Today's News

  • Police Beat 6-10-18

    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.

    May 24
    11:32 a.m. – Rebecca Renee Ward, 18 was booked into L.A. County jail for careless driving and property damage. She was later released.

    12:17 a.m. – Los Alamos police issued a citation/summons for simple domestic battery.

    May 26
    3:56 p.m. – Paul Joseph Springfield, 44, was booked into the L.A. County jail on a misdemeanor warrant from another jurisdiction. He was later released on an $819 bond.

    May 30
    2:02 p.m. – Los Alamos police responded to a domestic violence call of an argument between a parent and child that was reported by a third party after the fact. No charges were filed and the case is inactive.
    10:34 p.m. – Los Alamos police responded to an aggravated assault charge. The case is still active.

    May 31

  • Triad’s non-profit status leaves county with questions

    Questions still remain following the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Friday announcement of the new management and operations contract for the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    One of the biggest questions for Los Alamos County officials was Triad National Security LLC’s tax status.

    University of California spokesman Stephanie Beechem said the consortium would not release further details on the contract until the contractor’s transition period begins.

    “Until the DOE/NNSA issues an official notice to proceed, Triad LLC isn’t sharing any further details about our group’s proposal,” Beechem said.

    Whatever happens, the contract is expected to produce less income to the county, as the NNSA reduced LANL’s 3 percent performance fee to 1 percent in its annual $2.5 billion management and operations contract.

    Los Alamos County Manager Harry Burgess said it was not clear to the county if Triad National Security would be taxed on its gross receipts, even though it appears to be a non-profit.

    New Mexico tax laws exempt non-profits from gross receipts tax. If Triad National Security is structured as a non-profit, Los Alamos County may lose an estimated $21 million a year in gross receipts tax revenue. The state also stands to lose about $23 million in gross receipts taxes.

  • Former LAHS baseball star named Freshman All-American at UNM

    Connor Mang of Los Alamos was certainly the brightest of bright spots among UNM baseball’s freshman class. This week, he was officially recognized as such, as Collegiate Baseball named Mang to its Freshman All-America team.

    He is UNM’s 10th Freshman All-American since the 2008 season, and the fifth since 2015.  He is the first UNM Collegiate Baseball All-American as a first baseman since D.J. Peterson in 2011.

    Overall, Mang hit .326 over 48 games with 10 doubles, three triples, two homers and 27 RBI.  His batting average was second on the team, and he was tied for third in doubles and RBI.  He had 15 multi-hit games including eight three-hit games and he ended the season with an 11-game on-base streak.

    Mang opened the season as UNM’s third baseman before moving to second.  He moved to first base during the fifth weekend of the season and made himself a home there, solidifying UNM’s defense and giving the Lobos some corner pop with his bat.  Despite having not previously played the position, he committed just one error all season at first.

  • Atomic Tumblers compete at Xcel Region 3 Championships

    The Los Alamos Atomic Tumblers traveled to Galveston, Texas during the weekend of May 18 to compete in the Xcel Region 3 USA Gymnastics championships. All seven states (New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Arkansas, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma) were represented.

    There were 1,076 gymnasts competing in 14 sessions throughout the weekend.  There were 16 judges representing all seven states as well.

    In the Diamond Division competition, there were 77 competitors, and only one session.  Hannah Gram finished seventh in the seniors’ division with 36.725. Gram took sixth place on vault (9.25), bars (9.075), and floor (9.475).  

    She earned the last medal with a tenth place finish on beam (9.475). Brianna Fryer placed ninth in the junior’s division on her half twist on, full twist off vault with 9.25.  Chantel Bibeault also placed ninth on vault in the younger division with a half on, full off, scoring 9.225. Kayli Lincoln qualified but was unable to attend.

  • ‘Gay wedding cake’ ruling won’t resolve religious freedom issues

    The U.S. Supreme Court has issued its long-anticipated ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. In a 7-2 decision, the justices sided with a Denver bakery owner who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. 

    The couple took the case to court in 2012 after the Christian baker turned down their business. A lower court ruled the baker violated Colorado’s public accommodations law, which forbids discrimination by businesses serving the public, including on the basis of sexual orientation.

    In the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that Colorado officials “showed evidence of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs” of the baker. 

  • State program helps businesses clear loan collateral gap

    Joshua Grassham recognized a novel approach to supporting small business financing when he saw one. The vice president of commercial lending at Lea County State Bank in Hobbs was the first New Mexico banker to secure a client’s loan through a new state program to help collateral-poor businesses.

    The New Mexico Economic Development Department (EDD) introduced the Credit Enhancement Program (CEP) earlier this year as a way to help businesses, especially startups, by purchasing short-term certificates of deposit that businesses can use as collateral for larger loans. 

    Grassham closed his first loan in February on behalf of a longtime customer who wanted to start his own business serving the oil and gas industry. The customer had good credit and a sound business plan, but he lacked sufficient collateral to support his startup loan. The CEP loan bridged that gap.

    Grassham has two more CEP loans in the pipeline – one for a new restaurant and the other for a senior care facility.

    Temporary support

  • School lessons for adults who want to help

    When I started as a volunteer tutor four years ago, I wondered if I had the know-how to help a first grader catch up with his peers in reading. When school ended this year, I wondered if I’d need to throw myself on top of my student in the event of an active shooter.

    The answers are yes and not yet. The program prepared us for one but not the other.  

    When I started, I, like all the other school volunteers, simply wanted to help. But I also wanted to learn because schools are much in the news, and I write about them. It’s been a fine adventure.

    I learned that one little guy who doesn’t like reading but does like sports overcame his reluctance to read when offered books about sports at his reading level. Books like these are somewhat scarce, and for Hispanic athletes, they’re nonexistent, so at times I just wrote my own stories from web information about the lives of athletes. I leave in the hard stuff like divorce and poverty because my students experience both.

  • Gun shop owner pleads guilty in firearms case

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The owner of New Mexico gun shop has pleaded guilty to selling firearms to minors and convicted felons.

    Prosecutors say 56-year-old Robert Real had a change of plea hearing Thursday in federal court in Albuquerque.

    Real is a licensed firearms dealer and the owner of Shooter’s Outpost in Española.

    He pleaded guilty to seven of eight counts of an October 2017 indictment.

    Prosecutors say Real attended gun shows around New Mexico between March 2016 and February 2017 and admitted to falsifying sales records and selling firearms other than shotguns or rifles to persons under age 21. Real faces up to five years in federal prison. His sentencing hearing hasn’t been scheduled yet.

    Real’s wife and stepdaughter also were indicted in the case, but both have pleaded not guilty.

  • Operations resume at WIPP

    CARLSBAD (AP) — Routine operations have resumed at the U.S. government’s only underground nuclear waste repository following an evacuation in late May that was prompted by the discovery of a misaligned drum of waste.

    Officials at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southern New Mexico confirmed this week that processing and handling resumed June 2.

    In disposing the waste, seven 55-gallon drums are wrapped together in a tight formation to go deep inside the ancient salt formation where the repository is located. The idea is that the shifting salt will eventually entomb the waste.

    Work was halted when employees found one drum wasn’t aligned with the others that made up the waste package. The package was eventually repacked and disposed of underground.

    Officials say no radiation was released and no injuries were reported.

  • N.M. public pension foresee headwinds

    SANTA FE (AP) — Administrators of New Mexico’s main public pension fund for state and municipal workers say the $15.5 billion trust is struggling to catch up with unfunded obligations and to ensure long-term solvency.

    Chief Investment Officer Dominic Garcia of the Public Employees Retirement Association said Thursday odds are against the pension fund catching up soon with its financial obligations to current and future retirees.

    He told a panel of lawmakers that combined retirement plans are 75 percent funded, and that there is an 11 percent chance that assets will catch up with liabilities over the next decade.