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Local News

  • NM monsoons strong, but drought lingers

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — For a few hours, the Rio Grande was grand again.

    But weather officials say despite the fierce storm that hit Albuquerque with hurricane-force winds and pounding rains over the weekend, New Mexico's drought is far from over.

    "It's making a little dent in places," National Weather Service meteorologist Chuck Jones said Monday of the steady stream of afternoon storms across the state this month. "But this is something that developed over several years ... and it will take several years for the state to recover, assuming we get normal or above normal monsoons."

    The good news, he says, is that since the traditional July start of the afternoon and evening rains, much of the state has seen above normal activity. And that is expected to continue across many areas of New Mexico through the end of September.

    The state has seen some real doozies this year. Last month, a storm dumped more than a foot of hail on Santa Rosa, stranding some motorists in wintry white drifts that had accumulated on the streets within about 20 minutes.

  • FBI raids rescue 105 kids forced into prostitution

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Authorities rescued 105 children who were forced into prostitution and arrested 150 pimps and others in a three-day law enforcement sweep in 76 American cities, the FBI said Monday. The victims, almost all girls, range in age from 13 to 17.

    The largest numbers of children rescued were in San Francisco, Detroit, Milwaukee, Denver and New Orleans. The campaign, known as Operation Cross Country, was conducted under the FBI's Innocence Lost initiative.

    "Child prostitution remains a persistent threat to children across the country," Ron Hosko, assistant director of the bureau's criminal investigative division, told a press conference.

    The FBI said the campaign has resulted in rescuing 2,700 children since 2003.

    The investigations and convictions of 1,350 have led to life imprisonment for 10 pimps and the seizure of more than $3.1 million in assets.

    For the past decade, the FBI has been attacking the problem in partnership with a non-profit group, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

    John Ryan, the head of the center, called the problem "an escalating threat against America's children."

  • New Mexico's annual tax holiday starts Friday

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is offering shoppers a chance to save money on computers, school supplies and clothing from Friday to midnight Sunday.

    During the annual tax holiday, there's no gross receipts tax on certain products purchased at participating retailers.

    The tax rate varies across the state, but exceeds 8 percent in some communities.

    No tax will be imposed on computers up to $1,000, including tablets; and computer hardware, such as a printer, that costs no more than $500.

    Also tax-free are school supplies under $30 and certain clothing and shoes up to $100.

    Cell phones, iPods, and MP3 players are subject to taxation.

    The conservative think tank Tax Foundation says tax holidays don't stimulate economic growth and are a political gimmick.

    Note: The Los Alamos Monitor publishes the annual Back to School special section this Wednesday in advance of tax-free weekend. The section will be delivered to most homes in Los Alamos and White Rock as part of a Total Market Circulation distribution.

  • Today in History July 29
  • Raw: Mega Mushroom Causes Stir in China Village

    Residents of Puxiong Township in China's Jianshui County had a reason to fetch their cameras last weekend following the discovery of a giant fungus. The large clump of mushrooms numbered over 100 caps attached at the base of their stems.

  • Today in History for July 28th
  • A-19 rezoning gets nod

    The Los Alamos County Council unanimously approved the rezoning of the A-19 parcel in White Rock Friday afternoon.

    The area next to the visitor center (25.82 acres) will be rezoned to DT-NCO (Neighborhood Center) and the remaining 34.46 acres will be rezoned R-1-5 (Single Family Residential).

    The rezoning brings the parcel into compliance with the White Rock Center Master Plan/Economic Development Strategy adopted by the council in June 2008 and provides appropriate districts for the future development of the property.

    Requests for Information have been sent out to developers regarding development of the Neighborhood Center parcel, and four responses have come back to the county regarding higher density, mixed-use housing in that area.

    A core objective of the White Rock Center Master Plan is to create a viable town center with a public space and retail activity center. The rezoning is designed to foster this type of development in addition to providing a mix of housing options.

    White Rock Master Plan Implementation Committee Chair Denny Erickson spoke in favor of the rezoning.

  • Bandelier sustains flooding

    The staff at Bandelier National Monument has been through this before.

    A wall of water that observers said was between five and eight feet, late Thursday night cascaded down Frijoles Canyon, causing flooding.

    “Staff drove down into the canyon to make sure protection was in place including closing a gate that protects Bandelier’s Visitor Center from high water,” said Chief Ranger Tom Betts.

    By 12:30 a.m., water flowed into the canyon at a height between 5-8 feet and covered the parking lot.

    Park superintendent Jason Lott estimated that it was about three-fourths the size of the 2011 flood that closed Frijoles Canyon after the Las Conchas Fire. In some areas, water reached high water marks from flooding two years ago.

    “We are just so much better prepared,” Lott said. “Our staff has been through these scenarios before and they implemented the plan to perfection.”

    Lott said park staff was notified of the impending water by text message.

    “We have an early warning system,” Lott said. “There is instrumentation in the upper canyon that is hooked to a satellite system. When there is a rain event, it feeds that information to our cellphones.”
    Park spokesperson Claudia Brookshire explained the flood plan.

  • Safety, efficiency hallmarks of new HQ for fire department

    Los Alamos Fire Chief Troy Hughes points to safety and efficiency as the biggest benefits to the department’s new headquarters. In early June, the fire department’s administration moved out of its 195 East Road location of the past 19 years to the second floor of the “Radio Shack” building at 999 Central Avenue.

    When they moved into the new digs, Hughes made sure to arrange the administration into work groups that made sense so communication and workflow would be easier and more efficient.

    “Just because of the way things were configured before, we might have had a chief on one side of the building, then his direct support person up front or on the opposite side. This created quite a distance between the two people.

    “What we’ve done now is create work groups based on departmental divisions,” Hughes said.

    The realignment was also easier, since the floor space was pretty much blank canvas. They got to add and create their own office space, which is under a five-year lease.

    LAFD evaluated six properties, including the old East Road location. The 7,290-square-foot 999 Central Ave. location came in at the lowest bid of $14,549.63 per month for the base year.

    The county council approved the department’s lease on the space last March.

  • Update 07-28-13

    Probate judge

    The deadline to apply for Probate Judge is quickly approaching. Submit a one or two-page letter of interest to the County Administrator (Suite 350, Municipal Building) by 5 p.m. Monday. The Council will interview applicants and make a selection at their Aug. 13 meeting.

    DWI meeting

    Los Alamos County DWI Planning Council Meeting will be at 8:30 a.m. Thursday at 2500 Trinity Drive, Suite A.

    DPU charter

    The DPU Charter Review Board will meet at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Municipal Building.

    Performance

    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. 7 p.m. Thursday at White Rock Baptist Church.

    Gardening

    Kids Summer Gardening. Plant a garden, do art, investigate, explore and play. Led by Laural Hardin. For children entering kindergarten through third grade. 9-10:30 a.m. at Wednesday at PEEC.