Today's News

  • Senate confirms Hagel as defense secretary


    WASHINGTON (AP) — A deeply divided Senate voted on Tuesday to confirm Republican Chuck Hagel to be the nation's next defense secretary, handing President Barack Obama's pick the top Pentagon job just days before billions of dollars in automatic, across-the-board budget cuts hit the military.

    The vote was 58-41, with four Republicans joining the Democrats in backing the contentious choice. Hagel's only GOP support came from former colleagues Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Dick Shelby of Alabama and Mike Johanns of Nebraska — all three had announced their support earlier — and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

    The vote came just hours after Republicans dropped their unprecedented delay of a Pentagon choice and allowed the nomination to move forward on a 71-27 vote.

    Hagel, 66, a former two-term Nebraska senator and twice-wounded Vietnam combat veteran, succeeds Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Hagel is expected to be sworn in at the Pentagon on Wednesday.

    Obama welcomed the bipartisan Senate vote, although 41 Republicans opposed his nominee, and said in a statement that "we will have the defense secretary our nation needs and the leader our troops deserve."

  • Police Beat 02-26-13

    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.

    Feb. 14
    9:15 a.m. — Mark Henis, 46, of Los Alamos, was arrested on a charge of harassment. He was issued a summons to appear.

    9:21 p.m. — A 16-year-old Jemez Springs teen was arrested on a charge of shoplifting (less than a $100) at Smith’s in Los Alamos. He was referred to juvenile authorities.

    11:02 p.m — Raul Quezada Ortiz, 28, of Los Alamos, was arrested on a charge of battery against a household member in the 3000 block of Trinity Drive.
    Feb. 15

    8:51 p.m. — Michelle Pinkerton, 34, of Los Alamos, was arrested on a warrant in the 3700 block of Alabama Avenue.
    Feb. 16

    8:06 p.m. — Martin Dominguez, 37, of Los Alamos, was arrested for driving while under the influence of liquor and/or drugs, not keeping within the lanes of traffic, expired registration, marijuana possession, (less than one ounce) and possession of drug paraphernalia at East Jemez Road.

    Feb. 19

  • Briefs 02-26-13

    Cleanup continues

    SANTA FE — Western Refining and its environmental cleanup contractor, D & H Pump, are continuing to work to clean up an estimated 1,600 gallons of gasoline that were spilled from a Western Refining fuel tanker that jackknifed and ruptured on US 84/285 at the NM 599 exit Sunday evening.
    The right northbound lane and the right southbound lane of US 84/285 were closed as of 11:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. Traffic was delayed Sunday evening as first responders worked to contain the spill. Motorists are advised that the cleanup work could take several days.
    The New Mexico Environment Department’s Hazardous Waste Bureau is working with Western Refining to ensure proper remediation of the site. The New Mexico Environment Department’s Surface Water Quality Bureau has also been alerted.
    NMDOT urges motorists to proceed through the area with caution, watch for traffic control signing, and observe reduced speed limits.
    Up-to-date information on this and other construction and maintenance projects can be found on NMRoads.com, the NMDOT road advisory website.

    Children’s Museum at the Legislature

  • County seeks feedback on meeting times

    The county’s public information officer has posted a new question on the county’s “Open Forum” regarding the possibility of changing the day and time of one council meeting a month.
    The question posed to citizens, “The county council currently holds two business meetings per month at 7 p.m. Tuesday. To enable broader public participation, they are considering moving one of the Tuesday meetings to a Friday morning at 11 a.m. Do you think this is a good idea? Why or why not?”
    During a council meeting in January, the council discussed having a different meeting date and time for council meetings. Currently, the council typically meets three times a month at 7 p.m. Tuesday. They meet twice in Los Alamos (council chambers) and once in White Rock (fire station #3). White Rock sessions are “work” sessions only, no action is taken and there is only discussion of possible action items.
    Attendance at council meetings is typically sparse, unless there is a topic of significant interest on the agenda. For example, the council’s recent meeting about deferring some capital projects drew a very large crowd and significant public interest.

  • Afternoon crash

    George M Hrbek, 21, of Los Alamos was cited by police for driving through a red light at the intersection of Diamond Drive and Canyon Road Monday. His car reportedly hit another car turning left onto Diamond from Canyon. There were no injuries, but medics from the Los Alamos Fire Department checked both drivers just to be sure. 

  • Update 02-26-13

    Photo show

    The Los Alamos Photography Club (LAPC) will be hosting its annual photography show for 2013 at the Mesa Public Library from March 4 through March 29.

    Have a news tip?

    Send press releases, photos and videos to laeditor@lamonitor.com or contact the newsroom at 662-4185.

    Council meeting

    The Los Alamos County Council will meet at 7 p.m. today in council chambers and hold a regular session as well as a public hearing on a proposed sewer rate increase.

    Authors Speak

    The Authors Speak Series presents Slim Randles, veteran newspaperman and outdoorsman, at 7 p.m. Thursday in the upstairs rotunda.

    Eclipse talk

     Total Solar Eclipse talk. See video and photos of the November 2012 event, and learn more about eclipses, from 7-8 p.m. today. Free. Visit PajaritoEEC.org for more information.

    Ice rink closed

    Due to the warm weather and unsafe ice conditions, the Ice Rink is officially closed for the season, the county announced Monday.  

  • Young artists show off their work
  • After 23 years, NNSA still on 'the list'

    The U.S. Government Accountability Office has once again targeted the National Nuclear Security Administration and placed it on its “high risk” list.

    The GAO cites the NNSA’s inability to bring in a Los Alamos plutonium factory at a reasonable rate and on schedule.

    The list is put together every two years and it highlights agencies that are “most in need of transformation” because of management and other problems.

    According to the report, this is why NNSA is on the high-risk list.

    “The Department of Energy, the largest civilian contracting agency in the federal government, and relies primarily on contractors to carry out its diverse missions and operate its laboratories and other facilities.

    “Approximately 90 percent of DOE’s budget is spent on contracts and large capital asset projects. GAO designated contract management — which includes both contract administration and project management — as a high-risk area in 1990 because DOE’s record of inadequate management and oversight of contractors has left the department vulnerable to fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement.

  • Valles awarded $545K grant

    The Valles Caldera Trust has been awarded a $545,000 federal grant that will allow visitors to tour the Valles Caldera National Preserve in the quiet comfort of a solar powered all-electric shuttle bus. The grant is one of 29 awarded nationally by the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in the Parks Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Authority.

    The grant will fund the purchase of an all-electric 26-passenger ADA-compliant shuttle bus to replace two gasoline-powered 12-passenger vans currently in use. Construction of a solar photovoltaic panel array to power the vehicle, establishment of charging stations and a garage to house the bus are also included in the funding.

    “The grant allows us to test the durability and suitability of all-electric vehicles on our roads and terrain,” said Dennis Trujillo, executive director of the Valles Caldera Trust. “We hope the experiment will lead to conversion of the entire fleet to all-electric vehicles, which will reduce the environmental impact to the preserve, enhance the visitor experience and reduce costs.”

  • 502 redesign moves toward completion

    After many rounds of proposed plans, public meetings and input from consultants, the redesign of one stretch of N.M. 502 appears to be nearing completion. The plan calls for reconstruction of Trinity Drive from Knecht Street to Tewa Loop.

    The project is funded in the FY2014 New Mexico Department of Transportation District 5 State Transportation Improvement Program in the amount of $3.8 million. The county’s match of $1.125 million is allocated from the Capital Improvement Program budget.

    A design approved by council in February 2012 had to be revised in December after NMDOT and the Federal Highway Administration rejected it. The new design addresses minimum Level of Service issues for side streets Arroyo Lane and Sombrillo Court by adding an additional eastbound lane along the entire corridor.

    Reaching an agreement between NMDOT, FHA and the county has taken so long that the Environmental Impact Statement must be updated before the project can move forward. As part of that process, NMDOT and the FHA sponsored an open house to get public feedback last week. NMDOT representatives and county staff were on hand to answer questions and hear feedback. Approximately 45 people attended the meeting.