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Today's News

  • Los Alamos County debuts a revamped website

    Los Alamos County debuted a revamped website today that it hopes will be more user-friendly.

    The website’s main feature is better communication through the use of interactive forms.

    County officials also said the website, at losalamosnm.us, features:

    • Better navigation tools,

    • Redesigned sub-sites for departments or services,

    • Improved search engine capabilities,

    • Easy access through home page “quick links” for the most popular links,

    • Enhanced photo and video hosting capability,

    • An integrated calendar of events with filter options,

    • Responsive design for viewing on smart phones and tablets.

    Also included in the site is software designed for easier public access to information on county boards and commissions. With the new software, the public will be able to review a board’s or a commission’s work plan and find out what the board does.

    The software also allows for those interested to check on vacancy statuses and reapplying for openings.

  • Xcel plans $1.6 billion wind farms in New Mexico, West Texas

    PORTALES (AP) — Xcel Energy has announced plans to invest $1.6 billion to build wind farms in eastern New Mexico and West Texas.
    The energy company announced Tuesday that it has filed proposals with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission and the Public Utility Commission of Texas to construct and operate two facilities and to purchase wind under a third transaction.
    David Hudson, president of Xcel Energy of New Mexico and Texas, said the wind initiative is part of his company's larger strategy to lower the cost of energy production.
    "These new wind facilities will cost $1.6 billion to build," Hudson said, "but will allow us to produce wind energy at a cost lower than energy produced at our coal and natural gas-fueled plants."
    Xcel plans to build a 522-megawatt wind facility about 20 miles south of Portales. The new wind farm will be the state's largest, far surpassing the state's current largest windfarm, a 250-watt holding in Roosevelt County owned by Xcel subsidiary Southwest Public Service Co.
    The company also plans to build a 478-megawatt farm in Hale County, Texas, just north of Lubbock.
    Xcel also plans to purchase another 230 megawatts of wind energy under a long-term power purchase agreement with NextEra Energy resources.

  • House rejects Roundhouse ban on openly carrying guns

    BY ANDREW OXFORD
    The New Mexican

  • State voters to weigh in on ethics

    BY STEVE TERRELL
    The New Mexican

  • Police arrest 7 in drug bust operation

    Los Alamos Police, New Mexico State Police, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents and New Mexico Department of Corrections officials conducted an early morning drug bust in Los Alamos County Monday.

    DOC and DEA agents provided helicopter and K-9 support. The raids began at 7 a.m.

    LAPD Investigators recovered various amounts of methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine, acid, mushrooms, prescription pills, drug paraphernalia and cash, according to an LAPD spokesman.

    “Future arrests linked to this operation are likely as this investigation continues,” LAPD Spokesman Commander Preston Ballew said.

    At least a few of the arrests occurred on San Ildefonso Road, according to witnesses who informed the Monitor.

    Nichole Marsh, 36, of Los Alamos was arrested and charged with one count of trafficking in a controlled substance and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

    Nicholas Conner, 35, of Los Alamos was arrested and charged with four counts of trafficking in a controlled substance.

    Amanda Osborne, 32, of Los Alamos was arrested and charged with two counts of trafficking in a controlled substance and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

    Anthony Knief, 32, of Los Alamos was arrested and charged with two counts of trafficking in a controlled substance.

  • Martinez, lawmakers end session in bitter standoff over budget

    By Andrew Oxford

    The New Mexican

    A legislative session that began 60 days ago with calls for bipartisanship to balance the state's quavering budget ended Saturday with bitterness, acrimony and a promise by Gov. Susana Martinez to bring lawmakers back for a special session to craft a new budget without any tax increases.

    It would be the third year in a row that Martinez has called lawmakers into a special session to address budget shortfalls and other financial issues, illustrating the continuing discord between the Republican governor and Democrats in the Legislature. This session's disharmony was particularly notable because it included skirmishes between the governor and some lawmakers of her own party.

    "Many in the Legislature failed to do their jobs this session," Martinez told reporters shortly after lawmakers adjourned. "They actually squandered 60 days and cowed to special interest groups. It was reckless and it was irresponsible, and now we are staring down the path of a government shutdown."

    Martinez said her administration will consider closing nonessential state services, such as museums and parks, and might furlough government staff to save money until legislators send her a budget she can support.

  • Police identify one of two women suspected in hit-and-run shoplifting incident

    Los Alamos police have identified one of two women suspected in a shoplifting case that occurred at Bealls Department Store Thursday. The incident also involved a driver fleeing the scene and striking a pedestrian in the parking lot.

    The suspect has been identified as Ashley A. Garcia, 23, of Hernandez.

    A statewide warrant has been issued for her arrest. Police charged Garcia with shoplifting, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and neglecting duty to give information and render aid at the scene of an accident.

    The shoplifting charge is a fourth degree felony, the deadly weapon charge is a third degree felony and the neglect charge is a misdemeanor.

    Police are offering a $100 reward for the identity of the second suspect. Individuals with knowledge of the second suspect can report their information anonymously to Crimestoppers at 662-8262.

    Police are also on the lookout for a four-door silver Volvo with a smashed windshield.

  • County postpones library HVAC replacement

    Los Alamos County will delay improving the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system at the Mesa Public Library because of a budget shortfall, officials announced Monday.

    The Public Works Department instead opted to make smaller improvements to the 24-year-old HVAC system designed to improve the airflow.

    The upgrade was expected to cost $2.5 million. The interim improvements are estimated to cost $5,000, according to Wayne Kohlrust, project manager for the Los Alamos County Public Works Department.

    “Projected revenues have not been as expected for this fiscal year, and therefore it is prudent to have a one-time deferral of this project originally slated to occur this summer,” County Manager Harry Burgess said in a statement. “We understand that our community’s top employer, LANL, (Los Alamos National Laboratory) has been operating under a continuing budget resolution for the most of the last six months, and believe that this fact has resulted in lower than expected revenues that we have been experiencing.”

  • New Mexico tops latest unemployment list

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico has the worst unemployment rate in the nation, according to figures released Monday by state and federal labor officials.

    January's jobless rate of 6.7 percent remained unchanged from the previous month, but that's still higher than the 6.5 percent recorded a year ago.

    Nationally, the rate increased slightly to 4.8 percent despite an uptick in hiring in January as employers added 238,000 jobs.

    The employment outlook has added fuel to a fiery debate in the New Mexico Legislature, where Democrats have blasted the Martinez administration over the stagnant economy. With less than a week remaining to shore up a significant budget shortfall, they say they have little choice but to push $350 million in various tax and fee increases.

    Much of the problem stems from the downturn in the oil and gas industry, which contributes one of the largest chunks of the state revenue used to fund government programs.

    The Martinez administration said Monday that New Mexico is too reliant on the oil and gas industry and the federal government.

    Ben Cloutier, a spokesman for the state Economic Development Department, said lawmakers should be focused on legislation that creates a more business-friendly environment in New Mexico.

  • Senator starts process for overriding gov’s veto

    A Republican legislator on Friday began his attempt to override Gov. Susana Martinez’s veto of a bill that would enable teachers to use more sick days without being penalized in their performance evaluation.
    Sen. Craig Brandt, R-Rio Rancho, moved to have the vetoed bill returned to the Senate so he could seek an override early next week.
    Martinez is also a Republican, but Brandt said he would continue pursuing the override unless they can reach a compromise in which teachers are not penalized. He said he had initiated conversations with Martinez’s Public Education Department in hopes of starting such a discussion.
    “I don’t take any joy in overriding a veto,” Brandt said.
    Martinez’s spokesman, Michael Lonergan, referenced the governor’s veto message when asked about the possibility of a compromise with Brandt.
    In part, Martinez said: “I would welcome a bill that considers reasonable changes to attendance measures as part of an effective, comprehensive teacher evaluation system. However, the Legislature continually refused to engage despite the Public Education Department’s repeated good-faith attempts to meet teachers and teachers’ unions halfway.”