Local News

  • Update: Mesa Vista school bus rolls over; driver dead, kids hurt

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Two students remained hospitalized a day after their school bus went off a road and crashed in an embankment in northern New Mexico.

    The bus driver died and nine students were injured Monday when the bus crashed off State Road 111 near La Madera in Carson National Forest, Rio Arriba County sheriff's spokesman Jake Arnold said. The mountainous, isolated area is popular for hunting, hiking and camping.

    Images from a KOB-TV helicopter showed the bus lodged in the embankment, in an area of mesas, sagebrush and rocky terrain. It appeared to have gone off a cliff around 15 miles from the students' schools in Ojo Caliente, a resort town known for its hot springs. The roads are surrounded by mesas, sagebrush and rocky terrain.

    Seventh-grader Xavier Varela told the Albuquerque Journal the accident occurred without warning.

    "I was listening to music, and all of a sudden the bus comes off the road," he said outside a hospital in Espanola, where he was evaluated and released. "I was the only one who stayed in the seat; everyone else was on the floor."

    The driver, Pat Valdez, 69, died at the scene, possibly of a heart attack or other medical condition, authorities said.

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  • Seismic scenarios simulated

    Details emerged from a weekly site office report last month about a series of tabletop exercises that dealt with a possible seismic event at Los Alamos.

    According to the March 1 report, LANL conducted a series of four tabletop emergency exercises at the emergency operations center to evaluate and pre-plan site actions in response to a significant seismic event at Los Alamos.

    Participation from LANL and local, state, and federal agencies included approximately 60 personnel. These personnel represented senior field office and LANL management, Los Alamos Fire and Police Departments, local Tribal Organizations, New Mexico National Guard, New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Los Alamos Medical Center, and others.

  • School board grapples with construction uncertainty

    Despite the best assurances from McCarthy Construction, the Los Alamos School Board is still not ready to commit to moving the portable classrooms or even some of them until McCarthy presents a solid contingency plan May 9 on what it’s going to do if the Los Alamos Middle School isn’t ready by Aug. 9

    “We updated the schedule last week and we showed an Aug. 9 completion date,” said Mike Horn, McCarthy’s project manager for the middle school. He also said they have some extra days left in the schedule, and the only problem that might come up is that there could be a problem concerning paperwork with one of the subcontractors in charge of stucco. 

    “It looks like they are going to be able to provide worker’s comp. That being said, I don’t have a certificate in hand yet. That’s our biggest hurdle,” Horn said.

  • Los Alamos air service begins Monday

    There was a buzz of enthusiasm among a small group gathered at the Los Alamos Airport Friday to view the 9-passenger Cessna Caravan that New Mexico Airlines will use to fly to and from the Albuquerque Sunport starrting on Monday.

    "This is a great deal," Allen Schmiedick said. "It is going to be at least as cheap as it would be to drive to Albuquerque and park a car. I can't imagine anybody not taking advantage of it."

    Schmiedick–who had just stepped off of a short flight over Los Alamos–was as excited about the views as he was about the boon to travelers. With good reason: the vistas of the Pajarito Plateau from a cruising altitude of 8,500 feet are probably worth the price of the ticket. One resident said he would pay just to go on a joy ride if the airline offered it.

    Chief Pilot Dave Jones introduced the gathering to features of the aircraft and flew the first flight. When two crews from Los Alamos Fire Station No. 6 arrived to get training on key elements for quick response, such as how to gain access to the engine or unload passengers, Jones reassured onlookers that the Caravan has a 99.8 percent reliability rating.

  • Benefits of crowdfunding


    Crowdfunding” is a way that startups can raise money to get a project or enterprise off the ground without company founders having to surrender ownership, secure a loan or approach foundations for elusive grants.

    Earlier incarnations of the practice didn’t have the advantage of instant access to a global fan base that can grow exponentially through social media. The Internet created that access, and crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter.com and IndieGoGo.com created platforms where people could pitch their projects.

    Aqua Research, a resident company in the BioScience Center incubator in Albuquerque, is using IndieGoGo to raise $50,000 by May 10 to finance production of its H2gO water purifier, which can turn up to five gallons of unsafe water at a time into potable water using a solar-powered rechargeable cell-phone battery.

  • Finding wellness through rough times

    After the Las Conchas fire of 2011, chiropractor Kim Lazarus’ future looked bleak. But two years later with help from the Los Alamos Small Business Center, she is getting back on track.

    Lazarus has been a licensed chiropractor for 10 years in the Los Alamos area, but lost her business after the Las Conchas fire.

    During the evacuation, many of the practitioners who shared office space, moved out and went their separate ways. She said she found herself alone with no place to go. Then she turned to the business center, wanting to open her own space.

    “The experience forced me to downsize and start over,” she said.

    Lazarus’ new business specializes in nonsurgical weight loss procedures involving lasers, detox body wraps, nutritional recommendations and a unique relaxation technique for brain balancing. She also offers other wellness practices to her patients. Her office is located at 190 Central Park Square. 

  • 4 face charges in NM meth bust

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — State and federal authorities say four people are facing charges following a two-month investigation into a drug trafficking ring.

    Authorities with a regional drug enforcement task force say large amounts of methamphetamine were being trafficked in Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties.

    This week's bust netted officers almost a pound of meth that was valued at $12,000, along with an ounce of cocaine, two stolen handguns and more than $4,200 in cash.

    The investigation also turned up evidence related to several property crime cases in Santa Fe.

    Authorities identified those facing charges as 38-year-old Christopher Candelaria of Albuquerque and Santa Fe residents 34-year-old Regina Cole, 30-year-old Justin Jameson and 31-year-old Angelo Rotunno.