Local News

  • Bandelier subject to full closure

    Even as the Las Conchas fire raged throughout Bandelier National Monument, sections of the park such as Tsankawi and unaffected trails remained open. That is not the case with the closure caused by the current federal shutdown.

    “One of the things that surprised people about this closure is that it’s so different from all the ones we’ve had recently, all the ones where Frijoles Canyon was closed and we encouraged people to go to Tsankawi and up on the mesas. All of it is closed,” said Ranger Chris Judson.

    “For local people who are used to us closing just the canyon so they don’t get drowned or something, this is a very different setup, because it’s a formal legal thing. It’s affecting parks all over the whole country.”

    Judson was reached Tuesday morning, when all staff had to report to update their voice mail with the closure announcement, shut down their computers and lock their offices. Only essential employees and those who live in the park will be allowed in during the shutdown, and even those who live there will not have access to areas such as trails.

    “For us, full closure is part of our mandate,” said Chief Ranger Tom Betts. “Not our choice, obviously; you know how we are. We like to keep things open.”

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  • Insurance markets open to surge of new customers

    CHICAGO (AP) — Americans got their first chance Tuesday to shop for health insurance using the online marketplaces that are at the heart of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, but government websites designed to sell the policies struggled to handle the traffic, with many frustrated users reporting trouble setting up accounts.

    State and federal agencies were working to fix the sites, which represent the biggest expansion in coverage in nearly 50 years. There should be time to make improvements. The open-enrollment period lasts for six months.

    Administration officials said they are pleased with the strong consumer interest, but on a day of glitches they refused to say how many people actually succeeded in signing up for coverage. They gave inconsistent answers on whether a common problem had been cleared up or was still being corrected.

    By Tuesday afternoon, at least 2.8 million people had visited the healthcare.gov website, said Medicare administrator Marilyn Tavenner, whose office is overseeing the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. The website had seven times the number of simultaneous users ever recorded on the medicare.gov site.

  • Close call for boy on bike

    Police are currently investigating an accident that occurred between an 8-year-old boy and a vehicle Monday afternoon on Camino Redondo. Police said it appeared the boy was pulling out of his driveway on his bike as the car was going down the street, and they collided. The boy was taken to the hospital but did not appear to have any serious injuries, police reported.

  • Disaster declaration for June storms

    SANTA FE (AP) — President Barack Obama has signed a disaster declaration for parts of New Mexico for June storms and flooding.
    The Federal Emergency Management Agency says that federal disaster aid is being made available to supplement state, local and tribal recovery efforts.
    The declaration involves areas affected by storms and flooding that occurred June 23-28. The areas covered by the declaration include Bernalillo, Colfax, Luna, Sandoval, and Socorro counties and the Cochiti, Kewa (Santa Domingo), San Felipe, and Sandia pueblos.

  • Council OKs fire services agreement

    During Friday’s meeting, the Los Alamos County Council unanimously approved a new cooperative agreement with the National Nuclear Security Administration to provide fire department services.

    One of the most significant changes in the new agreement is its 10-year duration. Past agreements have been for five years.

    “This was one of the pleasant surprises out of this process,” said Deputy County Administrator/Chief Financial Officer Steven Lynne. “We weren’t expecting this when we started, but it’s a really good outcome in terms of the long-term stability and ability to plan not only with the NNSA but also with our program and also with our staff.”

    Under the new agreement, the county will now pay a percentage of costs rather than a fixed rate. For the first two years the split will be 80/20. The county’s share increases by one percent a year from the third year through the eighth and stops at 26 percent.

    The county’s share begins at $4.4 million in year one and ends at $7.4 million in year ten. Over the ten-year period, the federal share totals $193.1 million and the county share totals $59.3 million.

  • Government shuts down

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress plunged the nation into a partial government shutdown Tuesday as a protracted dispute over President Barack Obama’s signature health care law reached a boiling point, forcing some 800,000 federal workers off the job. Obama readied a midday statement to the nation as Democrats and Republicans maintained their blame-each-other duel on Capitol Hill.

    Even as Obama prepared to meet with citizens signing up for his health care program and then make a lunch-hour speech in the Rose Garden, the White House cut back to a skeletal staff. The U.S. Capitol canceled tours not personally led by Congress members. “Closed” signs and barricades sprang up at the Lincoln Memorial, and national parks and federal workplaces across the country were following suit.

    With the Republican-controlled House and Democratic-controlled Senate stalemated, it was unclear how long the shutdown — and the loss of some government programs and services — could last. The Senate early Tuesday rejected the House’s call to form a negotiating committee to resolve the deadlock.

  • Update 10-01-13

    Trick or Treat

    It’s time to sign up for Trick or Treat on MainStreet. Any businesses that would like to distribute candy on Central Avenue, it will be from 4-6:30 p.m., Oct. 25. Sign up ASAP. Deadine to register is Oct. 18. Sign up at chamberorganizer.com.


    Los Alamos High School 50th Reunion, Oct. 3. Classmates and guests will be able to enjoy a wide variety of activities at various venues around town. For more information call Dennis O’Mara at 505-899-0151.


    Kiwanis meets from noon to 1 p.m. each Tuesday in Kelly Hall at Trinity-on-the-Hill Episcopal Church, 3900 Trinity Drive. Speakers and topics are occasionally subject to change because of illness, conflicts, or weather.
    Oct. 8: John Roberts, manager of Smith’s grocery in Los Alamos, will speak on the new store under construction on Trinity Drive in Los Alamos.

    Sierra Club