Local News

  • N.M. threatens funding over 4-day school schedules

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico is threatening to cut off funding at public schools that try to switch to a four-day week as the practice has spread to more than four in 10 school districts across the state.

    State lawmakers this month placed a moratorium on additional four-day school scheduling within a general fund spending bill that has yet to be signed by the governor.

    Education officials and legislators say it’s not clear that student academics and working families are helped by fewer, longer school days, even as teachers and administrators embrace compressed schedules.

    School administrators in far-flung districts have pushed back, noting that four-day weeks have become a tool for attracting teachers who can improve academic results at schools with limited financial resources.

    “They shouldn’t be telling us how to structure our day,” said Ron Hendrix, superintendent of Socorro Consolidated Schools, a cluster of six public schools with 1,500 students in central New Mexico. Socorro school board members are scheduled to vote Monday on switching to a four-day week.

    “I know how to get student achievement, just let me loose,” said Hendrix, who said he previously improved student test scores while moving to a four-day week at another New Mexico school district.

  • LAPS board briefed about Chamisa

    The Los Alamos School Board paid a visit to Chamisa Elementary School in White Rock Thursday, with policy updates and a report from the school’s principal among the items on the agenda of the work session.

    Chamisa Principal Suzanne Lynne briefed the board on some of the many things going on at the school, including updates on reading program milestones, the third-graders’ pen pal program and the school garden.

    Lynne was also pleased to announce that 70 percent of the Chamisa students will be proficient in math for the state-mandated Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College Careers test and that 70 percent will also be proficient on the PARCC English Language Arts test.

    Later in the meeting Assistant Superintendent for Learning and Accountability Kelly Taylor presented the latest policy changes ,as part of the ongoing process of keeping the district’s policies current.

    “We have a three-year review cycle of all board policies,” Taylor explained after the meeting. “I go through and make initial changes and recommendations based on input from anyone else whose job is directly guided by that policy. Then I present both the policy and the regulations to the board for a first reading.”

  • Picture Perfect
  • Whitehead aims to bring respect to sheriff’s office

    If he’s elected to become the next sheriff of Los Alamos County, James Whitehead, a Republican, plans to restore dignity and respect to the office that he says it deserves.

    Whitehead has declared his intention to run for the office of sheriff of Los Alamos County. Independent Greg White and Libertarian Chris Luchini. Sheriff Marco Lucero is unable to run for a third term.

    Whitehead discussed his priorities for the office with the Los Alamos Monitor this week. He said other issues, including the sheriff’s office’ entire staff and most of its services the county and the council took away from the office in its efforts to reduce costs, he’s confident the courts will eventually restore. Whitehead said he expects a lengthy appeals process from the county though.

    “Unfortunately, the county has inexhaustible resources and they’re using funds generated from the taxpayers of this county to fight the will the citizens of this county,” he said.

  • Judge swears in new top federal prosecutor for New Mexico

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The state's chief federal judge has sworn in a new U.S. Attorney for New Mexico.

    A spokeswoman for the federal prosecutors' office in New Mexico said in a statement Friday that U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson was sworn in earlier that day during a private ceremony at the federal courthouse in Santa Fe.

    President Donald Trump nominated Anderson in November to fill the post, and the U.S. Senate confirmed his nomination earlier this month.

    Anderson will oversee federal prosecutions and federal interests in civil cases in the state.

    He is a former federal prosecutor who primarily focused on white-collar crimes before leaving for private practice in 2013. He most recently was an attorney with the law firm Holland & Hart in Santa Fe.

  • Report cites Los Alamos lapses in handling of toxic metal

    SANTA FE (AP) — A new federal report says Los Alamos National Laboratory violated regulations to protect workers from exposure to a metal that can cause lung disease and cancer.

    The Energy Department inspector general's report says the nuclear weapons lab didn't properly track beryllium and didn't assure that contaminated areas were safe before work continued.

    Lab spokesman Matt Nerzig says Los Alamos hasn't scaled back measures to protect workers but is "addressing the recommendations" in the inspector general's report.

    The National Nuclear Security Administration says its oversight was insufficient due to staffing issues but that it doesn't know that shortcoming caused exposures at Los Alamos.

    Terrie Barie of the Alliance of Nuclear Workers Advocacy Groups says the problems at Los Alamos are disappointing, and Sen. Tom Udall says he's concerned by the report.

  • Supreme Court declines to decide fate of 'Dreamers' just yet

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the Trump administration's highly unusual bid to bypass a federals appeals court and get the justices to intervene in the fate of a program that protects hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation.

    The decision affecting "Dreamers" means the case will almost certainly have to work its way through the lower courts before any Supreme Court ruling is possible. And because that could take weeks or months, Monday's decision also is likely to further reduce pressure on Congress to act quickly on the matter.

    The ruling on the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, wasn't unexpected.
    Justice Department spokesman Devin O'Malley acknowledged that the court "very rarely" hears a case before a lower appeals court has considered it, though he said the administration's view was "it was warranted" in this case.

    O'Malley said the administration would continue to defend the Homeland Security Department's "lawful authority to wind down DACA in an orderly manner."

    DACA has provided protection from deportation and work permits for about 700,000 young people who came to the U.S. as children and stayed illegally.

  • Second judge says Trump can't keep stalling clean-air rules

    Staff and Wire Reports

    WASHINGTON — A second judge has told the Trump administration it can't keep stalling clean-air rules for oil and gas production on federal lands.

    U.S. District Judge William Orrick of the Northern District of California ordered the Interior Department to reinstate the Obama-era regulation aimed at restricting harmful methane emissions. Orrick said late Thursday the administration's delay is "untethered to evidence" and likely to cause "irreparable injury" to California, New Mexico and other states from increased air pollution and negative impacts on public health and the climate.

    New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas took credit Friday for the ruling that targets New Mexico’s oil and gas industry.

    “Attorney General Hector Balderas announced today to that (sic) he and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra secured a preliminary injunction against President Trump and Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, blocking their attempt to suspend the rule and forcing Zinke to implement the Bureau of Land Management’s methane rule,” Balderas’s office said in a press release Friday.

  • Letters to the Editor

    Students know better
    than anyone horrors of situation


    Dear Editor,

    I admire the stance that students in Florida have taken, after the latest horrific school shooting. These events are largely due to the careless distribution of military weapons to too many people. The students know better than anyone, the horror and absurdity of the current situation.

    These students are not just “kids.”  Many are mature young adults with skills beyond those of many older citizens. They appear to be less childish than many of our country’s leaders.  

    I hope that they will succeed in their passionate quest, including the March 24 national demonstration. It gives me great comfort to know that these bright young people will be voting in upcoming elections, and serving as leaders in the near future.

    John W. Clough

    Los Alamos


  • Hobbs residents rally to keep Ten Commandments at City Hall

    HOBBS (AP) — Some residents in southeastern New Mexico are opposing calls from civil liberties advocates to remove a Ten Commandments monument from public property.

    The residents, citing religious concerns, crowded a commissioners' meeting this week in Hobbs to speak out against another group's effort to take down the monument, the Hobbs News-Sun reports.

    "I was raised (in Hobbs) all my life," resident Cassandra Lawson told the Hobbs City Commission on Tuesday. "And I stand before you to say that the Ten Commandments (are) the decalogue upon which our nation is founded."

    The move came after members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation said the Hobbs monument violated First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution regarding the separation of church and state.

    Hobbs resident and foundation member Jeremy Wood asked the Hobbs City Commission last month to remove the Ten Commandments monument outside City Hall. Wood cited court cases forcing city governments to remove similar monuments.

    "Politicians in towns like Hobbs have used public resources to promote their own religious beliefs and, in doing so, have denied their most vulnerable constituents their First and 14th Amendment rights," Wood said.