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Local News

  • Extra troops stay in Afghanistan

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The United States will keep about 1,000 more troops in Afghanistan than planned early next year to fill a temporary NATO troop gap in the new mission to train and advise Afghan security forces, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Saturday on his final visit to this war-weary country as Pentagon chief.
    At a news conference with President Ashraf Ghani, Hagel said the original plan to cut U.S. troop levels to 9,800 by the end of 2014 had been abandoned, but not because of a recent surge in Taliban attacks.
    Hagel said the U.S. will keep up to 10,800 troops for the first few months of 2015 and then restart the drawdown, which is scheduled to reach 5,500 troops by the end of next year.
    The U.S. decided to keep additional forces in the country temporarily because planned troop commitments by U.S. allies for a NATO train-and-assist mission starting in January have been slow to materialize.
    Gen. John Campbell, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, told reporters in an interview later Saturday that he is confident NATO members will furnish the necessary number of troops for the new training mission, which begins Jan. 1. It’s just going to take a few extra weeks or months to get them in Afghanistan, he said.

  • Navajo court takes up election case

    FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Supreme Court has rejected arguments that the tribe’s chief hearing officer who ruled in favor of keeping a presidential candidate in the race was unqualified.
    Richie Nez of the Navajo Office of Hearings and Appeals had planned to resign the post he’s held since 2011 after he was challenged in court documents for not having a state bar license as required by tribal law, said Deswood Tome, a presidential adviser. But Nez won’t follow through with the plan in light of this week’s ruling by the high court, Tome said.
    The hearing office takes on child support cases, environment and grazing disputes, employee grievances and election challenges. Perhaps the most high-profile case of Nez’s tenure was that of Chris Deschene, a Navajo presidential hopeful who was disqualified earlier this year for not speaking fluent Navajo. Russell Begaye took Deschene’s place and was the subject of the latest Supreme Court opinion.
    Former presidential candidate Myron McLaughlin filed a grievance against Begaye alleging financial improprieties and questioning Begaye’s loyalty to the tribe. Nez ruled in favor of Begaye last month.

  • State levies $54M in fines over WIPP incident; Lab accounts for more than $36M in fines

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico on Saturday levied more than $54 million in penalties against the U.S. Department of Energy for numerous violations that resulted in the indefinite closure of the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository.

    The state Environment Department delivered a pair of compliance orders to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, marking the state's largest penalty ever imposed on the agency. Together, the orders outline more than 30 state permit violations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico and at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    The orders and the civil penalties that come with them are just the beginning of possible financial sanctions the Energy Department could face in New Mexico. The state says it's continuing to investigate and more fines are possible.

  • Today in history Dec. 6
  • Update 12-05-14

    Creches

    The 21st Annual “Creches From Around the World,” exhibition will be until 7 p.m. today at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1967 18th St., off 15 and Sage Streets. Anyone who like to share Nativity sets may call Jerilynn Christiansen at 662-5073.

    Forum

    Former DEA chief of International Operations Michael S. Vigil will be the guest speaker at the Santa Fe Council on International Relations meeting. 3 p.m. Saturday at the Santa Fe University of Art & Design in the forum. $15 for CIR members, $10 non-members & guests. $15 for CIR members, Students, teachers and law enforcement officers are welcome to attend for free. For more information and to register for the event, visit sfcir.org, call 982-4931.

    Lighting

    County Councilors will host a “Lighting of the Holiday Tree” in the Municipal Building lobby at 5:30 p.m. Saturday as part of Winterfest activities. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the lobby will be open until the holiday lights parade begins at 6 p.m.

    Bazaar

    Children’s Christmas Bazaar. 9 a.m.-noon Saturday at Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church’s annual Children’s Christmas Bazaar from 9 a.m. to noon in Kelly Hall.

    Breakfast

  • County updates status of aquatic center

    As previously announced, the project at the Walkup Aquatic Center to replace the heating and cooling systems and boilers is behind schedule. Although significant progress has been made in the last week, a November reopening of the facility to the public previously targeted was not met.
    “The project scope has not changed nor has there been any significant design or cost issues,” said Steven Huebner, Project Manager. “The project is a complex system renovation that is taking longer to complete than expected.”
    Huebner said that county will not bear any additional costs for this delay, or, the county will not pay additional charges to the contractor for work currently being performed that is within the scope of work.
    Late Monday, the contractor submitted an updated work plan to the county outlining all remaining and incomplete project work based on a thorough walk-through by the contractor and county staff on Nov. 26. It includes the following main issues:
    • Install and test replacement boiler circulation pumps that were initially received on-site with factory defects;
    • Complete programming of system controls;
    • Install and test a larger gas meter;
    • Adjust air and water flows and settings to regulate and maintain required temperatures;

  • Flying high at PAC 8

    Los Alamos residents may have noticed aerial images in some of the county’s public service announcements showing at the Reel Deal Theater. Those images are taken with PAC 8’s recent addition: a DJI Phantom drone.
    PAC 8 Executive Director Jean Gindreau’s interest in drones was sparked at a National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference in Las Vegas. Among all the latest video and software technology on display were GoPro cameras and unmanned helicopters of all sizes.
    At the conference, Gindreau received a coupon for $100 off one of the $400 GoPro cameras.
    “So I got the GoPro, and then just decided I had to get one of those copters,” Gindreau said. She purchased a $450 Phantom, the least expensive model. The entire investment came to about $1,000.
    The DJI Phantom — which measures one and a half feet square and six-inches high— has a case to hold a GoPro. The drone has a horizontal speed of about 22 miles per hour with a vertical speed of approximately 13 mph.
    Gindreau’s first attempt to pilot the tiny helicopter nearly ended in disaster, due to a quirk of the remote control steering mechanism.

  • Today in history Dec. 5
  • Crash snarls traffic heading westbound on N.M. 502

     

    Traffic is snarled heading westbound on N.M. 502 Friday morning after a single-car crash near the Totavi Gas Station.

    Traffic is backed up and according to an eyewitness, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department is on the scene as well as the Los Alamos Fire Department.

    The crash involved one female driver who was heading to school, according to emergency officials. She received medical attention for her injuries and is "doing fine," according to officials.

  • Update 12-04-14

    Exhibit

    The 21st Annual “Creches From Around the World,” exhibition will be from 1-7 p.m. Friday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1967 18th St., off 15 and Sage Streets. Anyone who like to share Nativity sets may call Jerilynn Christiansen at 662-5073.

    Film

    The Mesa Public Library Film Series. “Bagdad Café,” 6:30 p.m. today in the upstairs meeting room.

    Caldera meeting

    The Valles Caldera Trust Board of Trustees will conduct a public meeting from 6-9 p.m. today in Albuquerque. The meeting will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn ­— Albuquerque Airport, 2601 Yale Blvd. SE.

    Lighting

    County Councilors will host a “Lighting of the Holiday Tree” in the Municipal Building lobby at 5:30 p.m. Saturday as part of Winterfest activities. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the lobby will be open until the holiday lights parade begins at 6 p.m.

    Bazaar

    Children’s Christmas Bazaar. 9 a.m.-noon Saturday at Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church’s annual Children’s Christmas Bazaar from 9 a.m. to noon in Kelly Hall.