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Today's News

  • Businesses unsettled by DACA uncertainty

    FINANCE NEW MEXICO

    Barring congressional intervention, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is ending, and DACA recipients — or “Dreamers” — are subject to deportation when their work permits expire if they didn’t get an extension before the Oct. 5 deadline.

    The demise of the program has created uncertainty among employers who are required to fire DACA recipients the day after their permits expire but risk discrimination charges if they act too soon to terminate — or even identify — DACA recipients on their payrolls.

    Companies risk fines for employing ineligible workers. They’re also advised to prepare carefully for this sudden change in circumstances for up to 800,000 young people whose parents brought them into the United States without proper documentation when they were children.

    A delicate question

    All employees, regardless of their citizenship status, must fill out an I-9 form and provide multiple forms of identification to verify their eligibility to work in the United States. Noncitizen workers carry papers that authorize them to work here temporarily; the paperwork includes a code that specifies the basis for the permit, but employers are discouraged from using the code to identify DACA recipients.

  • N.M. banks too small? Loan opportunities wanted

    Some banks are too small to succeed, suggests Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade and presumably someone who knows his way around the financial world. Maybe “too small” means having assets under $10 billion, Ricketts wrote in the Oct. 30 Wall Street Journal.

    Presented with Ricketts’ observation, a senior executive of a New Mexico-based bank chuckled. He’s not talking about New Mexico, the banker said.

    Maybe Ricketts has a point. Consider: Wells Fargo Bank of San Francisco, headquartered near the Union Square shopping mecca, counts $8.5 billion of deposits in New Mexico. For the whole bank, the deposit total is around $1.3 trillion. At less than 1 percent of the company, New Mexico doesn’t make afterthought status.

    Wells’ New Mexico deposit total dropped $450 million between June 30, 2016, and June 30, 2017, according to the deposit market share report from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, a regulator. That loss is more than the total deposits of all but 15 banks doing business in New Mexico. Three of the 14 branches closed across the state during the period were Wells Fargo branches. The state had 473 branches as of June 30.

  • New airport manager finds old home in LA

    For native son and Los Alamos County’s newest airport manager, it’s good to be home.

    Cameron Humphres, who spent two years managing the Santa Fe Municipal Airport started work as the manager of Los Alamos Airport Nov. 6.

    “How awesome is it to serve the very community where you were born and that gave you the impetus to pursue aviation in the first place,” Humphres said.

    Though Humphres’s family moved to Albuquerque when he was just 3 years old, ties to his family kept him coming back to Los Alamos throughout his childhood.

    He has fond memories of going to the airport with his grandfather to watch the planes take off and land, as well as at Kirtland Air Force Base, when Humphres’ father was in the Air Force.  His grandfather pursued aviation as hobby, but came to work at Los Alamos National Laboratory during the early days of the Manhattan Project as an electrician.

    When Humphres was a B-1 pilot in South Dakota, he flew in a training program with Paul Tibbets Jr., the grandson of Paul Tibbets, the 509th Composite Group pilot who dropped the first atomic bomb in combat over Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.

  • Sprucing Up Central Avenue
  • Regional coalition presses GRT tax issue with state

    The state legislature’s Revenue Stabilization and Tax Policy Committee agreed Tuesday something needed to be done to preserve the approximately $76 million in gross receipts tax paid through the Los Alamos National Laboratory to the state every year – but committee members just aren’t sure what.

    At Tuesday’s hearing, the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities pressed the issue, since it now seems more than likely a non-profit contractor may be the winning bidder for LANL’s management and operations contract.

    The University of California is interested in putting in a bid, and University of Texas System and Texas A & M University are also interested. Many of the contractors listed on the National Nuclear Security Administration’s website are non-profits.

    In New Mexico, non-profit organizations are exempt from paying gross receipts tax.

    The RCLC wants the state legislature to eliminate that exemption.

    According to the latest data provided by the regional coalition, $76 million in gross receipts tax was paid to the state in 2015. Los Alamos County received $34 million of those taxes, and the state received $41 million.

  • LAPD accreditation process to continue Tuesday

    After two years of working to meet the standards of a national accreditation organization, Los Alamos Police Chief Dino Sgambellone said his department is close.

    “We don’t think we’re perfect; we think we’re good overall, though,” the chief said this week.

    The department’s ability to comply with the standards of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, or CALEA, will be the subject of a public discussion 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Los Alamos County Municipal Building, 1000 Central Ave. Members of the public, as well as department personnel, are invited to attend.

    CALEA assessors are scheduled to arrive at the department on Monday – the hearing is part of their work looking at the department.

    Accreditation to New Mexico standards has lapsed, the chief said.

    The topics addressed by CALEA’s standards, and how agencies go about meeting them, usually include written documentation or directions on best practices of police work. A set of the generic standards, with 484 requirements, is available for review at the Police Department.

    Standards

  • Local shops offer Los Alamos-inspired gifts

    If you’re interested in putting heart into the holidays, shop for a gift from the area’s wide range of museum gift shops.
    In most cases, part of the price of your a horno-shaped incense burner, carved wood tree decoration, locally sourced book or a squishy Einstein goes back to a good cause.

    Let’s begin the tour.

    The bookstore at the visitor’s center at Bandelier National Park has a nice selection of shady hats, ball caps and puzzles. Books are a big part of the store, but there’s a soft side, stuffed toys to remind you of brown and black bears, and mountain lions.

    What’s the best gift, though?

    Cecy Burciaga of the store says toys that capture the look of native birds, as well as their song. The cost ranges from $9 to $10.

    The store is part of the Western National Park Association network of stores at national parks and proceeds go to the association. Hours of the shop are the same as the visitor’s center, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed at 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

    Bookworms and those who love them will have a field day at the newly remodeled Los Alamos History Museum Store. The remodeled store offers a feast for the eyes with well-lit nooks featuring historically significant items – not for sale, just for perspective.

  • Fusion Multisport is place to go for outdoor enthusiasts in Los Alamos

    For Brad and Rose Nyenhuis, the journey to opening Los Alamos County’s go-to spot for runners, cyclists, climbers and skiers began with a Craigslist ad.

    Before moving to New Mexico, the two of them lived in Chicago. Brad Nyenhuis owned a machine shop, and Rose Nyenhuis worked at a running store. But for years, they had sought an escape to the mountains, and thought opening a business would be the perfect opportunity.

    They looked for any kind of store for sale in Colorado, Utah and surrounding states, and one day stumbled across an ad on Craigslist for a man selling a bike shop in Los Alamos.

    Though the ad didn’t lead to a viable opportunity, the town grabbed onto them and didn’t let go. 

    “We loved the town, and we especially loved the people,” Brad Nyenhuis said.

    They decided they could find success in the area by starting a business aimed at the athletic community, specifically runners and bikers, a community they found to be well-represented.

    On Nov. 21, 2013, the business became a reality when they opened Fusion Multisport.

  • Caffeination Station opens up virtual shop in Los Alamos

    For those looking for a unique gift to give this holiday season, they might want to make a virtual stop at Caffeination Station. Caffeination Station is where one can order hand roasted coffee right here in Los Alamos.

    Caffeination Station owner Conner Maxwell sells three different flavors of beans, Tanzanian, Colombian (medium and dark roast) and Ethiopian Harar. The Station doesn’t yet have a physical address, but can be found on Facebook (facebook.com/caffeinationstationNM) where customers can contact her for orders. She’s also available by email at caffeinationstationNM@gmail.com.

    One-pound bags are $13 and half-pound bags are $8.

    She also has an instagram page at caffeinationstationnm where customers can follow her progress in her new business venture.

    While Maxwell would like to open a coffee shop in Los Alamos someday, she decided to start things off as a roaster and see where that takes her. After all, she said, “the heart of the coffee business in the bean.” She also discovered that state regulations are much kinder to coffee roasters.

  • LA post office clerk can help send holiday packages with a smile

    If Los Alamos Post Office customers looking to ship holiday gifts are lucky, they may get post office clerk Ted Romero to help them out. For the past 20 years, Romero has been using his smile and his wits to help customers through one of the most stressful times of the year.

    Not only is Romero good at solving problems, he can also tell a great joke.

    Romero said he likes to joke with the customers because it helps take their minds off their worries, especially if the wait may be a little longer than expected.

    “Life is tense enough as it is,” Romero said.

    It also makes good economic sense.

    “If people get the service they want, they will keep coming back. There is more than one shipping option,” Romero said. “We like people to be happy.”

    Romero also is a resident of Los Alamos County, which sometimes leads to some strange interactions outside of work.

    “Some of my older customers sometime say ‘I know you from somewhere,’ and I’ll go, ‘Oh yeah, I met you at your niece’s bar mitzvah…” Romero joked.

    It’s then, though, they catch on to where they really met him, and everyone’s in on the joke.