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Local News

  • State News Briefs 7-26-17

    New Mexico adjusts rules for dark-money groups in politics

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico campaign finance regulators are making some adjustments as they move forward with a proposal for more detailed financial disclosures from nonprofit advocacy groups that attempt to influence elections.
    In response to public comments, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver on Tuesday released revised rules aimed at so-called dark money groups that can spend unlimited amounts to influence elections and ballot measures when acting independently.
    Several conservative-backed groups with a statewide and national presence say Toulouse Oliver is overstepping her authority by requiring that independent expenditure groups disclose their contributors.
    Toulouse Oliver says New Mexicans have a right to know who is paying for ads that attempt to influence their vote. Revisions rules would raise the spending threshold to $2,500 before independent expenditure groups must reveal their contributors.

    New Mexico to get $18M from Volkswagen emissions settlement

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico is set to receive $18 million following a settlement connected to the Volkswagen smog device emissions scandal.

  • Preserving friendships

    Los Alamos County Council Chair David Izraelevitz handed over a Proclamation of Friendship to History Museum Director Judith Stauber Monday, who shook his hand enthusiastically. 

    The proclamation is an offering of friendship between the Los Alamos History Museum and its Japanese counterparts, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the Nagasaki Atomic Museum, in order to preserve and understand the history behind the different perspectives of the Manhattan Project story.

    Stauber and Board Member Michael Redondo are looking forward to traveling to Japan in early August to personally deliver the proclamation and the 1,303 handmade origami cranes to the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    Stauber and Redondo will also attend memorials on Aug. 6 and 9, the anniversaries of the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, respectively.

  • Scientist union weighs in on contract

    A union of technicians and scientists that has a chapter at the Los Alamos National Laboratory recently commented on the National Nuclear Security Administration’s recent request for proposals for the laboratory’s contract.

    Jeff Colvin, executive vice president of the University Professional and Technical Employees, was pleased with how the contract seems to give non-profit organizations a chance to successfully bid.

    “UPTE believes that the present for-profit contract is the root cause of many problems besetting LANL, so that the draft RFP fee structure represents a big step in the right direction,” Colvin said.

    Of particular interest to the union is the contract’s performance fee, which in the proposal, has been cut from 3 percent to 1 percent.

    “UPTE first commends the NNSA for eliminating the Performance-Based Incentive (PBI) management bonus and re-structuring the new management and operations contract to be largely a fixed fee contract, with the fee capped at 1 percent,” Colvin said. “With the 0.5 percent award fee, applying only to DOE’s (Department of Energy’s) portion of the lab budget, it means that overall, this is a management fee structure that levels the playing field between for-profit and non-profit contractor bids.”

  • Mosquitos that can carry Zika found in Otero, Hidalgo counties

    Mosquitos that can transmit Zika virus have been found in Otero and Hidalgo counties, the state health department announced Tuesday.

    This is the first time a species of mosquito that can transmit Zika virus has been located in this part of the state. There have been no identified human cases of Zika virus in either county.

    Zika virus can be transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. The mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus.

    Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites.

    Mosquito surveillance in New Mexico’s southern counties is part of an ongoing collaboration between the state health department and New Mexico State University.

    These recent discoveries bring the total number of counties in the state with mosquitos capable of spreading Zika to eight. Mosquitoes that can carry Zika virus have been trapped and identified in Doña Ana, Eddy, Chaves, Sierra, Lea, Luna and now Otero and Hidalgo counties.

  • Tremor shakes Los Alamos County

    UPDATED:

    The Los Alamos National Laboratory’s seismic network detected an extremely small earthquake today at 10:32 a.m. that did not disrupt lab operations, but the tremor was felt in areas across the community.

    "The event did not have any impact on Laboratory operations and there were no reports of anyone feeling the earthquake on Laboratory property," said LANL spokesman Kevin Roark.

    A laboratory seismologist  calculated a preliminary magnitude of 1.5 at a location about two kilometers, or 1.2 miles, west-northwest of the northwestern edge of the town of Los Alamos and at a depth less than one kilometer, Roark said.

    "This extremely small magnitude is typical for the vast majority of earthquakes in the vicinity of Los Alamos," Roark said. "Most are further away and deeper and are not felt by anyone. The area experiences this type of seismic activity near the eastern margin of the Jemez Mountains roughly once every 3-5 years."

    LANL Seismologist Richard Kelley said on social media he and others were gathering information as to its location and magnitude through emails and reports on social media. Kelley and Peter Roberts are asking the general public to email them to help them with their assessments.

  • Community offers assistance following tragic teen death

    Due to the recent tragic loss of Trevor Matuszak, of Los Alamos, Sunday, the community is is offering assistance with the understanding that there is a need of peer-to-peer support and community support. 

    The Los Alamos Teen Center, located at 475 20th St., will host teen support sessions put on by Mesa Vista from 3-6 p.m. Wednesday. This is an on-going service available at the Teen Center.

    Los Alamos Fire Station No. 3 will be opened to the community from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday and everyone is encouraged to come out to support those that may have been affected both directly and indirectly with this tragic event. There will be counselors and other support groups available to assist with the grieving process.

  • New Mexico student reading scores up, math stagnant

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico student reading tests scores across the state rose slightly, but math scores remain stagnant, according to results released Monday

    The new numbers show around 29 percent of students tested this spring are proficient or better in reading, and about 20 percent are proficient or better in math. That was a slight jump in reading scores from 2016 while math results fell .2 percentage points.

    Still, the results revealed that since the introduction of assessments developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, less than a third of all New Mexico students are proficient.

    More than 80 percent of New Mexico public school students from grade 3 to 11 aren't proficient in grade-level math.

    And around 71 percent aren't proficient in reading.

    The tests, administered by New Mexico and 10 other states, are designed to show how well schools helped students from grades 3 to 11 meet Common Core standards.

    New Mexico Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski said tests with more rigorous standards are what the 21st Century economy will require and all schools have the choice to make improvements.

  • LA resident convicted of killing wife released from prison

    Jack Markham, 64, was released from prison Monday, nine years after killing his wife in their Los Alamos home.

    In 2008, Markham shot his wife, Robin Markham, three times in the chest Aug. 4, 2008, inside their Los Alamos home. In May 2009, he was convicted of second-degree murder.

    Markham did not explain in court why he killed his wife. He received 15 years with five suspended followed by two years mandatory probation and he must pay restitution for his wife’s funeral expenses upon his release.

    “He was supposed to serve 10, and I believe it’s only been nine, and I’m a little disappointed,” Robin Markham’s friend Geri Perrault said Monday. “I’m curious myself, as to why he’s being let out. I don’t have any good comments to say about that, nothing good to say.”

    Articles in the Los Alamos Monitor at the time indicated that a struggle between the Markhams took place before the shooting. Evidence presented at the 2008 trial detailed that Robin Markham was missing several fingernails and that there were bruises found on several parts of her body.

    “She did everything for that man,” Perrault said. “I still don’t know why, even after talking with his family, why he did what he did, he never did say.”

  • Police Beat 7-23-17

    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.

    July 12
    1:30 a.m. — LAPD reported an individual that was taken to the Los Alamos Medical Center due to a dog bite.

    7:30 a.m. — Los Alamos Police Department investigated a report of shoplifting at Smith’s Marketplace.

    July 13
    7:52 a.m. — Celso Ramos, 37, of Santa Cruz, was arrested on a magistrate and district court warrant.

    8:37 a.m. — LAPD reported a golf ball thrown at the entrance window of the Barranca Mesa pool.

    2:12 p.m. — LAPD pursued a reckless driver and discontinued due to the safety of others.

    5:39 p.m. — Los Alamos Police Department arrested a male involved in a car accident for driving on an invalid/revoked license.

    6:30 p.m. — LAPD cited an individual for public disturbance.

    7:40 p.m. — Malcom R. Torres, 23, of Santa Cruz, was arrested for driving on a suspended or revoked license.

  • On The Docket 7-23-17

    June 6
    Judith Clendenen-Fisher was found guilty of improper regulation of weeds, brush piles, refuse and rubbish, as well as failure to appear in court. The sentence was deferred and the defendant must pay $120 in court costs.

    Mary Greene was found guilty of failure to obey a traffic signal. Defendant was fined $50 and must pay $65 in court costs.

    Elaine Guenette was found guilty of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and must pay $65 in court costs.

    Jan Tice was found guilty of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and must pay $65 in court costs.

    Donald Finley was found guilty of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and must pay $65 in court costs.

    June 8
    Kristan Berg was found guilty of an improper turn, failure to pay and failure to appear in court. The defendant was fined $75 and must pay $130 in court costs. The defendant’s license was also suspended.

    Henry Flores was found guilty of following another vehicle too closely, which resulted in an accident, and was sentenced to community service.