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Today's News

  • Automatic voter registration bill dies in committee

    BY ANDREW OXFORD
    The New Mexican

  • LAPS to cut ties with federal school lunch program

    Los Alamos Public Schools will cut ties with the National School Lunch Program by next school year.
    The program serves the district’s five elementary schools. The middle school and the high school do not participate in the program because they do not qualify.
    The district has decided to leave the program because the portions are too small and the selection of choices slows the service.
    Once the new school year begins, students will have bigger portions of food, more variety and faster service, school officials said.  
    The federally funded program offers free and reduced lunch to students who qualify. By next school year, there will be funding in place to cover those students currently in the federal program.
    “The community will not see a difference in the food service structure and we will still be taking care of the children that require assistance. It’s imperative to the district and the board that we take care of all kids,” LAPS Chief Financial Officer Lisa Montoya told the Los Alamos Public Schools School Board Feb. 14.
    “We have listened to community and listened to what they’ve said they’ve wanted,” Montoya said.
    The federally funded program subsidizes the cost of lunch to students who qualify.

  • ‘Topper baseball set for season opener at Sandia Prep

    The Los Alamos baseball team begins its 2017 campaign with a tough doubleheader.
    The Hilltoppers will visit Sandia Prep Saturday and will play the Sundevils at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in Albuquerque.
    The defending Class 4A state champion Sundevils are coming off a 27-4 season, where they won their second consecutive state title. However, Sandia Prep started the 2017 season with a 12-3 loss against St. Pius Tuesday.  
    Los Alamos lost a lot of talent from its 2016 squad but does have a young rotation of players, combined with eight returners from last year. The Hilltoppers are coming off a 20-9 season and a state quarterfinals appearance.
    James Neal is expected to fill a void in the infield, while Travis Gonzales and Jake Rutton will look to replace last year’s electric starting pitching duo of Connor Mang and Lane Saunders.
    Los Alamos’ top returners will look to guide the team through a challenging schedule that includes participating in two tough regular season tournaments.
    After the season-opening doubleheader, the Hilltoppers will open the St. Pius tournament  March 2 with a matchup against Class 6A contender Las Cruces High. Los Alamos will also play in the tournament the following two days.

  • Prep boys basketball: LA should make state tourney

    The Los Alamos boys basketball team hasn’t been to the state tournament since 2012.
    That should change Sunday when the New Mexico Activities Association announces its 16-team field for the Class 5A state tournament.
    Los Alamos currently stands at 13-14 overall, finished in fourth place in District 2-5A and was ousted by Del Norte in the second round of the district tournament. Not only should the 13 wins be enough to get the Hilltoppers in, but their win at Belen and against Española Valley will standout to the selection committee.
    Playing in Class 5A’s second toughest district will also enhance Los Alamos’ chances of ending its state tournament drought. The Hilltoppers also got a bit of a boost when Taos had to forfeit eight of its nine wins due to playing an ineligible player. One of those forfeited wins was the Tigers’ triumph over Los Alamos on Jan. 10.   
    The Hilltoppers will likely be on the road for the first round, as the top eight seeds will host first round games. Los Alamos is likely to get a 14, 15 or 16 seed and get matched-up with one of the top three seeds.

    Who will LA see in the first round?

  • New Mexico House passes budget, tax package

    BY BRUCE KRASNOW
    The New Mexican

  • Legislative Roundup 2-24-17

    Days remaining in session: 23

    Signed: Staving off a breakdown in the state justice system, Lt. Gov. John Sanchez signed a bill Thursday to provide short-term funding for New Mexico’s courts.
    Sanchez was acting as the state’s executive while Gov. Susana Martinez traveled to Washington, D.C., for meetings of the National Governors Association and Republican Governors Association.
    Sanchez’s signing of House Bill 261 ends a battle over the judiciary’s budget that had dragged through the 60-day legislative session.
    The bill includes $1.6 million to pay for jury trials through the end of the fiscal year in June and $80,000 to avoid furloughs at the state Supreme Court.
    Chief Justice Charles Daniels had warned that, without the money, courts around the state would be unable to afford trials by March 1.
    But when Democrats in the Senate attached the court funding two unrelated bills, Martinez vetoed each measure. Martinez suggested that her administration needed to adequately vet the judiciary’s request. The Republican-sponsored bill that Sanchez signed includes about the same amount of money the courts had been requesting for months.

  • Senate bill allows state to impose steeper fines for oil spills

    A Senate panel approved a bill Thursday that would make it easier for state regulators to fine oil and natural gas producers for spills and other environmental violations. The bill, which advanced along party lines, follows years of sharp increases in the volume of spills involved in oil and gas production, and comes as major companies like ExxonMobil and Halliburton have shown a surge of interest in the Permian Basin of southeast New Mexico.
    Democrats and environmental advocacy groups say the measure would give teeth to an agency they describe as defanged by a 2009 court ruling that stripped away some of its authority to impose penalties.
    State data show a sharp drop in fines collected by the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division since the ruling. The agency collected $735,500 in penalties in 2009 but only $14,000 the following year, according to an analysis by the Legislative Finance Committee. Penalties have been rare since then.
    The sharp decline followed a ruling by the state Supreme Court that said the division cannot on its own collect fines for violations of New Mexico’s oil and gas regulations. Under the ruling, the department can only ask the attorney general to file a lawsuit against the company in the judicial district where a violation occurred.

  • Saint Job to host Blini Breakfast

    Saint Job of Pochaiv Orthodox Christian Church will host Blini Breakfast from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday.
    Traditional blini, a type of thin pancake, will be served in the traditional style with smoked salmon, herring, butter and sour cream. Vegetable caviar, eggs, cheese and a variety of berry preserves will also be available.
    Blini are traditionally served in Slavic households during the week before the beginning of the Lenten Fast.
    The thin, crepe-like pancakes are eaten together with fish, sour cream and butter in order to consume all these foods before the beginning of Great Lent.
    These foods – that is, fish and dairy products, along with meat – are not eaten during the 40-day Great Fast period preceding Easter or Pascha, as it is called among Orthodox Christians.
    The practice of fasting, or abstaining from certain foods, dates to Judaism. The practice was recorded in Biblical times, Christ having fasted in the desert for 40 days.
    “Lent” comes from the ancient English word for spring – that  time of natural rebirth which corresponds to the process of inner spiritual regeneration, which every Christian should strive to experience in his or her preparation for celebrating the feast of Christ’s Resurrection.

  • Simple steps can keep IT networks safe

    BY STEVE RESNICK
    Owner, Capitol Computer/Finance New Mexico

  • Watching the governor’s vetoes makes me wonder

    When Bill Richardson started flirting with a plan to run for president, some of his actions as governor looked suspiciously as if he were using New Mexico to advance his political ambitions.
    It’s hard to avoid the same suspicion about Gov. Susana Martinez. She’s taken a number of actions over her two terms that have seemed to be more about piling up sound bites for somebody else’s policy checklist than what’s best for the state.
    Now she’s officially a lame duck. It may be hard for her to run for any higher office, not because of any lack of competency or accomplishments but because of the infamous Christmas party incident of 2015. (If you don’t remember this, please Google “Susana Martinez pizza.”)
    But she still could have political ambitions in a less obvious direction. We can watch to see how this plays out in the bills she chooses to sign or veto.
    It’s widely understood that New Mexico’s tax system could use a major overhaul. In order to do that, policymakers must be able to engage in give-and-take, which means some taxes may go down and others may go up. Gov. Martinez’s inflexibility on raising any taxes has looked like she wants to preserve her anti-tax bragging rights, not like she wants to solve the problem.