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Today's News

  • Loope pleads not guilty for attacking mother

    Marion Loope, who is accused of holding a knife to her mother’s throat and choking her April 15, was arraigned in Los Alamos District Court Wednesday.

    Loope has been in custody following the reported incident. She pleaded not guilty to charges of battery of a household member with a deadly weapon and battery of a household member.

    First District Court Judge Jason Lidyard also ruled Wednesday for Loope to remain in custody in Los Alamos County jail.

    In May, Judge T. Glenn Ellington ordered for Loope to stay in jail, finding that the state had shown she was a danger to her mother. Loope had no other place to live accept with her mother, according to Assistant District Attorney Kent Wahlquist.

    “With the only place the defendant can live being with her parents whom she has battered before, no conditions of release would protect these victims Wahlquist said in a May custody order.

    Lidyard did leave the possibility open that Loope could be released until trial if her lawyer, Mary Carmichael McCormick, submitted new evidence in her favor.

    “As of right now, I’m going find that this order is still in place, that Miss Loope is to be held without bond under this pretrial order,” Lidyard said.

  • Police search for suspect in library exposure incident

    Los Alamos police were searching Thursday for a young man who reportedly exposed himself to two women at the Mesa Public Library Thursday afternoon.

    The incident happened at 4:30 p.m. on the first floor of the library.

    The suspect was described as a Hispanic man wearing an oversized white shirt, shorts and red shoes. He had dark hair, dark eyes and his hair was styled in a “man bun,” police said.

    Police were searching the library for the suspect.

    Police said the suspect did more than expose himself, but did not provide additional details.

    “There are some other aspects to it,” LAPD Officer Ben Irving said.

    Police are urging people that may have seen someone fitting the individual’s description call 662-8222 or visit the Los Alamos County Police’ Crimestoppers web page and leave a tip.

  • County launches computer operating system

    Los Alamos County has started the process of switching over from its antiquated, stand-alone computer operating system to a fully integrated system that is expected to better streamline the county’s operations.

    The county has been using the Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERPS) for several years now and is updating to a system called MUNIS through the vendor Tyler Technologies, which is headquartered in Maine with operations in almost 20 states.

    The first phase of the transition launches Sunday, and even though the training has been going on for several weeks now at an extensive pace, the county employees are excited to have a new system with which to work.

    “Wouldn’t you be excited if you were replacing your 12-year-old cell phone?” asked Deputy County Manager Steven Lynne.

    The county is already using two Tyler products. One is a building permitting software package used by the community development department and the other is the software package used by the assessor’s office.

    “Tyler’s a very large public-sector-only provider, so it’s their specialty,” Lynne said. “They have a lot of governmental clients. Based upon the requirements we listed in the (request for proposal) they met more of them better than the other proposers.”

  • NNSA officials caution residents to be patient during construction

    According to National Nuclear Security Administration officials, some motorists aren’t following the rules of the road on East Jemez Road, endangering fellow motorists and crews working on construction in the corridor.

    East Jemez is one of the main access points the Los Alamos National Laboratory uses to ship waste out to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad and other disposal sites in the country.

    Construction began on East Jemez Road earlier this year and will continue through October.

    “The most important aspect of this project is that drivers get to work and back home safely,” NNSA Los Alamos Public Affairs Specialist Toni Chiri said.

    Since the project began, police have observed drivers not obeying the temporary traffic light, drivers passing others and making u-turns on double lines, drivers not following the lead car assigned to take cars through the construction, and drivers driving through traffic control codes and using barricaded lanes. According to NNSA officials in charge of the project, maximum wait time is around 10 minutes.

    Los Alamos Police Department Spokesman Cpl. Preston Ballew said patience is key to navigating East Jemez Road.  

  • LAPS fills positions for 2018-19

    The Los Alamos School District is one hiring away from having filled all its open positions heading into the 2018-19 school year.

    Officials are in the process of interviewing applicants to fill the position of principal at Mountain Elementary School.

    In May the district announced the hiring of Dr. Brian Easton as the new principal at the middle school, as well as the filling of three other open positions.

    Those hires included Michele Altherr as principal at Aspen Elementary School; Kathryn Vandenkieboom, as the district’s learning systems coordinator; and Jennifer Guy as the assistant superintendent for learning and accountability.

    “For every single one of these jobs we had strong internal and external candidates,” said Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kurt Steinhaus. “It’s just that the internal candidates won out this time around.”
    Steinhaus said Altherr, who started her New Mexico teaching career in 1997 and taught sixth-grade science at Mountain Elementary School this past year, has “been working for many years” to become a principal and so this hiring “is her dream.”

    She has also served as a New Mexico Public Education Department teacher leader school liaison, site science fair coordinator and data team chairperson.

  • Supreme Court Justices Maes, Daniels do not seek retention

    Justices Petra Jimenez Maes and Charles W. Daniels of the New Mexico Supreme Court did not file for retention Thursday in the upcoming general election for new eight-year terms.

    They will continue to serve on the Supreme Court until their terms expire at the end of the year.

    The positions on the court will become vacant Jan. 1, 2019, and will be filled through a merit selection nominating system provided for in the New Mexico Constitution.

    Maes was elected to the Supreme Court in 1998. She served as chief justice twice, in 2003-2005 and 2012-2014.

    Prior to that, she was a judge on the First Judicial District Court for 17 years and previously had been a private practice attorney and worked for Northern New Mexico Legal Services. Voters retained Justice Maes on the Supreme Court in 2002 and 2010.

    Daniels was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2007, after a 38-year career as a lawyer with a courtroom practice in criminal and civil cases. He served as chief justice in 2010-2012 and 2016-2017.

    Daniels was elected in 2008, and retained by voters in 2010.

    Once vacancies exist on the court, an independent judicial nominating commission will screen applicants and recommend candidates to the governor for possible appointment.

  • Police search for suspect who exposed himself to library patrons

    Los Alamos police were searching Thursday for a young man who reportedly exposed himself to two women at the Mesa Public Library Thursday afternoon.

    The incident happened at 4:30 p.m. on the first floor of the library.

    The suspect was described as a Hispanic man wearing an oversized white shirt, shorts and red shoes. He had dark hair, dark eyes and his hair was styled in a “man bun,” police said.

    Police were searching the library for the suspect.

    Police said the suspect did more than expose himself, but did not provide additional details.

    “There are some other aspects to it,” LAPD Officer Ben Irving said.

    Police are urging people that may have seen someone fitting the individual’s description call 662-8222 or visit the Los Alamos County Police’ Crimestoppers web page and leave a tip.

  • Corruption charges filed against ex-New Mexico tax secretary

    SANTA FE (AP) — The former head of New Mexico's Taxation and Revenue Department has been charged with embezzlement and multiple corruption and ethics violations in her role as Cabinet secretary.

    State district court documents show that Demesia Padilla was charged Thursday with embezzlement of more than $20,000 and five counts of violating ethical principles of public service. The charges include computer access with intent to defraud.

    James Hallinan, a spokesman for Attorney General Hector Balderas, says the office cannot comment on pending criminal matter beyond publicly filed documents.

    State prosecutors raided tax agency offices in 2016 to investigate allegations that Padilla gave preferential treatment to a former client of her family accounting business. Padilla resigned shortly thereafter.

    Unnamed taxation department employees told investigators they were instructed by Padilla to stop a business audit.

  • Democratic congressional candidate gets Biden's endorsement

    LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Former Vice President Joe Biden is endorsing the Democratic contender in the race for New Mexico's sprawling 2nd Congressional District.

    Water attorney Xochitl Torres Small of Las Cruces announced Biden's support Thursday, saying the former vice president led by example and reached across the aisle to solve the challenges. She said Congress needs more of that kind of leadership.

    In a statement, Biden says Torres Small knows the struggles of rural America and would bring common-sense solutions to Washington, D.C.

    Torres Small is running against GOP state lawmaker Yvette Herrell in a general election campaign that is expected to center around President Donald Trump and immigration.

    The unpredictable district has leaned Republican in recent years and the race will help determine which party controls the U.S. House of Representatives.
     

  • Bird flu hot spot: Scientists track virus in huge migration

    MIDDLE TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — Huge flocks of famished birds scour the sands of Delaware Bay for the tiny greenish eggs an army of horseshoe crabs lays every spring.

    It's a marvel of ecology as shorebirds migrating from South America to the Arctic time a stop critical to their survival to this mass crab spawning. It's also one of the world's hot spots for bird flu — a bonanza for scientists seeking clues about how influenza evolves so they just might better protect people.

    "Eventually, we would like to be able to predict which would be the next pandemic," said flu pioneer Robert Webster of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

    These humble beaches turn into a mixing bowl for influenza between mid-May and early June, as thousands of shorebirds and gulls crowd together and swap viruses. Researchers carefully step around the nesting crabs to scoop up the evidence — potentially flu-infected bird droppings.

    "We have trained our eyes for this, that's for sure," said St. Jude researcher Pamela McKenzie as she bent over damp sand last month in search of the freshest samples to go on ice for later testing.