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Today's News

  • At Mexico border, US mayors say humanitarian crisis persists

    By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, Associated Press

    EL PASO, Texas (AP) — Mayors of major U.S. cities who gathered Thursday at a holding facility for immigrant children at Texas' border with Mexico said President Trump has failed to address a humanitarian crisis of his own making with an executive order to halt the separation of minors as families are detained crossing the U.S. border illegally.

    Seattle Mayor and former U.S. attorney Jenny Durkan said immigrant shelters have been overwhelmed by criminal prosecutions ordered by the Trump administration.

    "It is unclear whether the children being separated from their families are being treated as unaccompanied minors,"
    Durkan said. "They do not know where these children's' parents are. This is a humanitarian crisis."

    She joined about 20 mayors from cities across the country in calling for the immediate reunification of immigrant children with their families.

    Speaking outside a cluster of fenced-off tents nestled along the Rio Grande, they said Trump's order raises as many new questions as it answers.

    New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said separated immigrant children still don't know when they will see their parents again.

    The group was denied immediate access to a holding facility by the Department of Health and Human Services, said Steve Benjamin, mayor of Columbia, South Carolina.

  • 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.”

  • New Mexico regulators consider $2B transmission project

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Developers of a $2 billion transmission project aimed at getting renewable energy from New Mexico and Arizona to large markets in the American Southwest are looking to clear one more regulatory hurdle as they seek state permission for the massive project.

    SunZia quietly submitted its application in March for approval of locations and right of way widths for the massive power lines, triggering a public hearing process that began Wednesday before the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission in

    Santa Fe. Over the next five days, numerous consultants and concerned ranchers will be testifying.

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

    It took federal land managers years to review the project's potential effects on everything — from the rural desert landscape the lines would cross to historical resources scattered throughout several counties in the southern half of the state. White Sands Missile Range, Holloman Air Force Base and officials at New Mexico's spaceport also weighed in.

    In Arizona, regulators gave their approval for the lines in 2015 following more than a dozen public hearings.

  • Tourism group picks visitor center sites

    Los Alamos County’s Tourism Task Force has developed a long list of possible locations to move the visitor’s center.
    The group decided to make the relocation its first priority last month, in order to provide visitors with a more visible space.

    The task force came up with a list of 21 possible sites June 5, and will prioritize the list in the next few months, before the list is submitted to county council for approval.

    Locations include: the Smith’s Marketplace parking lot, the Mari-Mac parking lot, the Shriner’s building on Trinity Avenue, a vacant parcel on 20th Street, a vacant property on Deacon Street, West Ashley Pond, The center’s present location at 109 Central Park Square, 1789 Central Ave., Main Gate Park, Hilltop, the “old Smith’s” at Mari-Mac Shopping Center, Fuller Lodge, the Los Alamos Post Office, 1010 Central Ave., 1350 Central Ave., the C.B. Fox Mattress Store, 104 Central Park Square, Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Community Programs Office and 110 Eastgate Drive.
    The task force came up with the unofficial list during a brainstorming session. Some task members were assigned a site, where they will come up with a list of desirable criteria for each one. Those with highest points of desirability will be considered for the visitor center’s new location.

  • Overpasses on Diamond Drive closing for repairs

    The pedestrian overpasses on Diamond Drive will be closed beginning Monday while crews resurface the steps and bridges.
    Preparation began early Friday morning ahead of the project, which is expected to finish June 25.

    “We anticipate the sandblasting will be done in the first week,” Los Alamos County Public Works Department Senior Traffic Manager Alipio Mondragon said Thursday night. “The resurfacing’s going to follow right behind and that’s going to take a couple of days. The material they’re using will then need a couple of days to dry before we can let anybody on the overpasses.”

    The project will not affect vehicle traffic, however, it will affect foot traffic.

    Pedestrians who usually use the north overpass to cross Diamond Drive are advised to use the crosswalks at Sandia Drive and pedestrians who regularly use the south overpass are advised to use the crosswalk at Canyon Road.

    Because of the closures motorists are encouraged to be on the lookout for increased pedestrian traffic on that stretch of Diamond Drive.

    Mondragon said one of the determining factors in the pace of the project will be the ease in which the current surface can be pulled up.

  • Supporting the local Farmer’s Market
  • Atomic City Update: World Cup not the same without the Americans

    As the World Cup heats up this week, I’m really having trouble getting into it. You see, for the first time in my lifetime, the USA is not involved. As much as I enjoy watching the best soccer players in the world compete, it’s tough not having a real team to root for and be invested in. 

    I have vivid memories of the past few World Cups, but all of them involve watching the Americans. I know I watched other matches but the only memories that stuck were dramatic goals and moments from USA matches, like Landon Donovan’s dramatic goals against Algeria and Ghana in 2010, and the painful loss in the round of 16 against Belgium in 2014. 

    This year, I’m watching matches and enjoying them, but the tournament doesn’t seem to have the same weight as it has in past years. I’m curious to see if other people feel the same way as I do. In the past, soccer has become a main talking point around the country in June every four years, but I struggle to see that being the case this year.