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Local News

  • NMSU to study wildlife in Jemez Mountains for signs of recovery

    New Mexico State University was awarded a $100,000 grant by the National Park Service to study bears, mule deer, elk and mountain lions that live in the Jemez Mountains. The study will determine how well the animals are reacting to the NPS’ wildfire restoration efforts in the area.
    The program will study the affects of NPS’s forest restoration program otherwise known as the “Southwest Jemez Mountains Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program.”
    NPS started the program in the area about eight years ago. The program uses prescribed burns, debris clearing and tree planting to prevent wildfires.
    The NMSU study will help fulfill a federal requirement to ensure the program is working,  and it’s not harming the mammals that call the Jemez Mountains home.
    “The only way you can tell that is if you go and monitor the fish and wildlife populations and their use of the habitat that you restored,” said Bob Parmenter, division chief for science and resource stewardship at the Valles Caldera.
    Many of the animals in the area already have tracking devices on them, and it will be up to the team from NMSU to track them.

  • Supers’ plea to lawmakers: Save schools from further cuts

    BY MILAN SIMONICH
    The New Mexican

  • Automatic voter registration bill dies in committee

    BY ANDREW OXFORD
    The New Mexican

  • LAPS to cut ties with federal school lunch program

    Los Alamos Public Schools will cut ties with the National School Lunch Program by next school year.
    The program serves the district’s five elementary schools. The middle school and the high school do not participate in the program because they do not qualify.
    The district has decided to leave the program because the portions are too small and the selection of choices slows the service.
    Once the new school year begins, students will have bigger portions of food, more variety and faster service, school officials said.  
    The federally funded program offers free and reduced lunch to students who qualify. By next school year, there will be funding in place to cover those students currently in the federal program.
    “The community will not see a difference in the food service structure and we will still be taking care of the children that require assistance. It’s imperative to the district and the board that we take care of all kids,” LAPS Chief Financial Officer Lisa Montoya told the Los Alamos Public Schools School Board Feb. 14.
    “We have listened to community and listened to what they’ve said they’ve wanted,” Montoya said.
    The federally funded program subsidizes the cost of lunch to students who qualify.

  • New Mexico House passes budget, tax package

    BY BRUCE KRASNOW
    The New Mexican

  • Legislative Roundup 2-24-17

    Days remaining in session: 23

    Signed: Staving off a breakdown in the state justice system, Lt. Gov. John Sanchez signed a bill Thursday to provide short-term funding for New Mexico’s courts.
    Sanchez was acting as the state’s executive while Gov. Susana Martinez traveled to Washington, D.C., for meetings of the National Governors Association and Republican Governors Association.
    Sanchez’s signing of House Bill 261 ends a battle over the judiciary’s budget that had dragged through the 60-day legislative session.
    The bill includes $1.6 million to pay for jury trials through the end of the fiscal year in June and $80,000 to avoid furloughs at the state Supreme Court.
    Chief Justice Charles Daniels had warned that, without the money, courts around the state would be unable to afford trials by March 1.
    But when Democrats in the Senate attached the court funding two unrelated bills, Martinez vetoed each measure. Martinez suggested that her administration needed to adequately vet the judiciary’s request. The Republican-sponsored bill that Sanchez signed includes about the same amount of money the courts had been requesting for months.

  • Senate bill allows state to impose steeper fines for oil spills

    A Senate panel approved a bill Thursday that would make it easier for state regulators to fine oil and natural gas producers for spills and other environmental violations. The bill, which advanced along party lines, follows years of sharp increases in the volume of spills involved in oil and gas production, and comes as major companies like ExxonMobil and Halliburton have shown a surge of interest in the Permian Basin of southeast New Mexico.
    Democrats and environmental advocacy groups say the measure would give teeth to an agency they describe as defanged by a 2009 court ruling that stripped away some of its authority to impose penalties.
    State data show a sharp drop in fines collected by the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division since the ruling. The agency collected $735,500 in penalties in 2009 but only $14,000 the following year, according to an analysis by the Legislative Finance Committee. Penalties have been rare since then.
    The sharp decline followed a ruling by the state Supreme Court that said the division cannot on its own collect fines for violations of New Mexico’s oil and gas regulations. Under the ruling, the department can only ask the attorney general to file a lawsuit against the company in the judicial district where a violation occurred.

  • Latest wilderness plans draw fire from N.M. ranchers

    BY SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN
    Associated Press

  • Manhattan Project NHP at Los Alamos seeks volunteers

    Volunteers are needed to help get the Manhattan Project National Historical Park at Los Alamos off and running.
    At least eight to 10 new volunteers are needed, according to District Interpretive Park Ranger Kirk Singer.
    The volunteers would work about three to four hours or more per week working the visitor’s center, or work on building more programs, such as planning guided ranger walks on the planned trails that will skirt through the park, Singer said.
    “This is the fun part, because it’s all new to all of us,” Singer said. “This is completely new every day.”
    The park was officially established in November 2015. The park preserves three sites where work on the atomic bomb was completed: Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Tennessee and Hanford, Washington.
    Federal officials said in 2015 the park will not glorify war or nuclear weapons, but will tell the story of the three historical sites from a range of perspectives, including the cities in Japan where two nuclear bombs were dropped in 1945.

  • Reward offered for info on burglary

    Police are offering a $250 reward for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of whomever burgled the Beall’s Department Store at 610 Trinity Drive.
    The suspect, gained access into the store between 2:30-3 a.m.  Monday morning by throwing a rock through one of the store’s display windows.  
    Surveillance cameras in the area  reportedly show one young male entering the store, running in, and then quickly running back out. All that appeared to be taken was one bra.
    “So far, we don’t think anything was disturbed,” Store Manager Valerie De Mello said. “We’ve been here a long time, and nothing like this has ever happened.”
    When the store opened Monday morning, neighboring merchants stopped by to see if she was OK.
    Police are currently looking through area surveillance camera footage to see if a suspect can be identified.