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Today's News

  • Study: N.M. not prepared for recession

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico is not prepared to withstand another recession — should it come — given its depleted financial reserves, according to the findings in a new study.
    A “stress test” by Moody’s Analytics that looked at New Mexico’s current state of finances was published earlier this month, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported .
    The state needs to have 10 percent of its budget in reserve in order to make it through a moderate recession without resorting to many significant tax hikes or cutting back services, according to the analysis.
    The study also determined the state would need 17.1 percent in reserves to stay afloat in a severe recession.
    With budget shortfalls pushing lawmakers to move money from the reserves to cover various areas of need, New Mexico currently doesn’t come close to the bar set by the analysis.

  • Report: LANL comes up short on emergency drills

    LOS ALAMOS (AP) — A federal nuclear safety panel says Los Alamos National Laboratory has come up short during drills intended to show how the New Mexico lab would respond to potential emergencies such as radioactive leaks or earthquakes.

    A letter and lengthy report sent this month by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board to U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry says the board found numerous weaknesses dating back to 2014.

    While the board did not issue any final recommendations regarding the weaknesses, it detailed its findings in the report in hopes of helping the Energy Department and the National Nuclear Security Administration as the federal agencies address the lab’s issues.

    The Albuquerque Journal reports that among a long list of criticisms and findings in the report, lab crews regularly failed at establishing adequate incident command capabilities during the simulated emergencies. There was a lack of understanding of roles and responsibilities, ineffective coordination and inadequate communication, among other things.

  • County Costume Contest
  • Immigrant plan: Public ed regardless of status

    Los Alamos Public Schools board members continued to explain a proposal intended to protect the privacy of students’ immigration status.

    Members of the public continued to comment.

    At a work session last week at the Middle School, Board President Jenny McCumber explained that as a public school district, LAPS must admit all school-age students who live within the boundaries of the school district, as well as those out-of-district students who meet acceptance criteria.

    McCumber cited a 1982 U.S. Supreme Court case called Plyler v. Doe, which found that “no public school district has a basis to deny children access to education based on their immigration status, citing the harm it would inflect on the child and society itself, as well as the equal protection rights of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.”

    The statement is also part of the board’s proposed policy.

    McCumber noted, as does the proposed policy, that there “is no state or federal law that mandates that local school districts must assist ICE (Immigration and Customers Enforcement officers) in the enforcement of immigration laws.”

  • SF’s call to halt plutonium pit program will not affect LA

    In the Nov. 1 Los Alamos Monitor article titled “SF’s call to halt plutonium pit program will not affect LA,” the article should have read "provisions in it that support requests for more federal dollars."​

    The Santa Fe Council passed a resolution Oct. 25 calling for Los Alamos National Laboratory to halt plutonium pit manufacturing and that the New Mexico Environment Department and the lab modify a 2016 consent order that governs the cleanup of legacy waste.

    “As emphasized through this resolution, prioritizing cleanup and safety will have a direct impact on the City of Santa Fe and northern (New Mexico) communities by doing right for past and historic legacy contamination, as well as recent nuclear criticality safety incidents at LANL,” said Santa Fe Councilor Renee D. Villarreal.

    LANL officials declined to comment Tuesday about the resolution.

    Los Alamos County Chairman David Izraelevitz said Santa Fe’s resolution does not affect the county’s relationship with the lab.

    “Every community has the right to express their opinion through their local government.  This does not affect our relationships with the laboratory the DOE or other agencies,” Izraelevitz said.

  • Later high school start times mulled

    Should Los Alamos High School start later to accommodate older teenagers whose growing brains may prevent them from getting a good night’s rest until the early morning hours?

    Los Alamos Public Schools officials are seeking from input from members of the public.

    An electronic comment box under the heading Adjusting School Start Time on the LAPS website at laschools.net will be open until November 6.

    The final “vote” and comments will become part of the school board’s consideration, along with a final report from New Mexico First, a public policy think tank, hired to facilitate discussions about the issue.

    School board members will review all of the material at their Nov. 30 board work session, scheduled for Aspen Elementary. If adopted, the later start time would apply to the school year that starts in August next year, according to a press release from Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus.

    Last week, Los Alamos High School teacher Michael Montaño has formally asked the school board to put the brakes on any changes to the start time at the high school.

  • ‘Unworried’ shoppers over lab stability may boost Small Business Saturday

    Local small businesses usually expect a boost – or at least not a drop – when the feeling around Los Alamos National Laboratory is positive, said two small business owners.

    “It depends on the vibe coming out of the lab,” said David Jolly of Metzger’s Hardware.

    He’s seeing unworried customers, and attributes it to the recent issuance of a final request for proposals to manage and operate LANL for the National Nuclear Security Administration. At least 20 contractors expressed an interest in the draft RFP, issued earlier this year.

    “People aren’t as worried about it; it doesn’t seem as disruptive as it might have been,” Jolly said on Tuesday.

    Cyndi Wells of Pet Pangaea, who along with Jolly is part of Small Business Saturday planners, said last week that the “vibe” from the laboratory is an important ingredient to confidence by customers.

    The Nov. 25 event, which is organized by the Chamber of Commerce, is an important day for them to be able to recognize their customers, which they hope will be interested in shopping locally, they said.

    The event includes at least 61 businesses this year, which is more than the roster from last year, said Ufemia Bernal Rios, membership coordinator for the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce.

  • New Mexico congressional candidate accused of stalking woman

    SANTA FE (AP) — A man running for New Mexico's 2nd Congressional District seat is accused of felony stalking.

    Santa Fe police say 39-year-old David Alcon of Milan stalked a woman and sent her threatening messages last weekend.

    Alcon is one of four Democrats running for the U.S. House seat now held by Republican Rep. Steve Pearce, who is running for governor.

    Online court records don't list an attorney who could comment on the allegations.

    Alcon is the son of Democratic state Rep. Eliseo Alcon of Milan. A woman who answered The Associated Press' call to a phone listed in the father's name said the son was unavailable to comment.

    The woman didn't give her name and stopped talking after a reporter asked about leaving message asking David Alcon to call back.
     

  • LAHS volleyball advances to district tournament semifinals

    For the second night in a row, the Los Alamos High School varsity volleyball team pulled off an upset victory in the District 2-5A tournament, defeating Española Valley 3-1.

    The Hilltoppers, the No. 5 seed in the district tournament, won just one district game in the regular season. But that hasn’t stopped the team from rolling through the first two rounds of the district tournament, after defeating Del Norte High School Monday evening.

    Heading into Tuesday’s quarterfinal match, the Hilltoppers had a sense of confidence facing the Sundevils, as LAHS had defeated Española Valley twice in the regular season, most recently last Thursday inside Griffith Gymnasium.

    That confidence showed early in the first set, as the Hilltoppers jumped out to an early lead, and led by as many as nine points, at 18-9. But the Sundevils came roaring back in the set, tying the score at 19-19 and maintaining the momentum, eventually winning the set 26-24 to take a 1-0 lead.

    As the second set began, it appeared that the Sundevils would continue to roll, jumping out to a 10-5 lead. But the Hilltoppers continued to chip away, led by junior Sophia Salazar, who had 6 kills in the second set.

  • Study finds New Mexico not prepared for another recession

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico is not prepared to withstand another recession — should it come — given its depleted financial reserves, according to the findings in a new study.

    A "stress test" by Moody's Analytics that looked at New Mexico's current state of finances was published earlier this month, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

    The state needs to have 10 percent of its budget in reserve in order to make it through a moderate recession without resorting to many significant tax hikes or cutting back services, according to the analysis.

    The study also determined the state would need 17.1 percent in reserves to stay afloat in a severe recession.
    With budget shortfalls pushing lawmakers to move money from the reserves to cover various areas of need, New Mexico currently doesn't come close to the bar set by the analysis.

    New Mexico is set to finish 2017 with 5.5 percent of its budget in reserves and have 3.4 percent by the end of June 2018, state officials said.

    The analysis found that 14 other states are in a similar situation as New Mexico.

    Although the analysis does not predict another recession is imminent in the coming months, it determines that with the current cycle of economy, it is inevitable.