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Local News

  • Martinez signs civil seizure bill

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Republican Gov. Susana Martinez took action on some 170 of about 190 bills passed during the 60-day legislative session by the noon Friday deadline.
    Her signature on a bill that keeps police from seizing money or assets from people unless convicted of a crime was hailed by civil rights advocates as historic.
    Martinez wrote in her signing message that she understands the importance of putting safeguards to protect constitutional rights.
    "On balance, the changes made by this legislation improve the transparency and accountability of the forfeiture process and provide further protections to innocent property owners," she said.
    However, she also made clear she does not care for the term "policing for profit" used by backers to describe the legislation, calling it a catch phrase that "improperly questions (law enforcement officers') motives and disregards their desire to serve and protect."
    "It is also dangerous to discount the role that funds acquired through forfeitures have played in keeping our communities safe and in protecting our officers from harm," she added.
    Martinez vetoed more than a dozen bills outright and did not take action on about 20 others, which resulted in them being pocket vetoed.

  • Today in history April 11
  • Rio Grande users may be in for a tough year

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Cities and farmers that depend on water from the Rio Grande could be in for another tough year.
    Snowpack from the mountains that feed the waterway is halfway gone, and there has been little to no precipitation in the last month. That means federal officials will be managing the river for drought for a fifth consecutive year.
    The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released the annual operating plan Thursday for the Middle Rio Grande. Some of the lakes that store river water are in better shape than last year but nowhere close to the 100 percent average that federal officials had predicted a month ago when snowpack was plentiful.
    The Bureau of Reclamation said it is negotiating water leases to supplement river flows through at least June 15. After that, the agency can let small stretches of the river south of Albuquerque and above Elephant Butte to run dry, spokeswoman Mary Carlson said.
    For now, federal officials are forecasting the flow into reservoirs along the Rio Grande in northern New Mexico to be about half of average. Albuquerque, Santa Fe and others that rely on San Juan-Chama water will see a shortage in their allocations, based on Thursday’s predictions.

  • Education, public safety get a boost

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez signed a $6.2 billion budget Thursday boosting spending for education, child welfare, public safety and economic development.
    “This is a responsible budget that invests heavily in creating jobs and educating our children,” Martinez said. The signing was held at IntelliCyt, a 42-employee Albuquerque company which produces tools to facilitate the study of cells.
    Over the past four years, Martinez said she has focused on restoring the state’s fiscal footing. New Mexico can no longer rely on “Washington politicians to fuel our economy” but should instead look to local businesses to create jobs and help strengthen the state’s economy, she said.
    The U.S. Commerce Department announced Thursday that New Mexico leads the nation in export-related job growth, the governor said, adding that the news comes on the heels of data showing the state has nearly doubled its exports to Mexico in one year.
    Martinez reiterated what she has said in recent public appearances: The state added 16,000 jobs in the past year, the strongest growth since 2006.
    With the 2016 fiscal year budget, Martinez said she wants to continue the state’s economic growth.

  • Update 4-10-15

    Living Treasures

    The induction ceremony for the new class of Living Treasures of Los Alamos is scheduled for Sunday at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. New honorees include Loring Cox Jr., Joyce Eyster and C. Robert Emigh. The ceremony will start at 2 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

    No school

    Monday will be a professional development day for staff at Los Alamos Public Schools. There will be no school for students that day.

    Book and Gifts Fair

    There is a Book and Gift Fair at Los Alamos Medical Center Saturday and Sunday. The fair will go from 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. both days. Proceeds will go to benefit the LAMC auxiliary.

    BPU

    The Board of Public Utilities will have its regular meeting Wednesday. It is set for 5:30 p.m. in council chambers.

    Sustainability

    The Environmental Sustainability Board will meet Thursday at the municipal building. Meeting time is set for 5:30 p.m.

    Chautaqua

    Los Alamos Historical Society will present a Harry S Truman Chautauqua Tuesday at Fuller Lodge. It will be at 7:30 p.m. Truman, the 33rd president fo the United States, will be performed by former history professor Noel Pugach.

  • Ringing In the Occasion

    About 30 participants came out to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the surrender of General Robert E. Lee to General Ulysses S. Grant near the end of the U.S. Civil War. The bell at Fuller Lodge was rung at 1:15 p.m. in conjunction with other ceremonies around the country marking the occasion. The bell was rung for four minutes, one minute for each year of the Civil War. The event was hosted by the Los Alamos Historical Society.

  • Trash rates are set to climb

    Los Alamos County residents and businesses should anticipate increased fees for solid waste pickup in July, with a second increase a year later.
    In March, the Environmental Sustainability Board (ESB) voted 5-0 to support staffs’ recommendation for an increase of approximately 10 percent each year.
    The ordinance to change the municipal code comes back to the ESB for approval at 5:30 p.m. April 16.
    Under the new ordinance, residential rates would increase from $18.15 per month to $20.16 on July 1. Rates would increase to $22 in FY2017.
    Current commercial rates are $78.81 per month for trash collection and $19.05 a month for dumpster rental, totaling $97.86 a month. There is no charge for recycling, but customers with a recycling dumpster pay an additional $19.05 a month.
    The new schedule changes that structure somewhat. In FY2016, solid waste fees would rise to $108.36 a month, but dumpster fees would go down to $10.12, totaling $118.48 a month for trash pickup, and $128.60 if a recycling dumpster is included.
    Environmental Services Manager Angelica Gurule explained some of the reasons behind the increase.

  • Today in history April 10
  • Iran aims high ahead of deal

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran is staking out a tough bargaining stance for the final phase of nuclear negotiations, with both its supreme leader and its moderate president saying Thursday that any deal must include an immediate lifting of withering sanctions.
    While that might be popular domestically, it could be setting the bar too high for what negotiators will be able to deliver in the final deal they hope to reach by June 30.
    Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will have the final say on whether Iran agrees to a deal that could transform its relationship with the wider world — and he is keeping everyone guessing.
    In his first comments on last week’s deal, Khamenei told a gathering of religious poets on Thursday that he “is neither for nor against” it. His reasoning was matter-of-fact: Because the agreement was only the framework of a final deal and not the accord itself, “nothing has been done yet,” he said.
    “What has happened so far neither guarantees a deal... nor does it guarantee the content of a deal,” he said. “It doesn’t even guarantee the talks will go on until the end and will lead to a deal.”

  • Trial for woman accused of fleeing police set for July

    TAOS (AP) — The trial in New Mexico of a Tennessee woman accused of child abuse and fleeing from a law enforcement officer has been rescheduled for July 13.
    A District Court judge in Taos rescheduled the trial after granting a postponement request by Oriana Farrell’s lawyer. The trial had been scheduled to start April 27.
    After being stopped for speeding near Taos in October 2013, Farrell allegedly twice fled from New Mexico State Police.
    An officer fired shots at the Memphis woman’s van that was carrying five children, but nobody was injured.
    The officer says he was aiming at the minivan’s tires and didn’t know there were children in the vehicle. He later resigned from the police force.
    Farrell has pleaded not guilty to the charges. They include possession of drug paraphernalia.