Local News

  • US may want to keep Idaho nuclear waste plant running longer

    BOISE, Idaho (AP) — U.S. officials are considering extending the use of an eastern Idaho nuclear waste treatment facility beyond its scheduled closure this year so it can repackage radioactive waste brought in from other states before it's sent to a permanent disposal site in New Mexico.

    The U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Plant at its 890-square-mile (2,300-square-kilometer) site that includes the Idaho National Laboratory was originally set to stop operating after it finished treating waste from Idaho this year.

    But the Energy Department said last week it may want the $500 million plant that employs about 600 workers to keep running to treat transuranic waste from other federal sites.

    Transuranic waste includes items like protective gear and tools that have been contaminated with plutonium, americium or other radioactive elements.

  • Competition opens for New Mexico House, utility elections

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Major-party candidates seeking election or re-election to the New Mexico House of Representatives, the state's utility-oversight commission and local judicial seats registered to run for office on Tuesday with state and county election regulators.

    The one-day window for filing signature petitions with the Secretary of State's Office and county clerks marked the start of earnest competition in June primary and fall general elections. Election officials have a week to confirm that candidates meet requirements.

    Seventy House seats are up for election in November. Democrats currently have a 38-seat majority, and are aiming for trifecta control of the governor's office and both legislative chambers as Republican Gov. Susana Martinez leaves office after two consecutive terms. Elections for the Democrat-controlled Senate take place next in 2020.

    Republicans last won a House majority in 2014 elections, interrupting six decades of Democratic control.

    Republican Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes announced Tuesday that she would not seek re-election to an Albuquerque-based seat that she wrested from Democratic control in 2014. She endorsed as a successor Republican candidate Brad Winter, an Albuquerque city councilor.

  • New Mexico state auditor looking into pro-Los Alamos agency

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The state auditor's office says it will look into the spending habits of an agency of New Mexico municipalities surrounding Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    New Mexico State Auditor Wayne Johnson said Monday he has designated the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities for a special audit following reports that its executive director spent public money on baseball tickets and fancy dinners in Washington.

    Johnson says there are enough concerns to warrant a close look to make sure all state laws were followed.
    Executive director Andrea Romero is facing criticism for the recent spending that included expensive gatherings where alcohol was purchased. She has apologized.

    The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities is an agency made of nine northern New Mexico cities, counties and pueblos surrounding the Department of Energy's Los Alamos Lab.

  • New Mexico's jobless rate fell to 5.9 percent in January

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico's unemployment rate fell to 5.9 percent in January, down from 6 percent in December.
    The state jobless rate was at 6.5 percent in January 2016, still higher than the national unemployment of 4.1 percent.

    Labor officials say New Mexico recorded aggregate gains in the private sector that resulted in 8,000 jobs, or 1.3 percent growth.

    The latest figures released by the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions show goods-producing industries added 5,600 jobs and private service industries reported an additional 2,400 jobs from January 2017 to January 2018.

    Construction was up 4,100 jobs over the year and the leisure industry added 1,300 jobs.

    The information industry lost 1,800 jobs while retail trade shed 1,600 jobs. Local, state and federal government jobs also lost jobs over the past year.

  • New Mexico marks record year for oil production

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Oil producers have set a record for the number of barrels pumped in New Mexico last year, and industry experts said Monday that output from the basin that straddles the Texas-New Mexico border is expected to double over the next several years.

    Data from the U.S. Energy Information Association and an industry group that represents hundreds of producers in New Mexico show a record 172 million barrels of oil were produced in 2017. That is double New Mexico's output in 2011 and tops the 147 million barrels set in 2015.

    New Mexico also finished the year producing more than 17 million barrels in December to maintain its position as the third-largest oil-producing state. Texas and North Dakota lead the nation.

    The surge has continued into 2018 as the federal energy analysts estimate that overall U.S. crude oil production averaged 10.3 million barrels a day in February. That's up nearly a quarter-million barrels more than the daily level in January.

    Daily production is expected to top out around 10.7 million barrels in 2018, which would surpass the highest annual average for crude oil production in the U.S. set in 1970. Analysts say that upward trend is likely to continue in 2019.

  • LANL to mark 75th anniversary with Bradbury Science Museum reception Tuesday

    The Los Alamos National Laboratory will celebrate its 75th anniversary with a reception at the Bradbury Science Museum from 4-6 p.m. on March 13.

    The event is open to the public. LANL Director Terry Wallace will present some remarks, there will be refreshments and the Bradbury Science Museum Association will be selling new apparel branded with LANL’s new 75th anniversary logo.

    Proceeds from the apparel sales will go to fund science, technology, engineering and math initiatives in the region.

    The evening will be a great opportunity to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the laboratory, and support STEM education initiatives at the same time,” said Bradbury Science Museum Director Linda Deck.

    The event will also be a great opportunity for those who haven’t been to the museum to see what it has to offer, a selection including two new touch table exhibits.

  • All Schools Art Show
  • Española man gets court date for attempting to run over LAPD officer

    An Española man accused of trying to run a Los Alamos police officer over with his car has had his original trial date postponed until next month.

    Luis Martinez, 18, was schedule to appear in Los Alamos Magistrate Court Friday morning. But since his public defender was just assigned to the case his hearing date has been pushed back to April 27.

    Martinez is charged with aggravated assault upon a peace officer and aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer as well as two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and one count each of conspiracy, driving while under influence of intoxicating liquor and/or drugs, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving without a license.

  • Nominations needed for nuclear worker advisory board

    SANTA FE (AP) — The terms have expired for nearly all members of a federal advisory panel charged with making recommendations and providing guidance for a program designed to compensate workers who were exposed to toxic chemicals at U.S. nuclear weapons labs.

    The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the Trump administration has not nominated any new members to the board.

    "For two years our board put a lot of brain power and cutting edge expertise into developing recommendations," said Ken Silver, an occupational health professor at Eastern Tennessee State University, who until last month was a board member. "Without appointing another board, those recommendations may disappear into the ether."

    Silver was one of 14 members of the Advisory Board on Toxic Substances and Worker Health whose terms expired in February. The remaining member's term expires this month.

    The U.S. Labor Department did not respond to multiple requests for comment but indicated in a recent letter to a workers' advocacy group that nominations were still being reviewed.

    In response to intense lobbying and long-standing concerns that workers were not receiving proper compensation, the advisory board was created in the waning years of the Obama administration.

  • Albuquerque Journal suffers power outage, halts printing

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Power at the building that houses New Mexico's largest newspaper is out, halting the publications of a number of other newspapers printed at its plant.

    The Albuquerque Journal said Monday that it suffered a power outage late Sunday and then again Monday morning. The paper said it was only able to print around 16,000 copies of its Monday edition before the power went out.

    Officials don't know the cause of the power outage.

    No further information was available.