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Today's News

  • County to self-insure

    Faced with a potential rate hike of 14.4 percent, the Los Alamos County council voted to adopt a self-funded insurance plan instead.

    The county’s contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield is renegotiated yearly. BCBS had originally proposed a 16.4 rate hike for next year. The county’s benefits consultant, Gallagher Benefit Services (GBS), entered into negotiations with BCBS to secure the lower rate. The county’s budget allowed for a 12-percent increase.

    The rate increase would significantly increase premiums for both the county (which pays 80 percent for full-time employees) and employees. Employees would also have higher out-of-pocket expenses.

    Staff identified eight options to reduce the rate hike, but seven of those had only minimal impact. Self-funding would increase rates by only 3.5 percent, without a change in benefits for the first year.

    County Administrator Harry Burgess said that if the self-funded plan was adopted, the county could take several steps to stabilize or reduce rates in upcoming years. These include:

    Forming an employee advisory committee composed of staff with a range of job titles and pay grades to evaluate what the insurance needs are and to formulate options for reducing costs.

  • A view on charter items

    Our community has seen a lot of press recently about the four charter amendment ballot questions.  Citizens should vote NO on all four for three reasons: they embody logrolling, further disenfranchisement of voters and more petition exclusions.
    REASON 1: LOGROLLING.  The county has bundled 21 ordinances into four ballot questions, arguing that 1) there wasn’t space on the ballot to list them separately, and 2) they were all related within each question, such that none could stand on its own without affecting all the others in the bundle.
    LAGRI pointed out to council “limited space on the ballot” was not grounds for preventing the citizens from voting intelligently on individual and disparate issues; there was no haste to bring these proposals to the voters; and that these proposals could be presented in the special election being planned in the spring for the other charter amendment proposals (e.g. utilities, clerk).  It was also pointed out that a regularly scheduled separate municipal election, as practiced in every other New Mexico municipality, would reduce overload such as this on the general election ballot.

  • Exorcising the voter fraud phantoms

    One of the few issues to be laid to rest this campaign season is voter fraud. Fears, mostly on the right, that noncitizens might be voting, manifested in voter identification bills here and across the nation.
    Bearing the voter-fraud torch was Secretary of State Dianna Duran, who proceeded to botch the effort from beginning to end. She announced early last year that New Mexico had a “culture of corruption,” a charge repeated in national media. (Just what we need.) Later she referred 64,000 possibly fraudulent voter records to the State Police. That number plummeted a year ago to 104 voters who were illegally registered to vote and 19 who actually voted illegally.
    In her report, Duran stuck her jaw out and accused her critics of being partisan while insisting that her office was “simply not in that game,” and that even though 19 didn’t sound like much, any instance of vote fraud was significant. Democrats returned fire.
    More telling was the response of the nonpartisan Common Cause New Mexico. The group applauded Duran’s effort to clean up the state’s voter records but charged that Duran was “deliberately undermining public trust in New Mexico elections purely to promote policies, such as voter photo ID, which are designed to prevent qualified New Mexicans from casting a ballot.”

  • Player back after severe beaning

    MIAMI (AP) — Only hours before getting his second chance in the big leagues, Adam Greenberg admitted he was nervous. Not about facing one of baseball’s best pitchers — but about some pregame antics his new Miami Marlins teammates had in store for him.
    Greenberg signed a one-day contract to play Tuesday night as a pinch-hitter in the Marlins’ game against the New York Mets.
    The game was Greenberg’s first since he stepped to the plate for his major league debut in 2005 and was hit in the back of the head by the first pitch he saw — a 92-mph fastball.
    Greenberg, 31, took part in batting practice and said he was overwhelmed by the positive reception from his new teammates, who planned to treat him like any other rookie. Catcher John Buck said Greenberg would don a Speedo and pink goggles for a pregame performance in the clubhouse.
    “I’ve got to go sing and dance in front of them like a real rookie,” Greenberg said. “That, to be honest, is what I’m more nervous about.”
    The 5-foot-9 Greenberg said he hoped the game marks only the beginning of a career comeback. He didn’t play in the minor leagues this year and hasn’t been with a major league team since 2008.

  • Hawks’ XC results

    Here are Los Alamos Middle School’s results from the Sept. 26 Albuquerque Academy Invitational:

    Seventh grade girls

    Team scores

    1. Albuquerque Academy, 32; 2. Desert Ridge, 70; 3. Santa Fe Indian School, 105; 4. LAMS, 109.

    Individual results

    3. Kathryn McClenahan, 12:42; 19. Zoe Hemez, 13:49; 28. Anya Palmer, 14:19; 29. Jordan Bailey, 14:23; 30. Serenity Maestas, 14:26; 35. Miriam Wallstrom, 14:38; 38. Ruby Selvage, 14:56; 39. Beatrice Nisoli, 15:01; 40. Katrina Vinyard, 15:06; 42. Amaya Martin, 15:13; 48. Madeline Beck, 15:32; 49. Madison Peterson, 15:35; 54. Morgan Parker, 15:51; 57. Sophia Sivils, 16:14; 80. Michaelle Sutton, 19:00; 81. Elisa Cirigliano, 19:02.

    Seventh grade boys

    Team scores

    1. Albuquerque Academy, 40; 2. LAMS, 55; 3. St. Michael’s 80.

    Individual results

    2. Ben Rees, 11:15; 6. Kye Jones, 11:34; 14. Aaron Hime, 12:30; 15. Leander Murphy, 12:30; 18. Andres Runde, 12:38; 27. Phillip Martin, 13:05; 28. Max Goettee, 13:06; 35. Joshua Strevell, 13:21; 42. Caleb Hatler, 13:29; 50. Kevin Parkinson, 13:52; 53. Jacob Thompson, 13:58; 62. Michael Narum, 14:13; 75. Kyler Parkinson, 15:07; 89. Francisco Valdez, 15:57; 95. Amabilis Baca, 16:21; 119. Cameron Pearl.

  • LA falls at home to Volcano Vista, 3-1

    The visiting Volcano Vista Hawks scored a pair of goals in the second half Tuesday to down the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys soccer team 3-1 Wednesday.
    The No. 5 ranked Hawks got goals from three different scorers to pick up the victory at Sullivan Field. The Hilltoppers had won two straight contests, including one of their best games of the 2012 season Saturday hosting the Santa Fe Demons.
    Los Alamos scored in the first half against Volcano Vista, with Ryan Maestas, who had a hat trick Saturday, picking up the goal off an assist from Alexi Ortega.
    But Volcano Vista, one of the top offenses in Class 5A, picked up the two unanswered second half goals to take the contest. Alec Cravens, CJ Slough and Teriq Canales all earned goals for Volcano Vista (10-2), which won for the fourth time in five outings.
    For Los Alamos (8-6), Tyler Mullen played 60 minutes in goal, finishing with six saves, while Christopher Parker had two saves in 20 minutes in goal.
    Tuesday’s game for Los Alamos was one of two this week against a Class 5A opponent. Friday, Los Alamos will travel to Sandia (6-5), which has traditionally among the toughest programs in the state, but is currently ranked 17th in the state.

  • Toppers lose in shootout to Hawks

    For the past two games, the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls soccer team has played uneven ball.
    While it was somewhat understandable Saturday against Santa Fe, which was completely overmatched by Los Alamos, it wasn’t Tuesday afternoon against the Volcano Vista Hawks.
    The Hilltoppers started off the contest well, scoring about 25 minutes in to take a 1-0 lead, but the Hilltoppers couldn’t keep their intensity up. The Hawks controlled play for most of the second half and tied the score at the 48-minute mark.
    The Hawks would go on to win in a shootout, 2-1.
    “It was kind of sluggish,” Hilltopper head coach Jiri Kubicek said. “We had some breakaways. We had some good chances to get goals. Our seniors need to step it up. We had some good things, but some of it looked like the Santa Fe game.”
    Tuesday’s loss snapped Los Alamos’ seven-game win streak.
    Los Alamos (10-2) got some offense going in the overtime periods, setting itself up with a few good looks.
    In the shootout phase, Los Alamos couldn’t convert on its first two chances — one was blocked by Hawk goalkeeper Jovana Canales and the other sailed over the crossbar, while Volcano Vista converted on two of its first three chances to go up 2-0.

  • Today in History for October 3rd
  • 10 things to know for Wednesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday:

    1. HOW THE U.S. IS FIGHTING TERRORISM IN NORTH AFRICA

    Special ops forces are at U.S. embassies throughout the region, officials reveal, but the strategy was too new to avert the killing of the ambassador in Libya.

    2. U.S. OFFICIAL SAYS MEXICAN POLICE 'AMBUSHED' EMBASSY CAR

    Two CIA officers were wounded in what may have been a targeted assassination attempt orchestrated by a drug cartel.

    3. 'GO FIGURE,' MICHELLE SAYS AS DEBATE FALLS ON THE OBAMAS' ANNIVERSARY

    The president will share the stage with Romney, rather than the first lady, at 9 p.m. Wednesday. But at least she'll be close by in the audience.

    4. WHO THE REAL TARGETS BECAME IN POST-9/11 INTEL EFFORT

  • Man rescued from burning car--Updated

    A man was pulled from a burning vehicle on N.M. 4 near the White Rock split just before the Silver Ford Edge he was driving became engulfed in flames Tuesday afternoon.

    How he was rescued was a story in itself.

    According to the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department, the man was identified as B.R. Sanders, 84, of Los Alamos. Maj. Ken Johnson of the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department said Sanders apparently dozed off while driving and ran off the road. The weeds underneath the car caught on fire and as a result, the vehicle caught fire as well. Johnson added drugs and alcohol were not a factor in the cause of the crash.

    Steve Yanicak and Don Carlson, who work for the Department of Energy NMED Oversight Bureau, were driving a government vehicle heading westbound on N.M. 4 after collecting storm water samples.

    They noticed a white car about 70 yards off the road with orange flames coming out of it.

    They pulled over and were instrumental along with three other people in pulling a man from the burning vehicle.

    “We noticed there were people in the white car and one of them was trying to yank somebody out of the silver car,” Yanicak said. “Obviously, the car was on fire. We abruptly stopped. It happened so fast.”
    Carlson was in the passenger seat of the government vehicle.