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Local News

  • New Mexico regulators move ahead with clean energy proposal

    ALBUQUQUERQUE (AP) — A New Mexico regulatory panel on Wednesday narrowly cleared the way for more discussion on a proposed clean energy standard that supporters say would protect utility customers and shareholders from the costs and risks associated with future environmental regulations.

    The Public Regulation Commission voted 3-2 to host workshops in Santa Fe next week despite the concerns of two commissioners.

    Commissioner Patrick Lyons argued that the meetings should be held in northwestern New Mexico, where electric utilities are looking to retire their coal assets. He said the resulting loss of jobs and tax revenue should be part of the discussion.

    "It's time to start looking at the economic impact," Lyons said, echoing concerns voiced by some Democratic and Republican state lawmakers.

    The New Mexico Attorney General's Office and consumer advocates are petitioning the commission to consider the proposed standard, which calls for utilities to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants that serve customers in the state by 4 percent a year through 2040. Supporters say that could amount to a reduction of several million tons of carbon dioxide, considered a prime contributor to global warming.

  • Trump expected to nominate Kelly deputy as next DHS head

    By JILL COLVIN, Associated Press

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is expected to nominate his chief of staff's deputy, Kirstjen Nielsen, as his next secretary of Homeland Security.

    That's according to four people familiar with the decision, including two administration officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about a personnel decision before it was officially announced. While two of those people cautioned that the president could always change his mind before a formal announcement, the others said the decision was slated to be announced formally Thursday.

    Nielsen was John Kelly's deputy when he served as Trump's first DHS secretary and moved with Kelly to the White House when he was tapped to be Trump's chief of staff. She is an expert in homeland and national security policy and previously served as a special assistant to former President George W. Bush and worked for the Transportation Security Administration.

    Elaine Duke has been filling in as acting secretary of the department. But she raised eyebrows when she described the aftermath of Hurricane Maria as a "good news story."

    Neither the White House nor Nielsen responded to requests for comment on the plans, which were first reported by Politico.

  • Supreme Court denies petition for help from public defenders

    SANTA FE (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court won't intervene on behalf of public defenders who say they are overwhelmed by cases from poor defendants facing jail time, court officials said Wednesday.

    A state agency overseeing public defenders has insisted that its attorneys in various parts of the state are wrongfully being forced to take on more cases than they can handle without neglecting indigent defendants who cannot otherwise afford an attorney.

    On Tuesday, justices of the Supreme Court unanimously denied a petition from the state's chief public defender that sought to limit or reduce caseloads for public defenders.

    During oral arguments before the court in July, state and local prosecutors said the concerns from public defenders were overblown and that heavy workloads might be addressed by shifting resources to busy courts and identifying more defendants who can afford an attorney. Defense attorneys described those remedies as impractical or ineffective.

    Attempts by defense attorneys to refuse new cases in southeastern New Mexico have been rejected by a district judge. More recently, public defenders sought to withdraw from cases in Lincoln County, citing overwhelming caseloads — with final decisions put on hold as the Supreme Court considered underlying issues.

  • Northern N.M’s contributions to Manhattan Project highlight of weekend conference

    A conference on the contributions and experience of northern New Mexico residents during the Manhattan Project starts Thursday.

    The conference, entitled “Querencia Interrupted: Hispano and Native American Experiences of the Manhattan Project,” kicks off with a reception at the Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Center, located in Alcalde, at 6 p.m. Thursday.

    “Querencia Interrupted” will continue through Saturday.

    “Querencia” is a Spanish word that roughly translates to mean a place or feeling of safety and security.

    Much of the locations in northern New Mexico, of course, were interrupted by World War II and the establishment of Los Alamos National Laboratory, where the atomic bomb, which would eventually help to end the war in 1945.
    Patricia Trujillo, the Director of Equality and Diversity at Northern New Mexico College and one of the event organizers, said it’s important for residents of the area to learn more about these workers who often are overlooked in the history books.

  • It’s Pumpkin Patch Time
  • LANL scientists decry state science standards

    More than 60 Los Alamos scientists and engineers say the state’s proposed science education standards lack scientific rationale in regards to its treatment of climate change and evolution, among others.

    “There is absolutely no scientific rationale for weakening the treatment of these subjects…” according to a letter included in full-page advertisement signed by the individuals, all of whom are identified as Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellows.

    The ad ran Monday in the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper.

    The state Public Education Department proposed the new science education standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in mid-September. The proposal draws on national standards called Next Generation Science Standards, or Next Gen, already adopted in several states.

    However, the proposal makes changes to the national standards in areas of climate change, evolution and natural selection, as well as the manner and length of time the earth has aged. PED’s proposal has been panned by the Los Alamos school board, among others. Area students were critical of it at a meeting in Los Alamos last week.

  • County files cease-and-desist order against sheriff

    Los Alamos County filed a temporary cease-and-desist order Thursday against Sheriff Marco Lucero in the First Judicial District Court, asking the court to order him to stop all law enforcement activities.

    The county is accusing the sheriff of violating the state constitution by carrying out the duties reserved for the police department.

    “The Respondent persists in his belief that he has a legal duty to engage in law enforcement activities and therefore the Respondent is likely to continue to engage in law enforcement activities” county attorneys said in the order.

    The county accuses Lucero of “making arrests, filing criminal complaints and conducting criminal investigations.”

    The county’s cease-and-desist order was filed in response to a motion Lucero filed in the same court Aug. 29, a motion requesting the court to order the Los Alamos County Council to restore the duties of the sheriff’s office.

    On May 24, 2016, council moved all process-serving responsibilities from the sheriff’s office to the Los Alamos Police Department, after Lucero expressed concerns for his deputies’ safety. The question of whether to retain a sheriff also stems from that issue.

  • County to close N.M. 4 Oct. 20 for 24 hours

    The county’s Department of Public Utilities announced Tuesday that a section of N.M. 4 will be closed to all traffic for 24 hours starting Oct. 20.

    The closure will start at 9 p.m. Oct. 20 and continue through the evening of Oct. 21. N.M. 4 will be closed between N.M. 502 and East Jemez Road – Main Hill Road and the Truck Route.

    According to Los Alamos County, the closure will allow DPU crews to install a large diameter water pipeline in between the two highways.

    The installation is part of a DPU project to drill a new drinking water well in Los Alamos Canyon. The well will supply water to White Rock.

    DPU’s contractor is installing the water line to connect the new well to an existing line under the eastbound lane of N.M. 4.
    On Oct. 20-21, traffic going between Santa Fe and White Rock will be detoured through Los Alamos townsite.

    The DPU suggested that motorists plan trips accordingly in anticipation of the work and that extra time may need to be allowed during those dates.

    For Los Alamos County DPU customers, no interruption of service is anticipated.

    Questions about the project or the closure may be directed to the DPU by calling 662-8333 by emailing CustomerCare@lacnm.us.

  • New flags presented Tuesday
  • LAPD seeks help identifying robbery suspect

    The Los Alamos Police Department Investigations Section is asking for the public's help to identity a male robbery suspect connected to a robbery that occurred on Aug. 27 at about 8:30 p.m. at Smith’s Marketplace, 751 Trinity Drive, in Los Alamos. 

    The suspect is described as Hispanic, about 5-foot-8-inches to 5-foot-10-inches tall, and possibly between 25-30 years old. A witness told police they observed the male suspect leave in a vehicle that was a cark-colored full-size four-door pickup truck that, at the time, was missing the tailgate. 

    LAPD is offering a reward of up to $300 to anyone who has information on the identity of the male suspect that is depicted in this composite drawing. 

    Anyone with information can call L.A Crime Stoppers at 662-8282, or call LAPD dispatch at 662-8222 and ask to speak to Det. Robinson. 

    Reporting individuals can remain anonymous.