Local News

  • New Mexico lawmaker cited for minor spending violations

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico campaign finance regulators say a Democratic state lawmaker violated campaign finance disclosure rules in several instances.

    The New Mexico Secretary of State's Office on Friday directed state Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero of Albuquerque to make numerous revisions to campaign finance reports dating back to 2012 and personally repay a $50 campaign-account donation to a political group that is not registered with the state.

    The agency rejected objections by a private investigator to campaign-account spending by Roybal Caballero on trips to out-of-state legislative conferences, the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and a $48 retirement gift to a leader of the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

    Albuquerque-based private investigator Carlos McMahon is seeking strong sanctions against Roybal Caballero. McMahon represents the ex-wife of Roybal Caballero's husband in a child-support dispute.

  • Failed space launches haunt Russia; Kremlin eyes probe

    Associated Press

    MOSCOW — Russia’s latest space launch failures have prompted authorities to take a closer look into the nation’s struggling space industry, the Kremlin said Thursday.

    A Russian weather satellite and nearly 20 micro-satellites from other nations were lost following a failed launch from Russia’s new cosmodrome in the Far East on Nov. 28. And in another blow to the Russian space industry, communications with a Russian-built communications satellite for Angola, the African nation’s first space vehicle, were lost following its launch on Tuesday.

    Asked about the failures, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Thursday that authorities warrant a thorough analysis of the situation in the space industry.

    Amid the failures, Russian officials have engaged in a round of finger-pointing.

  • Seeing the Light
  • Sophia, Noah are top names for N. M. babies in 2017

    SANTA FE (AP) — Sophia has overtaken Mia as the top name for baby girls in New Mexico, and Noah is the favorite for boys.

    The New Mexico Department of Health released the list of top baby names Thursday. The list is compiled by the agency’s vital records and health statistics bureau based on birth certificates submitted to the state.

    The Health Department has been releasing the top 10 list since 2014.

    For 2017, Olivia, Isabella and Emma rounded out the top five for girls. Aurora and Charlotte also made their debuts in the top 10 while Aria returned to the list after dropping off in 2016.

    The other names in the top 10 include Ava, Emily Aurora and Charlotte.

    Aside from Noah, the top names for boys in 2017 included Santiago, Elijah, Ezekiel and Josiah.

    Other boy names in the top 10 include Daniel, Liam, Michael, Logan and Mateo.

  • ‘Obamacare’ sign-up tally dips slightly to 8.7M

    Associated Press

    WASHINGTON — More than 8.7 million people signed up for coverage next year under the Obama-era health care law, the government reported Thursday, as the program that President Donald Trump has repeatedly pronounced “a disaster” exceeded expectations.

    The final tally for the 39 HealthCare.gov states showed about 80,000 fewer sign-ups than an initial count provided last week, before the Christmas holiday. A spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said the slight dip was due to late cancellations.

    Still, HealthCare.gov enrollment reached nearly 95 percent of last year’s level, outperforming projections in a show of consumer demand, despite a shortened sign-up season and big cuts in the ad budget.

    Ahead of open enrollment, analysts had predicted somewhere around 1 million to 2 million fewer people would sign up for subsidized private coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

    But the latest numbers indicate that new customers kept showing up as the Dec. 15 enrollment deadline closed. More than 66,000 new customers were added since the pre-Christmas enrollment report.

  • Taking Flight
  • Man nabbed for drugs, guns in car

    Police confiscated two guns and multiple rounds of ammunition from a 29-year-old El Rito man they pulled over Dec. 18 at Central Avenue and 15th Street for having an obscured rear license plate.

    The guns were found after the police discovered a holster on Ray Martinez during a search.

    Los Alamos Police officers confiscated a .22 revolver and a Glock 9mm pistol.

    The Glock had one round in the chamber and a fully loaded magazine. In total, there was one Glock magazine with 15 rounds, one with 17 rounds and a large Glock magazine with 34 rounds. 

    The Glock’s serial number was scratched off. The .22 revolver was loaded with six bullets. The guns and ammunition were found on the car floor. The guns were confiscated because Martinez had a prior domestic violence conviction according police officers.

    At the Los Alamos Detention Center, police located a crushed suboxone pill on his person. Martinez did not have a prescription for the pill.

    Martinez was charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance, failing to display registration and driving with a suspended license.

    A preliminary hearing at Los Alamos Magistrate Court is scheduled for Jan. 12. He was later released from the Los Alamos County Detention Center, where he was being held after his arrest.

  • Christmas tree recycling begins Jan. 9

    The Los Alamos County Eco Station will collect Christmas trees curbside from Jan. 9-19.

    If residents miss that date, residents can bring the tree to the Eco Station or call for a special pick up that will cost $25.

    Pickup coincides with resident’s trash pickup days. The trees must be placed a short distance from the trash bin to allow for easy pickup.  Residents must remove ornaments, tinsel and other decorations from the tree before putting it curbside.

    The collected trees will be made into mulch and compost that will then be available to the public.

    The Eco Station is just accepting Christmas trees during that timeframe. No other brush, leaves or other trimmings will be accepted. Plastic trees also will not be accepted.

    The compost is free if residents load it themselves. It’s $3 a cubic yard if an employee at the Eco Station does the loading.

    The Eco Station also takes old and broken Christmas lights, but the county asks that residents bring them to the station, rather than put them in the recycling bins.

    “We ask they don’t put them in their bins because they tangle up the equipment at the recycling facility we use,” Eco Station Angelica Gurule said.

  • Unsolved Mystery: Plane crash remains under investigation after nearly 2 years

    The National Transportation Safety Board has yet to release a final report on a plane crash that killed two Los Alamos National Laboratory employees – the pilot and the plane’s only passenger – on March 11, 2016.

    The pilot was Karen Young, 46, and the passenger was Thomas Spickermann, 53. Young and Spickermann were employees at Los Alamos National Laboratory and worked in the same division. Young was a Los Alamos resident and Spickermann lived in Hernandez.

    NTSB Chief of Media Relations Chris O’Neil said the case is still active and under investigation.

    “The investigation into the aviation accident (March 11, 2016, Espanola, NM, case number CEN16FA122) remains under investigation. It generally takes 12 to 24 months for the NTSB to complete the investigation of a fatal general aviation accident,” O’Neil said in an email Wednesday.

    An initial report is available online at the NTSB website. The report does assign any fault or cause of the accident.

    The report instead focused on conditions leading up to the crash.

    The airplane was a 2009 Remos GX, rented from New Mexico Sport Aviation.

  • Agency: Southwestern songbird to retain protected status

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A federal agency says a migratory songbird that breeds in vegetation along rivers and streams in Arizona and New Mexico will remain an endangered species.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's announcement Thursday says the Southwestern willow flycatcher will keep the protected status following a review of a 2015 petition in which industry groups argued the bird isn't a valid subspecies under the Endangered Species Act.

    The announcement says an "exhaustive review" of scientific information reached the conclusion that the flycatcher is a protectable subspecies.

    It also says some flycatcher populations "have made considerable progress toward recovery" but that threats still exist and warrant protection.

    A 2012 assessment estimated a population of only 1,629 breeding territories. Those are places where a male sings to attract a mate.