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Today's News

  • Update 2-25-15

    Authors Speak

    Don Usner, author of “Chasing Dichos,” will take part in the Mesa Public Library Authors Speak Series. The talk is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at the library.

    SAN meeting

    A Senior Appreciation Night meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. in the Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center training room.

    Fire and Ice

    Santa Fe National Forest will host its Fire and Ice Festival Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Father Fitzgerald Park in Jemez Springs. The event will feature live music, arts and crafts and a cross-cut saw contest.

    APP board

    Los Alamos County’s Arts in Public Places Board will meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Municipal Building.

    School board

    The Los Alamos School Board wil hold a work
    session Thursday at Barranca Mesa Elementary School. A report on the 20-Year Facilities Plan will be discussed. Meeting time is 5:30 p.m.

    County Council

    The next Los Alamos County Council meeting is 7 p.m. March 3 in council chambers.

  • Parents have right to opt children out of standardized testing

    There is a lot of misinformation circulating regarding the upcoming Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test (PARCC) that will be administered to students from grades 3-11 this spring. I want to clarify the options parents have in deciding to opt their children out of taking this test.
    Many of you have expressed concern and, indeed, dissatisfaction with the intensity of the current amount of standardized testing taking place in our schools.
    One of the top concerns I share is the elimination of a parent’s right in deciding whether or not their child has to take the test. I was appalled to be notified that school districts are intentionally telling parents that they cannot “opt out” their children from taking standardized tests.
    This blatant effort to misinform parents is a violation of a parent’s right to choose what is best for their children and it is unacceptable. Our children must not be used as leverage in a misguided national trend of high-stakes testing in public education.
    The fact is, according to the United States 14th Amendment of the Constitution, parents do have a say, and their rights are protected by Supreme Court decisions, especially in the area of education. It is their right to choose to have their children take these tests or not.

  • Fate of Christians kidnapped by ISIS unknown

    BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State group militants have moved a large group of Christian hostages to a city they control in northeastern Syria, while they continue to battle Kurdish and Christian militiamen for control of a chain of villages along the Khabur River, activists and state-run media said Wednesday.
    Hassakeh province which borders Turkey and Iraq has become the latest battleground for the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria. It is predominantly Kurdish but also has populations of Arabs and predominantly Christian Assyrians and Armenians.
    In pre-dawn attacks, the group on Monday attacked communities nestled along the river, seizing at least 70 people, many of them women and children. Thousands of others fled to safer areas.
    The fate of those kidnapped, almost all of them Assyrian Christians, remained unclear Wednesday, two days after they were seized.
    However, the state-run SANA news agency and the Assyrian Network for Human Rights in Syria said the hostages have been moved to the Islamic State-controlled city of Shaddadeh, south of the city of Hassakeh. The United States and a coalition of regional partners are conducting a campaign of airstrikes against the group, and have on occasion struck Shaddadeh, a predominantly Arab town.

  • State House OKs $6.2B budget bill

    SANTA FE (AP) — The New Mexico House of Representatives has approved a $6.2 billion spending proposal for the next fiscal year that includes pay raises for new teachers and state police officers.
    The House voted 42-25 Tuesday after three hours of debate. Five Democrats sided with 37 Republicans in the majority. The bill now moves to the Senate.
    While most department budgets remain largely flat, the bill boosts spending for education, the state’s child welfare agency and tourism.
    The amount of spending in the bill is nearly the same as that outlined by Gov. Susana Martinez and the Legislative Finance Committee earlier this year.
    Both laid out plans in January — based on revenue projections available then — to spend an additional $70 million or so on education. But with less new money available due to falling oil prices, the bill calls for a $37 million bump for learning initiatives.
    The figure represents about 44 percent of the more than $80 million in new money available to spend.
    As anticipated, local schools’ and districts’ control over the money versus disbursement by the Public Education Department became a contested issue during the House debate.

  • New emergency manager named

    Beverley Simpson, the former state operations director for the Department of Homeland Security, is now Los Alamos County’s emergency management director. She takes over the post from Philmont Taylor, who retired in August of last year.
    Simpson come to the job with over 20 years of combined experience in emergency response, homeland security, defense, and advanced knowledge in technologies related to weapons of mass destruction and terroristic threats.
    Prior to her job as state director of Homeland Security Simpson worked at the Los Alamos Medical Center as laboratory direct and emergency manager.
    Prior to that position she also led a multi-disciplinary team on the DHS Radiological Community Preparedness Resources Project at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she provided scientific and technical assistance on radiological dispersal devices.
    Simpson is a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force Reserves where she serves as the principal advisor to the command surgeon for all aeromedical evacuation management activities and concepts throughout NORAD-USNORTHCOM.

  • Heritage celebrated at N.M. Culture Day

    SANTA FE — All states have their own unique cultural heritage, but how many can boast cultural resources that stretch from the age of dinosaurs through space exploration or honor the contributions of American Indians, Hispanics and the American West?
    New Mexicans were invited to celebrate the state’s cultural treasures at the Roundhouse Tuesday. Staff and volunteers from state-run museums and historic sites, as well as arts, historic preservation, archaeology, and library programs engaged the public through displays and demonstrations at the annual Culture Day.
    Culture Day highlights the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs’ efforts to preserve and promote this multi-faceted heritage. Secretary of Cultural Affairs Veronica Gonzales emphasized how important that heritage is to not only the state’s identity but its economy.
    Gonzales noted that although New Mexico did not achieve statehood until 1912, Santa Fe’s 1610 designation as the capital for Spain’s northern territories makes it the oldest capital city in the United States.

  • More than 2 ounces of heroin seized

    Police arrested five people in Los Alamos last week for trafficking and possessing heroin in Los Alamos.
    The arrests took place on Feb. 17-20, and yielded numerous prescription drugs and slightly more than two ounces of heroin (58.2 grams).
    Most of the arrests occurred because the suspects were acting suspiciously, which attracted the attention from law enforcement, according to court records.
    Arrested were Monica Cooper, 48, of Los Alamos, Celso Ramos, 35, of Santa Cruz, Deanna Doss, 28, of Santa Cruz, David Mondragon, 34, of Santa Fe and Kayla Gomez, 28, of Santa Fe.
    Cooper was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of shoplifting. Ramos was charged with trafficking a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and for concealing his identity.
    Doss was charged with trafficking a controlled substance, bringing contraband into a place of imprisonment, three counts of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
    Gomez was charged with trafficking a controlled substance, three counts of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
    On Feb. 17, police received reports of a white Honda sedan driving “erratically” westbound into Los Alamos.

  • Moore sets record with championship swim

    The Los Alamos High School swimmers kept their strong tradition alive last weekend at the state championships.
    The Hilltopper girls finished third to bring home a state team trophy while the boys, led by Michael Moore’s individual state championship, finished sixth.
    “I was very happy,” head coach Stuart Corliss said. “I’m proud we can go toe-to-toe with the bigger schools.”
    Senior Michael Moore finished his prep swimming career in dominating fashion in the 500-yard freestyle. Moore won the state championship in 4 minutes, 40.19 seconds, breaking the Los Alamos school record that had stood since 1997 in the process.
    “I was really proud of Michael Moore,” coach Corliss said. For the first 200 meters Moore swam with his competition, “then he just pulled away,” the coach said. “I think he has a pain threshold that’s different than most people.”
    Moore also finished third in the 200 freestyle (1:44.24).
    Alex Jaegers was the other member of the boys’ team to make it into an A-final. He took eighth in the 100-free (50.27).
    The Hilltopper girls also had some stellar performances to make it into A-finals and place well.
    Jessica Moore finished third in the 100 breaststroke in 1:07.19.

  • Today in history Feb. 25
  • Obama expected to veto pipeline bill

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will veto a Republican-backed bill on Tuesday that would have approved construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, the White House said, putting a freeze on a top GOP priority — at least for now.
    The contentious legislation arrived at the White House on Tuesday morning from Capitol Hill, where Republicans pushed the bill quickly through both chambers in their first burst of activity since taking full control of Congress. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama would veto it in private “without any drama or fanfare or delay.”
    Obama’s veto notwithstanding, the White House said there was no “final disposition” on whether a permit will be issued for the pipeline, which has become a major flashpoint in the national debate over climate change. Rather, Obama is rebuffing a congressional attempt to circumvent the executive branch’s “longstanding process for evaluating whether projects like this are in the best interests of the country,” Earnest said.