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Today's News

  • LAMS teacher Skypes virtual tour of Tasmania

    Celebrating his third year in the district, Los Alamos Middle School teacher Brian Nelson wasn’t just thinking out of the box for a recent lesson, he was in the middle of the ocean. Virtually of course.
    This year, Nelson is collaborating with the University of Washington, Oregon State University and Scripps Oceanographic Institute in San Diego, on an interactive research project off the coast of Tasmania.
    Nelson worked previously with multiple researchers while at Oregon State, and learned of this project when talking with the outreach coordinator for CEOAS at OSU.
    Recently, Nelson’s 100 students were able to conduct Skype interviews, email, read blog posts by, and analyze data collected by the scientists as the scientists are performing the research, live, off the cost of Tasmania.
    “I had the ability to have all my students to be able to get a virtual tour of the ship before it leaves port, as well as be able to talk with the scientists before the cruise begins,” said Nelson. “This allowed the students to talk with the scientists and make the personal connection with them, as well as have their questions answered and see the ship.”
    The students did “tour,” the ship and communicate with scientists about their research using SKYPE in Australia before they left port.

  • Transparency, accountability and the billions in unspent public funds

    Recently, the state auditor’s Government Accountability Office (GAO) released some staggering figures with respect to $4.5 billion of tax dollars sitting in more than 700 state accounts.
    As a result, many New Mexicans are rightly asking serious questions about whether this money is being put to work to meet the many needs of our state.
    The report, which is a compilation of the most recently available audited financial statements of state agencies (fiscal year 2014 in most cases) is the first in a series of reports the auditor’s office will be releasing to shine a light on fund balances building up in government.
    Moving forward, the GAO will also report on schools, municipalities and counties.
    This effort is aimed at enhancing transparency and accountability for the use of public monies that have already been allocated by the Legislature in years past for a particular use. As our state’s only independent office responsible directly to the voters for oversight of public dollars, the state auditor plans to share this information to start a public conversation about the most efficient and effective use of our tax dollars.
    In the years to come, these reports are intended to serve as a resource for the public, the governor and policymakers to make informed decisions.

  • Business volunteers give eighth graders incentive to graduate

    The earnings and opportunities gap that separates high school dropouts and graduates is wide, and it’s widening all the time. Yet 40 percent of New Mexico’s public school students quit their formal education before earning a diploma that can improve their options over a lifetime.
    Those dismal statistics motivated David Sidebottom, a branch manager of Century Bank, to introduce the Choices education program to Santa Fe schools six years ago. Using a curriculum designed by the nonprofit Choices Education Group, Sidebottom and other volunteers visit eighth-graders for two hour-long workshops that illustrate in tangible, age-appropriate terms the consequences of quitting school prematurely.  
    They don’t lecture, but rather engage the young teens in role-playing activities.
    In one, a student receives “play” money that represents his wages for a job that doesn’t require a high school diploma. Another classmate pretending to be a high school graduate gets more cash, while the best payout goes to the student playing the college graduate. After students surrender money for rent, food and other essentials, it’s obvious who has money left over for entertainment and recreation.

  • State Briefs 3-26-15

    Police: New Mexico meth dealer beat roommate who lost toe

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A suspected methamphetamine dealer is facing charges after Albuquerque police say he repeatedly beat his roommate and refused to let the diabetic victim go to the hospital. Authorities say that victim later lost his toe.
    The Albuquerque Journal reports that 29-year-old Antavio Marquice Cox arrested this week on charged with aggravated battery, extortion and kidnapping.
    According to a criminal complaint, Cox, who also goes by "Stretch," beat his roommate with a metal bar, extorted more than $1,000 from him and refused to let him sleep in his bed out of fear he would call police.
    Authorities say Cox got upset because the victim stopped buying meth from him.
    Cox was ordered held on $5,000 bail. It was not known if he had an attorney.

    Tuition program faces uncertainty after lawmakers don't act

  • Oil patch could lose 2,000 jobs

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The downturn in the oil and gas industry could cost New Mexico around 2,000 jobs, according to estimates from officials with the state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.
    The number of drill rigs operating in the San Juan and Permian basins has dropped from 85 to 60 over the past year, and state energy Secretary David Martin said each rig directly employs 50 workers and another 50 to 70 in support jobs.
    “So far we haven’t seen a decrease in oil production in New Mexico, but we expect it to begin leveling off and that means lost revenue and jobs in the coming months,” he said during a conference in Farmington Tuesday.
    The reduction in rigs comes as some producers scale back plans to compensate for dropping oil prices, which have fallen from more than $100 per barrel last summer to less than $45 in mid-March.
    While it can take months for the effects to trickle down to the oilfield workforce, state lawmakers have already been forced to pare down spending plans for the next fiscal year due to less tax revenue.
    Industry leaders participating in the conference said the lower prices are forcing them to be more innovative and efficient.

  • Stopping By for a Visit

    Aspen Community School students Jakob Warniment and Adam Warniment, Program Director Dorothy Sanchez, ISEC Director of Professional Development & Evaluation Gwen Warniment and Science Resource Center Coordinator Bryan Maestas appeared at the Roundhouse last week as part of the LANL Foundation Inquiry Science Education Consortium, demonstrating inquiry science kits to visitors.

  • Update 3-26-15

    Authors Speak

    Richard Ruddy will be the speaker at the Authors Speak Series. Ruddy wrote a biography of New Mexico territorial governor Edmund G. Ross. His talk will be 7 p.m. today in the upstairs rotunda of Mesa Public Library.

    Photographers

    There will be an opening reception for the Los Alamos Photographers Show Monday. The reception will be from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Mesa Public Library.

    Future Energy

    The Future Energy Resources Committee will hold a meeting Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. at the Municipal Building.

    "Mister Roberts"

    Los Alamos Little Theatre will present “Mister Roberts” at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

    County Council

    The next meeting of Los Alamos County Council is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 31 in council chambers.

    Bear Camp

    Registration for Bear Camp for this summer for youth in grades K-6, as well as Bear Camp Unplugged, for grades 5-6 will be held April 18. Registration starts at 7 a.m. at the Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center. The aquatic center lobby will open at midnight April 18 for customer convenience.

  • Native tribes get grants from DOE

    The United States Department of Energy announced last week that it was giving support to 11 tribal communities to accelerate the implementation of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies on tribal lands.
    The award totals $6 million. One of the communities slated to receive a grant is Santo Domingo Pueblo, from New Mexico.
    These projects are designed to provide Indian Tribes and Alaska Native villages clean energy options. The DOE estimates tribal renewable energy resources comprise approximately 5 percent of all U.S. renewable energy resources.
    “The Energy Department is committed to helping Native American tribes develop clean, affordable and reliable energy options,” said Kathleen Hogan, deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency, in a press release announcing the awards. “By harnessing America’s clean energy on tribal lands, tribes across the country can cut energy bills, spur economic development and advance energy solutions in their local communities.”
    The projects represent a total investment value of $13.5 million. The department’s funding is expected to be leveraged by nearly $7.5 million in cost share by the selected tribes. According to the DOE, the Tribal Energy Program has invested $41.8 million in 183 tribal clean energy projects since 2002.

  • Bipartisan agreement on Medicare passes House

    WASHINGTON (AP) — In uncommon bipartisan harmony, the House approved a $214 billion bill Thursday permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts, moving Congress closer to resolving a problem that has plagued it for years.
    The 392-37 House vote came on a package that bore victories for Republicans and Democrats alike. It immediately shifted the spotlight to the Senate, where its prospects have brightened as Democrats have muffled their criticism and President Barack Obama has embraced the bill.
    With some conservatives also finding fault with the legislation, its Senate fate remained murky. But the House’s lopsided vote also built pressure on senators to vote “yes.”
    The package was negotiated by House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who have spent most of the past few years clashing over legislation. It contains funds for health care programs for children and low-income people that Democrats touted as victories, while Republicans won a long-term strengthening of Medicare’s finances, including cost increases for higher-income recipients.

  • In the NCAAs, time doesn't always fly when you're having fun

    The whistle sounds. The horn blows. And the madness grinds to a halt.
    Another stoppage in play. Another lengthy timeout. Another chance for folks at home to grab something from the fridge or be subjected to the 50th iteration of Samuel, Charles and Spike's geography fail across the U.S. on their way to the Final Four.
    If it seems like time stands still during the NCAA Tournament, maybe that's because it does.
    The television breaks are stretched to a seemingly interminable 2 minutes and 30 seconds, a good half-minute longer than the regular season. And that doesn't include the 20-minute halftimes — five minutes longer than usual — or the additional 15 seconds or so the guys in the TV truck occasionally request to fit in one more commercial that helps CBS recoup the billions the company invested to televise the magic of March.
    What you don't see at home? Coaches milling about talking among themselves. Players trying to stay focused. Benchwarmers taking in the band or the crowd when they're not serving as de facto student managers.
    Yeah, for nearly all involved, the tournament is the biggest moment of their athletic lives. And during those all-too-frequent lulls, it's kind of a drag.