Local News

  • Probe of Medicaid services could take months

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — State Attorney General Gary King said Wednesday it could take several months for his office to complete an investigation of overpayments and possible fraud by behavioral health providers in New Mexico’s Medicaid program.
    King told the Legislative Finance Committee his office hasn’t made a determination about the allegations forwarded to his office by the Human Services Department. There are 17 investigators assigned to the case.
    The department froze payments last month to 15 nonprofits that provide mental health and substance abuse services after an audit found what the agency said was a high rate of billing problems and possible mismanagement.
    King said his investigation of the allegations would determine whether there’s evidence of fraud justifying criminal prosecutions or possible civil actions against the behavioral health providers.
    “I think it would be an abrogation of my responsibility not to investigate those,” King said.
    Human Services Secretary Sidonie Squier defended her agency’s action in testimony to the committee and assured lawmakers that steps were being taken to prevent an interruption of services to patients. Contracts have been signed with five providers from Arizona to step in and provide assistance.

  • Update 07-18-13


    A charity breakfast will be held from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Masonic Lodge to benefit Mica Andersen and his family. Andersen is in the hospital, critically injured from a bomb blast in Afghanistan.


    The Environmental Sustainability Board will meet at 5:30 tonight at the B and C Conference Room in the Municipal Building.

    APP board

    The Los Alamos County Art in Public Places Board will meet at 5:30 p.m. July 25 in the Mesa Public Library

    Dem meeting

    The Democratic Party of Los Alamos County will have its monthly meeting at 7 p.m. tonight in Building 2 at UNM-LA.

    County Council

     The Los Alamos County Council will meet at noon July 26 in the municipal building.

  • Thompson Ridge fire recovery underway

    The Thompson Ridge Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team received final approval for its emergency stabilization request and recommendations for burned areas affected by the Thompson Ridge fire on Tuesday. The Washington office approved $252,700 for emergency treatments within Valles Caldera National Preserve.

    A contracting officer was brought in immediately to procure materials and initial treatments could begin as early as next week.

    Valles Caldera crews take over from there. The mitigation measures they will employ include:
    • Constructing or improving water control features on roads and trails such as dips and low water crossings
    • hazard tree reduction
    • installing warning signs
    • application of seed for soil stabilization
    • protection of identified cultural resource sites from flooding

    “All of the BAER treatments are programmed to be efficient, effective, the cheapest way to treat areas to get them through the emergency situation,” said BAER Information Officer Cathleen Thompson. “We can’t stop events like flooding. We hope to lessen the impacts, to mitigate it.

    “Until long-term strategies come in to help the area completely recover and restore, these treatments just basically try to minimize impact.”

  • California Wildfire Forces Thousands From Homes

    As many as 6,000 people have been told to evacuate from homes, cabins and hotels, as a wildfire spreads quickly near Palm Springs, in Southern California. The fire has burned up to 30 square miles since it began on Monday.

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  • Abuse of power alleged in LAPD suit

    A countersuit filed in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico against Los Alamos County by two employees of the Los Alamos Police Department has revealed possible abuses of power by two high ranking police officers within the LAPD.

    The suit, filed Tuesday by Brian and Zina Schamber, contends that Lt. Scott Mills and Commander Randy Foster allegedly harassed Brian Schamber and tried to sabotage his law enforcement career in an attempt to eliminate him as a posible candidate to replace Police Chief Wayne Torpy, who was in poor health at the time.

    Court documents state that Foster has been terminated from his job and Mills is on suspension following an internal affairs investigation into the allegations.

    County administrator Harry Burgess said he could not comment on the case but he did say that Jamie Sullivan of the Brennan and Sullivan law firm in Santa Fe would talk about the case on the county’s behalf.

    Santa Fe attorney John Day, representing the Schambers, said, “...Torpy was a big fan of Brian Schamber and we alleged that’s one of the issues here that generated all this. “‘Foster decided you know what? He’s in my way here, and there’s an easy way to take care of him.”

  • LAFD has raised more than $20K for fallen firefighters

    The Los Alamos Fire Department is wrapping up donation collections for the families of the 19 Granite Mountain Hot Shots that tragically lost their lives in the Yarnell Hill Wildfire in Prescott, Ariz. on June 30.
    These same firefighters defended Los Alamos and LANL from the Las Conchas wildfire of June 2011, and more recently from the threat of the Thompson Ridge wildfire in the Jemez Mountains west of Los Alamos.
    LAFD firefighters will host a table at the summer concert Friday at Marimac Plaza where they will offer the opportunity for residents to sign a banner and make a contribution.
    Those unable to attend Friday’s concert can either stop by LANB and ask to donate to the Granite Mountain Hot Shot Families account before Monday at 5 p.m., or, stop by Fire Administration offices on Monday at 999 Central (Second Floor) to sign the banner and make a contribution.

  • Parting gift from Ashley Pond

    Parks Superintendent Jeff Humpton (left) presents retiring Dick McIntyre with a memento of one of the least enviable chores of his last major project: removing diseased fish from Ashley Pond so construction could begin. Public Works Director Philo Shelton quipped, “We wouldn’t have been able to present this to Dick without Jeff Humpton and his crew. This is from Ashley Pond, the one good looking fish.”

  • Update 07-17-13

    Romero fund

    A fund for Los Alamos High graduate Eric Romero and Marissa Martinez, killed in an car accident last Wednesday in Española, has been set up at Guadelupe Credit Union. The fund is called “In loving memory of Eric Romero and Marissa Martinez.” They leave behind a two-week-old baby. Any credit union in New Mexico that does “shared banking” will accept a donation.


    A charity breakfast will be held from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Masonic Lodge to benefit Mica Andersen and his family. Andersen is in the hospital, critically injured from a bomb blast in Afghanistan.

    Chamber music

     The Coffeehouse: An evening of Chamber music. 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Fuller Lodge. Presented by the Los Alamos Art Council, Tickets available at CB Fox.

    Dem meeting

     The Democratic Party of Los Alamos County will have its monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday in Building 2 at UNM-LA.

    JJAB meeting

    The Juvenile Justice Advisory Board will meet at 6 p.m. tonight in Building 1, Camino Entrada Road, Pajarito Cliffs Site.