Today's News

  • On the Docket: Local Courts 03-20-13

    March 13

    David P. Yniguez was found guilty in Los Alamos Municipal Court of speeding six to10 miles an hour over the limit. He was fined $50 and ordered to pay $46 in court fees.

    Sommer L. Ceniceros was found guilty of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the limit She was fined $50 and ordered to pay $46 in court fees.

    March 15

    Derrick W. Koehler was found guilty of failing to appear in court and failing to yield or stop at a sign. He was fined $100 and ordered to pay $92 in court fees.

    Eric M. Beckstead was found guilty of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the limit. He was fined $50 and ordered to pay $46 in court fees.

    Robert T. Graham was found guilty of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the limit. He was fined $50 and ordered to pay $46 in court fees.

    Maria I. Cuesta-Garcia was found guilty of speeding 16-20 miles an hour over the speed limit. She was fined $100 and ordered to pay $46 in court costs.

    March 17

    Marisol Dominguez-Rodriguez was found guilty of speeding 16-20 miles an hour over the speed limit. She was fined $100 and ordered to pay $46 in court costs.

    March 18

    Iris G. Ocanas was found guilty of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the limit. She was fined $50 and ordered to pay $46 in court fees.

  • Update 03-20-13

    Sock Hop

    The Los Alamos Family Council will hold its Fabulous Fifties Family Sock Hop. The Hop is scheduled for 6-10 p.m. March 23 at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish Hall on Canyon Road. Tickets are $10 per person or $25 for a family. Call 662-4160 for information.

    CRC meeting

    The Department of Public Utilities Charter Review Committee will hold its first meeting from 5:30-6:30 p.m. March 27, in the Community Building’s Training Room. This will primarily be an organizational meeting to appoint a chair and vice-chair and review the scope of work. The public is welcome to attend.

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  • Flyovers find no increase in radioactivity

    Measurements from two recent aerial flyovers to determine the presence of background and man-made radioactivity brought good news for Los Alamos County and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    The radiological surveys, conducted in August 2011 and June 2012, found that radioisotopes and their associated exposure rates are consistent with those expected from normal background radiation.

    “These surveys were well worth the effort,” said Juan Griego, acting manager for the Los Alamos Field Office. “The results are good news and the information will benefit the lab and the community for years to come as we work toward cleanup and sustainability.”

    The 2011 survey focused on the White Rock community and Los Alamos National Laboratory, over which a specially equipped helicopter from Nevada’s Remote Sensing Lab flew approximately 150-feet above ground to gather radiological data.

    The 2012 survey concentrated on the Los Alamos town site. That survey gathered data from 300 feet above the ground in order to limit noise to residents and animals, specifically the horses on North Mesa. Measurements taken from the flyover are equivalent to measurements taken from one meter above ground.

  • San Juan plant deal hangs in the balance

    The headline on last month’s press release from the New Mexico Environment Department was triumphant. It announced in bold print that “Governor Martinez brokers settlement agreement with PNM and EPA over regional haze.”

    But while Department of Public Utilities Manager John Arrowsmith concedes that “all the parties appear to be satisfied with the settlement” for improving air quality at the San Juan Generating Station, he has some trepidation about the non-binding agreement.

    Los Alamos County owns a 7.2 percent share of the generating station’s unit 4, which provides approximately 50 percent of the electricity requirements for Los Alamos County.

    Martinez directed NMED to negotiate with the Environmental Protection Agency and PNM after the EPA rejected the state’s first proposal to improve air quality at the plant.

    The EPA’s Federal Implementation Plan for reducing regional haze required PNM to install select catalytic reduction technology on all four units of the San Juan Generating Station within five years. EPA’s estimate for installing the units was $350 million. PNM insisted the upgrade would cost $750 million. The state’s press release put the cost at $850 million.

  • Santa Fe leaders push gay marriage

    In Santa Fe, at least, city leaders are taking the advice of their city attorney and they are encouraging county clerks in New Mexico to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

    Mayor David Coss and City Councilor Patti Bushee announced they are sponsoring a resolution expressing support for gay marriage in New Mexico.

    The resolution will be introduced at the next city council meeting, scheduled for March 27.

    “Santa Fe is a city of respect, acceptance, and diversity that embraces all of our residents,” Coss said in a press release. “I sponsored this resolution because all loving, committed couples should have the right to marry regardless of their sexual orientation.”

    “It is disheartening to me — to be creating laws for my community for 19 years and not be treated equally in the eyes of New Mexico law,” Bushee said. “We are the last group allowed to be legally discriminated against. This is a civil rights issue — it’s time for Santa Fe to lead the way.”

  • Hilltop hit and run

    Police arrested the driver of a white Ford Taurus after he allegedly lost control of his vehicle and hit a parked Honda Civic in the parking lot of the Hilltop House Hotel. Police said the driver was approaching from the south side of the parking lot when the accident occurred Wednesday morning. The driver was later charged with DUI.

  • Hotel preps for shut down -- VIDEO EXTRA

    There was no 11th-hour reprieve or last-minute deal.

    In the end, no bidders came forward.

    Los Alamos National Bank set a minimum bid at $2.9 million, to secure the Hilltop House Hotel during a foreclosure auction in front of the Justice Center Wednesday, just before noon.

    Approximately 20 people were in attendance as special master John Morse read the conditions of the sale.

    Morse announced the bank had submitted a $2.9 million bid. He then asked everybody in attendance if there were any other bids.

    There was silence.

    Morse then awarded possession of the hotel to the bank.

    LANB president Steve Wells said the bank never favors the foreclosure process “but unfortunately, this was the only option we had left.”

    Wells then explained the process of what happens next.

    “This process requires the judge presiding over the foreclosure to approve the auction transaction and that can take up to a week depending on the judge’s workload and of course any concerns, which we do not expect,” Wells said. “New Mexico law allows for a 30-day redemption period where the debtor can redeem the property with payment of the amount required.

  • Man jailed on forcible sex allegations

    Police arrested a 29-year-old Los Alamos man for allegedly sexually assaulting another employee while working an overnight shift March 13 at the Chevron station on Trinity Drive.

    According to police reports, the suspect Carlos Martinez, allegedly trapped a female co-worker in a walk-in freezer and allegedly abused the victim before letting her go.

    Martinez faces three felony sex charges and a kidnapping charge, since he forcefully kept the woman in the freezer until she complied with his demands.

    He is currently being held in the Los Alamos Detention Center on a $50,000 cash-only bond, according to Los Alamos Police Department Cmdr. Randy Foster.

    Police stated the alleged victim came into the Los Alamos police station March 12 to give a detailed statement about what happened.

    She told police that Martinez sexually assaulted her on the night of March 8, the culmination of a series of incidents that made the victim uncomfortable and allegedly sick to her stomach on several occasions.

    In warrant documents obtained from Los Alamos Magistrate Court, the victim detailed how Martinez would follow her around at work talking about sex as he also allegedly tried to pressure into her having sex with him.

  • Immigration laws have failed

    Some might find me annoyingly literal about obeying certain laws. Take traffic.
    In residential areas I drive the 25 mph speed limit. If an arterial has a 30 mph limit, that is my speed. I stop, completely, at stop signs and before turning right on a red light.
    At higher posted speeds, morality gets situational. I fudge above 35 mph. During the time of Jimmy Carter’s idiotic 55 mph interstate speed limit, my protest was to go 95 along the six-mile divided stretch of I-25 north of exit 115.
    Thus I was disappointed to see an argument against red-light cameras saying it was bad that the cameras caught people doing the “California stop.” Too bad, I figure. It’s “the law.”
    I was appalled recently to hear a lawyer argue that no such thing as “the Law” exists. Everything about the law was technical, he claimed: the rules, the manipulation, the arguments. There was no higher moral framework.
    A retired police officer friend soothed my slightly conscience-stricken speed limit behavior by saying the broader issue is public safety, and taking the posted speed limit literally is good in congested areas. Public safety fits with the bigger ideas holding society together.

  • Maximize your disabled child's government aid

    Parents of special needs children have enough on their plates just tending to the health, educational and emotional needs of their kids — not to mention often having to cope with drastically lowered income because of reduced work hours or having to pay someone else for childcare.
    So it’s not surprising that many of these parents haven’t had time to hatch a long-term financial plan in case their kids need care after they’re not around.
    Fortunately, many government programs and community resources are available to help relieve the financial burden of parenting special needs children.
    But eligibility criteria are complicated and the application process time-consuming. Plus, if you’re not careful, you or well-meaning relatives could inadvertently disqualify your kids for future benefits by not structuring their inheritances correctly.
    Here’s a brief overview of key government assistance programs
    The Social Security Administration provides two types of disability coverage: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). Rules and eligibility requirements differ between the two programs — and benefits differ for children and adults.