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Local News

  • 2018 State Legislature: House bill requiring post-graduation plan for diploma advances

    Students attending New Mexico’s public schools may have to add one more graduation requirement to their check-off list if a bipartisan bill heading toward the House Education Committee continues to pick up steam.

    On Thursday, the House Local Government, Elections, Land Grants and Cultural Affairs Committee unanimously agreed to move forward House Bill 23 – sponsored by Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque, and Rep. Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque – requiring high school students to declare what they plan to do after graduation before they obtain a diploma.

    The committee voted to pass the bill along without recommendation, with some members saying the House Education Committee would be better poised to analyze or approve the bill.

    The bill gives students an array of post-graduate choices to commit to, even if they don’t end up pursuing them – including applying to college, entering the military, going to work or taking part in an internship program.
    This “next-step plan,” as Gentry called it, is based on a similar program the school district in San Marcos, Texas, initiated a few years ago.

    As a result, Gentry told the committee, college attendance rose among graduates of that district.

  • GRT bill passes finance committee

    Senate Bill 17, otherwise known as the GRT tax bill cleared its last New Mexico Senate committee hearing Thursday evening. The Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved the bill, clearing the way for a debate on the senate floor Saturday. If it passes that it enters the House.

    The bill, sponsored by State. Sen. Carlos Cisneros (D-6) and State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-43) preserves the gross receipts tax payments the state and Los Alamos County receive every year from the state’s two national laboratories.

    The bill, if passed by the state house and senate, and signed by the governor would protect Los Alamos County and northern New Mexico from losing the millions of dollars of proceeds from the tax the region and the county receives every year should a non-profit group take over management of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2018. Currently, the state of New Mexico exempts non profit organizations from taxing non-profit entities.

    “We’re pleased that the Senate Finance Committee unanimously recommended ‘do pass’ for the bill,” Los Alamos County Councilor and state representative candidate Pete Sheehey said.

  • Road striping project on State Road 4 today

    Los Alamos County Traffic and Streets Division crew will be striping both lanes on State Road 4 from 1-3:30 p.m. today, approaching the Truck Route Intersection where utility work was done in 2017.

    There will be a flagging operation starting at 1 p.m. and ending at approximately 3:30 p.m.

    Drivers are advised to use caution while traveling through this area and be mindful of the crew on site.

    For questions, contact Daniel Erickson at 663-1777.

  • Baby dies after left in car overnight night outside Gallup

    GALLUP (AP) — A 2-month-old baby was found dead in western New Mexico after authorities say the child was left in a car overnight.

    The Gallup Independent reports the parents called authorities Wednesday morning after the child was discovered to be not breathing outside their rural home west of Gallup.

    According to a Gallup Fire Department report, the parents drove to meet an ambulance. EMTs pronounced the baby dead.

    The cause of the death has not been determined. The body was sent to the state Office of the Medical Investigator in Albuquerque.

    Tribal police are investigating the death because the parents' home is located in the Navajo Nation.
     

  • US Latino group leader slammed for endorsing new border wall

    By RUSSELL CONTRERAS, Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The leader of the oldest Latino civil rights organization in the U.S. is facing harsh criticism for endorsing President Donald Trump's immigration framework that includes a border wall.

    Roger Rocha, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, wrote Trump this week to say the storied civil rights group would support his plan for a wall in exchange for protecting young immigrants brought to the country illegally.

    "The four pillars which you have outlined, (Border Security, DACA Legalization, Protect the Nuclear Family and Elimination of the Lottery and Repurpose Visas) are items that LULAC can support if they remain within the current framework you have proposed," Rocha wrote in a letter dated January 28. "I encourage you to stay engaged on what you have proposed in order to prevent other variations from being introduced by Congress."

    But the group's endorsement of the border wall and new restrictions on legal immigration drew strong reactions from the group's members and activists across the country who say such policies would hurt Hispanics.

    "Like everyone else I'd like Congress to find a permanent solution for DACA students," said LULAC member Ralph

  • Dunn seeks federal compensation for military ops around White Sands

    State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn announced Tuesday he is seeking federal compensation for lost money for use by military of state land next to White Sands Missile Range.

    State trust land beneficiaries have lost “big bucks” because of military restrictions on the use of the 300,000 acres of state land, Dunn said in a release. Dunn sent a letter to Armed Services Committee Chairman Congressman William M. “Mac” Thornberry,

    “These State Trust Lands have revenue generating potential from many uses including wind and solar energy development, telecommunications, rights-of-way, oil and gas development, and recreation,” Dunn said. “If the DoD is going to prevent the State Land Office from leasing these lands, the Trust beneficiaries should be compensated.”

    In 2004, a temporary withdrawal order restricting uses in the northern and western call up areas was implemented, however no compensation was received, according to Dunn. 

    Since its expiration there has been an ongoing effort to negotiate and execute a Land Use Restrictions or Conditions policy, which would restrict uses to those compatible with WSMR operations and mission.

  • AG Balderas alerts consumers about recent Equifax data breach

    New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas issued a Consumer Alert Tuesday targeting New Mexico consumers who were affected by the recent Equifax data breach.

    Balderas is asking New Mexicans to contact the Office of the Attorney General if they have been a victim of the Equifax breach, and also if they have received any correspondence from Equifax since the breach.

    “We are working on gathering more information about how Equifax is responding to New Mexicans who were victims of the data breach,” Balderas said. “The more documentation we have, the better we can protect our citizens by ensuring that they are being given consistent, legal, and helpful responses by Equifax.”

    Anyone with new complaints regarding the Equifax breach can contact the Consumer and Family Advocacy Services Division at (505) 717-3500 extension 5 in Albuquerque; (505) 490-4060, extension 5 in Santa Fe;  (575) 339-1120 extension 5 in Las Cruces or 1-844-255-9210 toll-free statewide.

    Anyone who has received correspondence related to a complaint they have already filed with the Office of the Attorney General, note that they are sending new information for a complaint already on file with the office.

  • Libertarians earn major party status in New Mexico

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico election regulators say the Libertarian Party has qualified as a major political party.
    Major-party status makes it easier for Libertarians candidates to get their name on the ballot. Secretary of State’s Office spokesman Joey Keefe said Monday that Libertarian candidates need just 230 petition signatures to run statewide. A Democrat will need 2,507 based on prior election turnout.

    Attorney A. Blair Dunn is running as a Libertarian for the Senate seat held by Democrat Martin Heinrich, and business consultant Lloyd Princeton is seeking the Albuquerque-based congressional seat under the Libertarian banner.

    State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn recently switched his party affiliation to Libertarian from Republican. Auber Dunn is Blair Dunn’s father.

    Libertarians got major party status with a strong showing in 2016 presidential elections and adequate registration numbers.

  • Grants spur growth, investments in Pueblo businesses

    SUBMITTED TO THE MONITOR

    A record nine northern New Mexico Native American – owned and – operated businesses have received a total of more than $50,000 in the 2018 grants from the Native American Venture Acceleration Fund.

    The fund was created by Los Alamos National Laboratory operator Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS) and the Regional Development Corporation (RDC) to help the recipients create jobs, increase their revenue base and diversify the area economy.

    “These investments create jobs for pueblo-owned businesses and help strengthen the area’s economy,” said Kathy Keith, director of the Community Partnerships Office at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    To date, more than $330,000 has been invested in the regional economy through the Native American Venture Acceleration Fund. The investment comes from LANS, and the fund is managed by the Regional Development Corporation, as part of its work assisting Northern New Mexico communities and small businesses with economic development activities, furthering job creation in the region.

    This year’s recipients are:

    • Cochiti Pueblo Development Corporation, Cochiti Pueblo: to purchase a water metering and billing system for a water conservation program with tiered billing that will save water and increase revenues.

  • Experts warn of risk of sinkhole in popular New Mexico area

    By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, Associated Press

    Experts are painting a dire picture about the impending collapse of a giant cavern under a highway interchange that serves as a gateway to two national parks and the heart of New Mexico's oil and gas country.

    They told lawmakers Tuesday during a legislative meeting that new cracks are developing at the site on the edge of the city of Carlsbad, indicating that things are beginning to move underground.

    "It is happening right now. It is happening in slow motion," said George Veni, executive director of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute and a member of a group that has been working on possible solutions.

    Lawmakers are seeking more than $40 million in state funding to prevent a massive sinkhole, which could take with it the busy intersection, including a highway that leads to Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Guadalupe Mountains National Park, just across the state line in Texas. Nearby, there's also a church, trailer park, businesses and an irrigation canal that provides water for more than 30 square miles of agricultural lands.