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Today's News

  • Marijuana debate stirs up governor's race in New Mexico

    By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jeff Apodaca on Thursday called for the expansion of New Mexico's medical marijuana program and for legalization of recreational use, saying the poverty-stricken state is missing out on millions of dollars in tax revenues and jobs that could be spurred by the industry.

    Apodaca released his plan solidifying his position as a supporter of legalization as the race for governor heats up.

    Apodaca pointed to New Mexico's history as the first state to allow for research and experimentation with marijuana as a therapeutic drug. It was his father, then-Gov. Jerry Apodaca, who signed that legislation in 1978.

    The research program stalled and it wasn't until 2008 that New Mexico rolled out its medical cannabis program.

    "Why are we shooting for being the last to legalize cannabis for adult use?" Apodaca said.

    The push for legalization comes as New Mexico's medical marijuana program has grown exponentially in just the last two years. Producers licensed under the program reported record sales of more than $86 million in 2017 and the number of patients enrolled now tops 50,000.

  • Los Alamos resident helps veterans through horse therapy program

    Two weeks ago, Sabrina Larsen visited the North Mesa Stables with one of her friends. Her friend, who is a veteran, was brushing his horse and telling her how much it helped him deal with the after effects of war, she said.

    “It kind of resonated with me,” Larsen said.  

    Then, when she read an article in the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s “Community Connections” newsletter about a program to donate horses to a therapy program for veterans, she decided to look into it.

    A Los Alamos County resident and horse owner, Larsen contacted Healing America’s Heroes, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that funds fly fishing trips and a horseback riding program for veterans suffering from mental and physical injuries they obtained during their service.

    Larsen’s own father-in-law, Richard Larsen, and her father, Thomas Granich, are also veterans. So, the program was a good match.

    One of the program’s board members, Don Brooks, said it is amazing what the program has done for the veterans that have gone through the program. Many of them come to the program without any confidence and depressed, affected by post traumatic stress disorder and physical injuries they’ve suffered during combat.

    So far, 46 veterans, men and women, have gone through the program.

  • Trujillo: Campaign finance complaint is baseless

    An Alcalde woman filed a complaint against State Rep. Carl Trujillo D-46 Monday with the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office. The complaint alleges Trujillo is hiding campaign contributions to his 2018 reelection campaign.

    “I believe that Mr. Trujillo has violated New Mexico campaign finance laws by willfully concealing specific contributions to his 2018 reelection campaign, in violation of state law.

    The Secretary of State’s Office has yet to notify Trujillo of the complaint.

    Trujillo’s accuser, Denie Cordova, specifically alleges that he hid finances coming from a telecommunications company and sources from New Mexico’s oil and gas industry.

    “Mr. Trujillo failed to disclose thousands of dollars on his campaign finance reports from donors related to CenturyLink and the oil and gas industry, which is against the law,” Cordova said. “Because his failure to disclose these contributions relate to these two industries solely, I believe his failure to disclose was willful.

    Cordova speculated in her complaint that Trujillo was allegedly hiding the funds so the oil and gas industry would not appear to be the largest contributor to his campaign.

  • County opens budget hearings

    The Los Alamos County Council opened hearings Monday night on its 2019 budget, the final draft of which is to be submitted to the state by June 1. Several departments presented their budgets, which were arrived at under a flat budget mandate by County Manager Harry Burgess because of the uncertain future of the status of the Los Alamos National Laboratory's contract.

    "My direction to staff has been to prepare a flat budget within the general fund," Burgess said. "As everyone knows we're facing an uncertain future with respect to the laboratory's management, not knowing if it's going to be a for-profit or not-for-profit prime contractor and the impact that would have on the county's revenue sources."

    The council heard budgets from 12 departments on Monday night and was scheduled to hear four more budgets Tuesday night.

    The process is expected to carry over to Monday and Tuesday nights of next week.

    For the most part, you will see overall the same level of expenditures as last year with minor deviations," Burgess told the council.

    "That was our goal, a flat budget within the general fund because the general fund is largely dependent on that gross receipts tax that is at risk with respect to the turnover at the lab."

  • Starbucks to close stores for an afternoon for bias training

    By ALEXANDRA OLSON and JOSEPH PISANI, AP Business Writers

    NEW YORK (AP) — Starbucks, trying to tamp down a racially charged uproar over the arrest of two black men at one of its stores in Philadelphia, plans to close more than 8,000 U.S. stores for several hours next month to conduct racial-bias training for nearly 175,000 workers.

    The announcement Tuesday comes after the arrests sparked protests and calls for a boycott on social media. A video shows police talking with two black men seated at a table. After a few minutes, officers handcuff the men and lead them outside as other customers say they weren't doing anything wrong. Philadelphia-area media said the two were waiting for a friend.

    Starbucks, which once urged its employees to start conversations about race with customers, found itself through the looking glass, under fire for its treatment of black people.

    The company reacted from a high level: Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson called the arrests "reprehensible" and said he wanted to apologize to the two men face to face. The company and a lawyer for the two men said they did meet, and Johnson delivered the apology. Starbucks also said the employee who called police no longer works at the store, but declined to give details.

  • Police arrest a Los Alamos man on drug charges

    Police investigating activity at a vacant lot off Trinity Drive arrested an 18-year-old Los Alamos man April 9 on two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, possession of a controlled substance (cocaine), possession of marijuana and use or possession of drug paraphernalia.

    At the scene, Los Alamos Police Officer Gabriel Nieto observed three passengers in the vehicle.

    Isaiah Aylmer was in one of the rear passenger seats of the vehicle.

    “Due to the hidden location they are at and previous graffiti issues in the area, I asked them for identification,” said Nieto in his report.

    Nieto then asked who owned a black bag and two backpacks inside the vehicle. Isaiah Aylmer reportedly at first denied ownership of any of the items, but later confirmed that a backpack containing the illegal substances was his, according to police reports.

    He allegedly told Nieto that when they saw him, the other two passengers in his vehicle allegedly passed Aylmer the substances and was told to hide them, according to the report.

    Aylmer was released on his own recognizance and is due to appear in court for a preliminary hearing April 27.

  • UNM-LA offers bystander intervention workshop

    Solace Crisis Treatment Center Education and Prevention Department Manager Jess Clark will present “Bystander Intervention Workshop: Learning How To Safely Take Action” from 9-11 a.m. April 27 at the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos, Building 5 in Wallace Hall.

    The goal of Bystander Intervention workshops is to help participants develop bystander efficacy, or the confidence to intervene in a situation of sexual harassment or sexual assault.

    Workshop participants will learn about bystander theory and practice different strategies for intervening in various situations, from hearing someone telling offensive jokes or making inappropriate sexual comments to witnessing harassment or even violence in public.

    The information in this presentation applies to many topics in addition to sexual violence, such as bullying and helping those in need.

    The workshop is a collaboration between Solace Crisis Treatment Center and the UNM-LA grant from the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW).

    Dr. Kristy Nadler was awarded the grant for UNM-LA from the OVW at the U.S. Department of Justice. The OVW grant provides $300,000 over three years to organize effective sexual misconduct prevention, education and response for the UNM-LA community.

  • LANL scientists honored for exceptional work

    Four Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists were honored at the Los Alamos Medal ceremony April 12 for their distinguished achievements that have impacted the success of the laboratory and the nation, either through mission accomplishments or enhancing the laboratory’s distinction.

    The Los Alamos Medal is the Laboratory’s highest distinction.

    “There have been only 13 awardees since the Medal was established 17 years ago,” said Terry C. Wallace, Jr., director of Los Alamos National Laboratory. “And today’s medal winners are the first since 2014.”

    Past medal winners include Hans Bethe and Harold Agnew.

    This year, the Medals were awarded to Howard Menlove, who helped establish the laboratory’s technical expertise in nuclear safeguards and nonproliferation that became the foundation for international nonproliferation programs; and three members of the Human Genome Project team at Los Alamos – Scott Cram, Larry Deaven, and Robert Moyzis – who were instrumental in motivating the Department of Energy to formally initiate the Human Genome Project in 1987.

  • Española man arrested on suspicion of drug possession

    Police reportedly found heroin on a suspect while he was being checked into the Los Alamos County Detention Center April 9.

    The suspect, Brandyn Valdez, 22, of Española was arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance, tampering with evidence, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance (heroin) and driving with a suspended or revoked license.

    Police first came in contact with Valdez when a call came in regarding a vehicle driving in and out of a marked lane on East Jemez Road as he was driving toward White Rock.

    Police reportedly pulled Valdez’s car over. Valdez was driving a white pickup truck. Police and Valdez pulled into a parking lot off of Sherwood Boulevard, where police arrested Valdez on suspicion of driving with a suspended license, a charge he was previously cited for earlier in the month.

    While being booked into the Los Alamos County Detention Center, police allegedly discovered suboxone, heroin, and drug paraphernalia hidden on his person that Valdez allegedly didn’t tell the officer who arrested him.

    A preliminary hearing for Valdez’s case is set for May 11 in Los Alamos Magistrate Court.

  • IRS gives taxpayers extra day to file after website issues

    By SARAH SKIDMORE SELL, AP Personal Finance Writer

    Americans are getting an extra day to file their taxes after key elements of the IRS website crashed on deadline day.

    The IRS said that individuals or businesses with a filing or payment due Tuesday now have until midnight Wednesday to complete the task.

    Earlier Tuesday, Americans who had waited until the final day to file online got an unwelcome surprise: The agency's website for making payments and gaining access to other key services was down due to what Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin later described as a "high-volume technical issue."

    The website was back online late Tuesday.

    "This is the busiest tax day of the year, and the IRS apologizes for the inconvenience this system issue caused for taxpayers," Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter said in a statement. "The IRS appreciates everyone's patience during this period. The extra time will help taxpayers affected by this situation."

    No additional paperwork is needed to get the one-day extension, the IRS said.

    The IRS snafu also caused problems for popular third-party tax preparers such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block. Both said that they would hold on to customer tax returns and file after IRS system reopened.