Today's News

  • Today in History for April 18th
  • Fourteen bodies recovered, 200 injured in Texas blast


    WEST, Texas (AP) — Buck Uptmor didn't have to go to West Fertilizer Co. when the fire started. He wasn't a firefighter like his brother and cousin, who raced toward the plant. But a ranch of horses next to the flames needed to be moved to safety.

    "He went to help a friend," said Joyce Marek, Uptmor's aunt. "And then it blew."

    Two days after the fertilizer facility exploded in a blinding fireball, authorities announced Friday that they had recovered 14 bodies, confirming for the first time an exact number of people killed. Grieving families quickly started planning burials.

    Ten of the dead were first-responders — including five from the West Volunteer Fire Department and four emergency medics, West Mayor Tommy Muska said.

    The dead included Uptmor and Joey Pustejovsky, the city secretary who doubled as a member of the West Volunteer Fire Department. A captain of the Dallas Fire Department who was off-duty at the time but responded to the fire to help also died.

    The explosion was strong enough to register as a small earthquake and could be heard for many miles across the Texas prairie. It demolished nearly everything for several blocks around the plant. More than 200 people were hurt, and five people remained hospitalized Friday.

  • Council adopts FY2014 budget

    After more than four hours of discussion, the Los Alamos County council adopted a budget for FY2014.

    During the evening's discussions, council added $378,565 to the $185.9 million proposed by staff.          

    The additions included $93,000 for community services. Council took out proposed reductions to Senior Center services, Youth Activity Center operations and the summer concert series. They also voted to fund Bear Camp at the current level and added $40,000 to the budget for Cooperative Extension Services in order to fund the home economics position at a three quarter time level.

    Council also transferred $300,000 from the general fund to the FY2014 indigent healthcare fund budget in order to maintain basic services. A more in depth discussion on how to address reduced revenues and increased demand on the indigent fund is scheduled for April 30.

    The only reduction to the proposed budget was  $15,000 from the county council's budget for contractual services.

    After considerable discussion, council voted to adopt proposed budgets for Progress through Partnering, transit and the lodger's tax fund without alterations.

    Look for more details in Thursday's Los Alamos Monitor.

  • Background check gun bill fails in Senate


    WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans, backed by a small band of rural-state Democrats, turned away legislation Wednesday to tighten restrictions on the sale of firearms, rejecting repeated appeals from President Barack Obama and personal pleas by families of the victims of last winter's mass elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

    Attempts to ban assault-style rifles and high capacity ammunition magazines also faced certain defeat in a series of showdown votes four months after a gunman killed 20 elementary school children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary.

    The background check measure commanded a majority of senators, 54-46, but that was well short of the 60 votes needed to advance. Forty-one Republicans and five Democrats sided to scuttle the plan.

    In the hours before the key vote, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., bluntly accused the National Rifle Association of making false claims about the expansion of background checks that he and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., were backing.

  • Britain's Iron Lady laid to rest


    LONDON (AP) — Margaret Thatcher was laid to rest Wednesday with prayers and ceremony, plus cheers and occasional jeers, as Britain paused to remember a leader who transformed the country — for the better according to many, but in some eyes for the worse.

    Soaring hymns, Biblical verse and fond remembrances echoed under the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral, as 2,300 relatives, friends, colleagues and dignitaries attended a ceremonial funeral for Britain's only female prime minister.

    Queen Elizabeth II, current and former prime ministers and representatives from 170 countries were among the mourners packing the cathedral, where Bishop of London Richard Chartres spoke of the strong feelings Thatcher still evokes 23 years after leaving office.

    "The storm of conflicting opinions centers on the Mrs. Thatcher who became a symbolic figure — even an -ism," he said. "It must be very difficult for those members of her family and those closely associated with her to recognize the wife, the mother and the grandmother in the mythological figure."

    "There is an important place for debating policies and legacy ... but here and today is neither the time nor the place," he added.

  • FBI releases images of two suspects in Boston bomb case -- photos, video added



    BOSTON (AP) — The FBI released photos and video Thursday of two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing and asked for the public's help in identifying them, zeroing in on the two men on surveillance-camera footage less than three days after the deadly attack.

    The photos depict one man in a dark baseball cap and the other in a white cap worn backward. The men were seen walking one behind the other in the crowd, and the one in the white hat was seen setting down a backpack at the site of the second explosion, said Richard DesLauriers, FBI agent in charge in Boston.

  • Valles Caldera plans photographic excursions

    JEMEZ SPRINGS (AP) — The Valles Caldera National Preserve is offering the public a chance to explore its 89,000 acres in northern New Mexico on three-day photography excursions this spring and in the fall.
    Lotteries will select the winners, 12 for each outing. Each winner can bring one guest.
    The winners can drive their own vehicles to take photographs in most parts of the preserve although some areas will remain closed. Camping will be allowed at a designated location.
    Officials say the lottery closes April 24 for the first photography event, which is scheduled for May 24-26.
    The second outing is Sept. 20-22, and the lottery closes on Aug. 21.
    People can apply by calling the preserve at 1-866-382-5537, or can register online (http://1.usa.gov/XNMK3D ). Each lottery entry costs $10.

  • On the Docket: Local Courts 04-17-13

    April 10
    Kristy A. Ortega was issued a citation by the Los Alamos Municipal Court for going six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. She was fined $50 and ordered to pay $46 in court costs.
    April 11
    Maxwell N. McElligott was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of failing to appear in court and not wearing his seatbelts. He was fined $75 and ordered to pay $92 in court fees.

    Mario Pacheco was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of failing to drive on the right side of the street. He was ordered to pay $46 in court costs. He received a deferred sentence. He will be sentenced June 9.

    Patrick Montoya was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of failing to drive on the right side of the street. He was ordered to pay $46 in court costs. He received a deferred sentence. He will be sentenced June 9.
    April 13
    Megan D. Hollowell was found guilty by citation by the Los Alamos Municipal Court for failing to stop or yield at a sign.
    She was fined $50 and ordered to pay $46 in court costs.
    April 15
    Dawn Lewis was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of refusing to obey an officer.
    She was given a deferred sentence until July 13 as well as community service.

  • Update 04-17-13

    Town Hall

    State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Sandoval and Santa Fe) will join with the AARP of Los Alamos to hold a Town Hall meeting from 1-3 p.m. on Friday at the Betty Ehart Senior Center.

    Have a news tip?

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

    BPU meeting

    The Board of Public Utilities will meet at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the DPU Conference Room.

    County Council

    The Los Alamos County Council will continue its budget hearings at 7 p.m. tonight in council chambers. Wednesday’s discussion will conclude outstanding items and possible adoption of the budget.  

  • Hikers nearly start wildfire

    A hiker called police on the morning of April 8 to say his friend might be suffering from alcohol poisoning. The hiker told police that they were on a trail somewhere off of Barcelona Street and Sherwood Boulevard.
    When police arrived, they had to call out to the hikers because of the low visibility due to the high level of smoke in the area. When police did locate the hikers, one of them immediately told police that he thought his friend might be suffering from alcohol poisoning, as he was dry heaving all night. When they arrived at the fire, they saw the individual, a minor, slumped over.
    That’s when police also met up with Ian Hubbard, 19. When police asked Hubbard what his friend drank, he said a “handle” (1.75 liters) of “Ten High” bourbon. Police then noticed a nearly-empty, large bottle of bourbon about 10 feet away.
    The victim was transported to the hospital while police detained Hubbard and kept an eye on the fire, which they noticed had spread.
    “I noticed that the fire was not contained within a pit and that some of the embers and a small log had spread into an area that had many weeds,” said Officer James Keane in the report. Police were also worried because the conditions happened to be dry and gusty that day.