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Local News

  • Environmentalists sue to block US border wall with Mexico

    SAN DIEGO (AP) — Three advocacy groups sued the federal government Thursday to block construction of a border wall with Mexico, alleging that that Trump administration overstepped its authority by waiving environmental reviews and other laws.

    The Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife and Animal Legal Defense Fund seek to prevent construction of wall prototypes in San Diego before it begins and halt plans for replacement barriers in San Diego and Calexico, California.

    The complaint largely mirrors a lawsuit filed by another advocacy group, the Center for Biological Diversity, but the three organizations each say they have hundreds of thousands of members, bringing more attention and resources to a legal fight over one of President Donald Trump's key campaign pledges.

    The government has waived reviews seven times under a 2005 law to speed construction of border barriers, including twice under Trump. The law allows the government to waive dozens of laws, including the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires extensive reviews of environmental impacts.

    The lawsuit contends the waiver authority expired in 2008, when the government met congressional requirements for additional border barriers.

  • Flags to fly at half-staff in New Mexico to honor Domenici

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez has ordered flags to fly at half-staff around New Mexico on Friday and Saturday in honor of former U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici.

    Domenici died Wednesday morning of complications from abdominal surgery at age 85.

    He was New Mexico's longest serving senator, in office from 1973 to 2008.

    Domenici announced in October 2007 that he wouldn't seek a seventh term because he had been diagnosed with an incurable brain disorder, frontotemporal lobar degeneration.

    A public celebration of the longtime lawmaker's life will be held at Isotopes Stadium in Albuquerque on Saturday at 3 p.m.
    Martinez issued an executive order Thursday that flags are to be flown at half-staff from sunrise Friday to sunset Saturday.
     

  • Forest Service spends record $2B battling forest fires

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Forest Service has spent more than $2 billion battling forest fires around the country — a record as wildfires blacken the American West in one of the nation's worst fire seasons.

    Wildfires have ravaged the West this summer with 64 large fires burning across 10 states as of Thursday, including 21 fires in Montana and 18 in Oregon. In all, 48,607 wildfires have burned nearly 13,000 square miles (33,586 square kilometers).

    The fires have stretched firefighting resources, destroyed more than 500 homes and triggered health alerts as choking smoke drifted into major Western cities.

    The Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is the nation's primary firefighting agency.

    Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the severe fire season means officials "end up having to hoard all of the money that is intended for fire prevention, because we're afraid we're going to need it to actually fight fires."

    The emphasis on firefighting means that money for prescribed burns, insect control and other prevention efforts is diverted to putting out fires in what Perdue called a self-defeating cycle. The end result is that small trees and vegetation remain in the forest for future fires to feed on.

  • South Korea says North has fired another missile

    South Korea says North has fired another missile over Japan
    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's military said North Korea fired an unidentified missile Friday from its capital Pyongyang that flew over Japan before landing in the northern Pacific Ocean.

    It was the second aggressive test-flight over the territory of the close U.S. ally in less than a month and it followed the sixth and most powerful nuclear test by North Korea to date on Sept. 3.

    South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile traveled about 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) while reaching a maximum height of 770 kilometers (478 miles).

    The missile was launched from Sunan, the site of Pyongyang's international airport.

    North Korea last month used the airport to fire a Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile that flew over northern Japan.
    The North then declared it a "meaningful prelude" to containing the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam and the start of more ballistic missile launches toward the Pacific Ocean.

    Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga denounced North Korea's latest launch, saying he was conveying "strong anger" on behalf of the Japanese people.

    Suga said Japan "will not tolerate the repeated and excessive provocations."

  • New Mexico government hiring spree aimed at efficiency

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico state government is seeking to hire dozens of human resources professionals, in an ongoing effort to centralize and streamline personnel operations.

    The State Personnel Office has announced it will interview candidates Friday for human resources positions based in Santa Fe and Albuquerque linked to nine state agencies, at a "rapid hire" event at agency offices in Santa Fe.

    New Mexico employs about 18,000 people at agencies overseen by the governor, not including political appointees.

    The ranks of state employees have shrunk in years mostly through attrition as New Mexico wrestled with a downturn in revenues linked to weak oil and natural gas prices.

    New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez lifted a two-month hiring freeze in June as state finances showed signs of stabilizing.
     

  • MOWW to meet Tuesday

     This month’s meeting of the Military Order of World Wars will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Los Alamos Research Park the second floor conference room.

    The speaker will be Marla Brooks, the emergency operations manager at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Emergency Operations Center. She will talk about operation at the center. September is National Emergency Management Month.

    The Los Alamos Research building is located west of the South Mesa Fire Station. Parking is available east of the fire station (accessible from southbound lane of the Los Alamos Canyon Bridge) or east of the Research Park building (access is through the LANL control stations to West Jemez road.) Entrance to the Research Park main conference is from the ground level elevator on the east side of the building to the second level.

  • Public meeting to review the county wildfire mitigation  

    The Los Alamos County Fire Department, in coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is requesting public input on a proposed Wildfire Mitigation Project in Los Alamos County.

    The public is invited to a meeting to discuss the project at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at the Los Alamos Fire Department Administration Building in the Training Room, located at 999 Central Ave. 

    The proposed Wildfire Mitigation Project would include vegetation thinning on approximately 114 acres of county open space lands and home assessments on adjacent private lands to minimize fire hazard risk throughout the county. 

     

    More information about this project, including a map of the proposed treatment areas, is available online at LACwildfireproject.us or by contacting the Project Manager Chief Kelly Sterna at kelly.sterna@lacnm.us or 662-8301.

  • Little things make a big difference for kids

    Welcome to Assets month and our monthly focus on one of the categories of the Search Institutes 40 Developmental Assets©. 

    Each year, we start a new school year with a fresh look about the characteristics, traits and experiences that help our young people become competent adults. The little things make a big difference in the lives of young people. 

    One of the reasons I love the Assets is that it doesn’t take a huge time commitment, no meetings and you don’t need permission or funding, just dig in and get to it. 

    As Dr. Peter Benson would say, “If you’re breathing, you’re on the team.” I sat behind him once at a conference and later passed him in the hallway. I couldn’t muster the huztzpah to speak to him, but I felt, “my calling,” if you will that this was what I was supposed to be doing. 

  • LANB nurtures path for small businesses to thrive

    BY DAMON SCOTT

     

    Finance New Mexico

     

    If you’re a community bank still headquartered in New Mexico, there will naturally be businesses knocking at your door for financial advice and loans. But sometimes, due to a bank’s own regulations and requirements, some businesses won’t qualify for certain loans, and they must be turned away.

    Instead of giving up on the startups, nonprofits and small businesses that may fall outside of a bank’s boundaries, institutions like Los Alamos National Bank (LANB) have found a way to keep them in New Mexico’s financial ecosystem.

    LANB chief executive officer John S. Gulas said it only makes sense for the bank to help keep the overall economy as healthy as possible. For Gulas and LANB – the largest community bank in the state – one solution has been an ongoing partnership with The Loan Fund.  The nonprofit community development financial institution works with businesses and nonprofits that don’t qualify for a traditional loan.

  • Twenty-year drift abandons generations

     Children mostly don’t get headlines, except when something really bad happens. Otherwise they remain in the background, doing what they are supposed to do, being children. 

    But adverse things happen; “adverse childhood experiences” is the umbrella phrase. And what we get in New Mexico, where we’ve been drifting for 20 years or more, is a generation or two or three of children who have become adults without becoming part of the middle class bourgeois social fabric that is supposed to be what our American society is about. These now-adult children are training their life partners and children in more of the same taking of actions that are morally sanitized with the description “bad choices.”

    All sorts of statistics exist about this situation; those numbers will await another column. All sorts of charities exist, too, so many as to generate the hunch that raising the money to stay in business dilutes the work.