Today's News

  • LA Airport gets funds for new fence

    The Los Alamos Airport, which has been working toward replacing the majority of its perimeter fencing, received some good news Thursday that could help the project get off the ground.

    New Mexico’s two Democratic senators, Sen. Tom Udall and Sen. Martin Heinrich, announced Thursday the airport will receive $236,276 towards replacing a portion of the perimeter fencing as part of $23 million in Air Improvement Program grants given to 26 airports across the state to fund airport rehabilitation and provide critical new equipment.

    “Our local airports connect communities all across New Mexico to tourism, business opportunities and commercial aviation,” Heinrich said in a press release announcing the grants. “I’m proud to support these critical investments to modernize their infrastructure and improve safety. I will continue to support critical infrastructure investments like this that build the foundation for long-term economic growth and job creation in our state.”

    Udall said New Mexico’s airports “drive local economic growth,” and that maintaining them “is critical to building robust communities in every part of our state.”

  • Mesa Venado Fire grows to 250 acres

     A fire burning on Mesa Venado started by a lightning strike has grown to 250 acres, according to U.S. Forest Service officials. The US. Forest Service  released its latest statement Saturday at 8 p.m. 

    U.S. Forest Service law enforcement spent Saturday rounding up and evacuating visitors and day campers in the remote area. The U.S. Forest Service also closed off Fire Road 376 from the Gilman Tunnels to the intersection of FR 488 and FR 376. The forest is inaccessible from the south end of FR 376, but it is accessible from north end of FR 376. 

    "The fire is active on all sides and there is potential for large growth tomorrow," U.S. Santa Fe National Forest Spokesman Bruce Hill said. 

    According to Hill, the Black Mesa Hotshots from Arizona are coming in to battle the fire Sunday. One heavy air tanker and three single engine air tankers dropped fire retardant on the fire Saturday to improve the Hotshots' access to the fire. Also present on the scene are two fire engines, two utility vehicles, a 20-person Santa Fe Hotshot crew and a 20-person Hotshot crew from Arizona called the Aravaipa Hotshots. There are also 18 support personnel on the scene also. 

  • Nordquist throws in hat for 46th District against Romero

    Heather Nordquist, Democratic write-in candidate for the state House of Representative’s 46th District, says New Mexicans deserve a better candidate than the one it has now in Andrea Romero.

    “I thought the people of the 46th District deserved a better choice, given the ethical challenges of the presumed winner,” Nordquist said.

    Nordquist was referring to Romero, who won the June 5 primary election against three-term incumbent Carl Trujillo.

    Romero is the former executive director of the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities, a lobbying group that represents the interests of nine communities and pueblos in the region, including Los Alamos County.

    A complaint from a citizens group called Northern New Mexico Protects triggered audits of the Coalition by Los Alamos County, the coalition’s fiscal agent. The complaint centered on Romero submitting reimbursement requests for baseball tickets and alcohol that totaled roughly $2,000 during a September lobbying trip to Washington, D.C. The state auditor’s office is also conducting an audit of the coalition. 

    When Romero’s $140,000-a-year contract to run the coalition expired in February, she decided not to submit a bid, preferring instead to concentrate on her race against Trujillo.

  • LAHS grad Li participates in Millennial Nuclear Caucus

    Sophia Li may have just graduated from Los Alamos High School, but for many years now she has known that nuclear is definitely a viable option when it comes to different sources of energy.

    She recently got to immerse herself in that discussion while attending the Millennial Nuclear Caucus, which was held in Idaho Falls, Idaho, on June 15.

    “From a very young age I’ve known that nuclear is definitely a good form of energy,” said Li, who will begin classes as a freshman at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the fall. “It’s sustainable and clean, all those things, and I wouldn’t mind going into that field at all, which is why this caucus helped me think more about that decision and see what I have in my future.”

    The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy hosted the caucus along with Idaho National Laboratory.

  • Lawmakers debate ways to expand early childhood ed

    The Associated Press

    SANTA FE — A key New Mexico lawmaker said Thursday that he agreed with early childhood education experts who say expanded pre-kindergarten programs could help alleviate poverty in one of the nation’s poorest states.

    But Sen. John Arthur Smith, chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, told The Associated Press that he remained opposed to advocates’ push for New Mexico to dip into its Permanent Land Fund to finance universal early childhood education.

    “Nope. Not going to support that,” the Deming Democrat said. “Won’t happen.”

    Smith’s remarks come as lawmakers who help set spending priorities for New Mexico heard from early childhood education experts at a special legislative hearing in Santa Fe as they seek ways to boost early childhood education programs and strengthen the safety net for children.

    Advocates and liberal Democrats are expected to aggressively push measures next legislative session to expand such programs amid pressure to combat the state’s growing child poverty rate.

  • Utilities billing gets update

    Officials with the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities ask customers for patience as they work through the initial steps of deploying utility bills in a new software system. The processing of utility bills has been on hold since July 1.    

    The county changed its Enterprise Resource Planning software on July 1 to Munis software by Tyler Technologies, which includes the utility billing system. While the vast majority of utility billing data was converted electronically, staff with the

    DPU is still working on post-conversion setups, as well as entering data that could not be reliably converted.

    DPU anticipates starting billing by the end of this week. Neighborhoods that were billed will be posted on facebook at facebook.com/DPU1968/ and DPU’s website at rebrand.ly/DPU-BillingSchedule.  If customers don’t receive a bill within 10 days of that notice they should contact the Customer Care Center.

  • State governors delve into foreign diplomacy on trade war

    The Associated Press

    SANTA FE — State governors discussed ways Thursday to court foreign investment in the wake of President Donald Trump’s trade disputes with countries including China, Canada and Mexico.

    Several of the more than 20 governors attending the annual meeting of the National Governors Association said shifting U.S. trade policies are rattling markets for agricultural commodities and complicating decisions by foreign investors.

    “It gets damaging when you get into these very frictional relationships where people are trying to measure this tariff or that tariff,” said Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado. “I’m not saying the previous system was fair.”

    Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he is sending the state’s economic development director on an additional trip to China this year to meet with companies that are making investments in his state, amid concerns about deteriorating U.S.-China trade relations.

    “It’s important that we look for a solution very quickly so that we don’t have an increase in tariffs and escalate the tariff war, as some would describe it,” said Hutchinson, who is running for a second term this year.

  • Parks service monitors small fire at Valles Caldera

    The U.S. Parks Service was keeping a close eye Thursday on a fire that broke out on the north flank of South Mountain in the Valles Caldera

    The fire, caused by a lightning strike, was reported at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

    According to U.S. Parks Services Spokeswoman Brittney Van Der Werff, the fire remained at a quarter of an acre Thursday morning, but was expected to grow as the Parks Service plans to manage the fire instead of extinguishing it.

    Valles Caldera Superintendent Jorge Silva-Bañuelos said recent rain in the area added to their decision to manage the fire instead of directly attacking it.

    “Wildfire is a natural component of our forest and grassland ecosystems, and when conditions permit, we strive to safely manage these naturally caused fires,” Silva-Bañuelos said. “Unlike during the recent San Antonio Fire on the preserve’s north rim, the monsoon rains have created safe conditions to manage the Hidden Valley Fire.”

    Trail systems in Hidden Valley and on South Mountain remain closed.

    The U.S. Parks Service was exclusively handling the fire, with three engines and four crews. Smoke was expected to be visible during management operations into next week.

  • Correction

    In the story, “Flow trail contract awarded, construction timeline discussed,” published Sunday, July 15, the date the contract was awarded was incorrectly reported. Los Alamos County issued a second request for proposals for the contract in February. The contract was awarded to Mountain Capital, LLC, on July 6, 2018.
    The Los Alamos Monitor is committed to accuracy. Contact the editor at lacomunity@lamonitor.com for corrections or clarifications.

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