Today's News

  • Government should tighten belt, not raise taxes

    New Mexico House of Representatives, R-Doña Ana and Otero Counties

  • Government should tighten belt, not raise taxes

    New Mexico House of Representatives, R-Doña Ana and Otero Counties

  • Northern New Mexico College to raise tuition

    New students attending Northern New Mexico College will see tuition rates rise by 4.5 percent starting this upcoming quarter. The board made the decision Monday, and it was based on a proposed decrease in state funding from the state legislature.
    “The board made the decision not on the fear of what is coming, but solely based on what’s in House Bill 2 (higher education bill),” NNMC President Rick Bailey said. “Even what was given to the governor had more cuts to higher education and we’ve taken what will end up being about an 8.4 percent cut over the last 18, 19 months. The tuition increase was solely based on the cuts we’ve already taken.” The board voted 3-1 in favor of the raise.
    The tuition isn’t going to cover the House Bill 2 cuts either.
    “We are still going to make other cuts as an institution,” Bailey said. The cost cutting measures and the tuition hike are expected to save staff position and prevent programs getting cut.
    The board also decided to raise tuition immediately so as not to appear to be deceiving students taking part in early registration, which started Wednesday.

  • Quarterly crime stats show downward trend

    Los Alamos Police Department Chief of Police Dino Sgambellone recently released crime statistics, which showed a downward trend for the first quarter of 2017.
    The main purpose of distributing these quarterly crime statistics is to let people know what is happening in their community, according to Sgambellone.
    Sgambellone’s impressions were positive overall.
    “We continue to see a downward trend, which is a good thing for Los Alamos,” he said.
    Sgambellone attributed this to not only enforcement on the police department’s part, but also “prevention education and treatment that we partner with the community on to help sustain a low crime rate,” which makes Los Alamos one of the safest communities in the nation.
    Offenses reported as crime statistics are determined by the FBI Uniform Crime Report Program and are classified as crimes against persons (violent crime) and crimes against property.  
    The offenses of murder (homicide), rape, robbery and aggravated assault make up the violent crime category.  
    The offenses of arson, burglary, larceny, and auto theft make up the property crime category. Both of these categories combined are referred to as Part I Offenses.

  • LAPD gets body cams

    The Los Alamos Police Department has joined the ranks of law enforcement using body-worn cameras, which is a device that attaches to an officer’s uniform and records video while they are on duty.
    Commander Preston Ballew, the manager of this project, said body cams had been in the back of the department’s mind for a few years, but the department was finally able to start implementing the program last year.
    At this point, every police officer in Los Alamos utilizes this special piece of equipment.
    The main goal behind this implementation is transparency and accountability.  “Personally, it’s not so much that I worry about my officers and what they do,” Ballew said, but more so when an officer is accused of something. The body cam is used as a tool to show the real issue, whatever that may be.
    “Maybe it will reflect a training issue, maybe it will clear up a complaint that the officer clearly didn’t do anything wrong,” Ballew said.
    Another example of its use could be in a traumatic situation where the officer cannot remember the details of the incident. The body-worn camera “gives us a first look as to what the officer was seeing and hearing at the time,” Ballew said.
    As many might assume, the video footage can be used as evidence in court.

  • New management takes over Sandia National Laboratories

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Scientists and researchers at the federal government's largest national laboratory are pushing ahead with work related to national security and the proliferation of nuclear weapons as new managers take over New Mexico-based Sandia National Laboratories for the first time in decades, officials said Monday.
    Director Stephen Younger discussed the lab's future during a news conference that marked the start of a new contract with National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia, a subsidiary of Honeywell International.
    The U.S. Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration announced the $2.6 billion management contract in December. Officials have spent the last few months working on a smooth transition for the lab's thousands of employees and operations.
    The bulk of work at Sandia centers on the research, development and maintenance of nuclear weapons, but scientists there also have worked on energy and climate projects.
    Younger, who has a background in nuclear weapons, called Sandia's employees the "superheroes of technology."
    "Sandia defends the world and provides the opportunity for millions, if not billions, of people to lead peaceful and productive lives," he said.

  • Environmental group warns against foot race in bear country

    SANTA FE (AP) — Environmentalists are criticizing the decision to repeat a backcountry trail race after a long-distance runner was attacked by a bear last year at a National Park Service preserve in northern New Mexico.
    Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility on Monday said the National Park Service is downplaying the threat of interactions between wildlife and participants in a 50-mile race on May 20 at the Valles Caldera National Preserve.
    A mother bear with three cubs was euthanized last year by state wildlife officials after attacking and injuring a marathon runner as she raced through the Valles Caldera.
    A National Park Service evaluation of this year's race describes a continued threat of human interaction with bears and bear cubs, while noting a positive influence on recreation and public relations at the preserve.

  • Bear facts from New Mexico Game and Fish Department for Spring

    SANTA FE – People and wildlife are getting outdoors more often now that spring has arrived, and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is reminding everyone to be aware of the greater chance of encountering bears and other native wildlife.
    Males and young, independent bears are emerging from hibernation this time of year and they will be out foraging and seeking territory of their own, said Rick Winslow, the department’s bear and cougar biologist. Sows with cubs will follow in May, while cubs born last winter that spent this winter with their mother soon will be setting out on their own as their mothers seek to breed again.
    After three years of good precipitation following a long-running drought, bears will be very busy breeding and producing offspring, Winslow said.
    Residents of wildland-urban interface areas such as the foothills of Santa Fe and Albuquerque or rural portions of the state may have a greater chance of encountering bears.
    People are encouraged to call the department and report a bear that exhibits aggressive behavior. Bears that appear to be moving through the country should be left alone and there is no need to report them. Last year, several individuals were injured during encounters with bears.
    The department offers the following suggestions if you visit or live in bear country:

  • Community set to celebrate bears

    Special to the Monitor

  • LA tops Española Valley; can win 2-5A title Saturday

    A crazy play finished off a crazy game between Los Alamos and Espanola Valley in their battle for the top spot in District 2-5A softball.
    With Los Alamos down by two and down to its last out, the team came up with three runs to knock off Espanola Valley’s Sundevils 10-9 at Overlook Park Wednesday.
    Espanola Valley, which had never trailed in the game until the final play, made two critical errors at the close of the seventh inning that allowed those three Hilltopper runs to score and give them the ballgame.
    On the game’s final play, Hilltopper center fielder Alicia Gonzales hit a long fly ball to deep left field. Sundevil left-fielder Sidnee Pollard, who had been rock-solid defensively during the three-game series between the two teams, misplayed the fly ball that she normally would’ve caught, and the ball hit the ground.
    That miscue allowed both pinch-runner Shelby Milligan and Janessa Gonzales to score the game-winning runs.
    With that play, and a bizarre play one batter earlier, also involving Milligan that led to a run, the Hilltoppers managed to secure the lead in the district standings outright and are now just one game away from clinching the 2017 district title.