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Today's News

  • Sen. Udall fears repeal of ACA on state

    During a teleconference on Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) discussed how the Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could impact New Mexico.
    “Seven years ago, New Mexico had one of the highest rates of people without health insurance. Tens of thousands of people couldn’t afford to see a doctor except in the hospital emergency room. They couldn’t get preventative care. Many were one major illness away from bankruptcy,” Udall said. “The Affordable Care Act, or ACA, is not perfect, but there is no question that it has helped many New Mexicans get healthcare.”
    According to Udall, since congress passed the ACA in 2010, the rate of uninsured in New Mexico has dropped by 44 percent.
    That figure is confirmed on the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website, which also documents that since the ACA was passed, 82,000 New Mexicans have gained coverage through Medicaid. An additional 47,497 people have coverage through the marketplace. Of those, 32,703 moderate- and middle-income New Mexicans receive tax credits averaging $212 per month. An estimated 15,000 young adults in New Mexico have benefited from the ACA provision that allows them to stay on their parents’ health insurance up to age 26.

  • Gov. Martinez sets state’s fiscal solvency as priority

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is warning that before anything reaches her desk during the upcoming legislative session, she wants lawmakers to come up with a “serious solvency package.”
    The Republican governor made the comment Thursday while addressing business leaders in Albuquerque. She’s referring to projections that the state is expected to outspend revenues by nearly $220 million this fiscal year.
    Martinez and lawmakers rolled out dueling budget proposals earlier this week.
    Despite opposition from Democrats, part of her plan calls for sweeping some money from school district reserves.
    She argues that districts are sitting on more than $130 million in such funds and in some cases that’s far beyond the 5 percent recommended for hard times. She says the surpluses can be tapped to avoid classroom and program cuts.

  • Today in history Jan. 11
  • White Rock Senior Center opens

    Monday marked the first day seniors in White Rock didn’t have to travel to the Betty Ehart Center in Los Alamos for a hot lunch.
    The White Rock Senior Center was recently outfitted with a kitchen for the first time in its long history.  It also now has a bigger recreation area.
    “This has been a vision for many, many years,” said Los Alamos Senior Services Director Pauline Schneider to the applauding crowd Monday.
    The senior center was one of the last projects in the White Rock Master Plan. It was completed this year.
    Seniors who sat down for the lunch were treated to fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, peas and carrots, rolls and fruit cocktail.
    Lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. weekdays. Reservations are preferred. Reservations can be taken up until 10 a.m. on the day seniors plan to lunch. Lunch is free for seniors 60 or older. Others can attend for $7.50. For now, the best way to make reservations is to visit the center at 133 Longview Drive. Phones are still being installed.
    Schneider said that it will be a little bit before the other programs and features of the center are in place.

  • DOE releases report on state of labs

    U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz released a report to the public today detailing the state of the national laboratories.
    The report was in response to a request from the Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories that the nation’s 17 laboratories should more publicly demonstrate their value and contributions to science, engineering, energy and other disciplines.
    “One of the recommendations was that we do an annual report on the state of the annual laboratories, a concise report that would capture annual progress,” Moniz said.
    The 212-page report, titled “Annual Report on the State of the DOE National Laboratories,” also includes Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    Since this report was the first of its kind, the DOE decided to give a bigger picture and go more in depth than it will in later reports.
    “What we decided to do is start out with a very comprehensive report that would also provide some of the history and go into quite some detail so that future editions presumably can revert to the much more concise updates with a strong foundation provided in this report,” Moniz said.

  • Udall weighs in on confirmation process

    During a teleconference on Tuesday, Democrat Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) discussed the hearings on President Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees, which began yesterday in the Senate.
    Udall prefaced his statements by saying, “Every president, no matter who they are, should be able to choose his own team and the Senate should vote without unnecessary delay.
    But Udall went on to state, “The American people also deserve transparency. They deserve to know who is running our government and whether those people have conflicts of interest.
    “Many of Mr. Trump’s nominees are extremely wealthy. Many are connected to or have run major political or lobbying efforts. Several cabinet officials have not released their tax records or finished their ethics disclosure process,” Udall said.
    Udall pointed out that the director of the Office of Government Ethics has expressed concerns about the fact that his office has not finished the ethics review process for Trump’s nominees and that some have not yet provided the office with the required financial disclosures. The Ethics in Government Act requires that presidential appointments confirmed by the Senate obtain OGE certification of their financial disclosures prior to any congressional hearings.

  • Gov. Martinez unveils plan to fix budget shortfall

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez called on Tuesday for further belt tightening by state government as she unveiled a budget proposal to close the state’s general fund deficit and restore depleted reserves, while sticking with her vow to avoid tax increases.
    The budget plan for the coming fiscal year preserves funding for economic development initiatives and public safety agencies and extends recent spending reductions for other agencies and deepens cuts to the legislative branch and state universities, colleges and specialty schools.
    New solvency measures would shrink overall compensation to state employees and public school teachers by decreasing government pension contributions to the state’s two main retirement funds by 3.5 percent of salaries. Government employees would contribute more to maintain the same benefits, with less take-home pay as a result.
    “This sends a message that it’s up to state government to tighten its own belt – not our hard working families,” the Republican governor told reporters. “Furthermore this proposal will ensure that we have a strong, healthy savings account for the next oil and gas downturn or the next time federal government fails us.”

  • Garcia Richard pre-files gun bill

    State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-43) will introduce  a bill next week that would require criminal background checks for firearms sellers who are not licensed to sell but are looking to sell or transfer guns to another individual.
    “What they’re trying to do is, if you wanted to go and buy a firearm from your next door neighbor, you would not be able to do that. They would make that illegal,” said White Rock firearms dealer Stanley Hayes. “It should be the same as you wanting to sell your car and you not having to take it to an auto dealer to sell it.”
    The bill would require a licensed firearms dealer to act as a middleman between the buyer and the seller.
    It would also require that the two people involved comply with all state and federal laws, as if a person was buying the gun directly from a firearms dealer.
    With the bill, Garcia Richard is seeking regulate all firearms sales by requiring both parties to submit to criminal background checks as part of the sale.
    Garcia Richard did not return several calls requesting comment Friday. The bill is co-sponsored by State Rep. Miguel Garcia (D-14, Bernalillo), who also did not immediately return a call for comment.
    Hayes thinks the bill would only discourage law-abiding citizens from selling guns to each other.

  • LA boys hoops top Academy, Goddard game cancelled

    The Los Alamos boys basketball team ended a four-game losing streak by defeating Albuquerque Academy 50-44 in a District 2-5A tilt on Friday in Albuquerque.
    The Hilltoppers improved to 9-10 overall and 1-1 in district play.
    Against the Chargers, Los Alamos took a 24-19 lead at halftime after outscoring Academy 11-9 in the second quarter. The Hilltoppers were able to hold off an Academy comeback effort in the second half to avoid falling behind in the District 2-5A standings.
    Los Alamos is also beginning to use its size on the offensive end. Cade Gasway, a senior post, led the Hilltoppers with 14 points, while 6-foot-2 senior forward Isaac Fason finished with nine. Last week against Del Norte, 6-foot-3 post Troy Hammock scored a season-high 18 points.
    Los Alamos will host Espanola Valley at 7 p.m. Saturday at Griffith Gym.
    Goddard game cancelled
    The Hilltoppers game against Goddard, which was scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, was cancelled due to snow and dangerous driving conditions on roads between Roswell and Los Alamos.
    ‘Toppers girls game postponed  

  • Community Calendar 1-22-17

    MONDAY
    Nature Playtimes at 10 a.m. at the Nature Center. Join local families for fun in nature. Free. More information at peecnature.org.

    Chapter AK, P.E.O., will hold its next meeting Monday, Jan. 23, at 7:30 p.m. at the home of Emma Stafford, 30 Paige Circle, in White Rock. Norma Puckett is the co-hostess. Emma also will provide the program. RSVP to Emma at 672-0540.
    TUESDAY
    A Mountaineer’s Story: Skiing and Climbing from Argentina to Antarctica at 7 p.m. at the Nature Center. Meet an adventurer. Be inspired. Plan your next expedition. Free. More information at peecnature.org.

    Kiwanis meeting from noon-1 p.m. in Kelly Hall at Trinity-on-the-Hill Episcopal Church, 3900 Trinity Drive. Committee Day.

    Los Alamos Piecemakers meeting at 7 p.m. at the White Rock Presbyterian Church. The meeting with be a 4-corners demonstration.

    Rotary Club of Los Alamos meeting from noon-1 p.m. at the Los Alamos Golf Course.  Cheryl Pongratz, of the LA Family Council, will speak.
    THURSDAY
    Nature Yoga at 5:15 p.m. at the Nature Center. Practice yoga with Christa Tyson at the nature center, where you have a great view of nature. Cost is $15 for non-members, $12 for members. More information at peecnature.org.