Local News

  • 2017 State Legislature: Better vehicle mileage crimps NM’s road fund

    The New Mexican

  • State organic certification program withering from funding drought

    By Staci Matlock

    The New Mexican

    Satisfying consumer demand for organic products in New Mexico is an expanding industry, but the state program responsible for inspecting and certifying organic farms is withering financially.

    The New Mexico Organic Certification Program has grappled with a $100,000-a-year deficit since the state cut the small agency's funding in 2010 and capped the fees it could collect from more than 150 organic farmers and processors.

    Now the state Department of Agriculture is looking at options to save the program, including raising farmers' fees to cover costs, a move likely to meet with mixed reactions. But many growers and processors say they want the state program to continue rather than turning to private companies for organic certification.

    "We desperately want them to stay and think they are an integral part of organic agriculture in the state. Organics are a growing industry and need that support," said John McMullin, the farm manager at Embudo Valley Organics, which raises turkeys. "My feeling is if we had a better governor and a better Legislature, they would have been fully funding the program."

    Facing a state budget deficit, lawmakers this year and next are unlikely to restore funding, much less increase it.

  • 2017 State Legislature: House bill calling for $2M in tuition aid for preschool teachers advances

    By Robert Nott
    The New Mexican

    A measure that would provide $2 million in tuition assistance for preschool teachers to further their education advanced in the state House on Wednesday, with unanimous approval from lawmakers on the Education Committee.

    The money, which would come from the state's general fund, would help retain early childhood educators and allow them to command higher wages, said the bill's sponsors, Rep. Christine Trujillo, D-Albuquerque, and Rep. Rebecca Dow, R-Truth or Consequences.

    "This is directly tied to the quality of [the early childhood education] staff," Dow said during Wednesday's hearing on House Bill 135. She said the vast majority of educators who would benefit from the bill are women and minorities.

    A 2016 report by the U.S. departments of Education and Health and Human Services said preschool teachers in the U.S. earn an average of $28,570, far less than the average salary of a kindergarten teacher -- over $51,000 -- and less than the wages of waiters, janitors and pest-control workers.

    As a result, said Baji Rankin, executive director of the New Mexico Association for the Education of Young Children, retaining early childhood educators is a challenge.

  • State organic certification program withering from funding drought

    The New Mexican

  • Lane closures set for this week

    Lane Closures at Diamond Drive and West Road, as well as Diamond Drive and Trinity Drive, are set for this week.
    The Los Alamos County Traffic Division will set up for lane closures at these locations today through Friday, to allow for installation of illuminated hospital signs. The work will begin at 9 a.m. and shut down for the lunch hour starting at 11:30 a.m-1:15 p.m. and end each day at 3:30 p.m.
    Drive carefully through these project zones.
    If you have any questions or concerns regarding this project, call the Traffic and Streets Division Manager, Daniel Erickson at 662-8113.

  • Future Topper Night Thursday

    Topper Freshman Academy and Los Alamos High School will host Future Topper Night for all current eighth-graders and their parents from 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday.
    This event will start in the Duane Smith Auditorium with presentations by Topper Freshman Academy, Los Alamos High School and Los Alamos Public Schools Administration.
    Following the presentations, parents and students will have an opportunity to tour E-wing and A-wing and meet teachers. Students will participate in a scavenger hunt, and receive a 2017-2018 LAHS course catalog and a Class of 2021 t-shirt.
    For more information, call the Topper Freshman Academy at 663-2537.

  • ‘Before Sunset’ romance movie to play Thursday at library

    Those who love a good conversation, or more specifically, those who love analyzing the way a conversation moves its interlocutors from cautious to intimate, should check out “Before Sunset” (2004, rated R). It will screen at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Mesa Public Library’s upstairs meeting-room theater.
    The award-winning film is part two of a trilogy shot over the span of nearly 20 years, beginning with 1995’s “Before Sunrise” and completing with 2013’s “Before Midnight.”
    Director/screenwriter Richard Linklater’s three films follow the romance of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) by zooming in on three key days or nights.
    “Before Sunset” takes place nine years after the couple – he from the U.S., she from France – meets in Venice, falls in love over the course of an overnight conversation, and then (small spoiler alert) fails to reconnect at an appointed time.
    At the film’s opening, Jesse has written and published a novel based on their encounter, half-hoping  that Celine might read it and rush into his arms. His book tour has taken him to Paris, where, indeed, the two reunite, though reality keeps threatening to interfere.

  • February is full of activity in Los Alamos

    Welcome to February, a short month jam packed with activity.
    One big event to kick off the month is Super Bowl Sunday and another big reason to celebrate.
    I’d like to remind you that they DWI-Planning Council has a large committee that has decided to fund FREE bus service that day to encourage drinking drivers to stay off the road. You can find information available from Atomic City Transit.
    When the committee offered the same service for New Year’s Eve, they had 80 riders take advantage of the free service which was an 89 percent increase, so way to go.
    A special kudos to the Atomic City Transit staff that not only sign on for extra duties in some cases, but really go the extra mile, all pun intended, to see that everyone gets home safely for any reason.
    We’re so fortunate to get to live in this community. If you didn’t know, there are members that have been serving on the DWI Planning Council for more than 20 years, and engagement like this demonstrates that their time has been well served there.
    Now let’s slide gently over to cell phone use and driving. I confess I occasionally talk and drive, but recently seeing a video called, Driving Stupid, led me to realize I don’t need to really do that either.

  • Rain, snow bolster snowpack during NM winter

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico’s drought has eased after an abundance of rain and snow that built up the state’s snowpack, but dry weather lies ahead.
    National Weather Service meteorologist Kerry Jones tells The Albuquerque Journal that it is the wettest start to a calendar year since 2005.
    Many parts of New Mexico received up to four times the normal precipitation rate for January. Snowpacks at or above average also top most mountains in the region.
    But Jones says the week should remind New Mexicans that they live in a desert. He expects mild, sunny weather with highs in the 50s and 60s across most of the state.

  • Democrats force delays in votes on 3 Cabinet nominees

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats blocked committee votes on three of President Donald Trump’s highest-profile Cabinet picks Tuesday as spiraling partisan hostility over the fledgling administration’s refugee curbs and other initiatives seemed to seep into Congress’ work on nominations.
    In an unusual step, Democrats boycotted planned Senate Finance Committee votes on Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., to become health secretary and financier Steven Mnuchin to head the Treasury Department. They accused both men of lying about their financial backgrounds, and since committee rules require at least one Democrat to be present, Republicans could not hold roll calls.
    “He didn’t tell the truth,” the committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, said of reports that Price received preferential treatment in purchasing stock in a biotech company. “He misled the Congress and he misled the American people.”
    The tactic infuriated Republicans, even though the GOP boycotted a committee vote on Gina McCarthy to head the Environmental Protection Agency in 2013 when Democrats ran the Senate.
    “They ought to stop posturing and acting like idiots,” said committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. “Are they that bitter about Donald Trump? The answer has to be yes.”