Today's News

  • No fatalities in multiple vehicle rollover accident

    There were no fatalities in Monday’s multiple vehicle rollover accident on N.M. 502, according to Santa Fe County Sheriff Spokesman Juan Rios.

    However, he also said there were multiple injuries. The crash, which happened around 6:15 p.m., involved multiple cars and is still under investigation.

    Rios could not say what the extent of those injuries were or how many vehicles were involved.

    Shortly after the crash, several motorists rushed in to help the drivers and passengers as commuters drove around the accident.

  • Council OKs more funds ahead of budget adoption

    County Council tentatively approved nearly $3 million in funding requests for the Public Works Department Tuesday, including an hourly Atomic City bus route between downtown Los Alamos and the White Rock Visitor area on the weekend.

    The council approved the options with the caveat that council will revisit the bus route issue in 2020 when the ACT and Public Works has had time to evaluate the best route for the service.

    The route would be designed to help commuters navigate the construction happening on NM 502 to Knecht Street, which will peak in 2020.

    “Having additional time to plan and to apply for grants always helps,” Public Works Director Philo Shelton said to the council.

    The biggest item OK’d for Public Works was $1 million in design improvements for the State Road 4 intersection.

    The council also approved $16,000 for a custodial position at Fuller Lodge to make sure the lodge is open every weekend for tourists, regardless if there is an event going on.

  • Feds investigate RCLC grant funds

    The Department of Energy’s Inspector General’s Office is investigating how the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities uses grant funds received yearly from the Department of Energy.

    The grant makes up almost half of the $200,000 in contributions the coalition receives to operate.

    The rest of the coalition’s operational funding is supplied by nine communities the coalition represents.

    The RCLC represents nine communities in northern New Mexico impacted by the activities of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    Eric Vasquez, the coalition’s executive director, emphasized last week the RCLC was not being investigated by the Inspector General’s office, but the coalition’s annual grant was.

    “We have informally been told that the IG is investigating the handling of the grant process, but that’s all we know,” Vasquez said in a text message. “We have never been formally notified about any investigation.”

    The communities represented by the coalition are Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, Taos, Taos County, Santa Fe, Santa Fe County, Rio Arriba County, Santa Clara Pueblo and Jemez Pueblo.

    The DOE Inspector General’s Office would neither confirm nor deny it was investigating the grant process.

  • Chimayo remains beacon of hope

    For some people, the pilgrimage to Santuario de Chimayo is just a walk, something a tradition to be carried out every year. For others, however, it’s a time of penance. It’s a time of honoring the memories of friends and relatives that died during the year.

    Even in a crowd of thousands that came to the sanctuary to give blessings and thanks, Victor Guzman stood out.

    Dressed in his blue and white tribal colors, he danced through the entrance of the sanctuary, only to come to a rest near the entrance of the church. Guzman came all the way from Anthony to give thanks and pray for hope.

    “First of all, family. There’s evil forces coming in and separating family in general,” he said.

    “Also, for the world, for everybody. We are slowly drifting away from God. Also, to ask for forgiveness,” Guzman said.

    Cornelia Garcia, despite being elderly, decided to do the walk this year, as she’s done for many years before. This time she got a ride to the sanctuary since she walks with the aid of walker.

    This year was different for her.

    “I’ve had quite a few deaths in my family this year,” Garcia said.

    Garcia listed three people she lost this year, including her son, her brother and a grandson.

  • Industrial customer dumps chlorine into county system

    An industrial facility has apparently dumped massive amounts of chlorine into Los Alamos County’s drainage system beginning in October.

    This facility was warned by the Department of Public Utilities to stop but has continued dumping chlorine directly into the sewer.

    The county is unable to treat the contaminated water before the effluent is released from the wastewater plant in White Rock.

    The effluent is discharged into the Rio Grande River.

    As a result, the  Department of Public Utilities was issued an administrative order by the Environmental Protection Agency to stop the violator.

    The EPA gave the Department of Public Utilities 30 days to respond to the violations.

    “To get an idea of how much chlorine was involved, it was diluted in a million gallons of water at the plant, water that has a chlorine demand associated with it because of all the organics in it, yet we were still violating going out the back end of the plant,” said Los Alamos County Department of Public Utilities Manager Tim Glasco Wednesday during a Board of Public Utilities meeting.

    Glasco said the plant is also not designed to actively filter excess chlorine out of the wastewater before it is dumped into the river.

  • Hunters find locked gates during turkey season

    Turkey hunters who are trying to access the hunting area in the southwest corner of the Valles Caldera National Preserve and areas of the Santa Fe National Forest this year are having a tough time. 

    The roads to the main hunting grounds remained locked Friday with only 11 days left in the season.

    Hunters could still access the area on foot and by horse or mountain bike in the Valles Caldera, but those who want to hunt turkeys in the Santa Fe National Forest are locked out until the snow melts.

    “Most hunters tends to equate no access when we restrict vehicle access, but there’s other ways they can get around,” said Valles Caldera Spokeswoman Kimberly DeVall.

    In the Valles Caldera, the best hunting grounds for the Merriam Turkeys are in the southwest corner, but the one road still has snow on it. Also, the wind storm last month knocked down many trees on the preserve and along the road that still need to be cleaned up, DeVall said.

    Turkey hunting is allowed through permits awarded by the New Mexico Game and Fish Department. If hunters draw a permit through the lottery system, they have from April 15-30 to hunt turkeys in the state.

  • New Mexico election regulator seeks US Senate seat in 2020

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico's top election regulator has filed paperwork to run for U.S. Senate in 2020.

    Democratic Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver on Friday registered a campaign account with the Federal Election Commission. Political adviser Heather Brewer confirmed that Toulouse Oliver had filed new paperwork to pursue the seat that Sen. Tom Udall plans to vacate at the end of 2020.

    The Democratic nomination also is being sought by sixth-term U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján.
    Toulouse Oliver previously served as Bernalillo County Clerk and won election as secretary of state in 2016.

    In 2018, she won re-election by handily defeating Republican Gavin Clarkson. Clarkson now is running for U.S. Senate as a Republican.

    Toulouse Oliver has aggressively pursued reforms aimed at expanding ballot access, including election-day voter registration.

  • Pantex Plant readies for plutonium shipments

    The Pantex Plant northeast of Amarillo, Texas, has been readying its facility since February to receive and store the weapons-grade plutonium from South Carolina in preparation to send it to Los Alamos National Laboratory, according to a news report that came out Friday.

    The Aiken Standard reports a National Nuclear Security Administration senior spokesperson confirmed Friday the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board began discussing the plan to store the plutonium at the Pantex site in Texas in a Feb. 15 report.

    “In preparation for a new plutonium staging mission, CNS commenced readiness verification activities and submitted a safety basis supplement to NPO for review and approval. These operations will involve the use of a container type that is not currently employed at Pantex,” the Feb. 15 safety board report read.

    The NNSA plans to remove 1 metric ton of weapons-grade plutonium from South Carolina’s Savannah River Site by 2020. The plutonium will ultimately be sent to LANL for the production of plutonium pits, used as triggers for nuclear weapons.

  • Visitor’s Center move hopes to draw tourists

    The Visitor’s Center, at its new digs on 20th Street, officially opened to the public Wednesday to much fanfare and hope for the county’s tourism industry.

    “This represents a lot of planning and work,” Los Alamos County Council Vice Chair Pete Sheehey said. “There has been a tourism task force that has been doing a lot of work to make things like this ready for the influx of visitors that we’re already having and is sure to grow.”  

    Moving the center from its space in the Central Park Square Shopping Center was the idea of the Los Alamos Tourism Task Force.

    The idea is to make the center more visible to tourists, who are already attracted to Fuller Lodge and the statues of Lt. Gen. Leslie Groves and Robert Oppenheimer on Central Avenue.

    Sheehey also gave credit to Los Alamos County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ryn Herrmann and Patrick Sullivan, executive director of the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation, and a “huge list of names that have contributed to this.”

    County Manager Harry Burgess looked at the center’s opening as a step in the right direction for Los Alamos County’s tourism industry.

  • LA students win at National History Day competition

    National History Day students from Los Alamos High School and Los Alamos Middle School competed at the University of New Mexico Saturday to determine whose projects will represent the state in the national NHD competition.

    Eleven high school students and two middle school students advanced from the regional NHD competitions in January to compete in the state contest held April 6. 

    Individual students and groups chose their own topics based on this year’s theme “Triumph and Tragedy.”

    After researching primary and secondary sources related to their topic, students presented their research by creating one of five possible projects.

    LAHS junior Abby Beus took second place in the state with her research paper on the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Beus was also honored with a special prize for the best project related to western history.

    She will be representing LAHS at the national competition from June 10-13 at the University of Maryland.

    LAMS students Kaya Loy and Mikalh Adams will join Beus at the national competition.

    Loy produced a website on the forced removal of people of the Cherokee Nation from their homes in the southeastern U.S. Her project earned special recognition from the Western Trails Association.