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Today's News

  • E.T. game goes to Smithsonian

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — One of the “E.T.” Atari game cartridges unearthed this year from a heap of garbage buried deep in the New Mexico desert has been added to the video game history collection at the Smithsonian.
    Museum specialist Drew Robarge made the announcement Monday in a blog post. He included a photograph of the crinkled cartridge along with the official serial number assigned to the game by the city of Alamogordo.
    The game was one of hundreds recovered at the city’s landfill last spring as a team of documentary filmmakers investigated a decades-old urban legend that centered on Atari secretly dumping the cartridges. The “E.T.” game had the reputation of being the worst game ever, and it contributed to the demise of the company.
    Robarge said the Smithsonian has some amazing artifacts that represent big moments in video game history, including Ralph Baer’s “Brown Box” prototype for the first video game console and a Pong arcade cabinet. However, missing was something that represented what he called “the darkest days” of the early 1980s when the U.S. video game industry crashed.

  • Comedian is most 'Googled'

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Robin Williams’ suicide seared into the world’s collective mindset more than anything else this year, based on what people were searching for on Google.
    The reaction to Williams’ death in August topped Google’s list of 2014’s fastest-rising search requests. It beat notable events such as the World Cup, the Ebola outbreak, the March disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and the Ice Bucket Challenge, an Internet video craze to raise awareness and money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
    Other topics of worldwide intrigue on Google included the addictive smartphone game “Flappy Bird,” bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst, the Middle East extremist group ISIS, the hit Disney movie “Frozen” and the Winter Olympics in Russia.
    Williams, Ebola, the World Cup and the Ice Bucket also ranked among the most-discussed subjects this year on Facebook, which released its list last week. Google released its list Tuesday.

  • Assets in Action: Deadline looms for Asset Award nominations

    I needed to write about something positive prior to the winter break.
    Please consider this the final reminder for nominations for the Community Asset Awards are due on Monday.
    This will be the sixth annual event where we recognize all ages, various businesses, clubs and programs that make our community and the world a little better.
    I know this is a busy time of year with finals week, things to bake, picking up, dropping off and the general things associated with daily life.
    It only takes about 10 minutes, five of which could be done thinking about it while you’re in the shower. The other five would consist of you writing a paragraph or two about a deserving nominee, that I read while they stand in front of a crowd of do-gooders.
    You may regret it if you don’t just do it and the boost on their end is not measureable. It is a joyous time, every year.
    So think about who makes this community a better place to live or work. Who is doing something that makes a difference in their school, their community, or the world?
    You can request a form at 695-9139 and yes, I text. I’d even be willing to fill it out for you if you happen to catch me. You can also request a form via email at AssetsInAction@att.net or go online and fill in the blanks at AssetsInAction.info.

  • Preserve will need to prepare for transition

    The name won’t change, but some very significant things could now that the 88,900-acre Valles Caldera National Preserve is transitioning from a trust under the auspices of the National Forest Service to a National Park Service property. The park became the 18th national park preserve on Friday as part of a public lands bill passed with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
    “The board is very pleased with the passage of the bill that will safeguard the Valles Caldera as a national park preserve, keeping intact such programs as grazing, hunting, allowing increased access to the public while still preserving it and all the tribal sacred sites and the ability to work with tribes,” said Kent Salazar, chair of the Valles Caldera Trust Board.
    “So we’re very pleased that it’s transitioned to a permanent preservation of this area, which is a magnificent gem of national land. We’re also committed to making a vey seamless transition with the park service.”
    The preserve status means several significant things will not change.
    The legislation, first introduced by then-Sen. Jeff Bingaman and now sponsored by Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich (all D-N.M.), requires that hunting, fishing and grazing continue, along with recreational access.

  • Learning about proposed electric rate ordinance

    The Power Rate Adjustment provision currently in the proposed electric rate ordinance should be removed. There are sound policy reasons for opposing the provisions. But more importantly the provision violates Charter Art. 504. I apologize for the length, but I am attempting to provide useful background and analysis to help council make a considered decision.
    Background: The Charter (Art. 504) defines the role of council and Board of Public Utilities in the rate process. Perhaps because there was concern about abuse of the rate process, all actions on rates must be done after public hearings by both the BPU and the council. The language in the charter is mandatory. In addition, there is no latitude for either body to deviate from charter process or to create alternate processes than may be more facile.

  • Raphaelson must leave bench

    SANTA FE — The Supreme Court of New Mexico has determined that Los Alamos District Court Judge Sheri A. Raphaelson will have to leave office Jan. 1, the date that her six-year term ends.
    Judge Raphaelson lost a Nov. 4 retention vote when 44.02 percent of the voters in the counties she serves, which include Los Alamos, Santa Fe and Rio Arriba, opted not to keep her on the bench for another term.
    According to New Mexico election laws, Raphaelson needed at least 57 percent of the vote in order to stay in office. She only received 55.98 percent.
    Raphaelson lost her retention vote largely on the strength of Los Alamos County’s results. The county cast 343 more votes not to retain her than wanted her back — she won the retention vote by a narrow 41-vote margin in Rio Arriba County, but by a relatively comfortable margin in Santa Fe County.
    After the election, Raphaelson immediately challenged the judicial system’s reasoning to put her on the ballot in the first place through a letter to Chief First Judicial Judge Raymond Vigil.

  • Winning, losing more complex than vote count

    Most people looking at election results believe that the person with the most votes “won” and the person with the fewest votes “lost.”
    The real win-lose story is more complicated. Admittedly vague, this concept considers actions candidates take (or do not take) that determine the results.
    A presumably stronger candidate may run a straightforward campaign and even win the vote total without “winning” the race. The determinant would be that the other candidate “lost,” as did the legislative candidate who came close, but ended the campaign with money in the bank.
    The example is Land Commissioner Ray Powell, whose modest campaign was not a winner, but who might slip a higher vote total from the current recount than challenger Aubrey Dunn.
    Carroll Cagle has been around the policy-punditing-journalism-political scene even longer than I have, which is saying something.
    He graduated from Roswell High School and edited The Daily Lobo, the University of New Mexico student newspaper. These days he does a policy and political blog for the New Mexico Prosperity Project (newmexicoprosperity.org), a voter education outfit, where he was executive director.
    Our exchange of emails a few days ago is the basis for what follows.

  • Saunders is top wrestler at Capital

    Lane Saunders had another big outing for the Los Alamos Hilltopper wrestling team his second week out Saturday.
    Saunders, wrestling at 182 pounds, not only grabbed the 182-pound title at Saturday’s Capital Jaguar Invitational, he was also named the Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament for the upper-weight classes.
    The Outstanding Wrestler title is one awarded by a vote of the head coaches of participating teams.
    His showing was the highlight of the day for Los Alamos at the Jaguar invitational, which is hosted by the Hilltoppers’ District 2-5A rival.
    Los Alamos nipped the favored Capital team for the district title last season and early projections suggest that they may go head-to-head for that title once again.
    However, the HIlltoppers were too short-handed to make a run at a team title at Capital. The Jaguars, who have many top wrestlers returning from last season’s team, won the tournament title, topping two other solid Class 5A schools, Valencia and Los Lunas.
    In all, 11 teams took part in the tournament.
    Hilltopper head coach Bob Geyer said he’s known his program will be something of a project until district time.

  • Today in history Dec. 16
  • Today in history Dec. 15