Today's News

  • When city halls duck-and-cover

    Starting with the earliest years of the Republic, a constant theme has laced its way through American political rhetoric to the effect that local and state governments, being “closer to the People” than a far-away national government, are best able to deal with the “People’s” needs and problems.
    It has always been a slightly silly proposition, if only because some of the “People’s” needs and problems transcend the boundaries and jurisdictions of state and local government, such as interstate commerce, national defense and terrorism.
    Lately, however, even a governmental function, which has historically been deemed inherently “local” in nature has found local governments in every part of the land clearly floundering, if not downright incompetent to handle.
    Consider local law enforcement.
    As most New Mexicans know, the state’s largest city has basically lost control of its police department and has entered into a written agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to fashion far-reaching police reforms, which Albuquerque officials — mayor and city council — will be obligated to implement.

  • Spirit of the West Winners

    Jim Hay admires his new handcrafted Spirit of the West Award with wife Reine and award presenter, 2015 New Mexico Teacher of the Year, Debra Minyard, Saturday at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. The Spirit of the West Award is named for former County Councilor Jim West.

  • Health care website gives out personal data

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The government’s health insurance website is quietly passing along consumers’ personal data to outside websites, just as President Barack Obama is calling for stronger cybersecurity protections.
    It works like this: When you apply for coverage on HealthCare.gov, dozens of data companies may be able to tell that you are on the site. Some can even glean details such as your age, income, ZIP code, whether you smoke or if you are pregnant.
    HealthCare.gov contains embedded connections to multiple data firms that the administration says generate analysis to improve the consumer experience. Officials say outside firms barred are from using the data to further their own business interests.
    Still, ever-evolving technology allows for individual Internet users to be tracked, building profiles coveted by advertisers.
    Connections to third-party tech firms were documented by technology experts who analyzed HealthCare.gov, and confirmed by The Associated Press. There is no evidence that personal information from HealthCare.gov has been misused, but the high number of outside connections is raising questions.

  • State Briefs 1-20-15

    House Democrats list higher minimum wage as priority

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico House Democrats are listing their priorities for the legislative session, but they’ll have less clout to push those initiatives.
    Republicans won control of the House in the November general election for the first time since 1954.
    Democratic representatives list priorities that include increasing New Mexico’s statewide minimum wage.
    Democratic floor leader Brian Egolf said Democrats support a bill to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from the current $7.50.
    The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that other Democratic representatives said during a Monday news conference in Santa Fe that they would fight for bills to limit class sizes and reduce standardized testing in public schools.
    Republican House Floor Majority Leader Nate Gentry later said Democrats are beginning the session by choosing divisiveness over bipartisanship.

    Former sheriff’s requests for new trial, sentencing delay

  • Update 1-20-15


    The Art in Public Places Board is seeking additional feedback on artwork to be installed at the county’s Municipal building using Open Forum. A handout with a description of each piece of art can be downloaded at peakdemocracy.com/portals/119/Forum_345/Issue_2410. Residents can leave comments for the board. Feedback will be a topic of discussion at the board’s Thursday meeting, which is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Municipal Building. Deadline for comments is Wednesday.

    Bandelier fees

    Bandelier National Monument is seeking public comment on possible increases in the park’s entry fees. Anyone wishing to make comments is invited attend one of two meetings Wednesday.  One will be in Los Alamos from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at the Chamber of Commerce  and the other will be in White Rock from 5:30- 7:30 p.m. at the Activity Center.

    School board

    The Los Alamos School Board will hold a work session Thursday at Mountain Elementary School. Session time is 5:30 p.m.

    BPU meeting

    A regular session of the Board of Public Utilities is schedueld for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in council chambers.

  • Burn In the Bayo

    Los Alamos Fire Department, in conjunction with Santa Fe National Forest, burned numerous piles of forest debris last weekend in Bayo Canyon to reduce potential fire fuel in the area. The burn was originally scheduled for earlier this month but was delayed until better weather and moisture conditions existed.

  • Wellness report is still grim

    Ahead of the opening of today’s 60-day New Mexico Legislative session, Kids Count released its rankings of the state in comparison to other state for the well-being of children.
    There was a tick up from last year’s report, but no significant improvement.
    Kids Count releases its data on an annual basis prior to the start of each session.
    According to its data, Kids Count said the state rates No. 49 in terms of taking care of its children. It was dead last in the 2014 ratings.
    And even with the uptick, there was still big issues with the way New Mexico was caring for the underprivileged.
    “The fact that we’ve seen a deterioration in key indicators — child poverty, children living in high-poverty areas, children living in single-parent families, and reading and math proficiency scores, for example — shows us the importance of creating and taking action on a comprehensive plan to make New Mexico a better place for working families and their children,” said Veronica C. García, Ed.D., executive director of NM Voices, which runs the Kids Count program in New Mexico. “We recognize that the data change over one year does not provide a trend, but it is still concerning that some of our worst child well-being outcomes continue to decline.”

  • Canyon School getting facelift

    The Canyon Complex, the low-profile building on Fourth Street owned by the Los Alamos Public Schools, will be getting an upgrade soon. The building is used as a training center for Los Alamos National Laboratory, but used to be Canyon Elementary School.
    According to school officials, the building, which is more than 50 years old, was due for some much needed cosmetic improvements on the outside, as well as some key improvements to the interior.
    When the project is completed, the building will be enveloped in a modern looking metal exterior designed to make the exterior facade look unified and modern looking. A key feature of that is extending the facade slightly beyond the roof so as to hide the boxy looking heating and air conditioning units on the roof.
    According to LAPS’ Chief Operations Officer Joanie Ahlers, the upgrade will cost about $640,000 and will feature some key interior improvements, as well.
    The renovation will primarily focus on the south wing, and will also include new bathrooms, doors and windows. The improvements, including the metal facade are also designed to improve energy efficiency.
    Carpeting will also be replaced during the renovation.
    Ahlers said the bid was originally just going to cover the facade, but the bids were so competitive, they were able to include the bathroom renovations.

  • NMED's Flynn discusses DOE cleanup Friday

    SANTA FE — New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ryan Flynn led off his address to the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities on Friday with the state’s reaction to sharply reduced funding for legacy waste cleanup in the “cromnibus” bill passed by the United States Congress in December.
    The FY 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill cuts Los Alamos National Laboratory’s budget for radioactive and hazardous waste cleanup from $225 million to $185 million.
    “That is well below what we believe is an appropriate level of funding,” Flynn said.
    Los Alamos was the only site which had its environmental cleanup budget cut last year. Flynn explained that the reduction was due to a misconception that a downward adjustment was justified because the transuranic TRU waste campaign to clean up Technical Area 63 — also called the 3706 campaign — was on hold due to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) closure.

  • District 2-5A play starts tonight in LA

    There are expectations surrounding both the Los Alamos Hilltopper basketball teams heading into the start of District 2-5A play.
    For the Hilltopper girls, those expectations are high. For the Hilltopper boys, not so much.
    Los Alamos’ teams open district this week. Tonight, Los Alamos’ boys will host the Capital Jaguars to get things rolling. Los Alamos’ girls will be at Capital Wednesday night.
    The Hilltopper boys aren’t expected to be in the conversation in the 2-5A mix. For several weeks during the season, four of the five district teams were in or very near the top 10 in Class 5A rankings, while the Hilltoppers were hovering near the bottom of that list.
    Heading into last weekend’s play, the only team in the district with a record at .500 or below was Los Alamos.
    At this point in the season, that doesn’t seem to bode well for the Hilltoppers’ chances, particularly considering they have been on the wrong end of some lopsided scores this entire season.
    There is a little more to that story, however. The Hilltoppers might have been able to hang with most of those teams they’d lost to had it not been for bad stretches during a number of games.