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Today's News

  • 2 middle school students arrested on May 15 gun-related charges

    By TRIS DEROMA and JILL MCLAUGHLIN
    Los Alamos Monitor

    Los Alamos police released a report Tuesday detailing the arrests of two 14-year-old students following a lockdown of Los Alamos Middle School May 15.

    Police received a call at 9:30 a.m. that morning from school officials acting on an anonymous tip regarding a firearm at the school, according to the report. Administrators from the middle school told the officer that they had received a tip that several students had been bringing and exchanging possession of a firearm on school grounds.

    The officers searched the lockers of the two boys, who were later arrested.

    During the search, another staff member called police as he was eating lunch across the street. He said he had a bag that contained several loaded magazines of live ammunition. This prompted officials to then lock down the school.

    During the lock down, one of the boys told the officer about the German-style Luger pistol located at his home. Officers found the gun at the boy’s homes under a mattress. The lockdown was then lifted.

    Police confiscated the ammunition found on one of the boys and a number of loaded magazines found at the picnic table across the street held by the administrator.

  • Gun show advocates discuss new law

    It was just another Saturday afternoon, and the annual Los Alamos Gun Show was in full swing. People crowded the aisles looking for guns, ammo, knives, and even children’s books and fingernail tips. 

    There was something about this show, however, that seemed different, an anxiousness in the air that some attributed to the gun legislation that is about to become law in July.

    In the last legislative session, the New Mexico Legislature passed Senate Bill 8, legislation that, among other new rules, requires background checks on customers buying guns at gun shows. 

    “It stinks,” said Donna MacDonald, a member of the Los Alamos Republican Party, who saw the law as yet another infringement on gun owner rights. MacDonald was heading up the party’s booth, where those that signed up and paid $5 had a chance to win a Ruger Precision 6.5 Creedmoor rifle worth $1,500.

    “There’s no point to it. It’s so sad that New Mexico is still in the dark ages… it’s not even in the dark ages, because we were able to arm ourselves in the dark ages, so I don’t know what New Mexico is going to do,” MacDonald said.

  • Local church collects items for migrants

    Far away from the migrant humanitarian crisis in the border community of Deming, Father Theophan Mackey, of St. Job of Pochaiv Orthodox Church in Los Alamos, was demonstrating to his children Saturday what volunteering was all about. 

    He spent most of the morning patiently instructing his three daughters on how to pack the various toiletries and other much needed supplies for the migrants. 

    After Mackey put out an appeal, many Los Alamos residents stepped up to donate. 

    It was Saturday, and the official day of the church’s supply drive for the immigrants.

    Mackey said it was important to show the immigrants humanity.

    “First off, whether or not immigrants should be here is a completely different argument. They’re here, they’re humans, we need to care for them,” Mackey said. “This is a small thing that people in Los Alamos can do to help another community.”

  • Kirtland AFB has new system to disable flying drones

    The Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base has a new high-powered microwave system that can disable flying drones.

    THOR, the Tactical High Power Microwave Operational Responder, can direct energy to disable the electronics in flying drones and will be a major asset to the warfighter, Kirtland AFB announced Wednesday.

    The technology is housed in a shipping container-sized unit. Drones are emerging threats to U.S. military bases and infrastructure.

    THOR will provide non-kinetic defeat of multiple targets at one time.

    “The output of the system is powerful radio waves, which enables a greater range than bullets or nets,” the Air Force said in a release. “The technology also causes less of a disruption to military operations due to its instantaneous effect.”

    “As small unmanned aerial systems become more prevalent and cheaper to acquire, they can be a threat to U.S. military operations,” said program manager Amber Anderson. “Kinetic solutions such as bullets, net guns, etc., have limited effectiveness against such systems. The challenge is to design, build and test an effective counter-UAS system. High Power Microwaves are one potential solution.”

  • Hilltop Hotel property future remains uncertain

    Atomic City Investments, the company that brought the aging property in 2015, put the hotel up for sale in May for $2 million. 

    Kuzi Mutsiwegota, a partner in Atomic City Investments, said it was no longer economically viable to keep trying to accommodate the county’s new building code requirements. 

    Because of this, some people connected to the project are saying the building’s days are numbered and it may be time for the property’s next buyer to raze it and start over. 

    “More than likely the building will need to be torn down and then rebuilt,” Zia Real Estate Group CEO James Chrobocinski said. Zia Realty is the property’s broker.

    “It is so far out of code compliance in the way that it was built that it would be really hard to bring it up to current standards,” Chrobocinski said.

    According to Community Development Director Paul Andrus, the property is in a mixed-use zone. Andrus said it would probably take well over $1 million to bring the structure up to code. 

  • National Amateur Radio Field Day this weekend

    The Los Alamos Amateur Radio Club will host a National Amateur Radio Field Day event Saturday and Sunday at the North Mesa Picnic Grounds off North Mesa Road in Los Alamos.

    Over 35,000 amateur radio operators (hams) across North America will operate from noon Saturday to noon Sunday in order to make radio contacts during this 24-hour event. 

    The LAARC will be using temporary antennas and alternative power sources, such as generators, batteries and solar panels, to practice emergency response capabilities.

    The public is invited to participate in this demonstration of amateur radio operations and readiness in providing communications when infrastructure, like commercial power, is not available. 

    The public can also operate the radios and make contacts with other ham radio operators across North America.

    For more information, contact Bill Boedeker, NM5BB at 505-662-4220 or boedeker@cybermesa.com.

  • Bandelier celebrates the Great American Campout Saturday

    Saturday is the date of the nationwide Great American Campout, sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation.

    The event is meant to encourage people to enjoy and protect wildlife and the outdoors. 

    Bandelier National Monument is once again participating in the event. Camping will be free at Juniper Campground that night, except for the group sites. Non-group sites are first-come, first-served. 

    Campers can practice taking good care of wildlife by being sure to store food in a vehicle or the provided bear boxes so that bears, and other animals including coyotes, squirrels, and mice, won’t be attracted to campsites. 

    With the warm June weather, campers should take care of the outdoors by being sure that if they choose to build a campfire, it is in the established fire grill and is never left unattended. Campers and non-campers are both welcome to attend a ranger hosted star party beginning at 8:30 p.m. 

    “Gazing at the universe through big telescopes is an incredible opportunity for everyone to experience, come join our rangers,” said Superintendent Jason Lott.  

  • Parents charged for not locking up gun

    RIO RANCHO (AP) — Authorities say the parents of a teenager accused of firing a gun at a New Mexico high school failed to lock up their firearm despite knowing their son had made threats to “shoot up the school.”

    The couple is facing a charge contributing to the delinquency of a minor. A criminal complaint was filed this week in Sandoval County Magistrate Court. Police have said the 16-year-old opened fire inside a high school in Rio Rancho in February before leaving the gun behind.

  • Gov taps former judge to state Ethic Commission

    SANTA FE (AP) — A professional mediator in civil and commercial court cases has been named to serve on New Mexico’s fledgling state Ethics Commission.

    Former state district court judge William Lang was appointed Tuesday by New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to serve on the commission when it convenes next year to consider ethics complaints against public officials, lobbyists and public contractors.

    Voters overwhelmingly approved the creation of the commission in 2018 elections in the wake of a series of high profile corruption scandals involving public officials.

    Criminal matters will continue to fall under the authority of state and local prosecutors.

    Four members of the commission are appointed by leading state legislators from the Republican and Democratic parties.

  • WR man injured by tripwire in La Senda

    White Rock resident Jim Cobble was out on an evening walk Thursday when he had a rude awakening.

    While walking through a right-of-way path between some houses in La Senda, he tripped over a wire suspended by fence on one side and a Juniper tree on the other.  The 70-year-old instantly went down and cut open one of his hands.

    Without thinking twice, and with a bleeding, injured hand, Cobble removed the wire from the right-of-way.

    Cobble said because the wire was hidden in bushes, he had no time to react.

    Though he is fine now, he sent out a public service announcement to the Los Alamos Monitor about what happened.

    “The neighborhood needs to be alert. Someone could be seriously hurt,” Cobble said. Cobble isn’t sure if there are other traps in the other right-of-ways in the neighborhood, where horses and humans often travel.

    “A horse and rider could have been seriously hurt, Cobble said.

    The wire had been there for at least 10 months, according to Cobble.

    “I think it’s clearly teenage mischief of some kind,” Cobble said.