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Today's News

  • Former lobbyists alleges harassment by New Mexico lawmaker

    SANTA FE (AP) — An animal rights advocate and former political lobbyist went public with sexual harassment allegations Wednesday against a New Mexico state lawmaker, who cast himself as the victim of politically motivated lies.

    In an open letter published online Wednesday, Laura Bonar accused Democratic Rep. Carl Trujillo of Santa Fe of inappropriate sexual advances as they worked on legislation in 2013 and 2014 when she was a lobbyist.

    Bonar says she was shut out of the legislative process as a lobbyist for Albuquerque-based Animal Protection Voters after rejecting Trujillo's advances.

    Trujillo issued a written statement to say that allegations against him are "lies of the worst sort," without mentioning Bonar by name.

    Trujillo, who did not respond to an interview request, cast blame for the allegations on unnamed political opponents, saying they had hijacked the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct for their own gain while undermining the cause of animal welfare.

    Trujillo also invoked as evidence of credibility his security clearance at the Los Alamos National Laboratories, a federal nuclear research center.

  • County Councilor Chrobocinski resigns from council; cites battle with cancer

    Los Alamos County Councilor James Chrobocinski resigned from county council Tuesday, telling council members he had cancer and needed time to fight the battle and support his family.

    The resignation was immediately effective.

    At the close of the meeting Chrobocinski, reading from a prepared statement, said, “I have been diagnosed with cancer and I must take this time to win this battle and support my family.”

    He said he plans to continue operating his real estate sales company, Zia Realty, “without any decrease in services,” and remain as president of the Los Alamos County Little League.

    Councilor Pete Sheehey said Wednesday, “I didn’t always agree with James, but he was always good to work with. I could tell him, ‘Well, I can’t agree with that, but we can come halfway,’ and James was virtually always ready to try to find something to move forward with and I really appreciate that.”

    The council must now move to fill the vacancy left by Chrobocinski’s resignation. Sheehey said he hopes the new councilor will have the same kind of problem-solving desire as Chrobocinski.

  • LANL rolls out plan to correct pit handling errors

    The Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Pit Technologies Division has developed a plan designed to prevent the mistakes workers made handling nuclear materials earlier this year, an inspection report from the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board said.

    “They developed a criteria and review approach document to assess all of their operations through plant walk-downs and discussions with fissile material handlers. The assessment evaluated three areas: compliance and usability of the criticality safety postings; worker engagement and understanding; and best practices and areas of improvement from the perspective of the ‘voice of the worker,’” a statement in a March 30 inspection report said.

    A lab spokesman said the review took two days, and that it was productive.

    “The program conducted a safety review and a limited operational pause over a two-day period.  Safety reviews are aimed at getting workers together to discuss best practices and safety issues,” the lab spokesman said.  

    The Pit Technologies Division also required that employees who weren’t involved in the operations take part as a way to  “ensure objective evaluation.”

  • LAFD: Fire near apartments started ‘intentionally’

    Police have opened an arson investigation into a brush fire that broke out near the Ponderosa Pines Apartments on Trinity Drive in Los Alamos about 4:45 p.m. Sunday.

    “It appears to have been started intentionally.  Evidence has been gathered and LAPD is investigating,” Los Alamos Fire Department Fire Marshal Jeffrey Wetteland said.

    The brushfire could have caused a disaster Sunday if it weren’t for the quick actions of the Los Alamos Fire Department.

    A brush fire in the woodlands, between the Larry R. Walkup Center and the Ponderosa Pines Apartments grew to about 15 by 25 feet before fire crews put it out.

    “It wasn’t real big, but there was definite potential for spread given how dry everything is,” Los Alamos Fire Department Deputy Chief Steven Dawald said.

    Dawald said in such dry conditions, a fast response is crucial.

    “If it’s not found quickly and the winds pick up we can definitely get into a dangerous situation, especially with the apartment complex being to the south of the fire,” Dawald said.
    Plateau Property Management Property Manager Mike Lipiatt was grateful for the Los Alamos Fire Department’s quick response.

  • Hilltoppers end district play with sweep

    Heading into Saturday’s doubleheader against Capital, the Los Alamos High School softball team had already clinched the District 2-5A championship, and was only playing for positioning in next week’s state championship playoffs. 

    With a sweep over the Jaguars, the Hilltoppers did what they could to improve positioning, and now wait to see who they will be facing in the first round of the tournament. 

    Both games were tight, tense contests that came down to the final inning, but the Hilltoppers found a way to escape with an 8-7 win in the first game, and a 16-13 win in the second game. 

    The LAHS offense started out hot in the first game, striking for 5 runs in the first two innings to take a commanding lead. 

    However, starting pitcher Savana Luster, who pitched very well over the first three innings, started to run out of gas in the fourth inning and lost some of her control, putting multiple runners on base. The Jaguars took full advantage, striking for 4 runs in the inning to tie the score 5-5 and force LAHS head coach Randy Burditt to make a pitching change, bringing Reyna Lucero into the game. 

  • Baseball earns No. 12 seed in playoffs

    After finishing the regular season with a doubleheader sweep over Capital, the Los Alamos High School baseball team heads into the State Baseball Championships as the No. 12 seed. This marks the team’s first trip to the playoffs since 2016, when the Hilltoppers advanced to the quarterfinals. 

    Heading into the weekend, it appeared LAHS had a good chance to make the tournament, but losses against Capital would have hurt those chances. After struggling in the early part of the first game, the Hilltopper offense came to life, winning the first game 12-2 and the second game 10-0. 

    LAHS struck first in the first game of the day, as James Neal led off the game with a walk, advanced on an error by the shortstop and scored on a sacrifice fly by Vincent Marciano, staking Hilltopper starting pitcher Luke Kirkland to an early 1-0 lead. 

    The lead increased to 3-0 in the second inning as Walker Eaton and Hunter Swavely scored on a groundout by Kirkland and a triple by Luis Bojorquez. 

    After Capital scored a run to cut the lead to 3-1, LAHS struck for 4 runs in the bottom of the third inning, putting the game nearly out of reach at 7-1. 

  • US border agency tests body-cam use by agents in 9 locations

    By ELLIOT SPAGAT, Associated Press

    SAN DIEGO (AP) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Tuesday began testing the use of body cameras by its employees at nine locations, potentially leading to a broad rollout by the nation's largest law enforcement agency that would make it the first federal agency to use the devices on a large scale.

    Customs and Border Protection previously concluded in 2015 after a yearlong study that body cameras were not yet suitable for widespread use due to cost, technological challenges and the need for labor union approval. However, it said the cameras had potential in limited circumstances.

    The agency's review also found that cameras used in field tests did not function well in the rugged, remote conditions in which many Border Patrol agents work.

    "Some fared better than others," said Austin Skero, director of the agency's law enforcement safety and compliance directorate.

    Customs and Border Protection officials said technology has evolved since the 2015 test, and the cameras used in the current field tests will build on lessons learned in the previous test. The equipment was provided by several manufacturers the agency declined to name.

  • Chicoma fire west of Española grows overnight

    A wildfire nine miles west of Española and five miles east of Chicoma Peak grew overnight and is now at 42 acres, Forest Service officials said Tuesday.

    The fire was first reported at 2:46 p.m. Monday.

    The fire is still within Rio Arriba County, according to Forest Service officials. No cause has been identified.

    No structures have been damaged in the fire, and the fire has not affected national parks or landmarks, such as the Puye Cliff Dwellings, which are approximately 30 miles southeast from the fire.

    The Forest Service responded to the fire with three engines and a 20-person ground team. According to the U.S. Forest
    Service’s report, a 20-person Hotshot crew with two more teams were expected to join the ground team Monday night to help contain the fire. Four air tankers have also responded to the fire.

  • Chicoma fire grows to 20 acres

    A wildfire nine miles west of Española and five miles east of Chicoma Peak has grown to 20 acres as of late Monday afternoon, According to the U.S. Forest Service. No new updates are available. The cause of the fire is unknown. A report from the U.S. Forest Service indicated southwestern winds gusting up to 20 miles an hour. No new information is available at this time. The forest service responded to the fire with three engines and a 20-person ground team. According to the U.S. Forest Service’s report, a 20-person Hotshot crew with two more teams was expected to join the ground team tonight to help contain the fire. Four air tankers have also responded to the fire.

  • Chicoma fire grows to 20 acres

    A wildfire nine miles west of Española and five miles east of Chicoma Peak has grown to 20 acres as of late Monday afternoon, according to the U.S. Forest Service. No new updates are available. The cause of the fire is unknown. A report from the U.S. Forest Service indicated southwestern winds gusting up to 20 miles an hour. The U.S. Forest Service posted the information about the fire on its Facebook page 7:30 p.m. Monday nignt.

    The forest service responded to the fire with three engines and a 20-person ground team. According to the U.S. Forest Service’s report, a 20-person Hotshot crew with two more teams was expected to join the ground team Monday night  to help contain the fire. Four air tankers have also responded to the fire.