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Local News

  • Today in history 3-23-17
  • New Mexico governor orders hiring freeze to save cash

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez on Thursday ordered a hiring freeze for all agencies under her control, a move designed to save cash pending a political standoff over the funding of state government and public schools.
    The state personnel director outlined the freeze in a memo to cabinet secretaries, citing the need for executive agencies to take immediate action to control spending due to unprecedented budgetary challenges.
    Despite the freeze, some hiring will continue for jobs identified as critical for public safety and health as well as those related to taxation and revenue collections.
    The memo did not mention the governor's disappointment with the outcome of the legislative session that wrapped up more than a week ago. However, she has been outspoken about the Democratic-controlled Legislature sending her a budget built on $350 million in tax increases and fee hikes.
    "The fact is, state government affects every New Mexican, and passing a balanced budget is critical in funding education, public safety and service to protect abused children," she said in a statement.
    She went on to say she repeatedly called on the Senate to pass a balanced budget that didn't raise taxes on families.

  • DPU launches app for customers

    The Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities (DPU) announced the launch of its free Los Alamos DPU app Thursday by Smart Energy Systems. 

    The a new cloud-based platform has a friendly interface for DPU customers to access their account, track consumption and pay utility bills from their computer or mobile device, according to department officials.

    In 2015, a DPU customer satisfaction survey revealed that a segment of customers wanted more online functions.

    “Customers under the age of 45 told us that they wanted better ways to do business with us online. We listened and believe the Los Alamos DPU App will allow customers the flexibility and convenience they seek,” said Utilities Manager Tim Glasco, in a statement issued Thursday.  

    Some of the advantages that DPU customers can expect from the Los Alamos DPU app when used on their computer or downloaded to their mobile device include the ability to:

    • Customize the home screen to create personalized dashboards,

    • View current and historic bills,

    • Make payments with a credit card or electronic check,

    • View current and historic consumption,  

    • Compare personal consumption to the average of all Los Alamos customers’ consumption, and

  • County issues RFP for two land parcels behind medical center

    Los Alamos County’s Economic Development Division published a Request For Proposals seeking developers for two land parcels located behind Los Alamos Medical Center.

    Most residents better know these sites as the location of the former Los Alamos Site Office, at the end of 35th Street, just south of Trinity Drive.

    As stated in the RFP, the county “endeavors to develop an entirely new neighborhood that is environmentally and financially sustainable in a safe and beautiful high desert setting.”

    Parcels A-13-2 and A-12 are about 11.8 acres, and the county is looking to find a developer that “has the vision, interest and ability to implement and manage an overall development strategy for the A-13-2/A-12 sites,” according to a county spokeswoman Julie Habiger.

    The county will consider all development options as long as they align with Los Alamos County Council Strategic Leadership Plan priorities, conform to the Comprehensive Plan and adhere to any and all applicable building and development codes adopted by the county, Habiger said in a release Wednesday.

  • Storm to produce dangerous winds in parts of New Mexico

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Forecasters say an approaching storm system with potentially damaging strong winds is expected to pose hazards that include extreme fire conditions on New Mexico's eastern plains through Thursday and into Friday.
    The National Weather Service says eastern and central New Mexico will see winds gusting up to 70 mph.
    Forecasters warn of dangerous crosswinds on roads oriented north and south and blowing dust reducing visibilities to a mile or less on the eastern plains and central New Mexico's lower elevations.
    Other hazards could include damage to trees, power lines and roofs, and forecasters say lightweight objects could become airborne.
    Up to 6 inches of snow are expected in the northern mountains late Thursday and Friday.
     

  • Judge approves settlement barring ICE cooperation

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Forecasters say an approaching storm system with potentially damaging strong winds is expected to pose hazards that include extreme fire conditions on New Mexico's eastern plains through Thursday and into Friday.
    The National Weather Service says eastern and central New Mexico will see winds gusting up to 70 mph.
    Forecasters warn of dangerous crosswinds on roads oriented north and south and blowing dust reducing visibilities to a mile or less on the eastern plains and central New Mexico's lower elevations.
    Other hazards could include damage to trees, power lines and roofs, and forecasters say lightweight objects could become airborne.
    Up to 6 inches of snow are expected in the northern mountains late Thursday and Friday.

     

  • Board proposes $3 hike in waste fee

    To partially cover a projected $300,000 budget deficit in FY 2017, Los Alamos County’s Environmental Sustainability Board is recommending the county raise its $25 trash collection fee by $3.
    All trash container types — 48, 64 and 96 gallon — would be included. Inflation from labor costs, contracts and a rise in the price of trash cans are fueling the deficit, as are oil prices.
    “The biggest market change has to do with when oil prices dropped,” Public Works Director Philo Shelton said.
    Though it’s still cheaper for the county to recycle, the county is now paying to recycle. The county used to get $22 a ton for it’s recyclables, now it has to pay $15 a ton, and next year $16, to recycle.
    The county’s landfill contract and its trucking and hauling contract are two major contracts involved in the recycling and disposing of county waste. Labor costs and inflation are the other drivers behind the rate increase.
    “Every time we renew a contract, we’re seeing inflationary pressures and cost escalations,” Shelton told the board on Thursday.

  • State voters to weigh in on ethics

    BY STEVE TERRELL
    The New Mexican

  • House rejects Roundhouse ban on openly carrying guns

    BY ANDREW OXFORD
    The New Mexican

  • Beer, music, skiing in play at Skiesta

    This past Saturday was the annual Skiesta festival that took place on Pajarito Mountain. This long-standing spring tradition dates back to 1948 and includes slalom competitions, costume contests and plenty of beer to enjoy under the New Mexico sun.
    The weather was mid-60s and sunny, which drew a sizable crowd and also created soft snow for participants on the mountain.
    In addition to the various competitions, a fundraiser called “The Pajarito Pump Track” was organized to raise money for the Pajarito Freeride Team to go to Nationals.
    Breweries represented at the event included Taos Mesa Brewing, Rowley Farmhouse Ales, Second Street Brewery, Santa Fe Brewing and Bathtub Row Brewing. All tents seemed to have a steady stream of eager customers.
    After grabbing a beer, Second Street Brewery told me that they have sold at Skiesta multiple times. One of the brewers warmly commented that Pajarito Mountain is their “favorite ski resort.” Second Street tries to come out to all events at Pajarito. The most popular of the brews on tap Saturday were the stout and porter.