Local News

  • Today in history March 8
  • Valles Caldera National Preserve offers reward for information on poached elk

    Jemez Springs — Valles Caldera National Reserve park rangers are seeking information and help from the public to solve a crime that involved the poaching of a cow elk sometime between Monday and Tuesday.

    Park rangers said sometime late Monday evening or early Tuesday, a cow elk was poached in Valles Caldera National Preserve along NM 4, near mile post 41.

    A reward of up to $1,500 will be paid for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible, according to a release from the preserve.

    Anyone who may have witnessed suspicious activity in the area or has knowledge of the incident is encouraged to call or text the Park Crime Tip Line at 505-709-0077. Callers can remain anonymous.

  • Trinity Site to host first of 2 annual open houses

    WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. (AP) — Military officials in southern New Mexico are preparing to host visitors at the spot of the world's first atomic test during a special one-day open house at the Trinity Site.

    The first of two annual open houses will be April 7.

    At the site on White Sands Missile Range, visitors can take a quarter-mile walk to ground zero where a small obelisk marks the spot of detonation. Historical photos are mounted on the fence surrounding the area.

    Visitors can also tour the Schmidt/McDonald Ranch House, where scientists assembled the bomb's plutonium core.

    Last July marked the 70th year anniversary of the test at the Trinity Site. It was part of the Manhattan Project, a top-secret World War II nuclear development program out of the then-secret city of Los Alamos.

  • Former Clovis store worker faces 149 counts of embezzlement

    CLOVIS (AP) — A 58-year-old former employee of a Clovis grocery store faces 149 misdemeanor and felony criminal counts accusing her of embezzling over $12,000 from the business over a two-year period, reportedly to help pay for medications for her father.

    Rosa Davis of Hobbs was arrested Wednesday as a result of an investigation that started in December when an Albertson's official reported that Davis processed refunds when no customer was at the counter.

    The Eastern New Mexico News reports that a search warrant affidavit says the Albertson's official provided police with documents and said he had surveillance video.

    The Albertson's official told police that Davis told him she took the money "to help with her father's medications."
    Online court records don't list an attorney for Davis who could comment on the allegations.

  • New Mexico brings more certainty to lottery scholarships

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico is providing more certainty for college students about the amount of financial aid they can count on from state lottery revenues, but elected officials and others say more needs to be done to shore up the scholarship program as higher education costs climb.

    Gov. Susana Martinez signed legislation Wednesday that decouples the value of lottery scholarships from the cost of tuition by setting a fixed amount for the awards based on the kind of institution a student attends.

    Tuition and demand for financial aid have outpaced lottery revenues for nearly a decade, forcing lawmakers and university administrators to get creative about helping students fill the gap. When it began in 1996, the scholarship covered 100 percent of average tuition rates. This year, only 60 percent is covered.

    The lottery-funded scholarships help pay tuition for about 26,000 students.

    The two-term Republican governor warned that the measure approved by the Legislature during the recent session is just one step toward addressing the deeper issues facing the scholarship program.

    "Until our elected officials act to overhaul the program, the legislative lottery tuition scholarship and our students will continue on their uncertain roller coaster," Martinez wrote.

  • New Mexico attorney general goes after rooftop solar company

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A residential rooftop solar provider that operates in New Mexico and 20 other states was accused Thursday by the state attorney general of defrauding residents and jeopardizing their home ownership through deceptive sales practices.

    Attorney General Hector Balderas filed a lawsuit in state district court against Vivint Solar, Inc. over claims that the company was engaging in a pattern of unfair and unconscionable business practices, fraud and racketeering.

    The case centers on the company's door-to-door sales tactics and agreements made with customers to purchase power from the solar panel systems. Similar complaints by prosecutors in other states have resulted in settlements.

    Vivint said it takes the allegations seriously but believes the lawsuit lacks merit.

    "Our commitment to our customers is to provide them the opportunity to adopt clean, renewable energy while always adhering to the highest ethical sales standards. We believe we have honored this commitment in New Mexico and that our practices in the state comply with applicable law," company spokeswoman Helen Langan wrote in an email.
    New Mexico prosecutors say an investigation has identified hundreds of clouded titles among Vivint's customers in the state.

  • Lab offers pricing preference to New Mexico businesses

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A national research and development laboratory announced a 5 percent pricing preference for qualified New Mexico small businesses.

    The Albuquerque Journal reports Sandia National Laboratories' Supply Chain Integration Department Senior Manager Delfinia Salazar says the preference could apply to about $100 million in competitive subcontract awards during the first year of the program.

    The program would apply to subcontracts for research and development, customized equipment, professional services, commercial items and information technology.

    Sandia will apply the 5 percent preference while evaluating subcontract awards worth $150,000 to $5 million. When a qualified New Mexico small business submits a bid, the labs will add 5 percent to the bids of other businesses that don't qualify as New Mexico small businesses.

  • BREAKING: Gov. Martinez vetoes gross receipts tax bill

    Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed a bill Wednesday that would tax the gross receipts of certain non-profits, including any new non-profit contractor to take over management of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    In her message to the senate explaining the veto Wednesday, Martinez said the bill was "poorly crafted tax policy." A proposed amendment would have required all non-profits that make over a certain threshold to pay gross receipts tax, but it was withrawn, she said. Also, she said the bill was another "piecemeal attempt at tax reform."

    Los Alamos County may see a loss of about $22 million a year in gross receipts tax revenue, according to some estimates, if the contract to manage and operate the Los Alamos National Laboratory is awarded to a non-profit entity. Martinez said that while the loss of gross receipts tax is a concern, it may be less than what some claim it will be, as subcontractors will become taxable.

    State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-43) said the amendment, which she said was recommended by State Rep. and House Taxation and Revenue Committee member Jason Harper (R-57) would have left Los Alamos without GRT revenue for a year if the bill included it.

  • Geisik arrested for parole violation

    New Mexico State Police arrested former Los Alamos resident Stephen M. Geisik on charges he violated conditions of his parole stemming from 2015 sexual misconduct charges.

    Geisik, 27, of Hernandez, was arrested on Feb. 23 and is being held in the Los Alamos County Detention Center. A notice of alleged probation violation, of reopening of case and of hearing has been filed in district court and he will appear before Judge Mary Marlowe-Sommer at 9 a.m. on March 15 in Santa Fe.

    On April 6, 2015, Geisik was sentenced to 20 years, four days probation for two counts of criminal sexual contact of minor second degree (child under 13) and contributing to the delinquency of minor.

    He was released to supervised probation and required to register as a sex offender in Los Alamos County.

    Geisik moved to Hernandez on July 5, 2017, and registered as a sex offender with the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Department in Española.

    On Feb. 23 he was arrested by New Mexico State Police and charged with Abuse of a Child-Negligently Cause (no death or great bodily harm) and Abuse of a Child-Intentional (no death or great bodily harm) and was transported without incident to LACDC.

  • Governor approves most public safety reforms

    SANTA FE (AP) — A package of public safety reforms designed to bolster police ranks, deter repeat drunken driving, toughen gun-possession penalties for violent felons in New Mexico has been signed by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez with some reluctance.

    Martinez indicated her overall disappointment as she signed the bundled reforms on Wednesday with a partial veto. She says the rejected provisions would interfere with the state's authority to suspend driver's licenses for failures to appear in court.

    The governor is accusing the Legislature of clinging to the status quo on public safety issues amid increased reports of crime in cities including Albuquerque.

    During a 30-day session that ended in February, Republican and Democratic lawmakers rallied around reforms that also aim to better address addiction and health issues among prison inmates as they are released.