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Today's News

  • Latest stab at postal reform should include services

    Even in the age of texts and email, we still depend on the post office, and people who live in rural areas need it to work better. That’s the gist of a letter signed by 80 members of Congress, including Sen. Tom Udall, to congressional leaders regarding postal reform legislation.

    The reduction in hours, elimination of overnight service, and longer delivery times have hit rural America especially hard.

    House and Senate bills tackle a disastrous 2006 requirement that the U. S. Postal Service prefund retiree benefits 75 years in advance; the $5.5 billion a year cost is the main source of red ink. The bills would integrate postal workers into Medicare and change the payment schedule to avoid the $5 billion annual payments that add to USPS deficits. The bills call for converting millions of addresses to cluster boxes. Customers could comment if their post office might be closed. This is all according to the website Save the Post Office, edited by a college professor with no ties to USPS; he just likes his small town’s post office.

    The Senate bill puts a five-year moratorium on closing post offices or reducing their hours and a two-year moratorium on closing other postal facilities.  

  • ‘Don’t-cut-me’ emails don’t help as state revenues plunge

    “Not very good,” said David Abbey, describing the state’s economy. He switched to “bad” for further descriptions of matters such as job (non)growth. 

    Abbey, executive director of the Legislative Finance Committee (LFC), was in his traditional program start slot at the annual legislative outlook conference of the New Mexico Tax Research Institute. It was five days before Christmas. 

    Not that the state’s situation was good last summer, but things deteriorated between the August consensus forecast and December. The August forecast was 1.7 percent job growth during the current budget year, FY 17, that ends June 30, 2017. Zero was the December job growth forecast. The December forecast for wage and salary growth was 0.7 percent, a quarter of the August estimate. Gross state product growth now figures at 40 percent of the August forecast.

  • County, community reacts to clinic cutbacks

    Los Alamos County councilors and Los Alamos Health Council members are anxious to speak with the New Mexico Department of Health about its recent decision to further cut hours and services at the Los Alamos health clinic. 

    Among the changes, the state health department transferred its sexually transmitted disease testing and birth control programs 21 miles away to its Española office.

    Los Alamos County Council has asked for a meeting in a letter it sent in October. 

    “We transmitted a letter and requested a meeting,” Los Alamos County Council Chair Rick Reiss said. “We reiterated that we don’t believe they’re encapsulating our needs correctly. We’ve asked for copies of their incident reports.” 

    Reiss said the health department is not correctly using the data it used to justify the reduction in hours and services. 

    The department based its decision on data it received about the number of times the office is used to counsel Los Alamos teens on unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.   

  • Comp plan tops county’s 2016 accomplishments

    Los Alamos County saw some major accomplishments during 2016, one of them years in the making. Those include a new comprehensive plan, a recreation bond package that will go to voters next year and new resources for economic development. These are some of the year’s highlights.

    New comprehensive plan will guide county’s growth

    As Los Alamos County Council Chair Rick Reiss pointed out when council passed the new comprehensive plan, it has been 29 years since the last comprehensive plan was approved in 1987. In the years since, it had become muddled and unwieldy, encompassing a number of other plans encompassing or drawing on a number of other plans and revisions. Planning for a new comprehensive plan was well underway in 2004 when the Cerro Grande fire derailed that effort. 

    Members of the public pushed back when P and Z proposed basing the new comprehensive plan on council’s strategic goals with little public input. They argued that the plan should be based on the community’s vision and urged the commission to conduct extensive public outreach similar to that used in developing the 1987 plan. 

  • In from the cold

    Shoppers at the Dec. 22 Los Alamos Farmer’s Market at Fuller Lodge checked out the fresh, hot apple cider before heading in for more shopping.

  • DOE secures waste route through Nambé

     The Department of Energy announced Dec. 21 a $250,000, renewal of a five-year agreement with the Nambé Pueblo that will allow the DOE to transport radioactive waste through its lands to the DOE’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant for treatment in Carlsbad. 

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    The $250,000 agreement will fund training and technical assistance to the pueblo’s emergency responders to ensure the waste, which will include transuranic waste from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, gets to WIPP without incident.  

    The training will include how to plan and train for emergency events, transportation monitoring, equipment, supplies and increasing public awareness activities. 

  • Today in history Dec. 27
  • Prep boys hoops: LA opens Poe Corn tourney tonight

    The Los Alamos boys basketball team will get another opportunity to make a name for itself in Class 5A.
    The Hilltoppers open the Poe Corn Invitational against Belen at 6 p.m. tonight in Roswell.
    “That’s a good 5A tournament,” Los Alamos coach Mike Kluk said. “If we can come out of there with a couple of wins, that’ll help our confidence. It’s a big tournament for us. We can gain some respect or we can lose some respect.”
    Los Alamos (4-4) is riding a two-game losing streak, while Belen is 8-1 and has won its last five. Tonight’s matchup will be one of the Hilltoppers toughest tasks this season, as the Eagles have impressive wins against Alamogordo and Roswell and won its hosted Hub City Tournament. Los Alamos also participated in the Hub City Tournament and placed in seventh.
    Belen’s quick start has placed the Eagles on the list of Class 5A contenders, while Los Alamos got off to a 3-0 start but a couple of setbacks against St. Pius and Eldorado have ensured that the Hilltoppers need a good showing in Roswell to be considered a legitimate contender.
    Los Alamos and Belen have played each other the last seven seasons with the Eagles holding a 4-3 edge during that span.

  • Daughter: Actress and author Carrie Fisher dies at age 60

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Actress Carrie Fisher, who found enduring fame as Princess Leia in the original "Star Wars," has died. She was 60.

    Fisher's daughter, Billie Lourd, released a statement through her spokesman saying Fisher died Tuesday morning in Los Angeles.

    "It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning," read the statement from publicist Simon Halls. "She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly."

    Fisher had been hospitalized since Friday when she suffered a medical emergency on board a flight to Los Angeles.

    She made her feature film debut opposite Warren Beatty in the 1975 hit "Shampoo." Fisher also appeared in "Austin Powers," ''The Blues Brothers," ''Charlie's Angels," ''Hannah and Her Sisters," ''Scream 3" and "When Harry Met Sally ..."

  • Prepare for Medicare price changes in 2017

    BY NATHAN SILLIN
    Practical Money Skills