Local News

  • NASA, PBS mark 40 years since Voyager spacecraft launches

    AP Aerospace Writer

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Forty years after blasting off, Earth’s most distant ambassadors – the twin Voyager spacecraft – are carrying sounds and music of our planet ever deeper into the cosmos.

    Think of them as messages in bottles meant for anyone – or anything – out there.

    This Sunday marks the 40th anniversary of NASA’s launch of Voyager 2, now almost 11 billion miles distant. It departed from Cape Canaveral on Aug. 20, 1977 to explore Jupiter and Saturn.

    Voyager 1 followed a few weeks later and is ahead of Voyager 2. It’s humanity’s farthest spacecraft at 13 billion miles away and is the world’s only craft to reach interstellar space, the vast mostly emptiness between star systems. Voyager 2 is expected to cross that boundary during the next few years.

    Each carries a 12-inch, gold-plated copper phonograph record (there were no CDs or MP3s back then) containing messages from Earth: Beethoven’s Fifth, chirping crickets, a baby’s cry, a kiss, wind and rain, a thunderous moon rocket launch, African pygmy songs, Solomon Island panpipes, a Peruvian wedding song and greetings in dozens of languages.

  • Horse owners, mountain bikers square off at meeting

    A public discussion about a network of trails around the North Mesa Stables took a sharp turn Wednesday when county officials gave an update on a proposed “flow” trail meant exclusively for mountain bikers.

    After County Parks and Recreation officials gave a brief update about the proposed flow trail, residents who attended the meeting debated whether the trail was a good idea at all.

    According to county officials, the trail, if built, would parallel and intersect an existing popular horseback riding and hiking trail in Bayo Canyon.

    “I think it’s a really bad idea to put it here,“ said resident Bruce Warren. “I think the county needs to reopen negotiation about installing a trial flow trail on the ski hill, which is where it really belongs, it’s a recreational type facility. It’s not really a trail in the sense of what we know is a trail.”

    A proponent and founder of the flow trail idea said it couldn’t go on Pajarito Mountain because the ski area is privately owned.

    Lisa Reader, an avid horseback rider and leader in the local riding community, thought the flow trail needs to be somewhere else too, that horse owners are slowly getting squeezed out of the recreational trail picture.

  • Zunie makes bid for lt. governor

    To Kellie Zunie, the lieutenant governor’s office is all about trust. Trust in people, trust in government and trusting families.

    “I want to restore faith in New Mexico’s potential, is really what I really want to do,” Zunie said.

    A former member of Gov. Susana Martinez’s cabinet, Zunie served as secretary of the Department of Indian Affairs.

    While in office, she worked on many problems unique to New Mexico’s Native American community.

    Zunie announced her candidacy Thursday in Albuquerque at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.

    If elected, Zunie, a Republican, plans to take her theme of “Faith, Family and Freedom” into New Mexico’s communities to help solve the state’s more pressing social issues that she says are tearing families apart. 

    “You can’t expect the people to come to you,” Zunie said. “You have to get out into their communities. You have to start talking to them, you have to show them what’s available.”

    Whether that’s adult illiteracy, financial illiteracy or drug addiction, Zunie said creating better access to agencies and programs that are already working to strengthen families is one solution.

  • Moon blots the sun out of the sky in historic US eclipse

    Millions of Americans gazed in wonder through telescopes, cameras and disposable protective glasses Monday as the moon blotted out the sun in the first full-blown solar eclipse to sweep the U.S. from coast to coast in nearly a century.

    "It's really, really, really, really awesome," said 9-year-old Cami Smith as she watched the fully eclipsed sun from a gravel lane near her grandfather's home at Beverly Beach, Oregon.

    The temperature dropped, birds quieted down, crickets chirped and the stars came out in the middle of the day as the line of darkness raced 2,600 miles (4,200 kilometers) across the continent in about 90 minutes, bringing forth oohs, aahs, shouts and screams.

    In Boise, Idaho, where the sun was more than 99 percent blocked, people clapped and whooped, and the street lights came on briefly, while in Nashville, Tennessee, people craned their necks at the sky and knocked back longneck beers at Nudie's Honky Tonk bar.

    It was the most-observed and most-photographed eclipse in history, with many Americans staking out prime viewing spots and settling onto blankets and lawn chairs to watch, especially along the path of totality — the line of deep shadow created when the sun is completely obscured except for the delicate ring of light known as the corona.

  • The Latest: 1st US coast-to-coast total eclipse begins

    1:50 p.m.

    Northwest cities not quite in the path of totality also enjoyed the solar eclipse.

    Boise is not in totality. But birds quieted down briefly when 99.5 percent of sun was blocked. And some neighborhoods erupted into applause and hooting as residents cheered the show from their yards.

    In Portland, hundreds gathered at Tom McCall Waterfront Park to see the rare celestial event. Some office workers stood on rooftops, and small crowds gathered on the sidewalks, looking skyward. Some expressed surprise that even a sliver of sun can prevent a city from falling into darkness.

    Within minutes, traffic resumed on what had been eerily quiet downtown streets.

    — AP writers Rebecca Boone and Steven DuBois


  • Male arrested for shoplifting entire outfit

    Jacob Romero, a 32-year old from Alcalde, was arrested on Aug. 11 at Smith’s Marketplace for shoplifting, and after being searched, was also charged with drug possession, concealing his identity and an outstanding warrant.

    Around noon that Friday, Los Alamos Police Department Cpl. L. Gallegos was dispatched to Smith’s in reference to a shoplifting incident and was met by the store manager, who informed Gallegos that a man wearing black pants had tried on a pair of pants, shoes and a shirt in the changing room inside the store.

    The male then left all points of sale without attempting to pay for the items.

    A store employee informed Gallegos that the suspect was inside the store and possibly wearing the shoes he stole.

    “I watched a bald male in a striped shirt and black pants walk through the front of the store,” said Gallegos in his police report. The suspect complied when Gallegos asked him to step inside.

    The man identified himself as Christopher Romero and gave a date of birth that came back valid with no warrants. Romero said that he purchased the shoes from Shoe Depot in Española.

  • Low contract fee could spell trouble for northern New Mexico, advisor warns

    An advisor to the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities expressed concern about a one percent performance fee in the National Nuclear Security Administration’s draft request proposal for the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s management and operations contract. The one percent fee is two percentage points lower than what the current contract is now.

    “...The other big concern is that they set the fee base so low,” John Jekowsky told the board Aug. 11.

    The first point Jekowsky made is that the low fee may not be enough to attract the right type of company or organization that could run a nuclear laboratory effectively. He also doubted that even if the NNSA reestablished the three percent performance fee that is in the current contract the NNSA has with Los Alamos National Security LLC, it still might not be enough to attract the best and the brightest.

  • Senate candidate makes stop in LA

    In his bid to unseat Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) in the 2018 senatorial race, businessman Mick Rich is taking his fight straight to the middle class.

    When he talks healthcare, border security, the economy or any other topic, Rich tends to keep his focus on the New Mexicans in the middle. 

    Nowhere is this more clear than when he talks about utility rates.

    “Right now, here’s where we are at on this. They’re looking at subsidizing large customers to move here and subsidize their electrical rates. And the people at the bottom, they’re getting their rates subsidized by different programs to help the disadvantaged. So, who pays full freight? The average, hard working New Mexican.” Rich said. “Right now, we have a system that’s unfair. What we need to do is consider that we have fair utility rates for everybody, not just for the people at the top and the bottom.”

    He does admit, however, that he’s facing an uphill battle when it comes to helping the middle class. Part of the problem, Rich says, is that Heinrich and other members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation haven’t done enough to defend New Mexico’s economic interests, especially when it comes to military project.

  • A new beginning

    Students of all ages walked, biked, bussed or drove to their respective school Thursday morning for the first day back to school.

    While some may have dragged their feet a bit as they approached the building, others practically skipped inside.
    Regardless of the enthusiasm level, the beginning of a new school year is always full of promise: new classes, new teachers and maybe even new friends.

    Another school year means another chance to excel as a student and grow as a person.

    Some students look forward to diving into a challenging new course, while for others the excitement comes from diving into a swimming pool. The possibilities are endless.

    The first day back is not only exciting for the students, but also for the teachers and staff. When asked what she likes about the first day of school, Mountain Elementary School Principal Jennifer Guy said, “The kids’ excitement and enthusiasm, the teachers are excited, and just the energy in the air. It’s really great.”

    Guy also commented on the state of the returning kids, saying, “Some are nervous, some are excited…but I think the parents are more nervous than the kids.”

  • Strategist Steve Bannon leaves White House

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Steve Bannon, a forceful but divisive presence in President Donald Trump's White House, is leaving.

    Trump accepted Bannon's resignation on Friday, ending a turbulent seven months for his chief strategist, the latest to depart from the president's administration in turmoil.

    White House spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday would be Bannon's last day on the job.

    "We are grateful for his service and wish him the best," she said in a statement confirming reports of Bannon's departure.

    A combative and unorthodox Republican, Bannon was a key adviser in Trump's general election campaign, but he has been a contentious presence in a White House divided by warring staff loyalties.

    The former leader of conservative Breitbart News has pushed Trump to follow through on his campaign promises and was the man behind many of his most controversial efforts, including Trump's travel ban and decision to pull out of the Paris Climate agreement.

    But Bannon repeatedly clashed with other top White House advisers and often ran afoul of the president himself.

    Bannon offered his resignation to Trump on Aug. 7, according to one person close to the adviser.