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Today's News

  • 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.

  • School district sets priorities for upcoming session

    Teacher evaluation systems, saving gas money and a more flexible health insurance system are the top priorities of the Los Alamos Public Schools for the upcoming legislative session.
    Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus has been in talks with Los Alamos state Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-43) and other legislators about getting several bills passed that will make things a lot easier and less expensive for Los Alamos Public Schools and districts across the state.
    Their biggest priority is getting a bill through that will give the LAPS and at least three other districts permission to pilot their own teacher evaluation programs, instead of relying on the state’s system.
    Many teachers feel the state’s system, called “NMTEACH,” places too much emphasis on student test scores and sometimes doesn’t use the right data to make fair and accurate evaluations.
    Los Alamos and other districts want to develop an evaluation system that is more customized to their needs.
    “That bill would provide an opportunity for Los Alamos Schools and three other school districts to pilot test a brand new teacher evaluation system that better meets the student learning goals and helps retain quality teachers,” Steinhaus said.
    Los Alamos School Board President Jim Hall is behind the bill 100 percent.

  • Bandelier, UNM partner for dig

    Bandelier National Monument’s Frijoles Mesa will see some unusual activity this summer.
    In addition to campers at Juniper Campground and visitors attending ranger programs at the amphitheater, a group of students from the University of New Mexico will be excavating test sites in order to document archeological resources.
    The project – paid for with a $35,000 grant from the National Park Service – is in preparation for building a housing unit for seasonal employees on the mesa. With thousands of archeological sites within the park’s boundaries, surveying archeological resources is always a first step for any project.
    “It’s a major construction project, so basically what we need to determine here first at the park is if there’s any intact archeology located where they want to put the building,” said Jamie Civitello, Bandelier’s cultural resources program manager. “The only way we can go about doing that in a definitive way is to do an excavation where we actually look under the ground methodically and document what we find.
    “So the project is really going to be an excavation to really to determine the nature and extent of any archeology that might be there at the location.”

  • Domino’s off to a running start

    When Domino’s Los Alamos opened its doors at 5 p.m. Dec. 30, people started pouring in, and it has not stopped since.
    The weekend just kept getting busier and management did not even see the early week drop off they anticipated. By last Thursday afternoon they had hit order number 1,020.
    “We’re still seeing an influx of lots and lots of new people,” said Regional Director of Operations Vincent Alton. “We’ve gotten a really warm welcome from the town. People have been delightful and, honestly, we were delighted but surprised by the amount of business that we have, because we didn’t really advertise. Just word of mouth has gotten us started.”
    “We just unlocked our doors and put up a banner we were open and we just went crazy from there. It was great,” said General Manager Celesta Lasater, who has been pleased to see a lot of repeat customers.
    For those who may not have been in a Domino’s since a previous franchise closed here, Alton notes “This is not your grandma’s Domino’s.”

  • Community celebrates reopening of LA History Museum

    Fuller Lodge was filled to capacity Friday morning as residents and people from all over the country came to see the Los Alamos History Museum’s grand reopening.
    The event included special guest speaker Clifton Truman Daniel, the grandson President Harry S. Truman. Truman was the first and only U.S. president to deploy nuclear weapons in war.
    The other surprise wasn’t in the program, but was just as welcomed. Near the end of the event, local accountant James Dinkel came forward with a $100,000 check. He presented the check on behalf of the estate of Dr. Zenas “Slim” Boone and his wife Irene to Dennis Erickson. Erickson is co-chair of the “History is Here” campaign. The campaign raises money to preserve and protect the buildings that make up Los Alamos’ historic legacy, including the museum.
    Daniel shared anecdotes with the audience, including a story about the time Truman’s 4-year-old son Daniel and his 2-year-old brother turned off the TV so Truman could read Thucydides’ “History of the Peloponnesian War” to them. He also talked about coming to terms with his grandfather being president of the United States.

  • Exhibits allow visitors step back into the Cold War era

    Along with the reopening of the Los Alamos History Museum, the Los Alamos Historical Society (LAHS) celebrated the opening of the new Harold Agnew Cold War Galleries at the Hans Bethe House Friday.
    LAHS Executive Director Heather McClenahan explained that Bethe lived in the historic house on Bathtub Row only six months – the shortest residency on record.
    “But the work he did was incredible throughout his life, and he served as a mentor and a teacher to many Los Alamos scientists,” McClenahan said. “He also served as the conscience for the scientists. He said, if we’re going to be working on weapons of mass destruction, we need to have a say in how they’re used. So he really served a great role.
    “So we wanted to honor him by calling the house after him.”
    The new galleries focus on the era after the Manhattan Project, when Los Alamos was changing from a military facility focused on the war effort to one of the United States’ leading national laboratories.
    Visitors are introduced to the Cold War era as they enter a living room with period furnishings and an early television set playing news footage of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the moon landing, duck and cover and other events from that period.

  • Fundraiser set for single mom battling cancer

    The community is invited to join family, friends and coworkers of Valerie Martinez for a Frito pie night dinner Jan. 7 to help raise funds to pay for her cancer treatment.
    Martinez is a 28-year-old single mom who was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in late November. She was immediately sent to University of Colorado Cancer Center in Aurora, Colorado to begin treatment for this aggressive form of cancer.
    Martinez’s young son Xaedyn attends Pinon Elementary and is being cared for by her parents during her ongoing treatment. This keeps them here and Martinez alone in Colorado while she receives treatment.
    Funds are being raised to help with her medical bills and the expenses for her parents to travel to Colorado on weekends to visit.
    The Frito pie dinner will include all-you-can eat homemade chili, and all the delicious toppings for Frito pie. Hot dogs will also be available for those craving a good ole chili dog.  
    Homemade frozen casseroles will also be available for purchase for future nights when time is short or the cook needs a night off.
    For more information, contact Martinez at 662-8867 or Bernadette at 929-3322.
    Donations can also be made at Vest Orthodontics, 3250 Trinity Drive, suite A.

  • Democrats in state House to reconfigure committee structure

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Incoming Democratic leaders in the New Mexico House plan to reconfigure the chamber's committee structure by creating new committees and eliminating others.

    The Albuquerque Journal reports that the Democratic leaders plan to make committee changes just as Republicans did two years ago.

    Democrats reclaimed control of the House in November.

    One change would involve creating a House Labor and Economic Development Committee.

    Democrats had objected two years ago to a GOP push to abolish a labor committee and replace it with the House Business and Employment Committee.

    Another change would involve bringing back the House Taxation and Revenue Committee, which had been recast as the House Ways and Means Committee after Republicans won control of the House in 2014.

  • LAPD looking for owner of lost money

    The Los Alamos Police Department is searching for the owner of a sum of money turned into the department.

    Police declined to release details about the amount.

    “An undisclosed amount of money was located by a citizen and brought to the Los Alamos Police Department. So far, no one has contacted the police department concerning their loss,” LAPD Spokesman Preston Ballew said in a release Friday. “We urge anyone that lost this money to call or come to the police department and describe what kind and how much money they lost to include the type of packaging it was in. Upon receiving this information, and confirmation of its rightful owner, the money can be claimed.”

    Call the LAPD for information at 662-8222.