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Local News

  • State Briefs 1-20-15

    House Democrats list higher minimum wage as priority

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico House Democrats are listing their priorities for the legislative session, but they’ll have less clout to push those initiatives.
    Republicans won control of the House in the November general election for the first time since 1954.
    Democratic representatives list priorities that include increasing New Mexico’s statewide minimum wage.
    Democratic floor leader Brian Egolf said Democrats support a bill to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from the current $7.50.
    The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that other Democratic representatives said during a Monday news conference in Santa Fe that they would fight for bills to limit class sizes and reduce standardized testing in public schools.
    Republican House Floor Majority Leader Nate Gentry later said Democrats are beginning the session by choosing divisiveness over bipartisanship.

    Former sheriff’s requests for new trial, sentencing delay

  • Update 1-20-15

    Feedback

    The Art in Public Places Board is seeking additional feedback on artwork to be installed at the county’s Municipal building using Open Forum. A handout with a description of each piece of art can be downloaded at peakdemocracy.com/portals/119/Forum_345/Issue_2410. Residents can leave comments for the board. Feedback will be a topic of discussion at the board’s Thursday meeting, which is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Municipal Building. Deadline for comments is Wednesday.

    Bandelier fees

    Bandelier National Monument is seeking public comment on possible increases in the park’s entry fees. Anyone wishing to make comments is invited attend one of two meetings Wednesday.  One will be in Los Alamos from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at the Chamber of Commerce  and the other will be in White Rock from 5:30- 7:30 p.m. at the Activity Center.

    School board

    The Los Alamos School Board will hold a work session Thursday at Mountain Elementary School. Session time is 5:30 p.m.

    BPU meeting

    A regular session of the Board of Public Utilities is schedueld for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in council chambers.

  • Burn In the Bayo

    Los Alamos Fire Department, in conjunction with Santa Fe National Forest, burned numerous piles of forest debris last weekend in Bayo Canyon to reduce potential fire fuel in the area. The burn was originally scheduled for earlier this month but was delayed until better weather and moisture conditions existed.

  • Wellness report is still grim

    Ahead of the opening of today’s 60-day New Mexico Legislative session, Kids Count released its rankings of the state in comparison to other state for the well-being of children.
    There was a tick up from last year’s report, but no significant improvement.
    Kids Count releases its data on an annual basis prior to the start of each session.
    According to its data, Kids Count said the state rates No. 49 in terms of taking care of its children. It was dead last in the 2014 ratings.
    And even with the uptick, there was still big issues with the way New Mexico was caring for the underprivileged.
    “The fact that we’ve seen a deterioration in key indicators — child poverty, children living in high-poverty areas, children living in single-parent families, and reading and math proficiency scores, for example — shows us the importance of creating and taking action on a comprehensive plan to make New Mexico a better place for working families and their children,” said Veronica C. García, Ed.D., executive director of NM Voices, which runs the Kids Count program in New Mexico. “We recognize that the data change over one year does not provide a trend, but it is still concerning that some of our worst child well-being outcomes continue to decline.”

  • NMED's Flynn discusses DOE cleanup Friday

    SANTA FE — New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ryan Flynn led off his address to the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities on Friday with the state’s reaction to sharply reduced funding for legacy waste cleanup in the “cromnibus” bill passed by the United States Congress in December.
    The FY 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill cuts Los Alamos National Laboratory’s budget for radioactive and hazardous waste cleanup from $225 million to $185 million.
    “That is well below what we believe is an appropriate level of funding,” Flynn said.
    Los Alamos was the only site which had its environmental cleanup budget cut last year. Flynn explained that the reduction was due to a misconception that a downward adjustment was justified because the transuranic TRU waste campaign to clean up Technical Area 63 — also called the 3706 campaign — was on hold due to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) closure.

  • Today in history Jan. 20
  • Making an Award

    Rich Ronquillo of Rich Welding has been in business for 11 years with a shop in Mesilla. His full service welding/fabrication shop has made the Community Asset Awards for the second year and donates the time it takes for the artist to craft them. More than 42 nominees were honored this weekend.
    Jim Hay and Reine Williams were recognized as a power couple, with the Spirit of the West Award, at the annual Community Asset Awards on Saturday night at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. Hay a disabled Vietnam veteran was honored along with Wiliam’s support, for donating more than 900 hours to renovate the American Legion, saving the Legion approximately $30,000.

  • BPU to revisit rate ordinance

    The Los Alamos Board of Public Utilities revisits the electric rate ordinance on Wednesday, one month after the county council remanded the ordinance to them.
    The original ordinance was derailed by the inclusion of a power cost adjustment (PCA), which would have based a portion of the commodity rate on the fluctuating cost of power.
    Several citizens protested the inclusion of a PCA, contending that it violated the county charter by adjusting rates without council approval.
    Eliminating the PCA means that the new rate must not only include a fixed commodities charge for the cost of power, but an additional charge in order to establish a rate stabilization fund to safeguard against high spikes in power costs.
    The original proposal called for a 6.9 percent rate increase for residential customers in January, with an additional 5 percent increase in July. That included a jump in the flat monthly service charge from $6.43 to $12, a base commodity rate of $0.1075 by July with the fluctuating commodities charge initially set at $0.77 cents.
    The $.77 cent PCA would have been adjusted every six months, and could have gone either up or down based on current power costs.

  • Bandelier, Santa Fe forest waive fees for MLK Day

    Both the Santa Fe National Forest and Bandelier National Monument are celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day with fee-free admissions.
    Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a national holiday, is Monday. National Park Service areas nationwide, such as Bandelier, and the U.S. Forest Service are both celebrating the day with free admission.
    Dr. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.
    “We honor Dr. King and the tremendous impact of his life and teachings on the world. He moved hearts and minds through his words and actions, and his vision continues to inspire us to make positive changes in our communities,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan Davis.
    Bandelier officials suggest calling ahead for information for those planning on visiting the monument. The visitor center can be reached by calling 672-3861.
    For those planning to visit SFNF sites, it is strongly recommended that ranger offices be contacted prior to the visit, as many recreation sites are closed for the winter. Ranger districts are in Española, Cuba, Jemez, Las Vegas, Pecos and Cuba.
    Fees at national forests and grasslands are waived on five public holidays.

  • Obama to deliver State of Union

    WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time in his presidency, Barack Obama will stand before a Republican-led Congress to deliver his State of the Union address and try to convince lawmakers newly empowered to block his agenda that they should instead join with him on education, cyberprotection and national security proposals.
    With Obama firmly in the legacy-building phase, his address is expected to be as much about selling a story of U.S. economic revival as it is about outlining initiatives.
    The approach reflects the White House’s belief that it has been too cautious in promoting economic gains out of fear of looking tone deaf to the continued struggles of many Americans.
    White House advisers have suggested that their restraint hindered Democrats in the November elections and helped Republicans take full control of Congress for the first time in eight years. But with hiring up and unemployment down, the president has been more assertive about the improving state of the economy in the new year and his prime-time address Tuesday will be his most high-profile platform for making that case.
    “America’s resurgence is real, and we’re better positioned than any country on Earth to succeed in the 21st century,” Obama said Wednesday in Iowa, one of several trips he has made this month to preview the speech.