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Today's News

  • 2018 State Legislature: State lottery’s luck may have run out

    BY ANDREW OXFORD
    The New Mexican

    The state lottery’s luck may have run out at the Legislature.

    A House committee on Wednesday tabled a bill that would end a requirement that the New Mexico Lottery turn over 30 percent of the gross revenue of ticket sales for the state’s college scholarship program.

    The lottery argues that scrapping the revenue requirement would allow it to boost prizes, in turn raising ticket sales and providing even more money for scholarships, which helped defray expenses for some 26,000 students last year.

    Critics contend the bill would amount to a blank check for the state lottery and mean less money for students.

    The 8-8 vote by the Appropriations and Finance Committee did not kill House Bill 147.

    But it stalls a controversial proposal that has been the subject of an intense lobbying campaign.

    Reflecting perhaps just how contentious the debate is among lawmakers, the finance committee initially voted 9-7 to advance the bill to the floor for a vote of the entire 70-member House of Representatives.

    But one member of the committee changed her vote to “no,” leaving the bill locked at 8-8.

  • UNM track star named national athlete of the week

    New Mexico track and field student-athlete Josh Kerr was named Monday as NCAA Division I Men’s National Athlete of the Week by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

    Kerr, a redshirt sophomore from Edinburgh, Scotland, ran a personal-record time of 3 minutes, 54.72 seconds to win the elite Wanamaker Mile at the 2018 NYRR Millrose Games on Saturday at The New Balance Track & Field Center at The Armory in New York City.

    Racing against a field that included six Olympians, Kerr showed off his middle-distance acumen on arguably one of the most prominent stages in all of track and field, earning his second career National Athlete of the Week honor.

    His time of 3:54.72 makes him the fifth-fastest collegian in the mile run in NCAA history with the sixth-fastest mile time in NCAA history.

    After opening the race in the back half of the 12-runner field, Kerr rallied over the final stages of the race, moving from eighth at 800 meters to second at the line. He finished the final 200 meters in 27.69 seconds, the best split by any athlete over the entire race.

    He also nearly caught the eventual Wanamaker Mile winner Chris O’Hare at the line, as O’Hare won in 3:54.14.

  • Hilltoppers lose to Del Norte on senior night

    Prior to Saturday night’s game against Del Norte High School, the Los Alamos High School boys’ basketball team honored its seniors with a Senior Night celebration. The moment offered a chance to reflect on what the group has accomplished, but also offered a reminder of what this season was supposed to look like.

    When the season began, eight seniors filled the roster. Only six are still active. Jack Stewart left the team after Thanksgiving, and Andreas Runde suffered a season-ending leg injury soon after.

    The six seniors that remain, Ramon Roybal, Antonio Trujillo, Troy Hammock, Michael Naranjo, Brandan Duran and Ivan Balakirev, have all played big roles this year, but the results haven’t followed.

    The team has stumbled to a 9-14 record, including many close losses in recent weeks. That continued against Del Norte, as LAHS fell 55-51 in a game that came down to the final minute.

    Hilltopper head coach Mike Kluk said that the team’s inability to knock down shots, and committing too many turnovers contributed to the loss.

    “You can’t beat decent teams, and definitely can’t beat good teams, having 17 or 18 turnovers,” Kluk said. “It’s just tough to do.”

  • 2018 State Legislature: Front-end license plates proposed for New Mexico vehicles

    BY ANDREW OXFORD
    The New Mexican

    What do you have on the front of your car?

    New Mexico is one of 19 states that does not require a front license plate, leaving room for plenty of custom plates bearing the names of automotive dealers, the brands of car makers, the logos of sports teams and of universities and all manner of slogans.

    Plenty of New Mexicans do not have anything at all affixed to their front bumper.

    But the state’s dubious distinction as having the country’s highest rates of automotive theft and property crime is leading legislators to rethink that long-running policy.

    The House Transportation Committee approved legislation earlier this week that would require vehicle owners to get license plates for their front bumpers, with some exceptions.

    Backers argue House Bill 158 would make it easier for law enforcement to identify vehicles.

    But the bill, which is also backed by companies involved with the production of license plates, may also raise concerns about encouraging the proliferation of speed cameras or red light cameras and cause some New Mexicans to peer under their vehicle’s front bumper to make sure they have a place to attach another license plate.

  • 32 Russians appeal to CAS seeking Olympic spots

    Six-time Olympic gold medalist Viktor Ahn and three former NHL players are among 32 Russian athletes who filed appeals Tuesday seeking spots at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

    The 32 athletes all failed to pass the mandatory International Olympic Committee vetting — imposed as a result of Russian doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics — and weren’t invited to the games, which begin later this week.

    The Court of Arbitration for Sport said it would likely hear the case Wednesday in Pyeongchang.

    If the Russian athletes force the IOC to invite them, it would mean the medal contenders in some sports change dramatically only days before the games open on Friday.

    CAS added that as well as short-track speedskating great Ahn, the 32 include world cross-country skiing champion Sergei Ustyugov and world biathlon champion Anton Shipulin.

    Also on the list are former NHL players Sergei Plotnikov, Anton Belov and Valeri Nichushkin, who had been considered possible candidates for the Russian team in Pyeongchang.

    If figure skater Ksenia Stolbova is invited, she could compete as soon as Friday morning in the pairs short program component of the team event.

    Some of the 32 Russians are already in Far East countries like Japan so they will be acclimatized and ready to travel to Pyeongchang if invited.

  • NMSU wins 20th game of season

    Backed by Zach Lofton’s season-high 34 points, the New Mexico State men’s basketball team routed UT Rio Grande Valley 90-67 early Saturday evening inside the pan American Center.

    In a game full of highlights for NM State, senior Jemerrio Jones had a big night and pulled down a career-tying 20 rebounds to go with 10 points and five assists for his 14th double-double of the year.

    Jones last grabbed 20 boards in 2015 against Temple College (Feb. 21) while at Hill Junior College.

    Jones’ 20 boards made him the 12th Aggie to pull down at least 20 rebounds and was the 24th time an NM State player pulled down 20-plus in a single-game.

    The Aggies (20-3, 7-0 WAC) got off to slow start and trailed the Vaqueros by as much as seven (9-2). However, the offense slowly began to waken and finally took a 24-21 lead on a deep 3-pointer from Lofton – his second of seven in the game – with 8:01 left in the first half.

    From that point on, New Mexico State never looked back as it finished off the half with an 18-9 run capped off by Jones, who fittingly scored on an offensive put-back for the 42-30 lead. NMSU dominated the paint in the first-half, outscoring UTRGV 26-4.

  • Second half struggles keep LAHS winless in district

    Despite showing flashes of exciting play Saturday night, the Los Alamos High School girls’ basketball team lost its fifth straight district game, falling to Del Norte High School on the road 53-31.

    Heading into the game, there was reason for optimism among the Hilltopper faithful. In the first meeting between the teams, the game came down to the final seconds in a 39-36 Del Norte victory. It was close from beginning to end.

    This game had a much different feel early on, as the Knights’ girls attacked the Hilltoppers without fear in the first quarter. Del Norte captain Amanda Burks set the tone offensively, scoring her team’s first 11 points of the game, including three impressive 3-point shots. With the strong shooting of Burks, Del Norte jumped out to a quick 11-2 lead.

    The gap continued to widen throughout the first quarter, as the Knights repeatedly found a way to get open underneath the basket, resulting in easy layup opportunities.

    After falling behind 21-6 as time expired in the first quarter, the Hilltoppers caught a break for the first time in the ballgame. Attempting a three-quarter-court heave at the buzzer, LAHS’ Alex Calderon was fouled, sending her to the free throw line to shoot three shots.

    She made two of the three, and cut the deficit to 21-8 heading into the second quarter.

  • Sheriff’s candidate Chris Luchini has eye on bigger picture

    The desire of Los Alamos County to close the county sheriff’s office is not a new idea.

    During the last two years, a round of lawsuits between County Sheriff Marco Lucero and the county have embroiled the two in legal battles.

    Lawsuits, sheriff’s candidate Chris Luchini said, are a waste of time and resources, and taxpayer money.

    He said the lawsuits the sheriff and the county have pending in the courts now would not solve the real problem.

    “No matter how that ruling ends up, it’s not going to be the end of the fight. It’s a waste of time effort and money. Let’s stop doing this. We’ve been doing this for sixty years. Let’s please stop,” Luchini said.

    Luchini, 54, a business entrepreneur who does contract work for the Department of Enery in Los Alamos County, runs an energy company dealing in oil and gas, and renewable energy. He does not have a law enforcement background.

    Luchini would be running against resident Greg White, who has also declared his intentions to run for sheriff. Sheriff Lucero is not able to seek a third term.

  • UNM drops close contest with Broncos at the Pit

    The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team suffered a narrow 73-71 loss to Boise State after leading by as many as 13 points on Tuesday night in Dreamstyle Arena - The Pit. The Lobos led by six with 1:47 left but an 8-0 run by the Broncos over the final minute sealed the Lobo loss.

    Boise State led for just 2:34 the entire night while the Lobos held the advantage for 36:28 before the final Bronco push.

    “Their offensive rebounding really hurt us, and our offensive ineptitude really got us in the second half,” head coach Paul Weir said. “We, unfortunately, turned the ball over at some really inopportune times, on some really basic plays.”
    “...Our defense really stepped up tonight and had a pretty good game, and our offense really let us down...We have to get better offensively, it was a rough night.”

    The Lobos ultimately outshot the Broncos 46.2 percent to 43.5 percent from the floor, but UNM had a commanding 55.2 percent to 39.3 percent advantage at the halfway mark. In the second half, Boise State roared back with a 47.1 shooting percentage while UNM shot just 34.8 percent from the field.

  • Authorities continue search for shooter

    Authorities continued to search Thursday for an apparent shooter who, while reportedly driving a white Jeep Wrangler with a blue Marine Corps license plate, pulled up next to another driver and fired shots at him on NM 502.

    The incident happened Feb. 1, at about 6 p.m. on near Pojoaque. The victim was a Los Alamos National Laboratory employee who was headed home from work to  Santa Fe.

    Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Juan Rios said his department has received some calls regarding the incident, but none of them provided any information of substance.

    The victim was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital where a CT scan determined he had a bullet lodged between his scalp and skull. He underwent surgery later that night.

    The apparent case of road rage has spurred conversation about what drivers should do if they find themselves in an aggressive encounter while behind the wheel.

    That stretch of highway has a reputation of being tough to navigate, especially at the end of the workday when it’s filled with vehicles leaving Los Alamos.

    Even though the area is patrolled by various law enforcement entities, the amount of traffic adds to the hazardous conditions.