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Today's News

  • 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.”

  • House approves ethics commission proposal

    BY STEVE TERRELL
    The New Mexican

  • LA Adult Softball registration opens

    The Los Alamos Adult Softball League is now open for registration.  
    Important dates coming up are:
    • April 15: Los Alamos Softball Work Party at Overlook Fields
    • April 29-30: USSSA Softball Tournament at Overlook Fields
    • May 6: Los Alamos Softball Pre-Season Tournament at Overlook Fields
    Email losalamossoftball@yahoo.com for more information.

  • BPU OK’s power plant repairs

    A county hydroelectric plant shut down nearly a year ago is expected to be back in service this summer, following the approval of a contract to fix a broken seal this week.
    The Board of Public Utilities voted 4-0 Monday to authorize the DPU to purchase a “field services” contract with Voith Hydro for $120,000 along with $52,000 in funding for components to fix the bad seal on a turbine and generator unit at the county’s El Vado Hydroelectric Plant.
    The plant was shut down in May 2016 because of the leak.
    The water from the generator was leaking into the plant’s powerhouse.
    “It got to the point where the plant had to shut itself down because it was a flooding condition that could cause damage if it continued,” said Deputies Utilities Manager James Alarid at Monday’s meeting.
    The Voith Hydro contract is to hire Voith Hydro personnel to make sure JR Merit, who installed the valve during the original refurbishment, do it to specifications outlined by DPU and Voith Hydro. Voith Hydro is the manufacturer of the turbine and generator unit.
    If JR Merit ultimately decides not to do the repair, the contract gives DPU permission to have Voith Hydro perform the repairs itself.

  • New Mexico will work with ICE on inmate status

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez on Friday ordered the corrections department to work with federal authorities on checking the immigration status of inmates serving time in the state's prisons.
    The governor's office said the administration of President Donald Trump asked New Mexico for permission to interview prisoners who were born in foreign countries.
    The interviews by federal authorities are intended at expediting potential deportation proceedings for those suspected of living in the country illegally, said Martinez spokesman Michael Lonergan.
    "This is a matter of public safety, as these are all convicted criminals, many of a violent nature," Lonergan said.
    Immigrant inmates determined by federal authorities to be in the country illegally will be deported promptly after finishing their sentences, Lonergan said.
    Martinez issued the directive after the Trump administration two weeks ago requested a list of inmates who were born in other countries. The corrections department has since provided U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement with a list of foreign-born inmates and their convictions, which range from first-degree murder and rape to credit card fraud. Many on the list are from Mexico while a few are from the Middle East.

  • Administrative state creeps along, always growing, always costing more

    The tax boys want additional information for your 2016 return, starting with your driver’s license number. If claiming certain credits for children, you must prove the kid lives with you, which, says my tax preparer, “gets really interesting if the kid is between zero and four.”
    Besides treading on our liberty, the requirements raise costs and provide another definition of what is being called “the administrative state.”
    In his March 5 Washington Post column, Robert Samuelson, one of my favorite analysts, quoting historian Steven Hayward from the current issue of the conservative Claremont Review of Books, wrote, “The administrative state represents a new and pervasive form of rule, and a perversion of constitutional self-government.” Samuelson concluded, “Like it or not, we do have an administrative state. It isn’t going away.”
    The simplest compliance with the new IRS rules will require about 20 minutes, estimates my tax preparer. There will be a modest charge for one new form. Otherwise the changes mean less sleep and no new clients this year, which means that the IRS has prevented the business from growing.
    Another favorite source, Megan McArdle of Bloomberg.com, in a Feb. 14 post linked to a long consideration of why everything costs more.

  • SWOT analysis helps businesses plan for growth

    By Finance New Mexico