Local News

  • WIPP gets state approval for opening new wing

    CALRSBAD, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Environment Department has approved the start of operations in a new segment of the federal government's nuclear waste repository near Carlsbad.

    The area known as Panel 7 was put through an extensive review and certification process before the state signed off on the opening of the new wing.

    Officials tell the Carlsbad Current-Argus that the area underwent mining and outfitting, which included the installation of electricity, monitoring equipment and air regulating bulkheads.

    Panel 7 will begin to receive defense-related waste, including such things as clothing, tools and other debris, once Panel 6 has been filled. Operations could start as soon as this month.

    WIPP is authorized to mine one more panel. A request for any additional panels must be made to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

  • Today in History for August 4th
  • Martinez lauds fire crews

    Gov. Susana Martinez has announced that New Mexico’s new military veteran’s fire crews will become a permanent program beyond this fire season, following its success during the 2013 fire season.  The governor made the announcement at Rio Grande Nature Center State Park in the bosque at the same location she announced the pilot program last April.

    The Veterans Fire Crews Pilot Program trained and employed nearly 40 military veterans as wildland fire hand crews over the summer. Martinez announced that an executive budget request will be made to provide for 60 slots to train veterans to help fight fires.

  • Abney pleads guilty to child abuse charge

    Tyrell Abney, 20, pleaded guilty to third-degree child abuse Wednesday in Los Alamos District Court before Judge Shari Raphaelson.

    Assistant District Attorney Kent Wahlquist said Abney received three years probation. He also was sentenced to three years and three years suspended.

    “If he violates the terms of his probation, he could serve time,” Wahlquist said. “If he violates it tomorrow, he will have to serve three years. If he violates it a year from now, he will have to serve two years.”

    Wahlquist said Abney has relinquished his parental rights to the child and Wahlquist thinks Abney has no contact with the mother.

  • Klotz nominated to head NNSA

    Frank Klotz has been nominated to be the new administrator for the National Nuclear Security Administration, according to a White House press release that listed presidential nominations sent to the Senate Thursday.

    Klotz would replace Thom D’Agostino, who retired in December as well as two acting administrators Neile Miller and Bruce Held.

    According to the Nuclear Weapons and Materials Monitor, Klotz was picked from a field of candidates that included former Los Alamos National Laboratory director Mike Anastasio, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs Madelyn Creedon, and former Naval Reactors chief Kirkland Donald.

  • Anti-nuke protests slated for Sunday, Monday

    A couple of anti-nuclear events will take place Sunday and Monday as the bombing of Hiroshima is remembered.

    Pax Christi Santa Fe will hold its annual Hiroshima Day Commemoration from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Ashley Pond.

    The next morning, Trinity Nuclear Abolition (TNA) will host a vigil for peace at LANL at the corner of Diamond and West Jemez. Organizers say there are gathering at 7 a.m. just as lab employees report to work.

    The lab released the following statement, “the laboratory fully supports the rights of free speech and peaceful assembly. However, we cannot tolerate activities that are unsafe, illegal, or do not comply with laboratory security.”

  • Practice makes perfect

    At Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Tech Area 49 around this time of year, a lot of accidents tend to happen. Chemical spills, car accidents and hazardous waste cleanup are just part of the norm, and believe it or not, the lab is glad it happens. 

    Why? Because it’s good practice, literally. Each year, around late July and early August, LANL’s emergency response team gets busy setting up various “situations” at the site: car accidents, chemical spills, buildings fitted out with illegal drug making facilities. 

    Called the “Hazmat Challenge,” emergency crews from LANL, the Los Alamos Fire Department and first responders from all over the region come to the site to test their skills and compete with other teams.

  • Catch-22 seen in retail survey results

    The MainStreet survey on what Los Alamos residents want in dining and shopping was the topic of discussion at Thursday’s Chamber Breakfast, which drew approximately 40 people. Business owners seemed unsurprised by the results, but struggled with how to implement some of the suggestions. 

    The desire for stores and restaurants to stay open later sparked considerable debate.

    “That’s expressed in every survey I know of for 35 years, and when you try to respond to it, there’s no complimentary response,” said CB Fox owner Dave Fox. 

    Fox described a time when businesses made a concerted effort to stay open until 7 p.m. during the week, until 8 p.m. on Thursdays and from 12–4 p.m. on Sundays for an entire year. 

  • Deputy state police chief promoted


    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico State Police Deputy Chief Pete Kassetas was named Friday to take over as head of the statewide law enforcement agency.

    Kassetas is a 20-year veteran of the State Police and replaces Chief Robert Shilling, who is retiring.

    Republican Gov. Susana Martinez announced the appointment, saying Kassetas "has an exceptional understanding of law enforcement techniques, departmental objectives, and community outreach."

    As chief, Kassetas will be paid about $103,000 a year.

    Public Safety Secretary Gorden Eden said Capt. Jimmy Glascock and Maj. David Martinez have been promoted to deputy chiefs. Maj. Martinez will oversee criminal investigations and Glasscock will be responsible for uniform operations, which includes officers who patrol New Mexico's highways.

    The governor said the three new appointees "will form a strong team to continue the State Police's proud tradition of service and public safety."

    Kassetas joined the State Police in 1993 as a patrol officer and worked his way up through the ranks.

    The State Police has more than 500 officers, with district offices across New Mexico.

  • All dressed up