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Local News

  • Outside political groups spent nearly $4M in New Mexico

    SANTA FE (AP) — Two outside political groups free from New Mexico’s campaign contribution limits spent nearly $4 million to influence legislative races, which ended up with Democrats retaining control of the House and Senate.

    According to a campaign finance report filed on Thursday, a political committee with ties to Republican Gov. Susana Martinez spent $2.4 million in the primary and general election campaigns. The group — Reform New Mexico Now — paid for advertising and mailings in 31 House and Senate races, including several Democratic primary contests, according to Jay McCleskey, the governor’s political adviser.

    A Democratic-leaning political group called Patriot Majority New Mexico dumped almost $1.4 million into general election contests. The group was formed in August and received most of its money from labor unions. It backed about 20 House and Senate candidates, according to Craig Varoga, the PAC’s president and a Washington, D.C.-based Democratic strategist.

    The two political committees were the biggest spenders in legislative contests, and were free to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money because they didn’t coordinate their campaign strategy with candidates.

  • Update 12-07-12

    Swearing in

    The public is invited to attend the official “swearing in” ceremony for newly elected officials at 10 a.m. Dec. 21. in the Municipal Courtroom of the Justice Center. A reception with light refreshments will follow in the lobby of the Justice Center.

    Calendar

    To kick off its 50th anniversary celebration next year, the Los Alamos Monitor will distribute a commemorative 2013 calendar Sunday Dec. 9. Look for it inside your newspaper.

    Make a craft

    Make holiday crafts during WinterFest at Mesa Public Library. Just drop in and make a free seasonal craft project. Kids and parents are welcome. Go to Youth Services downstairs from 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, Call 662-8258 for more info., email ysweb@lacnm.us or visit the calendar at losalamosnm.us/library.

    DWI council

    The Los Alamos County DWI Planning Council will meet at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 11 at the Los Alamos Police Department Training Room, 2500 Trinity Dr., Suite A.

    Have a news tip?

    Send press releases, photos and videos to laeditor@lamonitor.com or contact the newsroom at 662-4185.

  • N.M. 502 plan to get revisions

    The Los Alamos County Public Works department will present a revised plan for N.M. 502 improvements to council at 7 p.m. Dec. 11 in council chambers.

    A plan approved by council last February was bounced by the New Mexico Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration after traffic studies determined that the Level of Service for side streets Arroyo Lane and Sombrillo Court would not meet minimum standards.

    The NMDOT and FHWA are requiring that N.M. 502 be increased to four lanes through that area to address the issue.

    Staff has been negotiating with the agencies to find alternatives, since area residents argued against widening the road. The county’s argument that a “context sensitive solution” was needed has been rejected.

    If the county does not revise the design to meet NMDOT and FHWA requirements, the county risks losing nearly $4 million in federal funds earmarked for the project.

    Staff is also proposing a two-phase project for the area.

  • DPU structure gets scrutiny

    The Charter Review Committee’s intensive examination of the county charter revealed a major flaw in charter sections addressing the Department of Public Utilities and its board.

    At Tuesday’s council meeting, County Attorney Rebecca Ehler summarized the problem.

    “State law prescribes responsibility and liability for municipalities; and H class counties, of which Los Alamos is the only one, is included in that definition of municipalities.

    “The responsibility for what goes on in a municipality rests solely with this council. And by law you can’t delegate your liability that way to any other organization. We don’t want our government passing on its responsibility to organizations we can’t hold accountable as voters.

    “Under the current system of our charter, you’ve not been given oversight. So if there is an operational infirmity, you can be held liable ultimately, but you don’t have the ability to direct the operations to correct whatever that infirmity might be.”

    Under the current charter, the DPU is virtually autonomous. The manager reports to the Board of Public Utilities, not the county administrator. Council’s only oversight is its ability to appoint board members and approve all budgetary issues.

  • Raw: Powerful Earthquake Hits Japan
  • Today in History for December 7th
  • 10 things to know for Friday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and stories that will be talked about Friday:

    1. EGYPT'S PRESIDENT DIGS IN HIS HEELS

    Morsi takes an uncompromising stand in a nationally televised address, while protesters plan another big rally Friday in Tahrir Square.

    2. ELECTION DIDN'T COME CHEAP

    Finance reports show that the U.S. presidential campaign cost more than $2 billion — a spending record.

    3. MAKING MARIJUANA LEGAL MIGHT HAVE BEEN THE EASY PART

    Now Washington state faces a raft of tough questions — how to create a legal-weed market, how to keep the drug away from teens.

    4. HOW ASSAD IS MAINTAINING HIS GRIP ON DAMASCUS

    A massive security clampdown includes a big increase in checkpoints and blast walls, and the deployment of army tanks.

  • Official: 'Confident' Bodies Are 2 Iowa Cousins

    Authorities say they're 'confident' bodies found in an isolated wildlife area are those of two young Iowa cousins who disappeared while riding their bikes last summer.

  • Pearl Harbor survivor helps identify unknown dead


    HONOLULU (AP) — Ray Emory could not accept that more than one quarter of the 2,400 Americans who died at Pearl Harbor were buried, unidentified, in a volcanic crater.

    And so he set out to restore names to the dead.

    Emory, a survivor of the attack, doggedly scoured decades-old documents to piece together who was who. He pushed, and sometimes badgered, the government into relabeling more than 300 gravestones with the ship names of the deceased. And he lobbied for forensic scientists to exhume the skeletons of those who might be identified.

    On Friday, the 71-year anniversary of the Japanese attack, the Navy and National Park Service will honor the 91-year-old former sailor for his determination to have Pearl Harbor remembered, and remembered accurately.

  • Demolition time

    Workers continue to tear down the enclosures on TA-21 on DP Road.