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Local News

  • Lecture features effects of bomb

    BY SAM LEDOUX
    Special to the Monitor

  • LAPS board weighs bleak budget for American Indian students

    A committee tasked with providing recommendations to the Los Alamos School Board to help the district’s American Indian population succeed academically agreed to scale back its efforts in light of decreased state funding.
    “There’s a bleak picture out there for the budget and I want to be realistic about that,” School Board President Jenny McCumber told the committee members. “While all of us really appreciate all the work that’s been done, I think we need to look realistically at how much we can afford.”
    The the LAPS Title VII Parent Advisory Committee made a presentation to the board Tuesday about some of its findings and what the district could do to help.
    Areas discussed included testing results and cultural issues. There are 116 American Indian students in the school system. On the 2016 PARCC math test, American Indians scored a little over 730 in math and reading, similar to how Hispanics in the district did. Other ethnic groups tracked in the study scored higher than Hispanics and Native Americans, with Asians scoring at 780 or above.

  • Today in history March 16
  • New Mexico Senate backs veto override on teacher sick leave

    SANTA FE (AP) — The New Mexico Senate has voted to override a veto by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez of a bill that would have allowed teachers to take more than three days of annual sick leave without being penalized on performance evaluations.
    Republican Sen. Craig Brandt of Rio Rancho led the unusual override attempt Tuesday against the GOP governor. The Senate backed the override in a 34-7 vote that fulfilled a two-thirds supermajority requirement. A vote in the House is pending.
    Martinez says the bill threatened to reverse recent reductions in teacher absentee rates and to increase the use of substitutes in classrooms. Brandt says teachers should not be forced to work while sick and that local school boards should set sick-leave policy.
    The last successful veto override was in 2002.
     

  • Bealls shoplifting, hit-and-run suspect arrested

    A Hernandez woman wanted in last week's shoplifting incident at the Los Alamos Bealls Department Store that involved a hit-and-run with a pedestrian in the parking lot was arrested Monday by Rio Arriba County Sheriff's deputies.

    Ashley Garcia, 23, was spotted earlier Monday by a sheriff’s office employee at the Richard Lucero Recreation Center in Española. Deputies responded and arrested Garcia. She was taken into custody without incident.

    Garcia was transported to Los Alamos Detention Center. She remains in custody and will not be assigned a bond until next week, according to the Los Alamos County Magistrate Court.

    “We initially didn’t find her, but after looking around the area they spotted her and arrested her without incident,” Rio Arriba County Sheriffs PIO Captain Randy Sanches said.

    Garcia was wanted by Los Alamos Police after she and a still unidentified suspect allegedly shoplifted from Bealls Department Store Thursday. As they sped off in their car, they hit a 47-year-old Los Alamos man in the parking lot in a silver Volvo.

    The man was transported to Los Alamos Medical Center with injuries.

    Police are still looking for a second female suspect and the car, which has a smashed windshield from the incident.

  • Today in history March 14
  • House OK’s campaign finance reform

    By Steve Terrell

    The New Mexican

    After six years of trying to require "dark money" organizations and other independent-expenditure groups to report their political backers, supporters of campaign-finance reform got their bill through the state House of Representatives on Monday night.

    The House on Monday passed Senate Bill 96, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, and Rep. Jim Smith, D-Sandia Park. The bipartisan vote was 41 to 24. Six Republicans joined with the 35 Democrats to vote for the bill.

    The Senate had already passed the bill, but it will have to go back there for consideration of House amendments. If the Senate doesn't oppose any of the changes, it will go to Gov. Susana Martinez for signature. She has signaled some interest in the bill.

    "This is huge," said Viki Harrison, executive director of Common Cause New Mexico, which for years has been the major group pushing the issue. "The citizens of New Mexico support this. Our poll found 91 percent support this."

    Harrison said she doubts the Senate will have any trouble with the House amendments – mostly technical changes. She noted that Wirth was in the House chamber during the vote and he had no problem with the amendments.

  • Panel rejects expanded background checks

    By Steve Terrell

    The New Mexican

    A legislative committee on Monday effectively killed a bill to expand background checks for gun purchases – an issue that drew large crowds to the Capitol as well as big campaign contributions and intense lobbying and advertising.

    The House Judiciary Committee voted 7-6 to table House Bill 548 after a lengthy hearing. It marked the defeat of the most recent gun-control bill sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Los Alamos.

    Democrat Eliseo Alcon of Milan joined the six Republicans on the panel to stop the measure, which would have required background checks on all sales of firearms at gun shows and from advertisements on the internet or print publications.

    Garcia Richard said other states that have approved similar bills have seen fewer violent crimes and suicides involving guns.

    Earlier in the session, Garcia Richard carried a similar measure, HB 50, which cleared two committees, including the Judiciary Committee. But last month she voluntarily pulled her own bill before it reached the full House of Representatives, asking it go back to the Judiciary Committee.

  • Scientists race to prevent wipeout of world's coral reefs

    SOUTH ARI ATOLL, Maldives (AP) — There were startling colors here just a year ago, a dazzling array of life beneath the waves. Now this Maldivian reef is dead, killed by the stress of rising ocean temperatures. What's left is a haunting expanse of gray, a scene repeated in reefs across the globe in what has fast become a full-blown ecological catastrophe.

    The world has lost roughly half its coral reefs in the last 30 years. Scientists are now scrambling to ensure that at least a fraction of these unique ecosystems survives beyond the next three decades. The health of the planet depends on it: Coral reefs support a quarter of all marine species, as well as half a billion people around the world.

    "This isn't something that's going to happen 100 years from now. We're losing them right now," said marine biologist Julia Baum of Canada's University of Victoria. "We're losing them really quickly, much more quickly than I think any of us ever could have imagined."

    Even if the world could halt global warming now, scientists still expect that more than 90 percent of corals will die by 2050. Without drastic intervention, we risk losing them all.

  • County postpones library HVAC replacement

    Los Alamos County will delay improving the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system at the Mesa Public Library because of a budget shortfall, officials announced Monday.

    The Public Works Department instead opted to make smaller improvements to the 24-year-old HVAC system designed to improve the airflow.

    The upgrade was expected to cost $2.5 million. The interim improvements are estimated to cost $5,000, according to Wayne Kohlrust, project manager for the Los Alamos County Public Works Department.

    “Projected revenues have not been as expected for this fiscal year, and therefore it is prudent to have a one-time deferral of this project originally slated to occur this summer,” County Manager Harry Burgess said in a statement. “We understand that our community’s top employer, LANL, (Los Alamos National Laboratory) has been operating under a continuing budget resolution for the most of the last six months, and believe that this fact has resulted in lower than expected revenues that we have been experiencing.”