Today's News

  • Luján touches base with visit to Los Alamos

    Ben Ray Luján brought his campaign back to familiar territory on Sunday with stops in Los Alamos at the Sierra Club and the John F. Kennedy Dinner.

    Luján, the Democratic U.S. Representative for New Mexico’s 3rd congressional district, grew up in Nambé and said he is happy any time he can return to the area.

    “It’s always important to be home,” he said Sunday afternoon at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. “I take advantage of every opportunity I can to be here. We’re on a plane every week and when we’re in New Mexico I’m on the road. We’re honored to represent a district of about 47,000 square miles. It takes about eight and a half hours to drive across it. It’s a beautiful district, but because of the number of counties we represent we do our best to make sure we get into every county.”

    A member of the cross country and track teams in high school, Luján recalled many times when he competed against the Los Alamos Hilltoppers, some he calls friends to this day.

    “I had a lot of fun during those times,” he said. “We had an incredible coach, Alan Lockridge, and we had some great meets – several of them right here in Los Alamos. Back when we ran cross county the course was still in the canyon.”

  • Crews fight lightning-caused blaze near Bandelier

    Forest Service officials are reporting that a small lightning-caused fire in the Jemez Ranger District at Forest Road 289 near Bandelier National Monument.

    The fire started Wednesday was last reported to be 15 acres.

    Fire crews had three engines and a 12-person hand crew on the scene and one helicopter.
    Winds were blowing in 10-mph gusts.

    “Local communities may be impacted by smoke because of prevailing winds. Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory or heart disease are encouraged to take precautionary measures,” according to a release issued by the Forest Service.

    Information on air quality and protecting your health can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health’s website at https://nmtracking.org/fire.

  • Candidate for governor seeks changes for driver's licenses

    SANTA FE (AP) — A Democratic candidate for New Mexico governor wants to ensure state residents are not wrongfully denied a driving credential and also make it possible to renew driver's licenses by mail.

    Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday announced plans if elected to reform the state's two-tier system of driver's licenses.

    New Mexico adopted new driver identification standards to meet tougher U.S. ID requirements aimed at safeguarding commercial airlines, military bases and other federal facilities. But the system has prompted a discrimination lawsuit and widespread complaints of inconveniences since implementation in 2016 by the administration of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

    Lujan Grisham says applicants for driving credentials should be able to identify themselves using proof-of-residency documents from a homeless shelter or specified medical records.

  • Kite Festival fans gather in White Rock

    Tell Carveth Kramer or Sam Pedregon to “go fly a kite” and they’ll happily say, “Sure!”

    And then they’ll disappear off to some wide-open field for a couple of days.

    For almost 20 years that wide-open field has been at Overlook Park in White Rock for the Los Alamos Arts Council’s Kite Festival.

    “We’ve been to every festival they’ve had, like 19 years,” said Carveth who, along with his wife, Luella, sell handmade banners in their hometown of Taos.

    The couple set up several of their banners, which are staked into the ground, on both Saturday and Sunday for the spectators to enjoy.

    They also fly big kites of various shapes, styles and colors before stepping back so the younger fliers can enjoy the airspace.

    “We get here early in the day, set up our banners and fly our big kites,” he said. “Then around noon we pull off the field and turn the field over to the kids because it’s their day.”

    Kramer, 74, credits Pedregon and his wife, Barbie, of Pueblo, Colo., for getting him started in the banner business.

  • Drought on tap to intensify over US Southwest

    By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Rivers are drying up, popular mountain recreation spots are closing and water restrictions are in full swing as a persistent drought intensifies its grip on pockets of the American Southwest.

    Climatologists and other experts are scheduled Wednesday to provide an update on the situation in the Four Corners region — where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet.

    The area is dealing with exceptional drought — the worst category. That has left farmers, ranchers and water planners bracing for a much different situation than just a year ago when only a fraction of the region was experiencing low levels of dryness.

    With the region's water resources strained, a top federal official has resumed pressure on states in the Southwest to wrap up long-delayed emergency plans for potential shortages on the Colorado River, which serves 40 million people in the U.S. and Mexico.

    "We face an overwhelming risk on the system, and the time for action is now," Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner

    Brenda Burman said Tuesday. She spoke before the Imperial Irrigation District in Southern California, one of the biggest single users of the Colorado River.

  • NFL owners adopt new policy to address anthem protests

    By PAUL NEWBERRY, AP Sports Writer

    ATLANTA (AP) — NFL owners approved a new policy Thursday aimed at addressing the firestorm over national anthem protests sparked by Colin Kaepernick and polarized by President Trump, permitting players to stay in the locker room during the "The Star-Spangled Banner" but requiring them to stand if they come to the field.

    Commissioner Roger Goodell said the change was approved unanimously by the owners at their spring meeting in Atlanta, but it was met with immediate skepticism by the players' union.

    "We want people to be respectful of the national anthem. We want people to stand," Goodell said. "That's all personnel, and to make sure they treat this moment in a respectful fashion. That's something that we think we owe. We've been very sensitive on making sure that we give players choices, but we do believe that moment is an important moment and one that we are going to focus on."

    In a sign that players were not part of the discussions, any violations of the policy would result in fines against the team — not the players.

    The NFL Players Association said it will challenge any part of the new policy that violates the collective bargaining agreement.

  • Congress makes way for Holtec as meetings end

    The public still has time to comment on the Holtec project, a temporary nuclear waste storage facility planned for southeast New Mexico.

    If the Holtec project receives the necessary approvals from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the 1,045-acre nuclear waste storage facility will be built in Lea County, 32 miles east of Carlsbad and 34 miles west of Hobbs.

    The project is about 12 miles away from the Department of Energy’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Facility, where Los Alamos National Laboratory ships some of its nuclear waste.

    Holtec International wants to also initially store up to 8,680 metric tons of waste underground at the site waste that will be transported to the site by rail from all over the country. The waste will be high-level radioactive waste mainly in the form of spent fuel rods from nuclear reactors.

    The U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor May 10 of the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act, an act that will allow for the Department of Energy to build temporary facilities to consolidate and store nuclear waste while a permanent facility is built. 

    In 1987, Congress set aside 147,000 acres in Nye County, Nevada, for a permanent facility at Yucca Mountain.

  • Game & Fish congratulates county on bear awareness campaign

    The New Mexico Game Commission recognized Los Alamos County’s efforts in keeping the bears away from people, and people away from people.

    Stewart Liley, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish’s Wildlife Management division chief, said at a meeting held in Los Alamos Tuesday, Los Alamos County has seen an increase in the area bear population over the last seven years.

    He noted the county has taken successful steps to keep the populations separated by controlling the bear’s exposure to trash generated by humans.

    “The biggest thing is trying to reduce that attractant, to reduce the attractant for bears coming into town,” Liley said.

    The Game and Fish Department did this by working with the county’s trash collection service and the Los Alamos Medical Center, one of the main places in the county that produces waste bears are attracted to.

    The department also helped the county’s trash collection service distribute bear-proof trash carts to residents, which Liley said has had the biggest impact on keeping bears out of county neighborhoods.

  • Kroger says it has offer for Mari-Mac site

    Kroger has informed Los Alamos County officials that it has a potential buyer for the Mari-Mac property located between Central Avenue and Trinity Drive, the cornerstone of which is the vacant building that used to be occupied by Smith’s Food and Drug.

    The county council heard the good news from Deputy County Manager Steve Lynne at its work session held Tuesday night at the fire station in White Rock.

    “They have received an offer to purchase their entire interests in the Mari-Mac Center,” said Lynne. “They are currently going through their process of evaluation and underwriting, basically their due diligence in evaluating the offer. Hopefully they’ll have some substantial progress sometime in the next 90 days.”

    Lynne said Kroger is not saying who the buyer is until the evaluation and underwriting process is completed.

    One obstacle being faced by any potential buyer is the issue of covenants at the Mari-Mac location.

  • Video: Officer tells lawmaker he can smell alcohol

    By MARY HUDETZ, Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico state lawmaker insists in video released by police Tuesday that she had not consumed any alcohol, but the officer who stops her says he can smell it as he handcuffs and detains her on suspicion of drunken driving.

    "Are you kidding me?" Rep. Monica Youngblood, an Albuquerque Republican, says after she is placed in a police vehicle. "I fight for you guys every time I get the chance. Seriously."

    Youngblood, 41, was taken into custody early Sunday at a DWI checkpoint stop in Albuquerque, where she complied with a field sobriety test but refused to take a breathalyzer test.

    She told the officer in the recording that she hadn't had a drink since the day before.

    Youngblood was later released from jail on her own recognizance after she was arrested on one count of aggravated DWI — a petty misdemeanor.

    She is expected to face a judge on June 13.

    The hearing date will come after New Mexico's primary election. Youngblood is running unopposed on the GOP ballot.

    Youngblood, a three-term lawmaker, has sponsored and supported multiple bills over the years aimed at toughening drunken driving penalties.