Today's News

  • Report puts New Mexico at No. 34 for education spending

    SANTA FE (AP) — A report by the Census Bureau ranked New Mexico as 34th in the nation for its public education spending.
    The Census Bureau released its findings last week, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported (http://bit.ly/2sxtvxe). The report took from nationwide data from 2014-15. New Mexico spent $9,752 per student during those years, 14 percent less than the national average for that period, according to the Census Bureau.
    In comparison, Utah spent around $6,500 per student, while New York invested a hefty $21,206.
    Experts found that despite those amounts, the state's proficiency scores and graduation rates are behind New York's by less than 10 percent while Utah's graduation rate passes New Mexico's by 12 percent. Utah students also beat New Mexico students' reading proficiency scores by 19 percent.
    Bruce Baker, a Rutgers University professor and expert in education finance, told The New Mexican that the disparities can be a result of the different economies and demographics in the two states. About 1 in 3 New Mexico children are from impoverished families compared with 12.5 percent of the low-income Utah children, according the report.
    "In New Mexico, you have an extreme poverty population, and there is not money to target resources in those areas," Baker said.

  • Safety Town kicks off third year

    The third year of Safety Town began Monday morning at Mountain Elementary School.

    The two-week program was created for incoming kindergarteners in the school district to learn how to traverse the town in a safe manner with regards to walking, taking the bus or riding a bike.

    “The whole program is designed to not only introduce them to safety, but to integrate them into the school environment,” explained Los Alamos Police Department Chief Dino Sgambellone.

    The partial days help to acclimate the kids and they also get the chance to meet future classmates.

    Kids are introduced to bus drivers, teachers, police officers, fire fighters and animal control officers, all of whom discuss safe ways for children to interact in their environments.

    Activities include class time, videos, craft time and exercise time, where they can practice all they have learned.

    LAPD Cpl. Adele McKenzie has been involved with Safety Town the past few years and explained that the kids come in with different abilities and, at times, they actually teach the students how to ride a bike.

    “It’s a lot of fun,” she said. 

  • Cajete Fire 87 percent contained

    The Cajete Fire is 87 percent contained, according to forest service officials.

    Also, the Central Incident Command, the national interagency command that took over management of the fire from local management Thursday, will be cutting its firefighting force down from 416 members to around 105 members according to the U.S. Forest Service.

    The fire, which has burned 1,412 acres, will be downgraded from a type 1 incident to a type 3 incident. A type 3 incident still calls for fire fighters from teams from all over the country to fight the fire.

    When it becomes a type 4 incident, local command will assume control of fighting and managing the fire.

    As of Tuesday, the 13 fire engines, one bulldozer, three water tenders and six helicopters have been used to fight and contain the blaze.

    Incident command was still battling fire on Los Griegos Mountain by flying crews in by helicopter. Incident command is also beginning to repair the landscape where fire fighting activities have been taking place.

    “They still have firefighters up there today, and they are being used to secure that line,” U.S. Forest Service Spokeswoman Julie Anne Overton said.

    At some point this week, crews are expected to switch to just watching the remaining fire burn itself out.

  • Memorial service for undersheriff set for Wednesday

    Following the sudden death of Los Alamos County Undersheriff John Horne, a memorial service in his honor will take place Wednesday at the Calvary Chapel. 

    Viewing will be from 10-11 a.m. and services will be 11 a.m.-noon. 

    Horne will be escorted from the Rivera’s Funeral Home in Española to the Calvary Chapel in Los Alamos. After the services, he will be escorted back to Rivera’s.

    Sheriff Marco Lucero released a statement Friday evening stating that Horne was found in his home early Friday afternoon by his father.

    "Undersheriff Horne was an honorable man who served the community," Lucero said. "His Christian faith was his anchor, and we know that he is being welcomed into the Kingdom."

    Horne was an active member of Lucero's team, and a contributing member of the community. 

    In the release sent to media Friday, Lucero asked for the community's good thoughts and prayers for Horne's father.

  • New Mexico top elections official to run for re-election

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico's top elections official says she will run for re-election in 2018.
    Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver announced her bid for the Democratic nomination Tuesday, saying she wants to continue implementing reforms of the state's campaign finance rules as well as increasing voter education in rural and Native American communities.
    Toulouse Oliver was elected secretary of state during a special election in November 2016.
    She's serving out the remainder of the term vacated by Republican Dianna Duran, who resigned as secretary of state in 2015 and was convicted on embezzlement and money laundering charges.
    Before taking over the statewide office, Toulouse Oliver served as the Bernalillo County clerk from 2007 to 2016.

  • New Mexico man chosen to lead Civil Air Patrol

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The Civil Air Patrol's governing board has chosen a New Mexico man to serve as the organization's next chief executive and national commander.

    The organization announced the selection of Col. Mark Smith of Albuquerque on Monday. A change of command ceremony will be held later this year during the Civil Air Patrol's national conference in Texas.

    Smith currently serves as the patrol's southwest region commander and was previously the wing commander in New Mexico.

    As CEO and national commander, Smith will lead the patrol's 57,000 members for the next three years as they conduct emergency services and promote aerospace education.

    Smith has a doctorate in education in ethical leadership from Olivet Nazarene University, a master's of aviation management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a bachelor's in international affairs from the U.S. Air Force Academy.

  • Police implore New Mexico author to end treasure hunt

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico's top law enforcement officer is asking the author and antiquities dealer who inspired thousands to comb remote corners of the West in vain for a chest of gold and jewels to end the treasure hunt.
    The plea from New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas follows what authorities believe is the latest death related to the hunt for Forrest Fenn's hidden treasure.
    Kassetas told the Santa Fe New Mexican that Fenn should retrieve the treasure from wherever he hid it and "stop this nonsense."
    Fenn says he's been considering how to make the search safer or cancel it altogether but hasn't made any decisions.
    The New Mexico Search and Rescue team is reaching out to the public through a survey for their thoughts on whether Fenn should call off the search.

  • Today in history June 20
  • El Cajete Fire 80 percent contained

    The El Cajete Fire is 80 percent contained, the roads are open and everyone that was evacuated was back in their homes by Sunday night, according to officials with the California Interagency Incident Management Team, the command that has been overseeing the fire.

    There were 323 fire personnel working the fire Sunday.

    “Everything is good, everything is progressing as expected and we’re at 80 percent containment,” California Interagency Incident Commander Mark von Tillow told community members assembled at the Jemez Mountain Baptist Church Sunday evening. “We will continue on working securing the line, mopping up the places where we built a line, controlling monitoring, making sure nothing gets out.”

    The bulk of the fire is between NM 4 and Los Griegos Peak.

    The California Interagency Incident Management Team is also watching the weather, as thunderstorms are expected in the area in the next few days.

    “We are making sure everything’s secured and that we’re ready to respond to anything happening in the area if we have to,” von Tillow said. 

  • Valles Caldera National Preserve expected to reopen today

    The Valles Caldera National Preserve was expected to resume its normal hours of operation and visitor services today, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., following the emergency closure prompted by the El Cajete Fire.