Today's News

  • Today in History for August 19th
  • 62-year-old Renews Bid for Cuba to Fla. Swim
  • Networking can pay huge dividends

    Networking is a form of marketing that exponentially increases the influence that a professional or business owner can have when searching for new markets or clients. WESST, a nonprofit that helps build small businesses in New Mexico, used the occasion of Women’s History Month in March to teach women entrepreneurs how to use this powerful tool: The organization’s Las Cruces enterprise center started an Empowering Women in Business Networking lunch meeting so clients and other women could mingle, share ideas, get acquainted and help one another.
    The gatherings started small — about three dozen women — but that number nearly doubled by June, suggesting that WESST had tapped into an unmet need.
    From client to caterer
    One WESST client took the networking message to heart and catered low-cost meals for two monthly gatherings. Olga Nunez, owner of Chihuahua’s Restaurant in Las Cruces, provided Mexican food one month and Italian the next to benefit directly from the interaction with other women.

  • Battle for champion gaffer

    SANTA FE — A week seldom passes that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney doesnít get hit by the media for making another gaffe. But he has company. President Barack Obama makes his share too.
    Recently, President Obama may have made his biggest gaffe of all. In an effort to convince the wealthy to carry their share of the tax load or maybe even a bit more, as with George Buffett, he seemed to begin straying off message.
    Obama said, “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.” He wasn’t quite in trouble at that point. Everyone had a great teacher or supportive parents or friends or business associates. There’s no harm in acknowledging them.
    But then the president stepped all the way in the hole. “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
        He said it and he can never walk that one back far enough. The president, who many Americans already thought is anti-business, has just uttered words that never will be forgotten.  
     Republicans didn’t wait to see if the media might pick it up and go with it. This was too valuable not to begin exploiting immediately ñ and forever.

  • County, Stepan settle for $800K

    Los Alamos County and former employee Diana Stepan have reached a settlement for $800,000 in a sex discrimination case.

    According to a statement released late Friday by the county, the settlement was reached Aug. 1.

    Stepan said Friday night that everything became finalized earlier in the afternoon.

    The settlement addresses a claim that Stepan had filed last year against the county and former acting county administrator Randy Autio after her termination of employment.

    The statement read, “The county was represented in the settlement by the New Mexico Self-Insurer’s Fund, an insurance pool of New Mexico municipalities and other political subdivisions, including the county, through an arrangement with the New Mexico Municipal League.

    “Under the agreement, the New Mexico Self-Insurer’s Fund will pay $800,000 to Stepan. The county will pay $175,000 of that settlement, which includes a $25,000 deductible.”

    Stepan, who was earning $146,000 a year as the assistant county administrator, said she believes the settlement was one of the largest the county has ever given out.

    “The whole thing has been extremely hurtful because I did do my very best for the county,” Stepan said.

  • NCRTD opens new transit complex

    ESPANOLA — The North Central Regional Transit District (NCRTD) Friday dedicated the Jim West Regional Transit Center in a ribbon cutting ceremony outside the building.

    In dedicating the building, NCRTD Chairman and Taos County Commissioner Daniel Barrone stated that, “This Transit Center serves as a testament to the hard work and dedication of the government officials, NCRTD Board and the staff, both past and present, who believed that one day a transit system could connect a 10,000-square-mile area of North Central New Mexico and create mobility options for people in most cases where none had existed before.”

    “We are thrilled to be located in our new headquarters,” said Anthony Mortillaro, NCRTD executive director. “This now consolidates the administrative offices with the operations and fleet management divisions which previously had been spread out over three locations in Santa Fe and Española. The move will allow us to operate more efficiently and cost effectively as we position ourselves for the future.”

    The Jim West Regional Transit Center is named for the late Jim West, a Los Alamos County councilor.  He was among the founders of the NCRTD and was an inaugural member of the NCRTD Board of Directors in 2004. 

  • Transit Center recognizes West’s enduring legacy

    Val Boatman and her husband Bill traveled all the way from Kansas to be at Friday’s ribbon cutting for the NCRTD’s Jim West Regional Transit Center in Espanola.

    Val is the sister of the late Jim West, the former Los Alamos County councilor for whom the building is named.

    By the time the ceremony was over, Val was in tears.

    It probably was because of the moving tribute to West, who died of cancer in 2009, that LA County councilor Mike Wismer gave during the ceremony.

    Wismer’s talk certainly was powerful.

    He recalled meeting West on the campaign trail in 2002.

    “We became instant friends and worked together for four years on the council,” Wismer said.
    Wismer talked about how West became the transit district’s strongest proponent and its most “articulate cowboy spokesman.”

    He referred to West being very “Oklahoma Stubborn.” Wismer said, “For those on the East Coast, that term means damn persistent in his efforts to get the transit system going and for getting the GRT approved by voters and in making the board effective. For that reason alone, it is most appropriate to name this facility after Jim.”

    Then Wismer talked about a more personal reason for naming the facility after West.

  • Johnson exits council race

    Ken Johnson, a Democratic candidate for Los Alamos County Council, has dropped out of the race.

    Johnson sent in his withdrawal notice to the county clerk’s office Friday morning.

    “I expect if I were elected at some point, I would have had to leave the council and that would not be fair to the people who voted for me,” Johnson said in a phone interview. “I have plans to move away from Los Alamos during that time frame.”

    Later in the day Friday, Johnson released a statement.

    “This morning I officially withdrew as a candidate for the Los Alamos County Council.  A confluence of events in recent months has made it highly likely that I will be moving away from Los Alamos in the fairly near future. Consequently, if elected to the council, I would be unable to complete my term. As a candidate, I believe my supporters should have the expectation that, if my campaign is successful, I will represent them for the complete duration of my term.

  • Update 08-19-12

    Public hearing

    A public hearing on Draft Surplus Plutonium Disposition Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement  is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Holiday Inn Express in Los Alamos.

    Oppenheimer talk

    The Oppenheimer Memorial Lecture, featuring Alex Filippenko, will be at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Duane Smith Auditorium.


    The public is invited to join the county council for the groundbreaking event for the new Golf Course Community Building at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 24, at the building site. Refreshments will be served.

    County Council

    The Los Alamos County Council will hold its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers.

    Scales of Justice

    The Arts in Public Places will host a statue dedication at 2:30 p.m. Thursday in the Justice Center courtyard.


  • Cone Zone 08-19-12

    Eastern Area 2 Concrete, Paving  Utility Project, Phase 1
    Work continues on Myrtle between 9th Street and 15th Street. This section of Myrtle is closed to through traffic with flagging operations during the day and two-way traffic at night.
    The work zone on Canyon Road will be extended to between N.M. 502 to just south of Nugget. This section is closed to through traffic however, residential access will be maintained. Residents can expect flagging operations on Canyon Road during the day time, and two-way traffic at night. Minor delays may be experienced. All through traffic must seek alternate routes.
    N.M. 4 Improvements Project
    Expect intermittent traffic control as the contractor completes identified punch list items in order to reach final completion.  
    Expect striping operations and roadway marking installation Thursday. The striping operations occur with at least one shadow vehicle following the striper to allow adequate time for the roadway paint to dry and to prevent traffic from crossing the wet paint. Do not try to get in front of the shadow vehicles. Intermittent lane closures can be expected when the contractor installs roadway markings such as turn arrows or stop bars.
    Capital Projects
    Facilities Projects
    Central Avenue  
    9th Street