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Local News

  • Update 03-26-14

    Lecture

    Authors Speak Series. Noted poets and publishers Veronica Golos and Andrea Watson. 7 p.m. Thursday at the Mesa Public Library Upstairs Rotunda.

    GOP dinner

     The Republican Party of Los Alamos will have a fundraising dinner 6:30 p.m. today at the Research Center, 4200 W. Jemez Road. Secretary of State Dianna Duran will be the keynote speaker. Price is $50 per person. Checks should be made payable to Republican Party of Los Alamos and mailed to P.O. Box 832, Los Alamos. For more information, contact Robert Gibson, 662-3159.

    P and Z meeting

    The Los Alamos Planning and Zoming Commission will meet at 5:30 p.m. today at council chambers in the Municipal Building.

    Book fair

    The Family YMCA is hosting a Scholastic Book Fair until 10 p.m. today. The public is welcome to shop at the Y daily during normal business hours which are from 5:30 a.m.-10 p.m. A free bracelet will be given for each child that a book is purchased for.

    Film

    “Race to Nowhere,” a film by LAHS student Tessa Snyder. 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Duane Smith Auditorium. Benefit showing and community discussion. A documentary film explaining the pressures faced by young people, teachers and parents in our high-stakes public and private education system and a pressure-cooker culture.  

  • Just five days left to enroll

    Time is running out to purchase health insurance for 2014.
    The restructuring of healthcare funding in New Mexico was prompted in part by a review of how federal healthcare dollars were being used within the state and in part by changes initiated under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), such as expanded Medicaid.
    The ACA also has provisions that affect individuals and families, including the “individual mandate” to purchase insurance. The deadline to sign up for insurance for 2014 is March 31.
    Those who have not enrolled by then face a penalty of either $95 or 1 percent of adjusted gross income, whichever is higher. The penalty for an individual with an income of $30,000 will be $300 the first year. The penalty for uninsured children is $47.50 per child.
    The good news is that many New Mexicans will qualify for subsidies to help pay for insurance,
    Subsidies for insurance purchased on the insurance exchange (healthcare.gov) are available to those who earn up to 400 percent above the federal poverty level. Income levels to qualify for subsidies must fall between:
    • $11,490 to $45,960 for individuals
    • $15,510 to $62,040 for a family of 2
    • $19,530 to $78,120 for a family of 3
    • $23,550 to $94,200 for a family of 4

  • Redirect of healthcare GRT impacts LA

    One of the key bills to come out of the 2014 New Mexico legislative session is having a heavy impact on Los Alamos County. Senate Bill 285 redirects one-twelfth of the Gross Receipts Tax increment that counties are allowed to assess for healthcare costs to the New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD).
    Health Service Department’s original plan was to intercept the entire 1/8 increment or its equivalent. The current compromise was reached when the New Mexico Association of Counties (NMAC) fought against that legislation.
    “That one-twelfth that has been redirected is money that we previously would have spent locally,” County Administrator Harry Burgess said. “And it comes up to approximately $1.1 million total in new payments to the state.”
    The new law goes into effect July 1, which has forced staff to incorporate the added expenses into the FY2015 budget.
    “I think all counties are in the midst of figuring out how to write an ordinance to change what’s been done in the past to meet this,” said Social Services Manager Kim Gabaldon.

  • DNFSB chair questions safety at nuke dump

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The recent truck fire and radiation release from the government’s troubled nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico were “near misses” at a facility whose workers proved unprepared to respond to the emergencies, the head of an independent oversight agency said.
    Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board Chairman Peter Winokur also said the Feb. 5 underground truck fire at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant was preventable, and that the initial response to a radiation release that contaminated 17 employees working above ground nine days later was unsatisfactory.
    “As a result, the internal contamination level of workers, although minor, was nevertheless greater than necessary,” Winokur wrote Friday in response to a query from New Mexico Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich. “The local WIPP Emergency Operations Center was ineffective, and the DOE (Department of Energy) emergency center at headquarters in Washington, D.C., was never notified, as would have been appropriate.”
    Winokur’s letter was the second critical assessment of the plant’s operations, safety procedures and emergency response to the back-to-back incidents.

  • VIDEO: NASA launches mission to measure snowpack
  • Today In History, March 26
  • Charges dropped against LA jailor

     

    The Santa Fe District Attorney’s office has dropped its domestic violence case against Kevin Trujillo, a jailor at the Los Alamos Police Department.

    Marc Edwards, Trujillo’s attorney, said the decision came after a lengthy interview with the victim in the case.

    “I can’t speak for the DA’s office, but the notice to me that it wasn’t going to prosecuted came after a lengthy interview with the alleged victim,” Edwards said.

    The assistant district attorney in charge of reviewing the case, Michael Nunez, said there were two reasons why they decided not to pursue the case.

    “Based on the facts, evidence, further investigation and the fact that the victim did not wish us to proceed, we believe this was not a case we could successfully prosecute,” Nunez said.

    Trujillo was charged with aggravated battery (deadly weapon, third-degree felony) upon a household member last year in August in Rio Arriba County Magistrate Court.

  • Lujan announces art competition for state high school students

    Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) announced details today for this year’s Congressional Art Competition. This annual competition allows members of Congress to display the talent and creativity of their high school constituents.
    The winning entry from each Congressional district will be displayed as part of an exhibit in the United States Capitol for one year. The winner will travel to Washington, D.C. for a reception honoring the national winners.
    “New Mexico has a long and rich tradition in the arts and the Congressional Art Competition provides young artists the opportunity to display their fine work,” Luján said.The competition is open to all high school students within the Third Congressional District of New Mexico. All entries must be submitted to Luján’s Santa Fe district office by 5 p.m. April 25. The winner will be announced at a reception on May 3.
    Guidelines include:
    • A photo of each piece of artwork should be submitted with each piece of artwork (Rep. Luján’s office will take a photo of the artwork if the student is unable to produce a photo for submission).

  • Y’s Red and Black Ball

    The YMCA held its biggest fundrasier of the year Saturday night at Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino. According to YMCA CEO Linda Daly, about $80,000 was raised and $50,000 of that was earmarked for the Española Teen Center. 

  • State stocks native fish in Rio Grande

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — There are thousands of native Rio Grande cutthroat trout now swimming in the upper reaches of the river in northern New Mexico.
    A crew of volunteers and staffers with the New Mexico Game and Fish Department on Monday made the arduous trek into the Rio Grande Gorge north of Taos with backpacks and containers filled with water and trout fingerlings.
    They stocked almost 10,000 young trout into the river as part of a long-range plan to spur interest in the state fish and restore it in other streams and creeks. Like other native fish, the Rio Grande cutthroat has disappeared from much of its historic range in New Mexico and Colorado.
    The department began restocking the fish in the Rio Grande in 2008. Today, people can fish for cutthroat that have grown to adulthood in the gorge and are now as large as 12 inches.
    Jason Blakney, coldwater fisheries biologist for the department, said anglers are the ones who make the conservation program possible through volunteering and by funding it through license fees and excise taxes on fishing equipment, rods and boat fuel.
    “Sportsmen have invested in this program and make it possible to have a wild population of Rio Grande cutthroat trout in a large river system,” Blakney said.