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Local News

  • US regulators approve first digital pill to track patients

    WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. regulators have approved the first drug with a sensor that alerts doctors when the medication has been taken, offering a new way of monitoring patients but also raising privacy concerns.

    The digital pill approved Monday combines two existing products: the former blockbuster psychiatric medication Abilify — long used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder — with a sensor tracking system first approved in 2012.

    The technology is intended to help prevent dangerous emergencies that can occur when patients skip their medication, such as manic episodes experienced by those suffering from bipolar disorder.

    But developers Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. and Proteus Digital Health are likely to face hurdles. The pill has not yet been shown to actually improve patients’ medication compliance, a feature insurers are likely to insist on before paying for the pill. Additionally, patients must be willing to allow their doctors and caregivers to access the digital information.

    These privacy issues are likely to crop up more often as drugmakers and medical device companies combine their products with technologies developed by Silicon Valley.

  • Council clears way for 150-apartment complex

    The Los Alamos County Council approved a $2.1 million land sale Tuesday encompassing 12 acres of land near Alpine Dental on Trinity Drive.

    The developer that purchased the land, LAH Investors LLC, which is managed by the Santa Fe Properties Real Estate Company, plans to build a 150-unit apartment complex on two parcels of land, which was the former site of the Department of Energy’s site office.

    Los Alamos Councilor Rick Reiss said the project, if approved by Planning and Zoning and the council, it would really help alleviate Los Alamos’ housing shortage.

    If Los Alamos County could achieve a growth of 500 houses in the next five years, Reiss said, it would benefit Los Alamos County economically and in terms of quality of life.

    “We’ve had no growth,” he said. “It’s going to help our population. If our population goes up that may attract more regional or national chain stores.”

    Reiss said the sale of the land was a good deal for many reasons too. The land, which was given to the county after the DOE moved out across Omega Bridge, may bring in property taxes on a project that may be worth $40 million.

  • LA County to support SF airport as regional hub

    The Los Alamos County Council approved to put $50,000 of economic development funds toward helping the northern New Mexico Air Alliance promote tourism and economic development in the region.

    The funds would help promote awareness of the Santa Fe Municipal Airport, a 45-minute car ride from Los Alamos County. In exchange, the alliance would promote Los Alamos County and its attractions in its promotional efforts.

    “The initiative behind it is to grow the number of flights and the pricing of flights out of the Santa Fe Municipal Airport,” Los Alamos County Economic Development Director Joan Ahlers said.

    In the past, Los Alamos County had attempted to lure traffic to Los Alamos through the Los Alamos Airport, but the attempts failed, even though county council opted to subsidize the airlines that would make stops in Los Alamos County whenever they had flights coming in and out of the airport.

    New Mexico Airlines attempted to use the airport for 21 months between April 2013 and June 2015. Shortly after, In November 2015, Boutique Airlines put Los Alamos on its route but that too came to end when the president of the airline, Shawn Simpson, terminated the contract with Los Alamos Airport in April 2016. Up until that date, Los Alamos County had been subsidizing the airline for about $550,000 a year.

  • Turkey Gets His Day
  • Fruitcake sales dry up for local group

    Alas, the annual Christmas tradition of selling fruitcakes – deliciously offered by the ladies of the Order of the Eastern Star Los Alamos Chapter No. 63 – is no more.

    Say what you will about the humble cake filled with fruit and offered last, usually, long after the sweetest of the more modern Christmas sugarplums are gone.

    Go ahead. The jokes can’t hurt them now.

    The suggestions of doorstops, or the prank of re-gifting the same brick-shaped item, Christmas after Christmas, quickly forgotten.

    OK, it still hurts, a little.

    “They do last a long time, they’ve earned a bit of a reputation,” said Judy Goldie of the local Eastern Star chapter.

    Unfortunately, the treat’s popularity has faded, she said.

    “We’ve really experienced a shrinking customer base; we’re aging out,” Goldie said.

    The sad notice came this week in a press release from Mary Ethel Plotner, fruitcake sales chairman and Worthy Matron of the Los Alamos chapter. The decades-long tradition is at an end; no sales this year of the fruitcakes and pecan cakes from the Collin St. Bakery, near Corsicana, Texas.

  • Zunie ends bid for lt. gov.

    Republican candidate Kelly Zunie announced late Friday her withdrawal from the race for lieutenant governor, citing a residency disqualification.

    Zunie, a native New Mexican, said the state constitution includes a residency requirement for governor and lieutenant governor that requires five years of continuous residency, though that has not been evaluated by any court.

    “I went to Utah in 2011 but returned to work in Santa Fe at the Indian Affairs Department in July of 2014. I believe that my experience as a cabinet secretary as well as my experience campaigning across New Mexico would satisfy the residency requirements as interpreted by the New Mexico Supreme Court,” Zunie said. “On election day in November 2018, I will have resided continuously in New Mexico for four years and four months next preceding the election.”

    Zunie said she has been advised she should challenge the five-year residency requirement but has chosen not to do that.

    “If I expect the people of New Mexico to follow the rule of law, then I must do the same,” she said.

    “I believe that I can better promote my principles of Faith, Family and Freedom by spending my time working to elect Steve Pearce. For those reasons, I am ending my campaign for Lieutenant Governor,” Zunie said.

  • Agricultural Innovation

    BY JEFF BRYAN
    Riverland News

    DUNNELLON, FLORIDA – Years ago, Ron Cannon found himself in a familiar quagmire, one in which he, his family and thousands of others in the agriculture industry have been in countless times before.

    Opposed to the “wing-and-a-prayer approach,” the fifth-generation Dunnellon, Florida, farmer opted to combine his knowledge of welding and agricultural equipment to develop a solution to a decades-long issue: how to get the most out of a hay spear without additional equipment or putting costly tractors or, more important, others in harm’s way.

    Hay spears have no practical mounting surface for attaching ropes, chains, cables, come-a-longs or the like to lift objects, Cannon explained. When an attachment is wrapped around the hay spear, he said, there is potential for slippage that can damage the object or equipment while creating an extremely dangerous condition for the operator and others nearby.

    “It would either slip forward or slip backward and eventually slam back into the front of your tractor or slip off and could potentially fall and hurt someone,” Cannon said.

  • N.M. National Guard to deploy soldiers to Puerto Rico Saturday for relief efforts

    More than 115 Soldiers from the New Mexico National Guard's 111th Sustainment Brigade will deploy to Puerto Rico  Saturday to assist with ongoing Hurricane Maria relief efforts.

    The soldiers will assist a joint task force with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the next 30 days, working directly with FEMA to provide the command and control element to those already deployed in assistance efforts on the ground. They will help manage and monitor commodity and water distribution from the ports to regional staging areas and points of distribution at the 78 municipalities on the island, according to a press release issued by the New Mexico National Guard Friday. 

    The soldiers will also manage route clearing and the clearing of road debris to support points of distribution for medical assets and commodities.

    During this past year's hurricane season, the New Mexico National Guard has assisted in Houston, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

  • Lujan Grisham tells Senate leader to leave race

    By RUSSELL CONTRERAS and MORGAN LEE, Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico Democratic gubernatorial candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham said Friday that Democratic Sen. Michael Padilla should end his bid for lieutenant governor over claims he harassed women as a city of Albuquerque supervisor.

    Padilla has long denied the harassment claims dating back to 2006 that he links to issues of a hostile workplace environment and not sexual harassment. But Lujan Grisham said in a statement to The Associated Press that Padilla should end his campaign as the decade-old allegations began to resurface on social media and amid sexual harassment cased involved other political leaders and celebrities.

    "My position on sexual harassment is clear: it is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated by me or in my Administration. Michael Padilla's actions were wrong," Lujan Grisham said in a statement to The Associated Press. "There is no room for excuses and he should withdraw his candidacy for Lieutenant Governor."

    Two federal lawsuits say Padilla harassed women while managing the Albuquerque's emergency call center. Padilla was accused of making inappropriate comments and of asking women out on dates despite repeated rejections — claims he adamantly denies.

  • CROP Hunger Walk Set for Sunday

    The Los Alamos CROP Hunger Walk and Turkey Trot will leave the Los Alamos Middle School starting line at 2 p.m. Sunday.

    At that moment, local participants will be joining hundreds of communities across the U.S., putting their best foot forward in this national effort to eradicate global hunger and malnutrition. In so doing, event participants are continuing a local tradition, raising money for long-term sustainable approaches to significantly reduce or eliminate hunger around the world.

    Los Alamos residents got involved in 2001 when Ted Williams and the late Aaron Goldman combined the Atomic City Road Runners’ annual Turkey Trot with a CROP Hunger Walk. Concerned citizens of this town have been raising money for hunger relief with this fun, annual community event ever since.

    On Sunday, runners and walkers will gather in the Middle School Cafeteria (on North Mesa) after 1 p.m. to register and get a t-shirt, turn in any money they have been able to raise from friends and supporters, and head out to the starting line.