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Local News

  • Morgan earns Gen. Billy Mitchell Award

    Silas Morgan stepped into elite company Monday night when he was given the General Billy Mitchell Award in a ceremony held at Los Alamos County Airport.

    Morgan, 15, a member of the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program, became one of only approximately 15 percent of CAP Cadets to achieve the award.

    “It feels pretty good knowing it’s hard to get this award,” he said. “I had a lot of help from a lot of people in the squadron and I’m really thankful for that.”

    The award, created in 1964, honors the late General Billy Mitchell, who was a pioneer in the field of aviation as well as an advocate of an independent air force for America.

    The CAP is an auxiliary branch of the United States Air Force with three primary missions: Aerospace Education of the American people, Emergency Services and the Cadet Program.

    The Cadet Program is for young people from 12 to 20 years of age. Those cadets, with support from the CAP Senior Members and the Air Force, take part in such programs as aerospace education, leadership, special activities, physical fitness and moral and ethical values through group and individual activities.

  • 2018 State Legislature: SB17 passes Senate

    A bill that would collect gross receipts tax from certain non profits met little resistance in the New Mexico Senate Saturday, sailing through with just a brief debate.

    The New Mexico Senate voted 31 to 4 Saturday to pass the bill, known as Senate Bill 17, onto the New Mexico House of Representatives.

    Sens. Brandt (R-40), (William Payne R-20, Minority Whip), Cliff Pirtle (R-32) and Sander Rue (R-23) voted against the bill.

    The bill, sponsored by Cisneros, is designed to preserve the millions of dollars the county and the state receives each year from the gross receipts tax the for-profit contractor that manages Los Alamos National Laboratory pays every year.

    New Mexico’s tax code currently exempts non-profit organizations from paying a gross receipts tax. While a for-profit contractor presently runs the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the management contract is in transition, with the possibility that the new contractor could be a non-profit.

    Cisneros, along with cosponsors State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-43) and Sen. Richard Martinez (D-5) want to make sure the millions of dollars the state and the county receives from the GRT tax continues.

    Cisneros said the bill first came up last year when Sandia National Laboratory’s contract was up for bid.

  • LANL employee shot during NM 502 road rage incident

    Area law enforcement agencies continued to search Tuesday for the driver of a Jeep who reportedly shot at a Los Alamos National Laboratory employee in an apparent case of road rage about 6 p.m. Thursday, while he was driving home to Santa Fe on NM 502 near Pojoaque.

    The man was found by Santa Fe Sheriff’s deputies in Pojoaque, bleeding from his head from a gunshot wound.

    The alleged shooter was driving a white Jeep Wrangler with a blue Marine Corps license plate. The Jeep had an after-market metal bumper, according to reports.

    The victim, a 40-year male, was able to call 911 from the Phillips 66 gas station at 67 Ogo Wii Road.
    When Santa Fe County Sheriff Deputy John Maylone arrived at the scene, he reportedly found the victim conscious and standing by his gray Dodge Avenger.

    Maylone said the victim had blood on his hands and blood on the back of his head.

    A CT scan later taken at St. Vincent’s hospital showed a bullet lodged between the scalp and the skull. A neurosurgeon at the hospital reported that the bullet did fracture the victim’s skull. The victim had surgery later that night.

    The victim told Maylone he first saw his attacker when he pulled onto NM 502. The Jeep Wrangler was reportedly in front of his vehicle and he was two to three car lengths behind.

  • US marshal for New Mexico resigns

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — U.S. Marshal for New Mexico Conrad Candelaria resigned after nearly eight years in the position.
    A spokesman for the service confirmed Monday that Candelaria resigned over the weekend.

    Candelaria was confirmed by the Senate in 2010 after then-President Barack Obama nominated the New Mexico native and former Albuquerque police officer for the role.

    U.S. Marshals Service spokesman Drew Wade says Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Brent Broshow took over Sunday as the interim senior manager of the New Mexico office.

    The Marshals Service says Broshow will relocate to New Mexico from Missouri..

  • Protests hit Ten Commandments marker, MLK Day in New Mexico

    HOBBS (AP) — Activists advocating for religious freedom are targeting a Ten Commandments monument in a southeastern New Mexico public building and a city's sponsorship of a Martin Luther King, Jr. event.

    The Hobbs News-Sun reports members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation says the Ten Commandments monument and the King event violate the separation of church and state.

    Hobbs resident and foundation member Jeremy Wood asked the Hobbs City Commission at a recent meeting to remove the Ten Commandments monument at Hobbs City Hall.

    Foundation lawyer Christopher Line also sent a complaint to the City of Hobbs regarding its sponsorship of a Martin Luther King, Jr. event because it involved a performance by a gospel group.

    Hobbs City attorney Mike Stone says the city will evaluate the complaints.

  • 2018 State Legislature: Legislative Roundup Feb. 6, 2018

    The New Mexican

    Days remaining in session: 10

    PAC man: The political action committee for the House Democrats is walking back a fundraising email sent over the weekend, smack dab in the middle of what is known as the "prohibited period" -- the time around each session when legislators are barred from soliciting campaign donations.

    The email from the New Mexico House Democratic Campaign Committee touted the caucus' work at the 30-day session's halfway point.

    And at the bottom, it included a link that said "contribute."

    That would seem to violate the rules. After all, legislators usually take down "donate" buttons on their webpages ahead of the session.

    But the Secretary of State's Office said the committee had asked whether a legislator can lend his or her name to a PAC for fundraising during the session.

    The rules do not bar a political committee from continuing to raise money, the Secretary of State's Office said.

    And the email from the House Democrats' campaign committee did not name any individual legislators.

    Still, the committee followed up the next day with an email apologizing to supporters. It meant to include a link at the bottom of the email to share the message, not to donate, the committee wrote.

  • House Republicans working on averting another shutdown

    WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republican leaders are grappling for a strategy to avert another government shutdown at midnight Thursday.

    They scheduled a closed-door session Monday evening to brief House GOP lawmakers on a way to pass a stopgap funding bill that could last through March 23 to buy time for progress in implementing any follow-up budget pact and, perhaps, pass immigration legislation.

    One option, GOP aides said, would be to pass the stopgap spending bill by marrying it with a full-year, $659 billion Pentagon spending bill. The aides required anonymity because lawmakers hadn't been briefed.

    Republicans are scrambling to pass the measure through the House since they can't count on support from Democrats — who feel stymied by inaction on legislation to protect young immigrants from deportation — to advance the legislation.

    That approach of pairing the Pentagon's budget with only temporary money for the rest of the government wouldn't go anywhere in the Senate, vowed Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who said it "would be barreling head first into a dead-end."

  • Dow plunges 1,175 points in worst day for stocks since 2011

    NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow Jones industrial average plunged more than 1,100 points Monday as stocks took their worst loss in six and a half years. Two days of steep losses have erased the market's gains from the start of this year and ended a period of record-setting calm for stocks.

    Banks fared the worst as bond yields and interest rates nosedived. Health care, technology and industrial companies all took outsize losses and energy companies sank with oil prices.

    At its lowest ebb, the Dow was down 1,597 points from Friday's close. That came during a 15-minute stretch where the 30-stock index lost 700 points and then gained them back.

    Market pros have been predicting a pullback for some time, noting that declines of 10 percent or more are common during bull markets. There hasn't been one in two years, and by many measures stocks had been looking expensive.

    "It's like a kid at a child's party who, after an afternoon of cake and ice cream, eats one more cookie and that puts them over the edge," said David Kelly, the chief global strategist for JPMorgan Asset Management.

    Kelly said the signs of inflation and rising rates are not as bad as they looked, but after the market's big gains in 2017 and early 2018, stocks were overdue for a drop.

  • 2018 State Legislature: House committee blocks abortion bill at emotional hearing

    By Andrew Oxford The New Mexican

    Two hours of emotional testimony from New Mexicans on both sides of the abortion debate did not seem to change anyone's mind at the Legislature on Saturday, as a House committee voted along party lines to block a bill that would have required abortion providers to notify parents before their child undergoes the procedure.

    The Republican sponsors behind House Bill 56 said the measure was a simple step to ensure minors make informed decisions with their parents before getting an abortion.

    But critics countered that the measure would hamper the rights of young women in making an intensely personal decision and delay care for patients. The House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee tabled the bill on a 3-2 vote, with Democrats on the prevailing side.

    The bill would have required abortion providers to contact a minor patient's parent or guardian by a certified letter delivered via courier at least 48 hours before their child undergoes the procedure. An exception would be allowed if the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest. In such instances, the abortion provider would have been required to report the case to the Children, Youth and Families Department.

  • 2018 State Legislature: Swift end for House bill to reinstate death penalty

    By Andrew Oxford
    The New Mexican

    New Mexico abolished the death penalty in 2009, and it is not coming back this year.

    A legislative committee on Saturday quashed a bill that would have reinstated capital punishment for the murders of children, police officers and correctional officers.

    The 3-2 party-line vote was no surprise, but it brought out some of the most visceral testimony yet of this year's 30-day legislative session.

    The recently discovered death of 13-year-old Jeremiah Valencia of Santa Fe County and stories of his tortured life loomed over the discussion.

    But so, too, did the story of a former lawmaker's son who was wrongly accused of murder and locked in jail until his exoneration.

    House Bill 155 was just the latest proposal by Republican legislators in recent years to reinstate capital punishment for certain murders. They argued the measure would have made the death penalty an option again for only the worst of the worst criminals.

    Rep. Monica Youngblood, a Republican from Albuquerque and the bill's cosponsor, pointed to the high-profile murders of several children in recent years.

    "While we're all reading the stories of what happened to poor Jeremiah, last session it was Ashlynn Mike. The session before it was Victoria Martens," she told the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee.