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Today's News

  • County may face future scrutiny by auditor

    Los Alamos County is not out of the woods yet. State Auditor Wayne Johnson said last week more details were found in the audit of the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities that may require follow up with the county.

    “Obviously, I’m concerned a bit because of the RCLC… You would think they would be aware of state law regarding reimbursement the first time a $28 shot of Whistle Pig came across their desk and it wasn’t flagged. It does concern me and it may be more there that needs to be looked at,” Johnson said. 

    “You kind of get to be looking at the fire right in front of you and not the one next to it. It’s something we need to be looking into,” he said.

    Johnson said it could be as soon as this year.

    “I haven’t made that full determination, but at some point we will be looking at it, Johnson said. “This is about corrective action and making sure the entities are following the law and their own policies, not so much about beating them up.”

    A set of documents, ranging from October 2015 to July 2016, requested by the Los Alamos Monitor through a public information request showed former Executive Director Andrea Romero appeared to use RCLC funds as her personal burrito lunch fund.

  • Man's body recovered after fall from Omega Bridge

    Los Alamos police have confirmed that a man’s body was recovered from beneath the Omega Bridge Wednesday in Los Alamos.

    The 32-year-old man fell from the bridge, according to police.

    No more details were released at this time.

  • Heinrich, Udall call For FBI to reopen Kavanaugh background investigation

    Democrat Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall called for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to reopen a background check Wednesday on Judge Brett Kavanaugh before the U.S. Senate moves ahead with a vote on his confirmation.

    The New Mexico senators joined with other Democrats this week who voiced concern over a 30-year-old claim of sexual assault brought forward by Christine Blasey Ford.

    Ford says she doesn't want to publicly testify until the FBI adds to Kavanaugh's background check by investigating her allegation. She has publicly accused Kavanaugh of assaulting her at a party more than three decades ago when they were in high school.

    Heinrich, who is running for re-election, issued the following statement on reopening the background investigation of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

    "When a victim of sexual assault comes forward to make a harrowing allegation like this, it takes tremendous courage and needs to be taken seriously. Dr. Blasey must be treated with respect, and the matter must be investigated thoroughly by the appropriate law enforcement agency. None of that can happen in a matter of just a few days,” Heinrich said.

  • Cadets learn leadership through change

    The New Mexico Civil Air Patrol’s Los Alamos Composite Squadron’s cadets had their annual change of command ceremony yesterday, as outgoing Cadet Commander, 2nd Lt. Jack Stafford officially handing off duties to Cadet 1st Lt. Juan Romero.

    Flight Officer and Deputy Cadet Squadron Commander Hannah Morgan said giving cadet officers a chance at command gives them experience in decision-making and leadership.

    “They don’t get to quite run the squadron the way they like to but they see to what it’s like to lead a squadron and to make some decisions,” Morgan said.

    The change of command ceremony took all of two minutes according Squadron Commander Bill Wolfe.

    The short ceremony was completed when Stafford handed the squadron colors to Morgan, who handed them to Romero.

    “It’s a very brief and to the point ceremony,” Wolfe said.

    It may be short, but the Civil Air Patrol’s change of command ceremony is a very formal ceremony that marks the end of one era in a command and the beginning of the next, according to Civil Air Patrol’s guidebook on CAP ceremonies.
    Stafford said the experience was valuable to him.

  • Police Beat 9-19-18

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department Records. Charges or citations listed in Police Beat do not imply innocence or guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested, served a court summons, or issued a citation.

    Sept. 9
    4:08 p.m. — Los Alamos police arrested a suspect for committing larceny at Smith’s in Los Alamos.
    8:07 p.m. — Los Alamos police took a report on lost property.

    Sept. 10
    9:58 a.m. — Los Alamos police arrested a suspect in the Zia Credit Union parking lot for driving with a suspended license.
    5:21 p.m.  — Los Alamos police arrested a suspect for aggravated assault.
    7:27 p.m.  —  Ross S. Kohn, 27, of Los Alamos, was arrested for aggravated assault and tampering with evidence. He was later released.

    Sept. 11
    9:08 a.m.  —  Fernando Jose Rodriguez, 36, of Española, was arrested on a district court warrant. He was later released.
    11:15 a.m. — Los Alamos police issued two traffic citations for possession of marijuana for the driver.

  • NM’s ‘Chief Transparency Officer' shines light on bad government

    Like some other government officials, New Mexico State Auditor Wayne Johnson started his political career as an ordinary citizen who had a negative experience with his local government. Johnson, a Republican, is running for state auditor this year in the General Election.

    Johnson started his public life when he got involved in a dispute with a neighbor who had deep political connections.

    “I felt like I wasn’t treated fairly. I decided, ‘well, I can get mad and continue to yell at the TV, or I can do something about it,’” Johnson said.

    Johnson’s first successful run for office was for Bernalillo County Commissioner, where he quickly became known as the commissioner who pushed for greater transparency in government, ethics and accountability, things he’s been building his public career on ever since. While in office, he said, he was responsible for creating one of the strongest Sunshine Portals in the state. New Mexico’s Sunshine Portals are transparency and accountability programs New Mexico’s municipal and county governments offer citizens.

    “My platform and my first act was about transparency. It’s one of the best tools to use to modify good behavior in government. People tend to act better if they know they are being observed,” Johnson said.

  • Fire crews search for lost hiker in White Rock Canyon

    The Los Alamos Fire Department located a missing hiker at about 4:50 p.m. Tuesday near the Rio Grande River in White Rock Canyon.

    Crews reported the hiker asked for water and he was slightly disoriented, according to reports over the police radio. He complained of dehydration, but no injuries.

    A man called police from a cell phone around 3 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Los Alamos Fire Department. Crews looked for the hiker in the Tsankawi area of Los Alamos County, which covers an area between the Omega Bridge and White Rock Canyon.

    The report came in around 3 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Los Alamos Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Steve Dawald. 

  • New Mexico Gov. Martinez attends White House Hispanic event

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has traveled to Washington to attend a Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration hosted by President Donald Trump.

    The nation's only Latina governor attended a White House Hispanic Heritage Month event on Monday, days after Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham of Albuquerque strongly rejected Trump's invitation over his policies and his previous comments about Latinos.

    Lujan Grisham, a Democrat who is running for New Mexico governor to replace Martinez, cited Trump's previous comments he made about Latinos during the 2016 presidential campaign. She also cited Trump's denial about lives lost in Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria last year.

    Martinez, a once a rising star within the Republican Party, criticized Trump's campaign rhetoric about Mexican immigrants but has warmed up to him in recent months.
     

  • County hosts first AOPA fly-in

    Los Alamos County hosted it’s first “fly-in” Friday, as 12 people came by plane and 22 by other means to the Los Alamos Airport to meet up with fellow flyers and aviation buffs. The event was hosted by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and the County of Los Alamos. It is part of a two-day event that also included a fly-in to the Santa Fe Airport on Friday and Saturday.

    Pilot Rol Murrow said this was a pretty big deal for Los Alamos County and the state, as the AOPA only hosts about four fly-ins a year at various states around the country. Though Los Alamos Airport Manager Cameron Humphries couldn’t be reached for comment, Murrow said airports bid to host the event.

    “Usually the AOPA does about four fly-ins around the country, and this is the first time they’ve done one in New Mexico,” Murrow said.

    As a former employer of the AOPA, Murrow wasn’t exactly sure why the AOPA picked New Mexico and Los Alamos County was picked this time around, but maybe it was for the beauty of the region and for it’s large aviation community.

    “They do them for various regional places around the country and we have very a very enthusiastic aviation community in New Mexico. Santa Fe is also a very beautiful destination,” Murrow said.

  • Return of missing WWII airman’s remains years in the making

    BY MADDY HAYDEN
    The Albuquerque Journal

    ALBUQUERQUE — Before his burial in Santa Fe late last month, Sgt. Alfonso Orlando Duran was one of nearly 73,000 American servicemembers still missing in action from World War II.

    But he never would have made it home without dozens of people over two continents working tirelessly over the course of more than a decade to find him.

    Duran, an El Rito native, was 22 and serving as a substitute nose gunner with the Army Air Forces when his B-24 Liberator, nicknamed “Knock It Off,” was shot down and crashed in what was then Yugoslavia on Feb. 25, 1944. He was the only member of the 10-person crew not to bail out, for unknown reasons.
    Fellow crew members reported at the time that Alfonso appeared uninjured, but would not leave the aircraft.

    A tail gunner on a nearby aircraft said he saw “Knock It Off” assailed by “ack ack” – antiaircraft fire – and struck on its right wing, according to his eyewitness statement.

    “It immediately passed out of sight below, and I did not see it again,” he said. “Knock It Off” was a part of the massive “Operation Argument,” that targeted enemy aircraft factories and sought to destroy their forces in the air.