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Today's News

  • County, environment benefiting from recycled bicycles

    The Los Alamos County Public Works Department is not in the job of building bicycles, but it is interested in developing them as a means of no-emission transportation.

    And if it can accomplish that goal through the process of recycling then it’s a win-win situation for the county.

    The department recently pedaled in that direction by building three bicycles out of useable parts from bicycles that had been dumped at the county’s eco-station. The bicycles received new white paint jobs, as well as a metal insignia of the county’s logo on one side of the frame and a similar license plate that hangs from the back of the seat.

    The bicycles were rolled out during last month’s bike month festivities as part of a “Bike at Work” initiative.

    “We ended up collecting a whole bunch of old bicycles, took out the good parts and assembled three bikes from the good parts,” said Philo Shelton, the director of the Public Works Department. “We’re still working on doing a few more as they come in.”

    The bikes were up-fitted for use by the county’s Fleet Division staff and are being kept in the bike corral at the Municipal Building. The department is looking to add additional units as they become available and is hoping to keep them at other county facilities.

  • Man accused of sex assault to appear in court

    Bryce Delano, 30, of Los Alamos, is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Friday. Delano was arrested in March for alleged criminal sexual penetration in the first degree and false imprisonment in connection with an altercation he had with a hotel maid at a Los Alamos hotel March 10. Delano was arrested March 21 and released that day.

    According to court documents, the victim is accusing Delano, who worked as the hotel’s clerk at the time of incident of allegedly going into a room the maid was cleaning, forcing her onto a bed and sexually assaulting her.

    Injuries documented in the attack by police include a bite wound on the victim’s tongue, red marks on her scalp from pulled hair, and bruises in her arms and thighs.

    Criminal penetration in the first degree in the state of New Mexico carries a maximum sentence of 18 years in prison, and a maximum $15,000 fine. The crime of false imprisonment carries a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

    Employees reached at the hotel could not say whether or not Delano still worked there.

  • Judge to rule on recall petition

    Los Alamos resident Greg White is petitioning the First Judicial Court to recall three Los Alamos County candidates for their part in “seeking and voting to eliminate the Los Alamos County Sheriff with an illegal resolution,” according to court documents.

    White is petitioning the court to recall councilors Antonio Maggiore, Rich Reiss and Susan O’Leary.

    Judge David K. Thomson is reviewing the case following a hearing June 11 in Santa Fe. A decision is expected this week.

    White claims the councilors failed to ask council to restore the sheriff’s budget and his staff, “thus depriving the plaintiff and all the citizens of Los Alamos County liberty, equal protection and privileges (they) were bound by law to provide in the election they supported Nov. 8 (2016), in which the citizens of Los Alamos voted to restore a functional sheriff’s office.”

  • Fleet division to turn waste oil into heat

    Pete Mondragon is fine with warm weather. It’s just that he can’t wait for winter.

    That’s when Mondragon, the fleet manager for Los Alamos County’s Department of Public Works, gets to fire up the county’s new heater.

    But it’s not just any heater. It’s an environmentally friendly heater that is fueled by waste oil collected from routine oil changes performed by Mondragon’s staff.

    “We’re excited to have this,” he said. “I can’t wait for it to get cold so we can try it out.”

    The heater, which was installed May 31 by Richard Branch from the Facilities Division, is expected to reduce the cost of heating the fleet shop during the winter and will also lower the cost the department pays to have the waste oil taken off the Hill.

    “What this will do is divert waste oil that we have to haul away and use it for heating the building, especially in the winter time when we roll up the doors a lot to bring vehicles in and out,” said Philo Shelton, the county’s director of public works. “When it’s cold all that heat from the building just gets siphoned out, especially on windy days.”

  • $2B power line project awaits green light in New Mexico

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Hours of testimony, reams of documents and the concerns of ranchers and others are being weighed as New Mexico regulators consider clearing the way for a $2 billion power line project to funnel wind and solar energy from New Mexico and Arizona to the rest of the American Southwest.

    A five-day hearing before the Public Regulation Commission wrapped up Tuesday, but it will likely be September before a final decision is made.

    The SunZia project has been years in the making and not without controversy. Disputes rose over its proximity to a U.S. military installation and environmentalists raised concerns about effects on wildlife.

    Federal land managers spent years reviewing the potential effects, and Arizona regulators signed off in 2015.

    In New Mexico, SunZia is seeking permission for the location of the transmission lines and rights of way.
     

  • San Antonio Fire holding at 500 acres

    The San Antonio Fire in the Valles Caldera Preserve is holding at 500 acres Monday as crews work around the effects of a Saturday night thunderstorm, which made access roads slippery and muddy over the weekend.

    Preserve officials said the rain has not slowed the fire.

    “With an increase in temperature and lowering of humidity, roads and vegetation are drying, which may contribute to higher fire activity. Yesterday's reconnaissance flight indicated multiple spot fires on the northwest perimeter of the fire,” said Valles Caldera Preserve Spokesperson Kimberly DeVall.

    “The Albuquerque Zone Incident Management Type 3 Team spent (Saturday) planning a course of action to tackle the areas of the fire that are in steep, rough terrain and accessible only by foot,” DeVall said.

    According to DeVall, inclement weather and steep, rough terrain has slowed efforts to fight the fire, located in the northwest area of the preserve.

    “Part of the issue is that it takes a lot of time for the crew to travel out to the site. We have rough roads, and then there’s the steep terrain and some spotting in some areas,” DeVall said. “So it’s a little harder to combat all those little individual areas.”

    A Saturday thunderstorm hindered efforts. The fire remains uncontained.

    Crews are setting up containment lines around the fire, and will continue to do so Monday.

  • New Mexico candidates blame politics for family separations

    By MORGAN LEE, Associated Press

    SANTA FE (AP) — With no mention of President Donald Trump, candidates for an open congressional seat along the U.S. border in New Mexico blamed Washington politics for the separation of immigrant children from parents who are caught trying to come to the U.S. illegally.

    The zero tolerance policy on border security that led to the separations has rocked political campaigns in border states and sent Republicans on Capitol Hill frantically searching Tuesday for ways to end it.

    Amid protracted negotiations in Congress over an immigration reform package, immigration authorities are arresting anyone who illegally crosses the border,

    Under the current law, children can't go to jail with their parents, so they are being separated and confined. U.S. officials said Tuesday they are still working out the process of reunifying families.

    Water rights attorney Xochitl Torres Small, the Democratic candidate in New Mexico's sprawling 2nd Congressional District, said Tuesday that separating children from parents is immoral and Washington is to blame.

    "Our immigration system is broken, but Washington's solution is to break up families," Torres Small, the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants, said in a statement. "I won't stand for it."

  • SFNF says no to geothermal drilling

    BY SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN
    Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE — Underground pockets of boiling water and steam that could have been tapped to produce electricity are now off limits as one national forest in northern New Mexico has said no to the prospect of geothermal development.

    The decision by the Santa Fe National Forest follows years of study and public testimony after a Nevada-based company and others had shown interest in leasing areas with geothermal resources within the Jemez Mountains – a tourist draw that includes a national preserve and a neighboring monument.

    Santa Fe National Forest wrote in a decision made public Thursday that the area also includes places held sacred by Native American tribes.

    Forest Supervisor James Melonas’ decision covers more than 300 square miles of the mountainous terrain even though the companies had interest in only a fraction of that.

    Melonas said geothermal energy development could have potential effects on forest resources, recreational opportunities and tribal cultural and spiritual interests. His office consulted with more than 30 tribes from around the American Southwest and held two listening sessions with tribal leaders.

  • Kiddie pool decision postponed

    Los Alamos County Council decided to postpone consideration of a $500,000 contract to design a kiddie pool for the Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center.

    The council decided Tuesday to delay approval until it knows more about the new management and operations contract that was awarded to the Los Alamos National Laboratory on June 8.

    The council decided to delay the project until they county knows one way or the other whether the new lab contractor,

    Triad National Security LLC, will file for New Mexico’s gross receipts tax exemption.

    County officials say the corporation appears to be organized as a non-profit and it can file with the state to pay gross receipts taxes under New Mexico’s non-profit tax laws.

    Los Alamos County receives about $21 million annually from proceeds from the gross receipts tax on some of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s activities.

    “I would like feedback from my fellow councilors, but I think we should table this until we have an outcome on the taxable status of the lab,” Councilor Antonio Maggiore said after a presentation on the design contract given by Los

    Alamos County Public Works Department officials.

    Maggiore said it was “painful” to postpone the decision.

  • Trump announces plans for Pentagon to create 'Space Force'

    By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Vowing to reclaim U.S. leadership in space, President Donald Trump announced Monday he is directing the Pentagon to create a new "Space Force" as an independent service branch aimed at ensuring American supremacy in space.

    Trump envisioned a bright future for the U.S. space program, pledging to revive the country's flagging efforts, return to the moon and eventually send a manned mission that would reach Mars. The president framed space as a national security issue, saying he does not want "China and Russia and other countries leading us."

    "My administration is reclaiming America's heritage as the world's greatest spacefaring nation," Trump said in the East Room, joined by members of his space council. "The essence of the American character is to explore new horizons and to tame new frontiers."