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Today's News

  • Sen. Domenici, a tireless advocate for LA County, dies

    Former Republican Sen. Pete V. Domenici, a six-term senator who was known for his work on budget and energy issues and support of the state’s national laboratories, died Wednesday. He was 85.

    Domenici died at the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, his son Pete Domenici Jr., said. The senator had undergone abdominal surgery in recent weeks.

    When the late U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici first took office in 1972, Los Alamos County did not have its own fire department, and a large part of the land the county now owns belonged to the Department of Energy.

    By the time he left office in early 2009, Los Alamos County had its own fire department and enough land that enabled the county to think seriously about its future, as far as its economic development and quality of life was concerned.

    Los Alamos resident Veronica Rodriguez worked for Sen. Domenici for about 10 years. She joined his staff in 1998 and started work in his Washington D.C. office. By the time Domenici left office in 2009, Rodriguez was Domenici’s regional director for northern New Mexico.

    Throughout the time she worked with him, Rodriguez said she saw firsthand the why and the how behind Domenici’s success when it came to his advocacy for the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the county.

  • Cruz – Bences Gonzales’s grandson – is new artist in residence at Bandelier

    Bandelier National Monument welcomed Artist in Residence Paul Cruz this month.

    Cruz is no stranger to the area. He was born in Española and still has many relatives in the area.

    For those familiar with the history of Los Alamos Ranch School and the Manhattan Project, his grandfather was Bences Gonzales, a hardworking and well-loved character through those years of Los Alamos history.

    Cruz’s mother and her siblings grew up in Los Alamos. His uncle, Ray Gonzales, wrote the book, “A Boy on the Hill,” about growing up on “the Hill” during the Ranch School years.

    Taught by his father, Cruz began learning jewelry making and lapidary work at an early age. He has used a variety of techniques for his original designs, including soldered applique, stamping and setting stones in bezels.

    Cruz’s materials include silver, gold and copper, as well as a wide variety of semi-precious and precious stones, and also bone.

    He enjoys making pieces that incorporate a theme or story. Cruz’s favorite styles are inlay and raised inlay, and he is particularly fond of working with turquoise.

  • Contract extended for management of US nuclear dump

    CARLSBAD (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy has extended a contract for the management of the government's only underground nuclear waste repository that will allow the Nuclear Waste Partnership to continue operating the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad through September 2020.

    WIPP resumed operations earlier this year following a shutdown that followed a 2014 radiation release caused by inappropriate packaging of waste by workers at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    The extension of the contract with Nuclear Waste Partnership will include a new safety focus and cost incentives. It's good through Sept. 30, 2020, and can be extended beyond that.

    A federal audit this week found that WIPP doesn't have enough space for radioactive tools, clothing and other debris left over from decades of bomb-making and research.
     

  • Deal or no deal? ‘Dreamers’ wait as Trump, lawmakers joust

    BY ERICA WERNER AND JILL COLVIN
    Associated Press

    WASHINGTON — The fate of 800,000 young immigrants hung in the balance Thursday as top lawmakers, White House officials and President Donald Trump himself squabbled over whether an agreement had been struck to protect them — and if so, exactly what it was.

    In the face of an intense backlash from conservatives inside the Capitol and out, Speaker Paul Ryan and other GOP House members adamantly insisted that there was no agreement to enshrine protections for the immigrants brought to America as children and now here illegally.

    John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate Republican, put it this way: There was “a deal to make a deal.”

    Trump himself said he was “fairly close” to an agreement that could protect the young “Dreamers” while also adding border security, as long as his long-promised wall with Mexico was also separately addressed. Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer — whose dinner with Trump Wednesday night was at the heart of the controversy — insisted there was discussion and even agreement on legislation that would offer eventual citizenship to the immigrants in question.

  • Endangered Mexican wolf killed following livestock attacks

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An endangered Mexican gray wolf has been killed by federal employees after a Native American tribe requested the animal be removed from the wild in the wake of a string of cattle deaths near the Arizona-New Mexico border.

    The death of the female wolf marks the first time in a decade that efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to curb livestock attacks by wolves has had lethal consequences for one of the predators.

    The decision to remove the member of the Diamond Pack was first made in June after three calves were killed over several days, sparking concern among wildlife managers about what they described as an unacceptable pattern of predation.

    An investigation determined the female wolf was likely the culprit based on GPS and radio telemetry tracking, according to documents obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.

    Another calf was killed in July, prompting the White Mountain Apache Tribe to call for the removal. That was followed by one confirmed kill and another probable kill by members of the pack on national forest land adjacent to the reservation.

    Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Benjamin Tuggle issued another order in August calling for the wolf's removal by the most expeditious means possible.

  • Pete Domenici, longest-serving NM senator and strong supporter of LANL mission, has died

    Associated Press and Staff Report

    Former Republican Sen. Pete V. Domenici, a six-term senator who was known for his work on budget and energy issues and support of the state's national laboratories, died Wednesday. He was 85.

    Domenici died at the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, his son Pete Domenici Jr., said. The senator had undergone abdominal surgery in recent weeks.

    Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan released a statement to the Monitor Wednesday about Domenici’s contributions to the lab.

  • New Mexico government hiring spree aimed at efficiency

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico state government is seeking to hire dozens of human resources professionals, in an ongoing effort to centralize and streamline personnel operations.

    The State Personnel Office has announced it will interview candidates Friday for human resources positions based in Santa Fe and Albuquerque linked to nine state agencies, at a "rapid hire" event at agency offices in Santa Fe.

    New Mexico employs about 18,000 people at agencies overseen by the governor, not including political appointees.

    The ranks of state employees have shrunk in years mostly through attrition as New Mexico wrestled with a downturn in revenues linked to weak oil and natural gas prices.

    New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez lifted a two-month hiring freeze in June as state finances showed signs of stabilizing.
     

  • South Korea says North has fired another missile

    South Korea says North has fired another missile over Japan
    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's military said North Korea fired an unidentified missile Friday from its capital Pyongyang that flew over Japan before landing in the northern Pacific Ocean.

    It was the second aggressive test-flight over the territory of the close U.S. ally in less than a month and it followed the sixth and most powerful nuclear test by North Korea to date on Sept. 3.

    South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile traveled about 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) while reaching a maximum height of 770 kilometers (478 miles).

    The missile was launched from Sunan, the site of Pyongyang's international airport.

    North Korea last month used the airport to fire a Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile that flew over northern Japan.
    The North then declared it a "meaningful prelude" to containing the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam and the start of more ballistic missile launches toward the Pacific Ocean.

    Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga denounced North Korea's latest launch, saying he was conveying "strong anger" on behalf of the Japanese people.

    Suga said Japan "will not tolerate the repeated and excessive provocations."

  • Environmentalists sue to block US border wall with Mexico

    SAN DIEGO (AP) — Three advocacy groups sued the federal government Thursday to block construction of a border wall with Mexico, alleging that that Trump administration overstepped its authority by waiving environmental reviews and other laws.

    The Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife and Animal Legal Defense Fund seek to prevent construction of wall prototypes in San Diego before it begins and halt plans for replacement barriers in San Diego and Calexico, California.

    The complaint largely mirrors a lawsuit filed by another advocacy group, the Center for Biological Diversity, but the three organizations each say they have hundreds of thousands of members, bringing more attention and resources to a legal fight over one of President Donald Trump's key campaign pledges.

    The government has waived reviews seven times under a 2005 law to speed construction of border barriers, including twice under Trump. The law allows the government to waive dozens of laws, including the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires extensive reviews of environmental impacts.

    The lawsuit contends the waiver authority expired in 2008, when the government met congressional requirements for additional border barriers.

  • Flags to fly at half-staff in New Mexico to honor Domenici

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez has ordered flags to fly at half-staff around New Mexico on Friday and Saturday in honor of former U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici.

    Domenici died Wednesday morning of complications from abdominal surgery at age 85.

    He was New Mexico's longest serving senator, in office from 1973 to 2008.

    Domenici announced in October 2007 that he wouldn't seek a seventh term because he had been diagnosed with an incurable brain disorder, frontotemporal lobar degeneration.

    A public celebration of the longtime lawmaker's life will be held at Isotopes Stadium in Albuquerque on Saturday at 3 p.m.
    Martinez issued an executive order Thursday that flags are to be flown at half-staff from sunrise Friday to sunset Saturday.