Today's News

  • Valles Caldera to manage 200-acre Redondo Fire

    Last week, lightning ignited a single tree near Redondo Meadow within Valles Caldera National Preserve. Fire crews monitored the Redondo Fire over the weekend.

    Given favorable conditions, including monsoonal rains, high humidity and the availability of fire crews, National Park Service officials intend to manage the fire within a 200-acre area to reduce undesired fire behavior in the future. 

    “Wildfire is a natural component of our forest and grassland ecosystems, and when conditions permit, we strive to safely manage these naturally-caused fires,” said Valles Caldera Superintendent Jorge Silva-Bañuelos. “The goal of the managed fire is to bring positive benefits to the landscape by removing the dead and downed fuels that have accumulated since the 2013 Thompson Ridge Fire.”

    For the duration of the Redondo Fire, the superintendent has issued a closure order for the area and the road into Redondo Meadow.

    Smoke is expected to be visible during fire operations through the week and possibly into the weekend. Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory or heart disease are encouraged to take precautionary measures.

  • Fired state education secretary to lead Las Cruces schools

    LAS CRUCES (AP) — Karen Trujillo, the former New Mexico public education secretary who was fired just six months into her job, was chosen Tuesday to lead Las Cruces Public Schools.

    In a 5-0 vote, the Las Cruces Public School board named Trujillo as the district's interim superintendent after Superintendent Greg Ewing resigned last week, the Las Cruces Sun-News reports.

    The appointment comes a month after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham abruptly fired Trujillo as leader of state's Public Education Department, raising eyebrows from some state lawmakers and criticism for some in southern New Mexico.

    Lujan Grisham said the firing came after some of her "expectations were not met."

    Days later, the state released results that showed around 80% of students weren't proficient in math and 67% weren't proficient in reading. The results, from a "transition test" administered in the spring, came weeks into Trujillo's job.

    Lujan Grisham spokesman Tripp Stelnicki said Trujillo's firing was not related to the results from test scores.

    Las Cruces Public School board members said the district was lucky to find Trujillo amid the disarray as the school year starts.

  • Lujan supports Trump impeachment

    Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., assistant Speaker of the House, declared his support to impeach President Donald Trump Monday.

    The announcement made Lujan the highest-ranking Democrat in the House to call for an impeachment inquiry.

    “I support moving forward with an impeachment inquiry, which will continue to uncover the facts for the American people and hold this president accountable,” Lujan said.

    Lujan posted his statement on Facebook and his official website.

    “The Trump presidency is creating grave national security concerns. Our country’s intelligence agencies have confirmed that the Russian government attacked America during the 2016 elections,” he said in a statement posted on social media.

    Lujan said he reached his decision after reading the Mueller Report and was convinced Trump’s campaign had ties to the Russian government.

    “When Special Counsel Mueller released his report, I read it in full. I was alarmed by the Trump campaign and the Trump White House’s brazen disregard for the rule of law. The report detailed sustained and frequent attempts by the Trump campaign to establish ties to the Russian government and an eagerness to benefit from hacked information stolen from our fellow Americans.

  • USDA recalls some Tip Top Poultry products

    The USDA issued a nationwide recall late Tuesday on packages of fully cooked poultry products made by Tip Top Poultry, Inc., a Rockmart, Georgia company, recalling about 135,810 pounds of chopped, fully cooked and frozen chicken meat products that were shipped nationwide.

    The products may be adultered with Listeria monocytogenes, according to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service notice.

    The contaminated meat can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that mostly affects older adults, people with weakened immune systems and pregnant women and their newborns. Other people can also be affected, though less commonly, the USDA said.

    Listeria can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, convulsions and other intentional symptoms.

    The problem was discovered on Aug. 17, when the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, CIFA, notified FSIS that a sample of Tip Top Poultry, Inc. confirmed positive for the presence of Listeria monocytogenes.

    The investigation is ongoing.

    The products subject to recall bear the number “P-174-453” inside the USDA mark of inspection or on the case. These items were shipped to hotels, restaurants and institutions nationwide. However, the USDA urges that all packages of these products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

  • National lab details $13B in building plans over next decade

    LOS ALAMOS (AP) — Officials at Los Alamos National Laboratory have plans for $13 billion worth of construction projects over the next decade at the northern New Mexico complex as it prepares to ramp up production of plutonium cores for the nation's nuclear weapons arsenal.

    They outlined their plans at a recent meeting attended by hundreds of representatives of construction firms from around the country.

    Beyond the new infrastructure related to plutonium assignment, other work likely will be aimed at serving a growing workforce — from planned housing projects and parking garages to a potential new highway that would reduce commute times from Albuquerque and Santa Fe for the 60% of employees who live outside of Los Alamos County.

    Lab Director Thomas Mason told the Albuquerque Journal the lab currently has 1,400 openings and plans to add another 1,200 jobs to its workforce of 12,000 by 2026.

    "It's a busy time at the lab," he said. "We're probably busier than we have been since the height of the Cold War."
    Mason said $3 billion in spending is planned for improvements to the lab's existing plutonium facility for the core work.

    An accelerator project and a new-generation super computer also will require major investments.

  • El Rigoberto’s to expand in White Rock at the end of August

    Restaurant entrepreneurs Fernando Loya and Andres Gomez have a few simple rules when it comes to building successful restaurants: don’t overthink it, and go where you’re wanted.

    Loya said that’s what made their El Rigoberto’s Taco Shop in Los Alamos such a huge success. And it’s that success is what led them to start another El Rigoberto’s Taco Shop in White Rock, which they said should be open by the end of August.

    The new restaurant will be at 25 Bonnie View Drive.

    “People that lived in White Rock always kept telling us to open one in White Rock. We’re going there because the people asked us to,” Loya said.

    And don’t worry, El Rigoberto’s Los Alamos is staying right where it is, inside the Central Park Square Shopping Center.

    Talk about going where you are wanted… that shop only came to be five years ago when their original Rigoberto’s, which was once located on Riverside Drive in Española, fell into disrepair.

    “The building was falling apart and the landlord didn’t want to fix anything,” Loya said.

    However, they did note that they were getting a lot of customers from Los Alamos coming to their Española store.

  • Meet County Shelter Manager Paul Sena

    The first thing you notice about Paul Sena, the Los Alamos County Animal Shelter’s manager, is that he’s genuinely happy with his job. No matter what time of day it is or what task he’s involved in, he always seems to have a smile for the customers who approach the counter at the shelter.

    Sena said there’s one reason for that, and that is, he truly loves what he does.

    “This is my dream,” Sena said.  “I’m doing what I love to do. Thanks to God, I’m still able to do that and support my family. I never had any intention of leaving the county, so when this opened up, it was right in my field. It kept me where I’m happy, it kept me in a good job, it allows me to get back into what I love to do, which is work with animals.”

    Sena described himself as the type of kid that was the one that took the time to  nurse the family dog back to health and gladly spent hours on his grandfather’s farm caring for the livestock and poultry.

    Sena started his professional life as a veterinary technician before he even graduated high school, working for Dr. Kathleen Ramsay at the Cottonwood Veterinary Clinic in Espanola.

    He did that for a number of years, where he quickly earned a reputation for being one of the best vet techs in the valley.

  • BPU to consider more solar

    The Board of Public Utilities will consider Thursday whether to approve a 1.32-megawatt solar Power Purchase Agreement on the East Jemez Road landfill.

    The public is invited to attend the regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers.

    Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities staff will present the agreement at the meeting. If approved, the agreement will be forwarded to the Los Alamos County Council for consideration.  

    The proposed 1.32-MW photovoltaic solar array would be installed adjacent to the existing 1MW array on the closed landfill owned by the Department of Energy and leased to Los Alamos County.

    Under the terms of the agreement, Los Alamos Solar II, LLC would deliver photovoltaic generated electricity to the DPU at a price of $0.0585 per kilowatt hour (kWh) for a 25-year term.

    It is estimated that the new PV system would generate on average 2,250 MWh per year which is about 2% of the county’s annual load, according to the DPU. 

    With a BPU-approved goal to be a carbon neutral electric provider by 2040, this project would bring the DPU one step closer, the DPU said Friday.

  • Farmington aims to keep open San Juan Plant

    FARMINGTON — Farmington city officials on Friday signed an agreement with a company that proposes outfitting the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station with carbon-capture technology in an effort to extend the power plant’s life beyond its planned closure in 2022.

    Under the agreement, the city would keep its 5% share in the plant and Enchant Energy Corp. would acquire a 95% ownership interest from other utilities that will be divesting in the plant.

    Public Service Co. of New Mexico plans to shut down the facility as it moves toward a 2040 emissions-free goal and the state begins implementing a new energy law aimed at transitioning to more renewable resources. The utility’s decommissioning application is pending before state regulators along with proposals for replacing the lost capacity once the plant closes.

    Environmentalists oppose keeping the plant open, saying there are now less expensive and cleaner options.
    Camilla Feibelman with the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club said it’s unlikely that anyone would want to purchase the electricity generated by the coal-fired plant.

    But the pending closure has left elected leaders in northwestern New Mexico looking for ways to ease the socio-economic challenges that will come with the plant’s decommissioning.

  • Police Beat 8-18-19

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department records. Charges or citations listed in Police Beat do not imply innocence or guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested, served a court summons, or issued a citation.

    Aug. 7
    10 a.m. — Los Alamos police bomb squad was called out on an incident. Case is inactive.

    10:49 p.m. — Los Alamos police cited/summoned a suspect for simple battery.

    Aug. 9
    2:12 p.m. — Los Alamos police responded to a burglary in Los Alamos. Case is still active.

    Aug. 10
    9:12 p.m. — Los Alamos police went out on an animal call. Case is active.

    Aug. 11
    11:26 a.m. — Los Alamos police investigated an incident where a motor vehicle was stolen from a residence. Case is active.
    12:25 a.m. — Los Alamos police responded to a domestic disturbance. Case is inactive.