger from where she said she had reached up and grabbed at the knife to remove it from her neck,” Los Alamos Police Department Cpl. Jaime Gonzalez said in his report on the incident.

  • Records: Ex-candidate was paid by rival before exiting race

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A former candidate for New Mexico governor was paid $14,000 by a Democratic rival a day before announcing his exit from the race, according to campaign finance records.

    Candidate Peter DeBenedittis told the Albuquerque Journal on Thursday that rival Jeff Apodaca had paid him for an email list and to be a campaign spokesman after he had decided to drop out of the race. He said he wasn't paid to leave.

    Apodaca's campaign finance reports show the $4,000 and $10,000 payments to "Peter D and Company" of Santa Fe on March 13.

    DeBenedittis announced his departure the next day. He sent a formal letter to the Secretary of State's Office to withdraw his candidacy on March 15.

    DeBenedittis said he decided to endorse Apodaca after speaking with all the candidates about the issues.

    Being unemployed at the time, DeBenedittis said Apodaca offered him the position so he took it.

    "To me, I'm trying to leverage the assets in my campaign into assets I can survive off of," DeBenedittis said.
    Through running his own campaign, he said he had gained expertise and compiled a valuable list of Democratic contacts.

    "For the amount of work I'm doing vs. any other campaign consultant, I'm getting paid peanuts," DeBenedittis said.

  • New Mexico's 'warm line' launches texting option

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico's "warm line," a peer-to-peer call line that helps residents struggling with substance abuse, grief, and suicidal thoughts, has introduced a texting option.

    The state's Peer-to-Peer Warmline launched its texting feature two years after the New Mexico Crisis Access Line started the warm line, KUNM-FM in Albuquerque reports .

    The warm line is staffed specialists who are specially trained to use their own experiences to offer support to those dealing with addiction or mental health issues. The state began the warm lines in 2015 as an expansion of the professional counselor-staffed crisis line.

    New Mexico Crisis Access Line Program Manager Wendy Linebrink-Allison said texting gives people a better sense of control over the conversation.

    She says texting could make the line more appealing to people who have anxiety or a busy day.

    "Maybe they feel more comfortable writing it out, and thinking about what they're saying before they have a conversation with somebody," she said.

    According to the New Mexico Crisis Access Line, the warm lines handles around 1,000 calls a month and each lasts around 15 minutes. Officials say some residents choose the warm line over the crisis lines to speak to someone "who has been there" and lived through the same experiences.

  • New Mexico Democrats elect Corrales woman as party leader

    TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES (AP) — New Mexico Democrats have elected a new party leader, weeks after the previous one resigned over his handling of sexual misconduct claims.

    The selection of Corrales resident Marg Elliston came over the weekend.

    Elliston will fill out the term left vacant by Richard Ellenberg's resignation in mid-March. Ellenberg had defended a prominent figure in the state's film industry who had been facing sexual misconduct allegations.

    The leadership shake-up comes as Democrats are hoping to recapture the governor's seat and flip a closely watched congressional seat in southern New Mexico.

    Elliston says she is excited to take on the challenge and promote a progressive platform.

    She previously led the Democratic Party of Sandoval County and has volunteered as a lobbyist at the legislature.

  • County budget is in, now comes the wait

    If its 2019 budget approval process were a game of chess then the Los Alamos County Council, having just made a move to put itself one step closer to a checkmate victory, is now waiting to see if the move will get snuffed out with a defensive counter or remain viable, thus keeping the door open for the win.

    “We’re just playing a wait-and-see game,” County Manager Harry Burgess said Wednesday, the day after the council approved the $188,838,880 budget.

    The county is now in the process of submitting the budget to the state while waiting on the outcome of the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s contract decision, which will determine whether LANL is listed as for-profit or not-for-profit which, in turn, will have a major positive or negative affect on this budget.

    “The best guess we’ve got is that we’ll know around June,” Burgess said. “You can see how it affects our operations. We just went through a whole process, months of preparing this, to essentially create a tentative plan.

    “That’s the issue we’re up against,” he continued. “We’ve got a great economic driver, but we’re subject to their decisions because of that.”