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Local News

  • Jobless rates fall below 4 pct. in nearly half of US states

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Hiring rose last month in 14 U.S. states in June, and the unemployment rate fell to record lows in two states, evidence that the job market is getting tighter across much of the country.
    New Mexico’s unemployment rate dropped slightly by .2 percent to 6.4 percent. The state ranked second highest for unemployment in the country.

    The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment rates fell in 10 states and rose in only two. Rates were stable in the other 38 states.

    After five years of steady hiring, unemployment rates have fallen below 4 percent in 23 states. Unemployment that low suggests that those states are at “full employment,” when nearly everyone who wants a job has one and the unemployment rate reflects the normal churn of hiring and firing.

    Alaska had the highest jobless rate at 6.8 percent, followed by New Mexico at 6.4 percent.

    Colorado and North Dakota had the lowest unemployment rates in June at 2.3 percent each. The rates in North Dakota, at 2.3 percent, and Tennessee, at 3.6 percent, set new lows.

    The rate has fallen below 3 percent in five states: Colorado, Hawaii, Nebraska, New Hampshire and North Dakota.

  • Smith’s pharmacist for national service award

    Sometimes the people doing the most incredible things can be found right in the neighborhood grocery store. One such person is Smith’s pharmacist, Katie Fry.

    Fry was nominated for a national level, Smith’s Community Service Award by Diane Ogborn, Phar.D, RPH. Ogborn is a clinical pharmacist and diabetes instructor for the pharmacist diabetes certification course provided by Smith’s.

    When Ogborn overheard Fry talking during a break at the training session, the pair spent their whole lunch hour talking about her work in Haiti and viewing pictures on Fry’s phone.

    Fry first went to Haiti with the Friends of the Children of Haiti (FOTCOH) in July of 2012, and this September will make her fifth trip in six years.

    “I love seeing how Friends of the Children of Haiti makes a difference in the lives of the people of Cyvadier and the surrounding communities,” said Fry. “The simple treatment of scabies and worms to make a child or adult more comfortable, to provide lifesaving antibiotics to treat severe infections and to see a malnourished child become a healthy weight and start to develop as expected in ways we take for granted here.”

  • Voices of LA to meet Monday

    Voices of Los Alamos invites the community to attend their upcoming meeting on Monday from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Church.

    Voices of Los Alamos is a political action group affiliated with the Indivisible Movement that focuses on fueling a progressive grassroots network.

    This action group was created as a way for Los Alamos residents to voice their concerns over the current political events, both at the state and federal level, and give people a space to come together, discuss and come up with an action plan.

    Every month covers a different topic, ranging from the environment, the 2018 elections, immigration and health care in order to gather ideas and opinions.

    Co-organizers Elena Giorgi and Cristina Olds spoke with the LA Monitor about what the meeting will cover and why they think LA residents should attend.

    First on the agenda for Monday’s meeting includes updates on the Michelle Lujan Grisham fundraiser in Los Alamos, the Sheriff’s Office debate and the Council on immigrant resolution.

    On July 15, U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham attended a fundraiser at LA resident Kyle Wheeler’s house. Lujan Grisham was born in Los Alamos and is running for Governor in the 2018 election. Olds will review her notes from that fundraiser and apprise attendees of Lujan’s goals.

  • Waste water plant failure imminent

    Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities officials recommended to the Los Alamos Board of Public Utilities Wednesday to make plans to replace the White Rock Waste Water Treatment Plant as soon as possible.

    “It’s clear, with the risk assessment, the financial analysis, the cost benefit and the lowest impact to our ratepayers long term is to build a new plant as fast as we can,” said Deputy Utilities Manager James Alarid.

    During a presentation on the status of the plant Alarid explained that a major component at the plant has failed at the 50-year-old plant this July.

    Alarid proposed to the board they start designing a new plant in fiscal year 2020 and start building the plant in fiscal year 2021.

    Funding for project is expected to come through an 8-percent water rate increase the board recently approved but the

    Los Alamos County Council has yet to pass. The council is expected to take a vote on the increase Aug. 8.

    “Of course, the wildcard in all of this is it’s dependent on multiple year rate increases,” Alarid said. “...It’s pretty much necessary for any path forward.”

  • Senate committee OK’s funds for key LANL programs

    The Senate Appropriations Committee approved legislation Tuesday that, if passed by the House and Senate intact this fall, would bring $38.4 billion in funding to New Mexico – much of that going to the state’s national laboratories.

    The funds would also go to support the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, the nuclear waste treatment plant in Carlsbad, and various federal water restoration projects within the state.

    Los Alamos National Laboratory programs funded by the committee include the B61 nuclear weapon life extension program at $788.5 million, $200 million for plutonium pit manufacturing and $161 million for the supercomputer development program.

    Sandia and Los Alamos National laboratories are working on ways to extend the B61 program’s life by at least 20 years.

    Sandia is working on adding a guidance system to the tail and LANL’s role is to update the weapon’s other components.

    The first completed B61 unit is due in March of 2020. The project’s estimated cost is $8.1 billion. The life extension program is being managed by the National Nuclear Safety Administration.

    The appropriations committee also added millions in funding to help bolster the laboratory’s aging infrastructure.

  • 19-year-old died rock climbing in White Rock

    A local teen tragically fell to his death Sunday after losing his footing in the White Rock Canyon. News of the heartbreaking death has not only pained the community, but also had people questioning the safety of that area.

    County officials confirmed Monday that 19-year-old hiker as Trevor Matuszak, of Los Alamos, died from his injuries.

    Matuszak was hiking with two friends in the area known as Hell’s Hole, a treacherous cave located on the side White Rock Canyon.

    According to the accompanying hikers, Matuszak lost his footing in a steep portion of Hell’s Hole and fell into the canyon. The area was too perilous for the hikers to climb down in order to reach Matuszak, so they called 911 for help.

    Los Alamos Fire Department and Los Alamos Police Department officers were dispatched to the canyon at about 5:30 p.m. Emergency response crews trained in rock climbing under hazardous conditions were able to rappel to the scene of the accident, with assistance from LAPD.

    Rescue crews were able to reach Matuszak, but determined that he had apparently died of his injuries in the fall. Crews were able to retrieve his body from the canyon just before nightfall.

    LAFD and LAPD crews safely rescued the other two hikers accompanying Matuszak out of the canyon.

  • Jobless rates fall below 4 pct. in nearly half US states

    Associated Press and Staff Reports

    WASHINGTON — Hiring rose last month in 14 U.S. states in June, and the unemployment rate fell to record lows in two states, evidence that the job market is getting tighter across much of the country.

    New Mexico’s unemployment rate dropped slightly by .2 percent to 6.4 percent. The state ranked second highest for unemployment in the country.

    The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment rates fell in 10 states and rose in only two. Rates were stable in the other 38 states.

    After five years of steady hiring, unemployment rates have fallen below 4 percent in 23 states. Unemployment that low suggests that those states are at "full employment," when nearly everyone who wants a job has one and the unemployment rate reflects the normal churn of hiring and firing.

    Alaska had the highest jobless rate at 6.8 percent, followed by New Mexico at 6.4 percent.

    Colorado and North Dakota had the lowest unemployment rates in June at 2.3 percent each. The rates in North Dakota, at 2.3 percent, and Tennessee, at 3.6 percent, set new lows.

    The rate has fallen below 3 percent in five states: Colorado, Hawaii, Nebraska, New Hampshire and North Dakota.

  • Spicer resigns as White House press secretary

    By KEN THOMAS and JILL COLVIN, Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) — White House press secretary Sean Spicer abruptly resigned Friday, ending a rocky six-month tenure that made his news briefings defending President Donald Trump must-see TV. He said Trump's communications team "could benefit from a clean slate" as the White House seeks to steady operations amid the Russia investigations and ahead of a health care showdown.

    Spicer quit in protest over the hiring of a new White House communications director, New York financier Anthony Scaramucci, objecting to what Spicer considered his lack of qualifications as well as the direction of the press operation, according to people familiar with the situation. Scaramucci, a polished television commentator and Harvard Law graduate, quickly took center stage at a briefing, parrying questions from reporters and commending Trump in a 37-minute charm offensive.

    As his first act on the job, Scaramucci announced that Sarah Huckabee Sanders would be the new press secretary. She had been Spicer's deputy.

  • National awards recognize LA leadership in nuclear safeguards

    Two Los Alamos National Laboratory employees were recognized Monday by the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management for their contributions to the nuclear safeguards profession. Nancy Jo Nicholas, the Laboratory’s associate director for threat identification and response, was recognized with the Edway R. Johnson Meritorious Service award. Martyn Swinhoe, a physicist in the safeguards science and technology group, received the Vincent J. DeVito Distinguished Service award.

    Nuclear safeguards is the field devoted to keeping nuclear materials secure and ensuring they are used for peaceful purposes –such as for medicine and energy – and not for the proliferation of nuclear weapons. LANL is celebrating 50 years of work and world leadership in nuclear safeguards.

  • State Briefs 7-21-17

    Immigrant advocates convene in N.M.

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Around 200 student immigrant activists from around the country are coming to Albuquerque to strategize on how to respond to President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
    The advocates are scheduled to meet at the University of New Mexico from Thursday to Sunday for a series of trainings and workshops aimed at protesting stepped up immigration enforcement by the Trump Administration.
    Some advocates also are worried the administration may end a program designed to give temporary status to immigrant students who were brought illegally to the United States as children.

    Pearce challenges decision to limit use of campaign cash

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Republican Congressman Steve Pearce sued New Mexico’s lead elections regulator on Thursday to seek access to a $1 million campaign war chest as he runs for governor in 2018.
    The New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office informed the Pearce campaign this week that only $11,000 could be transferred from his federal election campaign account to a state campaign account.