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Today's News

  • State land commissioner offers extension to Houston-based oil and gas lessees

    State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn has offered a grace period to Houston-based oil and gas lessees that pay royalties and interest on oil, gas, and carbon dioxide extracted from New Mexico State Trust Lands, Dunn announced Wednesday.

    “Hurricane Harvey’s destruction is far-reaching and will cause substantial revenue volatility in New Mexico,” Dunn said. “By disrupting a key hub of the nation’s energy industry, Harvey will impact the revenues the State Land Office collects and distributes to the schools and institutions that count on us to pay their bills.”

    The state’s general fund will be impacted as well due to suspended production. The oil and gas industry contributes more than $2 billion per year in revenues for operations, capital projects, and permanent funds. 

    Dunn said about 40 percent of severance taxes collected by the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department are paid by Houston-based companies. Federal mineral leases contribute about half-a-billion dollars to the general fund.

  • Fiber Arts Center to mark 20 years with special celebration in September

    BY WREN PROPP
    Special to the Monitor

    A treasure of the Española Valley’s creative community will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in mid-September, a result of hard work, strong roots and a growing national spotlight, organizers say.

    Within the 7,000 square feet of its storefront building on Paseo de Onate in Española, the Española Valley Fiber Arts Center fosters fiber arts of many types and textures. A public celebration of the center’s longevity and future will be 1-4 p.m. on Sept. 16 at the center.

    “It’s unique. It’s really a national gem because it’s given a place for this,” art and craft, said Bethe S. Orrell, a former director of the nonprofit center.

    Weavers, knitters, colcha artists, felters, students and professionals, have been drawn to the center over the years. It offers classes in many styles of fiber arts from nationally recognized artists, as well as a retail store for finished products and materials, where prices are comparable. A library, work spaces for some techniques and a large room of looms are all part of the mix.

  • Tea and fashion show helps House of Hope

    Kelly Hall of the Trinity-on-the-Hill Church transformed into a beautifully decorated high tea for women (and men) of all ages Saturday who came to watch a parade of fashions, sip tea and contribute to a local missions group.

    The seventh-annual Tea and Fashion Show fundraiser, which is the biggest fundraiser for the House of Hope building group, was able to collect over half of their financial goal from the event.

    Between the tickets, silent auction and donations, House of Hope made about $5,000. On top of that, a private donator offered to match, up to a certain amount, the funds raised through the silent auction.

    House of Hope builds homes for families in need in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and that requires over $10,000 per home. All of the money goes toward building that home because the builders pay their own room and board while in Juarez.

    The classical piano music provided by Joe Cox created the perfect ambiance to mingle with friends, peer at silent auction items and taste a multitude of different teas.

    “I think it went very well,” said Nancy Coombs, who helped organize the event overall, including the silent auction. Coombs said, “The people that came said they had a lovely time,” and some were talking about it at church the next day.

  • Machine-learning earthquake prediction in lab shows promise

    Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory are working with machines that may make future prediction of earthquakes possible.

    By listening to the acoustic signal emitted by a laboratory-created earthquake, a computer science approach using machine learning can predict the time remaining before the fault fails.

    “At any given instant, the noise coming from the lab fault zone provides quantitative information on when the fault will slip,” said Paul Johnson, LANL fellow and lead investigator on the research, which was published Wednesday in Geophysical Research Letters.

    “The novelty of our work is the use of machine learning to discover and understand new physics of failure, through examination of the recorded auditory signal from the experimental setup. I think the future of earthquake physics will rely heavily on machine learning to process massive amounts of raw seismic data. Our work represents an important step in this direction,” he said.

    Not only does the work have potential significance to earthquake forecasting, Johnson said, but the approach is far-reaching, applicable to potentially all failure scenarios including nondestructive testing of industrial materials brittle failure of all kinds, avalanches and other events.

  • LAPD advises caution after thefts

    Los Alamos Police Department advise local shoppers to take precautions following recent incidents at the at the Los Alamos Smith’s Marketplace.

    According to the police, an individual reportedly attempted to steal a woman’s purse. Although no arrests have been made, the case is still active and under investigation.

    The Monitor will have more info on the incident in an upcoming edition.

    This incident follows a recent robbery of an elderly woman’s purse that began in the Smith’s parking lot and ended with her beaten in her own driveway.

    On May 12, an unknown woman came up to the victim, offered unsolicited help and then asked for some change. After opening the wallet to retrieve some coins, the woman was able to see the wallet’s contents, which contained cash. The victim was presumably followed home from the grocery store and was assaulted and robbed of her purse.

    As a public service announcement on the heels of such events, LAPD Commander Preston Ballew advised the public to pay attention to their surroundings and park as close to the store as possible.

    If anyone feels that they are being followed, do not go home and drive to police department, or dial 911.

    “Don’t fight back because who knows what could happen,” Ballew said.
     

  • Shoplifters arrested after fleeing, attempting to run over officer

    Two men were arrested this week after shoplifting and fleeing from police. The suspects crashed a truck after fleeing from Smith’s Marketplace in Los Alamos Friday.

    An unknown amount of suspects were involved in the shoplifting and accident, but Stephen Jaymes Montano and Joel A. Martin, were located and arrested that night, according to Los Alamos Police Department.

    Montano and Martin were arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, aggravated fleeing, shoplifting, leaving the scene of a crash, reckless driving and criminal damage to property. Montano also had the two active bench warrants.

    Around 9:45 p.m. on Friday, Los Alamos Police Department Cpl. J. Montoya was dispatched to a shoplifting incident involving a white Nissan Titan pickup truck.

    The suspects drove out of the Smith’s Marketplace parking lot, heading east on East Road, turned right onto Arroyo Lane, then right onto Verde Ridge Road.

    Around 10:10 p.m., Cpl. R. Larsen advised over radio that shots were fired and the white Nissan truck was fleeing from him.

    The white truck then wrecked on Verde Ridge and Arroyo Lane. The suspects had turned around in the cul de sac at the end, ran over a group of mailboxes, then crashed the truck into two cars parked on Arroyo Lane.

  • Santa Fe Archdiocese collecting donations for Harvey relief

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The Archdiocese of Santa Fe and Catholic Charities of New Mexico are organizing donation efforts for those affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana.

    The Archdiocese of Santa Fe announced Tuesday that the two entities are collecting donations online to be given to Catholic Charities in southeast Texas and Louisiana.

    In addition, all Archdiocese of Santa Fe parishes have been invited to participate in a second collection during the weekend of Sept. 17 to aid those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
     

  • Floodwaters drop across much of Houston; death toll at 20

    By NOMAAN MERCHANT and JUAN LOZANO, Associated Press

    HOUSTON (AP) — Harvey's floodwaters began to drop across much of the Houston area and the sun peeked through thinning clouds Wednesday in the biggest glimmer of hope in days for the besieged city. But as the crisis eases, the storm could begin to give up its dead.

    "We have good news," said Jeff Lindner, a meteorologist with the Harris County Flood Control District. "The water levels are going down. And that's for the first time in several days."

    The number of confirmed deaths rose to 20 when authorities reported that two men drowned on Monday. One of them drove around a barricade and into standing water, while the other tried to swim across a flooded road.

    Authorities expect the toll to rise as the waters recede and they are able to take full stock of the death and destruction wrought by the hurricane.

    Many thousands of homes in and around the nation's fourth-largest city were still swamped and could stay that way for days or longer. And some Houston-area neighborhoods were still in danger of more flooding from a levee breach.

    Officials said 911 call centers in the Houston area were still getting more than 1,000 calls an hour from people seeking help.

  • Festival celebrating Bigfoot in Jemez Springs Saturday

    Some people believe Bigfoot, the legendary, ape-like creature that allegedly roams the forests of the great northwest, has moved south. More specifically – somewhere in the Jemez Mountains.

    The village of Jemez Springs will host a barbecue, festival and lecture Saturday celebrating this the legend.
    Called the Bigfoot BBQ & Blues Fest, the event is organized by Jemez Springs resident Felix Nuñez.

    “Although I don’t want to hang my hat on Bigfoot’s existence, I think there’s been a lot of fascinating audio and video clips that can only be described as ‘unexplainable’ but real to those who have had personal encounters,” Nuñez said.

    “Whether you believe in Bigfoot or not, this event is for everyone who wants to enjoy live music, the beautiful Jemez Valley and hear from one of New Mexico’s top Bigfoot experts.”

    The event begins at 11 a.m. in the town’s main plaza when DJ Julian Trujillo plays music to get the event started. Nomad’s BBQ, Marley’s BBQ and local breweries will be selling food and drink. 

    Woodcarvers and vendors will also sell various handcrafted items.

  • Sec. of state seeks more info about complaint

    The New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office has requested more information from Patrick Brenner, a Sandoval County resident who filed a complaint against Los Alamos County Councilor Susan O’Leary with the office on July 10.

    Brenner filed a claim with the office, claiming that O’Leary was in conflict of interest when she advocated for the passage of a recreation bond measure when also serving as part of a political action committee that promoted the $20 million recreation bond measure in May.

    Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, has asked Brenner to clarify why he thinks O’Leary is in conflict of interest.

    “The complaint doesn’t really make anything clear about why Mr. Brenner is making his complaint, and that’s why our office then submitted that letter to him asking for clarification,” Secretary of State Communications Director Joey Keefe said. 

    Brenner is also alleging that the PAC accepted donations from non-profit organizations, which he says state law prohibits.