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Local News

  • Bandelier to participate in wildland fire exercises next week

    The public may notice smoke in the area of Bandelier National Monument early next week beginning Tuesday as the park participates in class wildland fire exercises.
    Bandelier National Monument and the East Jemez Interagency Fire Center will assist with the field portion of a wildland fire investigation class Tuesday and Wednesday that includes exercises examining common ignition types.
    To provide hands-on experience for the class members, instructors will ignite small sample fires, totaling about 5 acres, on a portion of Bandelier just across N.M. 4 from the fire center. 
    Smoke may be visible from N.M. 4, White Rock, Los Alamos and Santa Fe and surrounding areas.

  • Coyote-killing contest ban splits rural, urban senators

    In a decision that pitted rural and urban lawmakers against one another, the state Senate voted Thursday to prohibit coyote-killing contests in New Mexico.
    Senate Bill 268 carried 26-15 and now moves to the House of Representatives with a little more than a week remaining in the session. The Senate approved a similar measure two years ago, but it died in the House.
    Coyotes in New Mexico are an unprotected animal, meaning they can be killed at any time and in any number without a hunting license. But Sens. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, and Mark Moores, R-Albuquerque, sponsors of the bill to outlaw killing contests, say the events are inhumane and give New Mexico an ugly image.
    “Sometimes their carcasses are just left out in the desert,” Steinborn said, the coyotes and their pelts discarded as worthless.
    He said there are 20 to 30 commercial coyote contests annually in the state. Several were held last year in the Las Cruces and Silver City areas, he said, and as many as 30 coyotes were killed each time.
    He told of contestants who drove around downtown Albuquerque with dead coyotes to boast about their kills.

  • Voter registration bill dies

    BY MILAN SIMONICH
    The New Mexican

  • Habitat helps history

    BY VICTORIA ERHART
    Special to the Monitor

  • Topper Freshman Academy gains new physics teacher

    New Topper Freshman Academy teacher Ali Renner began teaching Conceptual Physics Jan. 30.
    Her path to landing the job started with a walk around Ashley Pond. Renner was hanging out her kids and a friend when her friend introduced her to Carter Payne, the academy’s principal.
    She told him that she used to be a physics teacher. That got his attention.
    They exchanged emails and right before winter break, he emailed her saying one of the physics teachers was moving. Would she be interested in the job?
    “I had always thought that when my children went to school, I would start subbing and see how it goes. But this came up, and I said, ‘Wow! It seems too good to be true. I feel really lucky,” Renner said.
    Renner earned her bachelor’s degree in physics, with a minor in math, at the University of Cincinnati. She went on to Boston University where she started work on her Ph.D.  
    While at Boston University, she was required to teach the freshmen physics course. While other grad students seemed to think it was a drag to teach the freshmen, Renner said she loved it.
    “It was fun, and I realized that I looked forward to my teaching more than my own classes and the research that I was doing,” she said.
    That was the moment she said she realized that she loved teaching.

  • Teacher sick leave bill vetoed

    Gov. Susana Martinez on Thursday vetoed a bill intended to stop penalizing public school teachers on their evaluations if they take more than three days of sick leave, making good on her promise to keep intact a teacher rating system that has been heavily criticized by educators since it was put in place in 2012.
    The veto drew immediate rebukes from teachers unions and, in a rare move, prompted one of the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Craig Brandt, R-Rio Rancho, to say he will attempt to muster enough votes to override it.
    It would be the first attempt to override a Martinez veto in the six years she’s been governor. Momentum for an override could be stalled in the House, however, where enthusiasm for overturning the governor’s decision appeared less urgent Thursday. To override the veto, the Senate and the House would need a two-thirds majority vote.
    The legislation, dubbed the “Teachers Are Human Too” bill by its sponsors, had cleared the Legislature with near unanimous support. The bill would have allowed teachers to take up to 10 days of sick leave without hurting their performance evaluations. The Senate passed the bill with no dissenting votes. The House passed it 64-3. The main sponsor of the bill was Rep. Jason Harper, a Republican from Rio Rancho. Co-sponsors included two Democrats and two Republicans.

  • BPU OK’s power plant repairs

    A county hydroelectric plant shut down nearly a year ago is expected to be back in service this summer, following the approval of a contract to fix a broken seal this week.
    The Board of Public Utilities voted 4-0 Monday to authorize the DPU to purchase a “field services” contract with Voith Hydro for $120,000 along with $52,000 in funding for components to fix the bad seal on a turbine and generator unit at the county’s El Vado Hydroelectric Plant.
    The plant was shut down in May 2016 because of the leak.
    The water from the generator was leaking into the plant’s powerhouse.
    “It got to the point where the plant had to shut itself down because it was a flooding condition that could cause damage if it continued,” said Deputies Utilities Manager James Alarid at Monday’s meeting.
    The Voith Hydro contract is to hire Voith Hydro personnel to make sure JR Merit, who installed the valve during the original refurbishment, do it to specifications outlined by DPU and Voith Hydro. Voith Hydro is the manufacturer of the turbine and generator unit.
    If JR Merit ultimately decides not to do the repair, the contract gives DPU permission to have Voith Hydro perform the repairs itself.

  • Today in history March 9
  • Alaska Airlines adds daily Albuquerque-San Francisco flight

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — City officials say Alaska Airlines is adding a non-stop, daily flight from Albuquerque to San Francisco and back this fall.
    The flights will begin Sept. 18 with one flight leaving for San Francisco International Airport at 7:15 a.m. and another flight headed back to Albuquerque International Sunport at 6:15 p.m.
    The daily flights will be operated by Horizon Air on 76-seat E175 jets.
    Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry says Alaska Airlines now will serve four nonstop destinations from the Sunport.
    Since 2009, the Sunport has added three new airlines with service to three new destinations and expanded options to five existing destinations.
    The city also has announced a major renovation project to the pre-security portion of the terminal this spring, with completion scheduled next year.
     

  • Shoplifter strikes pedestrian after fleeing Bealls

    UPDATED: 4:20 p.m.

    Los Alamos police are searching for a light-blue, silver Volvo driven by a suspected shoplifter after the suspect struck a pedestrian in the Bealls parking lot after noon today while speeding away from the store.

    Los Alamos fire personnel attended to the 47-year-old man who hit the windshield of the vehicle driven by the suspect. The windshield was shattered.

    The man was loaded into an ambulance at the scene and transported to Los Alamos Medical Center. Police expect to release more information about the incident in an official press release, according to officers at the scene.

    More details will be added to this story as it develops.