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Local News

  • Interior delays Obama-era regulation on methane emissions

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Interior Department said Thursday it is delaying an Obama-era regulation aimed at restricting harmful methane emissions from oil and gas production on federal lands.

    A rule being published in the Federal Register delays the methane regulation until January 2019, saying the previous rule is overly burdensome to industry. Officials said the delay will allow the federal Bureau of Land Management time to review the earlier rule while avoiding tens of millions of dollars in compliance costs to industry that may turn out to be unnecessary.

    The action marks at least the third time the Trump administration has moved to delay or set aside the Obama-era rule, which was imposed last year. The rule forces energy companies to capture methane that's burned off or "flared" at drilling sites because it pollutes the environment.

    An estimated $330 million a year in methane is wasted through leaks or intentional releases on federal lands, enough to power about 5 million homes a year.

    Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is a leading contributor to global warming. It is far more potent at trapping heat than carbon dioxide but does not stay in the air as long.

    A federal judge threw out an earlier bid to delay the rule.

  • House passes stopgap spending bill to avert weekend shutdown

    By ANDREW TAYLOR and ALAN FRAM, Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The House on Thursday passed a stopgap spending bill to prevent a government shutdown this weekend and buy time for challenging talks on a wide range of unfinished business on Capitol Hill.

    The measure passed mostly along party lines, 235-193, and would keep the government running through Dec. 22. The Senate was expected to swiftly approve the measure as early as Thursday night and send it to President Donald Trump.

    The vote came as Trump and top congressional leaders in both parties huddled to discuss a range of unfinished bipartisan business on Capitol Hill, including the budget, a key children's health program and aid to hurricane-slammed Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida — and, for Democrats and many Republicans, protections for immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.

    "We are here to make progress. We have some important issues that we share with you," House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told Trump at the White House, ticking off issues including the opioid crisis, funding for veterans and an expired children's health insurance program. "All things that have bipartisan support in the Congress."

    Trump relied, "That's very true."

  • Aztec shooting victims in thoughts, prayers of LAPS school officials

    The deadly shooting Thursday at a public school in the Four Corners is deeply troubling, said the Los Alamos Public Schools board and the superintendent.

    The shooting left three people dead – two students and the alleged – at Aztec High School in Aztec Thursday morning.

    “Our hearts go out to the victims and their families,” Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus and the LAPS school board said following a request from the Monitor for a statement.

    The victims, their families and the entire Aztec community are in their thoughts and prayers, they said in the prepared statement.

    They also wished to acknowledge the quick actions of the school staff and Aztec’s first responders.

    The eight Los Alamos schools are updating safety plans and conducting training sessions to educate staff and students in response to an active shooter or other safety threat, according to the statement.

    The district has been training with a standard response protocol called Lock Down, Lock Out Evacuate, and Shelter in Place. More details are available at a website: iloveuguys.org/srp.html.

  • Sheriff: 3 dead in New Mexico school shooting

    AZTEC, N.M. (AP) — A shooting at a New Mexico high school left two students and the suspect dead Thursday, authorities said as schools throughout the small town shut down for the day.

    Police did not release any details about the shooter but confirmed the other two people who were killed attended Aztec High School. No other injuries were reported, officials said.

    "The families of the victims were notified immediately. They are in our thoughts and prayers," state police said in a statement on social media.

    State and federal authorities are investigating what led to the shooting and did not immediately release any details about the circumstances. A news conference was planned.

    The school of about 900 students was cordoned off as authorities cleared the campus and teens were taken to another location.

    A crowd of nervous parents gathered outside City Hall in the moments after the shooting to wait for more information as officers tried to reassure them about the safety of their children.

    Despite the closure of all schools in Aztec, authorities said there were no other credible threats to students at the high school or other schools in the neighboring communities of Bloomfield or Farmington.

  • Oregon's high school grad rate remains 3rd-worst in nation

    PORLAND, Ore. (AP) — New figures show Oregon once again has the third-worst high school graduation rate in the country.

    The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the National Center for Education Statistics says Oregon, for the second straight year, ranks 48th in the nation in students graduating from high school.

    Oregon ranked No. 47 for two years before that, but sank a notch when Alaska raised its success rate.

    The only states with lower rates than Oregon are Nevada and New Mexico.

    The new rates are for the class of 2016. Oregon got 74.8 percent of students in its class of 2016 to earn diplomas within four years of starting high school.

    Oregon plans to release graduation rates for the class of 2017 in late January.
     

  • Former Sandia Labs employee pleads guilty in fraud case

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A former Sandia National Laboratories worker accused of creating a phony company to defraud the New Mexico facility of more than $2 million has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering.

    Prosecutors say 55-year-old Carla Sena of Santa Rosa will be sentenced at a later date.

    A federal grand jury indicted Sena last month on 11 counts including wire fraud, major fraud against the U.S. and money laundering.

    Most of the lab’s work involves research, development and maintenance of nuclear weapons.

    A former procurement officer, Sena was tasked in 2010 with overseeing the bidding for a $2.3 million contract for moving services.

    The indictment accused Sena of preparing a bid for a company under someone else’s name and leveraging other bidders’ information to ensure herself the winning bid.

  • The Latest: Company: Cause of pipeline rupture unknown

    LOVING, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on a pipeline explosion and fire (all times local):

    12:05 p.m.

    A Houston-based energy company says it's investigating what caused one of its natural gas pipelines to rupture, explode and catch fire in southeastern New Mexico's oil patch.

    Spokesman Rick Rainey of Enterprise Products Partners L.P. says the incident early Wednesday morning in a sparsely populated rural area south of Carlsbad involved a line that transfers gas from wells to a treatment facility.

    Eddy County Emergency Manager Jennifer Armendariz says there are no reported injuries but that one storage building burned before authorities shut down the pipeline to extinguish the fire.

    Armendariz says authorities first had to identify what company's pipeline was involved.

    The incident caused the closure of two nearby highways. U.S. 285 was reopened to traffic late Wednesday morning while State Route 31 remained closed.

    6:40 a.m.

    A pipeline exploded in southeastern New Mexico's oil patch, closing two highways but causing no reported injuries.

    Eddy County Emergency Manager Jennifer Armendariz says the pipeline that exploded early Wednesday morning is in a sparsely populated area about 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of Carlsbad believed to be used for natural gas.

  • Garcia Holmes, Morales enter races for lieutenant governor

    SANTA FE (AP) — Two more candidates have jumped into the race for New Mexico lieutenant governor.

    State Sen. Howie Morales is running for the Democratic nomination in a crowded primary race. Michele Garcia Holmes will seek the Republican nomination, with no other current contenders.

    A former teacher, Morales of Silver City has served in the state Senate since 2008 and ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2014. Garcia Holmes is a former police officer and former chief of staff to the New Mexico Attorney General's Office.

    The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that other Democrats in the race are Eagles Nest resident Jeff Carr, Dona Ana County Commissioner Billy Garrett, former House Majority Leader Rick Miera, and David McTeigue, a juvenile probation officer from Rio Rancho.

  • Garcia Holmes, Morales enter races for lieutenant governor

     

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    SANTA FE (AP) — Two more candidates have jumped into the race for New Mexico lieutenant governor.

    State Sen. Howie Morales is running for the Democratic nomination in a crowded primary race. Michele Garcia Holmes will seek the Republican nomination, with no other current contenders.

    A former teacher, Morales of Silver City has served in the state Senate since 2008 and ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2014. Garcia Holmes is a former police officer and former chief of staff to the New Mexico Attorney General's Office.

    The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that other Democrats in the race are Eagles Nest resident Jeff Carr, Dona Ana County Commissioner Billy Garrett, former House Majority Leader Rick Miera, and David McTeigue, a juvenile probation officer from Rio Rancho.

  • LAPS board member Ben-Naim honored for training

    Ellen Ben-Naim, a school board member with the Los Alamos Public Schools, received an “exemplary” award from her fellow school board members statewide during a recent annual conference of the New Mexico School Boards Association.

    Ben-Naim, who represents District 1 in Los Alamos on the board, was recognized for earning 20 or more hours of training in leadership.

    She was elected to the local board in March.

    The school board officials from across the state participated in the annual meeting, which occurred in Albuquerque on Friday and Saturday.