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Business/Economy

  • In wake of Equifax breach, what to do to safeguard your info

    NEW YORK (AP) — There's no way around it: The news from credit reporting company Equifax that 143 million Americans had their information exposed is very serious.

    The crucial pieces of personal information that criminals may need to commit identity theft — Social Security numbers, birthdates, address histories, legal names — were all obtained. And once your personal data is out there, it's basically out there forever.

    Unlike previous breaches at Yahoo, Target and Home Depot, Equifax's role in the financial industry makes this breach far more alarming. The company is basically a storehouse of Americans' most personal credit information, knowing everything about people from when they opened their first credit card, to how much money they owe on their houses, to whether they have any court judgments against them.

    Lenders rely on the information collected by the credit bureaus to help them decide whether to approve financing for homes, cars and credit cards. Credit checks are even sometimes done by employers when deciding whom to hire for a job.

  • Sewing dreams into reality

    Cruiser’s Custom Embroidery may have just opened up a shop on Trinity Drive in August, but the store’s owner has been embroidering for much longer than that.
    Mike Luna actually started his business about 10 years ago, working from home. At the time, Luna sold his restaurant, Home Run Pizza, and was looking for something else to do. As the president of the Atomic City Corvettes car club, Luna realized that the companies that did the embroidering on their jackets and clothing weren’t quite cutting it.
    The rest is history.
    “I’ll buy my own doggone machine and I’m just going to play,” he said, thinking it was just going to be a hobby to help out his fellow club members and nothing more. But his friends kept calling for him to do more work and his business grew.
    Luna has grown proficient with his sewing machine, he can take any idea and make a logo or a design out of it and put it on anything, whether it’s cloth, leather, or anything in between.
    Luna still works by himself, and loves to work with customers one-on-one. A lot of amazing ideas have passed through the needle of his machine through the years, and he can wait to see what’s next.

  • Federal budget clears the Senate

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump promised tax cuts Friday "which will be the biggest in the history of our country" following Senate passage of a $4 trillion budget that lays the groundwork for Republicans' promised tax legislation.
    Republicans hope to push the first tax overhaul in three decades through Congress by year's end, an ambitious goal that would fulfill multiple campaign promises but could run aground over any number of disputes. Failure could cost the GOP dearly in next year's midterm elections.
    The budget plan, which passed on a near party-line vote late Thursday, includes rules that will allow Republicans to get tax legislation through the Senate without Democratic votes and without fear of a Democratic filibuster. Nonetheless, the GOP's narrow 52-48 majority in the Senate will be difficult for leadership to navigate, as illustrated by the Republicans' multiple failures to pass legislation repealing and replacing "Obamacare."
    The final vote on the budget was 51-49 with deficit hawk Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky the lone opposing GOP vote.
    Trump insisted over Twitter on Friday that Paul would be with him in the end on taxes, even though the senator has been critical of the tax package as it's emerged thus far.

  • Bank lays off 26 as part of realignment

    Los Alamos National Bank CEO John Gulas said the 26 layoffs announced last week were part of the bank’s overall plan for continued financial stability.
    “The biggest goal was to make sure we have a sustainable organization,” Gulas said.
    The layoffs extended throughout the organization, with customer service being the least affected, and all six of LANB’s branches remain open.
    Gulas could not provide an exact figure of how many of those workers worked at the White Rock branch and the main headquarters in Los Alamos, but said due to the fact that the bank’s headquarters were in Los Alamos County, “It would probably be more in Los Alamos County because this is our biggest office.”
    Each worker received severance payment and aid in finding employment.
    Earlier this year, Gulas also eliminated may positions through attrition. Those included the chief operating officer position and the chief wealth officer position.
    “We were very cautious when we were hiring to make sure we were taking this target into consideration. We used a lot of attrition to get where we needed to be,” Gulas said.

  • Brill: start research early

    Los Alamos’ new cowork space, projectY, kicked off a series of entrepreneurial education and targeted seminars the day after it opened with a talk by Grace Brill, principal of Market Intelligence Solutions LLC, a Santa Fe consulting firm.
    Brill specializes in marketing for tech companies, and zeroed in on advice that could benefit those such as Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) employees hoping to take research innovations into commercial development.
    “All the things I’m going to be talking about today I kind of put in the general category of “getting smart:” getting smart about your industry, your customers, your competitors. Because it’s ultimately going to inform your strategy,” Brill said.
    Brill stressed the type of research entrepreneurs should be doing even before product development.
    “To me the key thing is starting early. I’ve worked with companies in technology for nearly 14 years now, and you would not believe the number of times that you’re talking to someone and they’re spending years perfecting the technical whatever, and oh, I just have to build in one more feature, one more feature,” Brill said.

  • Los Alamos Main Street earns national award

    Los Alamos MainStreet was selected as a winner of the 2016 Great American Main Street Awards, chosen by the National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
     Los Alamos MainStreet was picked as “One to Watch,” for being a neighborhood making progress toward revitalizing its downtown district.
    Suzette Fox, Los Alamos MainStreet executive director stated, “I am so honored and delighted to receive the national designation.”
    “I would like to thank to the National MainStreet Center, New Mexico MainStreet, Los Alamos County and the Los Alamos Commerce & Development Corporation for their support and encouragement. This award would not have been possible without the help of the Los Alamos MainStreet Board, the Los Alamos Historical Society and countless people in our community. ”
    A statement issued by Patrice Frey, president and CEO of the National Main Street Center, reads, “The 2016 GAMSA winners have succeeded in making their towns an exciting place to live, work, play and visit through implementing our historic preservation-based methodology for downtown revitalization.

  • Target: Zero percent adjustment

    At last week’s meeting, the Los Alamos County Council tackled budget guidance for fiscal year 2017. After several different motions, they voted 5–2 to direct staff to develop a budget with a zero percent increase over the FY2016 budget and to provide options for adjustments up to a 3 percent increase.
    Staff’s original recommendation was to follow the biannual budget adopted during last year’s budget hearings, which includes a 3-percent increase in FY2017.
    County Manager Harry Burgess explained the reasons for the recommendation – the main one being the need for inflationary adjustments.
    The proposed budget also included room for salary increases. Recommendations for those would have been based on the results of a salary survey currently underway. County code requires that a salary survey be conducted every four years.
    “Every time we conduct a salary survey, we tend to come up against the issue of what is recommended versus the available funds,” Burgess said.

  • Los Alamos Co-op copes with setbacks

    Since its inception in 2007, the Los Alamos Co-op Market has been part of the community.
    However, 2015 has been a tough year, which is the consensus from several board members and some employees.
    A slew of administrative changes has plagued the co-op in recent months, including the unexpected death of the newly appointed general manager Scott Brelsford in November. A decline in revenue is evident due to the Smith’s Marketplace moving into town.
    “We knew would see a decline, but it didn’t help having all the internal issues,” said Board President Tracy McFarland.
    She expressed her feelings about Brelsford’s death.
    “He was so young and had such great ideas,” McFarland said.
    The decline in the co-op’s business was brought to the attention of the Los Alamos Monitor from concerned citizen Steve Snapp. In his letter to the editor, Snapp wanted to make the community aware of the issues the co-op has had and how the public can help.
    “People have other choices,” Snapp said. “Please consider eating at the co-op more often and shifting some of your grocery dollars to the co-op,” Snapp wrote. “In our family we’ve tried to double our visits to the co-op vs. shopping Smith’s, or Santa Fe.”

  • Totavi having Customer Appreciation Day

    The Totavi Phillips 66 Station is holding a Customer Appreciation Day, which is scheduled for Wednesday.
    The station will have giveaways, a prize wheel and other events for customers that day.

    It will run from 2:30-7 p.m.

  • Local MainStreet program gets awarded by N.M. for its efforts

    Los Alamos MainStreet announced last week it was the recipient of the Spirit of Preservation Award from the New Mexico MainStreet Program.
    According to New Mexico MainStreet, the award was for Los Alamos’ performance in its advocacy of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, which was established in 2014.
    Earlier this month, representatives of New Mexico MainStreet met in Artesia to celebrate 30 years of the group’s economic, development and revitalization efforts in New Mexico.
    The New Mexico MainStreet’s anniversary awards ceremony recognized the “outstanding achievements and exceptional leadership among the state’s local MainStreet organizations and partners,” according to the group.
    “Los Alamos MainStreet provided support in the advocacy efforts of the Los Alamos Historical Society for the Manhattan Project National Historical Park by mobilizing our citizens via email, mail and phone to contact our legislators to support its creation,” said Suzette Fox, Los Alamos MainStreet executive director of the local MainStreet’s efforts.