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Local News

  • University of California submits bid for LANL contract

    The University of California was the only organization to confirm Monday it had submitted a bid to manage and operate Los Alamos National Laboratory for the next five years.

    Bids were due to the National Nuclear Security Administration Monday. The NNSA would not release information about the contractors that submitted bids and would not say when bids would be opened.

    The UC system confirmed its submission in an email to the Los Alamos Monitor.

    “I can confirm that UC submitted a proposal today for the Los Alamos National Laboratory management contract. We aren’t confirming or discussing any of our bid partners at this time,” UC Spokeswoman Stephanie Beechem said.

    UC is a managing partner in Los Alamos National Security LLC, the consortium operating the lab.

    Retired lab employee and current Los Alamos County Council Chairman David Izraelevitz wrote a letter to the UC Board of Regents in late November, urging the board to consider including in its bid language that promotes the idea that not-for-profits like the UC system should be taxed for their gross receipts, just like the for-profit companies are that do business in New Mexico.

  • US congresswoman's office faces discrimination claims

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A recent New Mexico college graduate says she was fired from an internship in U.S. Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham's office because she is transgender.

    Riley Del Rey tells the Santa Fe New Mexican she's coming forward nearly three years after the internship because of the wave of U.S. news reports about harassment and discrimination. She said the views of transgender people have been missing from the national debate.

    Lujan Grisham, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor in New Mexico, said through a spokesman that neither she nor her office would discriminate against anyone.

    Lujan Grisham's office referred questions to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, where Del Rey worked briefly.

    The nonprofit organization, which Lujan Grisham previously led as chairwoman, provides students with housing and stipends to do internships on Capitol Hill.

    The institute denied the discrimination claims. It declined to elaborate on the allegations but confirmed Del Ray was an intern in 2015 and did not finish the program.

  • Lobbyist reports harassment to attorneys for Legislature

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A registered lobbyist in New Mexico has submitted a detailed account of being sexually harassed by a former state lawmaker in writing to the Legislature's legal oversight agency.

    Lobbyist Vanessa Alarid on Monday submitted a letter to the Legislative Council Service that accuses former Rep. Thomas Garcia of offering to vote for a bill in 2009 if Alarid would have sex with him. Garcia has vigorously denied the allegations.

    The Democrat-led Legislature is preparing to rewrite its anti-harassment policy in response to a groundswell of reports from women of sexual misconduct in the Statehouse.

    Alarid says current policies leave lobbyists with little recourse against sexual harassment by lawmakers.

    Since her story went public Friday, Alarid says she received over 70 messages and calls recounting sexual misconduct at the state Capitol.
     

  • Federal officials probe national lab after worker incident

    SANTA FE (AP) — Federal officials are investigating the Los Alamos National Laboratory after an employee was involved in an incident described as a "near-miss to a fatality."

    A worker entered a lab room that had insufficient oxygen despite an alarm sounding. The September incident was characterized as potentially deadly and a violation of building requirements and emergency response protocol, according to a letter sent last week to the outgoing lab director by the Department of Energy's Office of Enforcement.

    No workers were injured during the incident, lab spokesman Matt Nerzig said in a statement.

    "We are cooperating fully with the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Enforcement," Nerzig said.

    Additional information about the incident was not provided by the lab or the National Nuclear Security Administration, the agency that oversees nuclear weapons labs.

    Agency officials said the administration works closely with the Office of Enforcement to ensure that safety and health policies are properly implemented in all labs.

    "The National Nuclear Security Administration is committed to ensuring the safety of our workforce," the agency said in a statement.

  • Pete Sheehey running for 43rd District representative seat in 2018

     Los Alamos County Councilor Pete Sheehey, a Democrat, announced today he’s running for state representative for the 43rd District. Sheehey has served on the council since 2012.

    Check back with the Los Alamos Monitor for more details

  • Some glitches seen in deadline week for 'Obamacare' sign-ups

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumer advocates reported some glitches Monday in the final days for "Obamacare" sign-ups, although the Trump administration largely seemed to be keeping its promise of a smooth enrollment experience.

    In Illinois, some consumers who successfully completed an application for financial assistance through HealthCare.gov got a message saying they would likely be eligible to buy a health plan, "but none are available to you in your area."

    That information was incorrect because every county in the nation currently has at least one health insurer offering plans under the Affordable Care Act for next year.

    Friday is the last day to enroll for subsidized private coverage in 39 states served by the federal HealthCare.gov website.

    Consumer interest has remained brisk, even as the Trump administration cut the sign-up season in half, reducing it from roughly from 90 days to 45 days.

    Former President Barack Obama offered encouragement Monday for the closing push, posting on social media and joining a conference call with enrollment counselors.

  • Worker in Roswell reports finding human skull at public park

    ROSWELL (AP) — Police in Roswell say a city worker has found what is believed to be a human skull.

    They say the skull is being sent to the state medical investigator in Albuquerque for confirmation of its authenticity.

    Police say the skull was found last Friday afternoon next to a water pump station at Cahoon Park near Union Avenue and Riverside Drive.

    They say the skull appears to be fairly old and not related to any recent incidents or reports made to Roswell police.
     

  • Human remains discovered in undeveloped area of Las Cruces

    LAS CRUCES (AP) — Police in Las Cruces are investigating the discovery of human remains in an undeveloped area of the city.

    They say the remains were found by a hiker walking his dog about 10 a.m. Sunday.

    The remains haven't been identified yet and will be sent to the New Mexico medical investigator's office for an autopsy.

    Investigators have yet to determine the gender or approximate age of the individual.

    Police say it's not immediately known if foul play is involved or how long the remains may have been in the undeveloped area west of the intersection of Rinconada and Sonoma Ranch Boulevard.

    Investigators combed through the surrounding area throughout Sunday evening and returned to the area Monday morning to search for evidence relevant to the case.
     

  • New Mexico AG, others support proposed wind farms

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, consumer advocates and others have reached a settlement with Xcel Energy over the utility's plans to add more wind power for customers in New Mexico and parts of Texas.

    The proposed agreement was filed Monday with New Mexico utility regulators for approval. The Public Utility Commission of Texas also will have to sign off, but officials said some work remains before a final agreement can be presented to regulators there.

    The Sagamore Wind Project is planned for Roosevelt County. It would be the largest wind farm in New Mexico, providing more than 520 megawatts of power.

    The other — with a capacity of nearly 480 megawatts — would be located in Hale County, Texas.

    As part of the agreement, the attorney general's office, staff at the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission and others sought certain assurances that the wind farms would benefit customers.

    "I'm committed to ensuring energy affordability and security, protecting our natural environment and growing New Mexico's fragile economy," Balderas said Monday in voicing his support for the agreement.

  • First Snow