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Today's News

  • State House OKs $6.2B budget bill

    SANTA FE (AP) — The New Mexico House of Representatives has approved a $6.2 billion spending proposal for the next fiscal year that includes pay raises for new teachers and state police officers.
    The House voted 42-25 Tuesday after three hours of debate. Five Democrats sided with 37 Republicans in the majority. The bill now moves to the Senate.
    While most department budgets remain largely flat, the bill boosts spending for education, the state’s child welfare agency and tourism.
    The amount of spending in the bill is nearly the same as that outlined by Gov. Susana Martinez and the Legislative Finance Committee earlier this year.
    Both laid out plans in January — based on revenue projections available then — to spend an additional $70 million or so on education. But with less new money available due to falling oil prices, the bill calls for a $37 million bump for learning initiatives.
    The figure represents about 44 percent of the more than $80 million in new money available to spend.
    As anticipated, local schools’ and districts’ control over the money versus disbursement by the Public Education Department became a contested issue during the House debate.

  • New emergency manager named

    Beverley Simpson, the former state operations director for the Department of Homeland Security, is now Los Alamos County’s emergency management director. She takes over the post from Philmont Taylor, who retired in August of last year.
    Simpson come to the job with over 20 years of combined experience in emergency response, homeland security, defense, and advanced knowledge in technologies related to weapons of mass destruction and terroristic threats.
    Prior to her job as state director of Homeland Security Simpson worked at the Los Alamos Medical Center as laboratory direct and emergency manager.
    Prior to that position she also led a multi-disciplinary team on the DHS Radiological Community Preparedness Resources Project at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she provided scientific and technical assistance on radiological dispersal devices.
    Simpson is a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force Reserves where she serves as the principal advisor to the command surgeon for all aeromedical evacuation management activities and concepts throughout NORAD-USNORTHCOM.

  • More than 2 ounces of heroin seized

    Police arrested five people in Los Alamos last week for trafficking and possessing heroin in Los Alamos.
    The arrests took place on Feb. 17-20, and yielded numerous prescription drugs and slightly more than two ounces of heroin (58.2 grams).
    Most of the arrests occurred because the suspects were acting suspiciously, which attracted the attention from law enforcement, according to court records.
    Arrested were Monica Cooper, 48, of Los Alamos, Celso Ramos, 35, of Santa Cruz, Deanna Doss, 28, of Santa Cruz, David Mondragon, 34, of Santa Fe and Kayla Gomez, 28, of Santa Fe.
    Cooper was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of shoplifting. Ramos was charged with trafficking a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and for concealing his identity.
    Doss was charged with trafficking a controlled substance, bringing contraband into a place of imprisonment, three counts of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
    Gomez was charged with trafficking a controlled substance, three counts of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
    On Feb. 17, police received reports of a white Honda sedan driving “erratically” westbound into Los Alamos.

  • Moore sets record with championship swim

    The Los Alamos High School swimmers kept their strong tradition alive last weekend at the state championships.
    The Hilltopper girls finished third to bring home a state team trophy while the boys, led by Michael Moore’s individual state championship, finished sixth.
    “I was very happy,” head coach Stuart Corliss said. “I’m proud we can go toe-to-toe with the bigger schools.”
    Senior Michael Moore finished his prep swimming career in dominating fashion in the 500-yard freestyle. Moore won the state championship in 4 minutes, 40.19 seconds, breaking the Los Alamos school record that had stood since 1997 in the process.
    “I was really proud of Michael Moore,” coach Corliss said. For the first 200 meters Moore swam with his competition, “then he just pulled away,” the coach said. “I think he has a pain threshold that’s different than most people.”
    Moore also finished third in the 200 freestyle (1:44.24).
    Alex Jaegers was the other member of the boys’ team to make it into an A-final. He took eighth in the 100-free (50.27).
    The Hilltopper girls also had some stellar performances to make it into A-finals and place well.
    Jessica Moore finished third in the 100 breaststroke in 1:07.19.

  • Today in history Feb. 25
  • Obama expected to veto pipeline bill

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will veto a Republican-backed bill on Tuesday that would have approved construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, the White House said, putting a freeze on a top GOP priority — at least for now.
    The contentious legislation arrived at the White House on Tuesday morning from Capitol Hill, where Republicans pushed the bill quickly through both chambers in their first burst of activity since taking full control of Congress. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama would veto it in private “without any drama or fanfare or delay.”
    Obama’s veto notwithstanding, the White House said there was no “final disposition” on whether a permit will be issued for the pipeline, which has become a major flashpoint in the national debate over climate change. Rather, Obama is rebuffing a congressional attempt to circumvent the executive branch’s “longstanding process for evaluating whether projects like this are in the best interests of the country,” Earnest said.

  • Update 2-24-15

    Volunteers

    Volunteer judges are needed for the state speech and debate tournament starting Thursday in Los Alamos. Those interested are asked to email m.batha@laschools.net.

    School budget

    TThe first meeting of the LAPS 2015 Budget Committee will be at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Los Alamos High School speech theater.

    Fire and Ice

    Santa Fe National Forest will host its Fire and Ice Festival Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Father Fitzgerald Park in Jemez Springs. The event will feature live music, arts and crafts and a cross-cut saw contest.

    APP board

    Los Alamos County’s Arts in Public Places Board will meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Municipal Building.

    School board

    The Los Alamos School Board wil hold a work
    session Thursday at
    Barranca Mesa Elementary School. A report on the 20-Year Facilities Plan will be discussed. Meeting time is 5:30 p.m.

    Engineers' dinner

    The Los Alamos Engineering Council will host a dinner featuring guest speaker Cleve Moler, Wednesday at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. To RSVP, call 667-5772.

  • Bill aims to help do away with bullying

    SANTA FE (AP) — A committee of New Mexico lawmakers has approved an anti-bullying bill spurred by the 2013 suicide of a teenager who was bullied at school.
    The bill calls for the creation of a five-member board to oversee grant applications to eradicate bullying in New Mexico schools and colleges. It garnered bipartisan support Monday in the Senate Rules Committee with a unanimous vote.
    The legislation, called the Carlos Vigil Memorial Act, would create a fund to be administered by the University of New Mexico Board of Regents.
    Bill sponsor Sen. Jacob Candelaria of Albuquerque says bullying is an issue that “warrants a state response.”
    A Twitter post by 17-year-old Carlos Vigil of Los Lunas about enduring bullying garnered widespread media attention after he committed suicide.
    According to published reports, Vigil was an anti-bullying advocate but in his last post on Twitter he noted, in part, “The kids in school are right, I am a loser, a freak, and a fag and in no way is that acceptable for people to deal with. I’m sorry for not being a person that would make someone proud. I’m free now.”
    Among purposes of the Carlos Vigil Act is to “cultivate a statewide culture where bullying is not accepted,” the bill states.

  • Moore is long-distance champ

    Los Alamos’ Michael Moore picked up a state championship in the final individual race of his career Saturday.
    Moore, a senior with the Hilltopper boys swim team picked up a decisive victory in the 500-yard freestyle to upset the No. 1 seed in the state at the championship meet.
    The state title meet was Friday and Saturday. It was hosted by Albuquerque Academy.
    In the 500 freestyle championship, Moore completed the race in 4 minutes, 40.19 seconds, that was nearly 4 seconds better than Cibola’s Jacob Harlan.
    Moore, who went through the regular season undefeated, suffered his one and only loss earlier in the day when he placed third in the 200 freestyle, but came back with the big victory in the long race.
    Harlan had the best time of anyone in the state heading into the event, about 2 seconds better than Moore’s best time during the regular season, but he only finished fourth in Friday’s preliminary round behind Lee Moffett, another top-seeded swimmer from Sandia, Moore and Paden Simms of Clovis.
    In the championship, however, both Moore and Harlan got off to a fast start. Harlan had the fastest 50-yard split at 24.63, but Moore was right behind him at 24.88.
    The two were neck-and-neck until about the final 150 yards when Moore started to pull away.

  • Long-range planning is still going on

    Where and when the North Central Regional Transit District’s Blue Buses run, what riders want transit to accomplish in the community and what services would riders like to see from the NCRTD 20 years from now are questions being asked as NCRTD develops its Long Range Strategic Plan.
    The plan is being formalized to address the challenges NCRTD faces between now and 2040. Los Alamos stakeholders had a chance to weigh in on those issues at a public meeting last Thursday.
    “This is really setting a blueprint for the future,” said facilitator Polly Buck. Buck is part of a team from transportation planning consultant Felsburg, Holt and Ullevig (FHU), which is conducting the study for NCRTD. “I refer to the short-range plan (the 5-year plan currently being implemented) as great for the efficiency of what’s happening today But you really need to have a vision of what you’re trying to accomplish long-term, so that you can guide the actions that you take today.
    “It’s like going to college and taking a bunch of classes and having no idea of what degree you’re going to end up with. You have to have some goal in mind, so you know every day, day-to-day, when you’re expending your resources, what you’re trying to achieve with that.”