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Today's News

  • Jobs bills moving despite partisan wrangling

    Lawmakers are more focused on job creation in this legislative session, but jobs bills still get high-centered on ideological speed bumps.
    The Democrats this year offered a six-part plan that’s a shade better than their past packages. They would spend $63 million in capital outlay on infrastructure repairs and improvements, pass a modest minimum wage increase, increase broadband access, allow industrial hemp research, and try to open economic development incentives to home-grown businesses.
    Of the bunch, only broadband would be a home run.
    This year’s capital outlay has already seen partisan wrangling. A Republican lawmaker proposed giving up capital outlay to help stanch red ink, an interesting idea considering the problems with our capital outlay process. Democrats refused, and the governor bashed them for refusing.
    Capital outlay is a different creature in the rural areas. While the cities might forego their public works money for a year, smaller communities rely on it for needed projects. And the spending is a form of stimulus. Just ask the state’s construction companies.
    A minimum wage increase isn’t economic development, but it needs to happen. Our current rate is $7.50, and lots of states are higher.  

  • Lawmakers eye bills to shore up lottery scholarships

    BY ROBERT NOTT
    The New Mexican

  • New report could shed light on health impacts of A-bomb test

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Residents of the New Mexico village of Tularosa have long said those living near the site of the world’s first atomic bomb test in 1945 weren’t told about the dangers or compensated for their resulting health problems.
    Since then, they say, descendants have been plagued with cancer and other illnesses while the federal government ignored their plight.
    More details will emerge on those concerns Friday, when a report is set to be released examining whether the blast damaged the genes of the people exposed to it.
    The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium will unveil the health assessment involving residents of the historic Hispanic village and other New Mexico counties around the testing site.
    Some residents allege that the federal government neglected to include New Mexico in a law that compensated residents near another atomic test site because many of those near the Trinity Test were Hispanic.
    The government has not commented on those claims. Officials with the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Division, which oversees the compensation program, said Congress would have to amend the act to expand payouts to New Mexico residents.

  • Council mulls changes to trash collection

    Los Alamos County residents appreciate Environmental Services’ quarterly brush and bulk trash collection service, but the program is not without its problems. On Tuesday, the Environmental Sustainability Board (ESB) presents the Los Alamos County Council with recommendations for maintaining the service while reducing costs and issues such as curbside clutter.
    Brush/bulk pickup provides residents with a means of disposing of large items such as furniture or compostable green waste.
    “The intent of the program was to help residents keep their yards tidy and to help them with large items they can’t bring in on their own,” Environmental Services Manager Angelica Gurule told the Los Alamos Monitor in a previous interview.
    At an ESB meeting, Chair John Bliss noted other positive aspects of the program.
    “People are doing fire mitigation, trying to keep trash away from their house. We want them to do that,” Bliss said.
    ESB has worked for almost a year to find ways to address the issues yet maintain the program for county residents.
    Program costs and the amount of labor required to execute it are major issues. According to Gurule, it originally took around four months a year to conduct the quarterly pickups. Now it takes approximately eight months.

  • Charges allege conspiracy to sell fake Native American art

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A federal grand jury in New Mexico has indicted four people on charges of conspiring to import and fraudulently sell Filipino-made jewelry as made by Native Americans.
    The U.S. Attorney’s Office says the indictment Tuesday stems from an investigation that began in early 2015, involved several federal agencies and resulted in a previous indictment.
    The latest indictment charges four people with conspiracy and one of the four as well as a fifth person with violating the Indian Arts and Craft Act. U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez says eliminating the flow of counterfeit Native American art and craftwork provides a level playing field for producers of genuine Native American art.

  • N.M. sanctuary state bill’s prospects dim

    BY MILAN SIMONICH
    The New Mexican

  • Pearce: Border wall won’t work

    BY ANDREW OXFORD
    The New Mexican

  • LA sees slightly cooler temps in January

    Los Alamos and White Rock measured slightly cooler-than-average daytime temperatures in January and significantly warmer-than-average nighttime temperatures.
    Los Alamos measured a mean maximum temperature of 1.4 degrees below average and a mean minimum temperature of 3.5 degrees above average, according to David Bruggeman, meteorologist with Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Environmental Protection and Compliance Division.
    “The total precipitation was well above average as four main storms passed through the area,” Bruggeman said.
    Los Alamos had 2.23 inches in total precipitation, which was 135 percent of average. In 2016, Los Alamos did not measure 2 inches until April. Los Alamos also measured above-average snowfall with 15.3 inches of snow, which was 2 inches above average.
    Many parts of the western states measured well-above-average precipitation, resulting in improvements in western drought conditions.
    The U.S. Drought Monitor also reported that California has recouped a portion of its five-year snow-water deficit as a result of the recent atmospheric river weather patterns, Bruggeman said.

  • Council votes on rec bond resolution Tuesday

    The Los Alamos County Council will vote on the wording for the recreation bond election resolution at its Tuesday meeting, starting at 6 p.m. in council chambers.
    When council began discussing the next round of Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) spending in Nov. 2015, large numbers of citizens turned out to advocate for new or improved recreational facilities.
    When it became apparent that requests far exceeded the $14 million available for all CIP projects, council decided to put the issue to voters in the form of a $20 million dollar recreation bond. That will be leveraged with $13.4 million of county CIP funds to develop five recreation projects totaling to $33.4 million. They also set aside $4 million for economic development projects and directed staff to move forward with improvements to DP Road, Deacon Street and building a 20th Street extension.
    In December, council approved the five projects to include in the bond issue: improvements to the golf course and to a softball field at Overlook Park, a new recreation center/indoor ice rink, a new multigenerational pool and a splash pad at Piñon Park.

  • DPU repairs water main break

    A water main leak that opened up Friday night, Feb. 3 in an underground, 16-inch water main at the Los Alamos Golf Course has been fixed.
    County utility crews repaired the break by Sunday evening. The county estimated that 100,000 to 200,000 gallons of water leaked from the main before crews were able to fix it.
    Officials from the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities weren’t sure of the exact amount, since they were able to successfully keep water flowing to the 1,600 customers DPU serves in the area.
    “It’s hard to tell because we’re looking at the water tanks, but there’s also people still using the water at that time. It’s hard know what was being consumed by North Mesa and Barranca Mesa and was actually being lost,” DPU Spokeswoman Julie Williams-Hill.  
    The value of the water was estimated to be about $1,000.   
    The main served communities in North Mesa and Barranca Mesa. Customers had water throughout the weekend without interruption. In order to repair it, crews had to dig a 25-foot hole in the ground to get access to the leak. In order to keep repair crews safe from cave ins, the crews approached the leak by “benching” the soil. While that meant it took longer to get at the leak, crews were kept safe.