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Today's News

  • Letter to the Editor 8-13-17

    You can be conservative and in favor of
    improvements

    Dear Editor,
    It was a great pleasure to see Tony Fox insist that the council recognize that voting against the rec bond is not identical with voting against the rec projects. One may be fiscally conservative and still be in favor of some quality of life improvements and infrastructure development.

    And while Dr. (Lisa) Shin is indeed correct that quantification is not precise, it is certainly clear that everyone who voted for the bond is also in favor of the projects. Now if only one in 10 fiscal conservatives are nonetheless also in favor of at least some of the rec projects, a small fraction, then there is also a majority in favor of those projects.

    It is good that the CIP funds will be reviewed for how much we can already afford. However, we certainly can afford something. The improvement of Ashley (Pond) Park is an example of how much can be added to our enjoyment of Los Alamos.

  • GOP needs to get in line with debt limit

    There seem to be two kinds of Republicans: those who think that the full faith and credit of the United States can be the subject of political experimentation, and sensible ones.

    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin fits in the latter category. He has repeatedly called upon Congress, controlled by the GOP, to pass an increase in the statutory debt limit, with no policy strings attached, so that the United States government may continue borrowing past the current, already expired ceiling of $20 trillion – and pay all of its obligations on time. The stability of the financial system, domestic and international, depends on preserving the “risk-free” status of U.S. debt, earned over centuries. A failure to raise the debt limit would imperil this status, causing a “serious problem,” as Mr. Mnuchin has put it with considerable understatement.

  • Mexico’s troubles affect the U.S.

    What happens in Mexico doesn’t stay in Mexico.

    Our southern neighbor is wrestling with an alarming surge in cartel violence, a U.S. security crackdown on its northern border and a glut of migrant refugees slipping through its back door.  All of which affects us directly or indirectly.

    The situation demands our attention and a redoubling of efforts to create sound, effective policy.

    Simply put, an unstable and unsafe Mexico isn’t good for Texas. Our economies are too entwined. Mexico is our No. 1 trade partner by far. It’s also not good for American industries that depend on lucrative trade deals and cheaper labor supplied by immigrants chasing the American dream. And it’s not good for American communities struggling with the consequences of illicit drugs flowing into cities, suburbs and rural hamlets.

    Let’s start with the uptick in homicides. There’s no way to romanticize the resurgence in cartel conflicts that are turning once-tranquil towns in Mexico into killing fields.

    The Mexican government’s war on drugs and cartels isn’t working. Mexico is on pace for its deadliest year with 12,155 murders recorded from January through June.

  • Serving and spiking with a purpose

    Sometimes it is difficult for a coach to know what kind of team they have until they step onto the court for the first time.

    That is the case for Los Alamos High School volleyball coach Diana Stokes, who enters this season with more questions than answers when it comes to her team, and their competition.

    For Stokes’ team, the season will be defined by the play of its young players. As the first week of practice winds down, she believes the players will be spread evenly among the class levels.

    “I think we should have three seniors, four juniors and three sophomores,” Stokes said. “So we are going to be pretty young.”

    While she looks at the positive of this spread as being able to build a strong program for the next few years, she is unsure how it will all come together this year.

    “We are going to have a tough road, especially the first part of our season,” Stokes said.

    The team will be tested early, with its second game of the year coming against St. Pius X, the defending state champions.

    “I expect them to take state again,” Stokes said. “They should have all seniors this year. Last year, they won state with all juniors, so they could be even stronger this year.”

  • A team on a mission

     When the Los Alamos High School boy’s soccer team is on the field together, it appears that they have been playing alongside each other their whole lives.

    That’s because, in many cases, they have been.

    They may not be the biggest or the fastest team. But every player knows his role, and can anticipate where their teammates are going to be at any given time, because the majority of them have been playing together since they were 6 years old.

    Tristan Semelsberger, a senior midfielder and captain said that playing together since elementary school is a factor this is hard to capture on the score sheet.

    “It just gives us a greater team chemistry together,” Semelsberger said. “I think we know each other’s play style very well, which definitely helps us.”

    Ben Rees, a senior defenseman and captain, said that the familiarity also helps when things start to go poorly.

    “A lot of it just has to do with getting along with each other in the sense that when things get tough and people start getting frustrated, that it’s not toxic and aggressive to the team atmosphere,” Rees said.

    What they lack in size and speed, they make up for in precision.

  • New Mexico Lottery earns $37.8M for scholarships in 2017

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Lottery officials said Wednesday that less money will be transferred to the state’s lottery scholarship program this year and they’re blamed legislative changes aimed at shoring up the struggling financial aid program.
    A total of $37.8 million in proceeds earned during the 2017 fiscal year will be going to the scholarship fund. That presents an $8.5 million decline from the previous year.
    “This news is very troubling for both students and lottery players as it not only represents a decline in scholarship assistance, but also resulted in less winnings for players,” Lottery CEO David Barden said in a statement.
    Barden contends that opportunities for generating more revenue have been hampered by an increase in contract fees as well as a requirement that calls for 30 percent of proceeds to be funneled each year to the scholarship fund.
    Barden said New Mexico has one of the lowest prize payouts in the nation for Scratcher games and that interest in games such as Powerball and Mega Millions has waned due to what he called jackpot fatigue — all resulting in fewer ticket sales and less revenue.

  • State’s economy may be turning around; indicators remain troubling

    Is it possible that New Mexico’s economy is finally starting to revive? If you follow the numbers in the last couple of months, you could get whiplash.

    Some major indicators are up dramatically, but they’re both heartening and concerning. Bear with me for some statistics.

    We’re finally on a good list. The U. S. Bureau of Economic Analysis recently clocked a healthy surge in gross domestic product for the first three months of 2017. New Mexico’s growth was 2.8 percent, the nation’s third highest. The leading contributor was oil and gas.

    In late July the Legislative Finance Committee brought joy to state bean counters with the news that recurring revenues in May were up 32 percent ($141 million) from May 2016.

    More good news is that gross receipts tax revenue in May was $39.3 million higher than the year before, and year-to-date it was up 6.2 percent. This means, among other things, that people are out spending money. For five months in a row, revenues have surpassed the same months in 2016.

  • 9-year-old wants to be ‘planetary protection officer’

    TRENTON, N.J. — A 9-year-old New Jersey boy who described himself as a “Guardian of the Galaxy” is hoping to add the real-life NASA title “Planetary Protection Officer” to his resume.

    NASA received an application for the position from fourth-grader Jack Davis, who asked to apply for the job. In a letter the agency posted online , Jack acknowledged his youth, but said that will make it easier for him to learn how to think like an alien. He said he has seen all the space and alien movies he can see, and he is great at video games.

    “My sister says I am an alien also,” Jack wrote in the hand-written letter dated Aug. 3.

    Jack received a letter from NASA Planetary Science Director James Green encouraging him to study hard so he can one day join them at the agency.

    “We are always looking for bright future scientists and engineers to help us,” Green wrote his response, which was also posted online. Green told Jack the job is about protecting other planets and moons “from our germs” as the agency explores the Solar System.

    Jack also received a phone call from NASA Planetary Research Director Jonathan Rall thanking him for his interest.

  • What’s a total solar eclipse and why this one is so unusual

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Total solar eclipses occur every year or two or three, often in the middle of nowhere like the South Pacific or Antarctic. What makes the Aug. 21 eclipse so special is that it will cut diagonally across the entire United States.

    The path of totality — where day briefly becomes night — will pass over Oregon, continuing through the heartland all the way to Charleston, South Carolina. Those on the outskirts — well into Canada, Central America and even the top of South America — will be treated to a partial eclipse.

    The last time a total solar eclipse swept the whole width of the U.S. was in 1918.

    No tickets are required for this Monday show, just special eclipse glasses so you don’t ruin your eyes.
    Some eclipse tidbits:

    What’s a total solar eclipse?

  • US in rare bull’s-eye for total solar eclipse on Aug. 21

    BY MARCIA DUNN
    AP AErospace Writer

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — It will be tough eclipsing this eclipse.

    The sun, moon and Earth will line up perfectly in the cosmos on Aug. 21, turning day into night for a few wondrous minutes, its path crossing the U.S. from sea to shining sea for the first time in nearly a century.

    Never will a total solar eclipse be so heavily viewed and studied — or celebrated.

    “We’re going to be looking at this event with unprecedented eyes,” promises Alex Young, a solar physicist who is coordinating NASA’s education and public outreach.

    And the party planning is at full tilt from Oregon to South Carolina.

    Eclipse Fests, StarFests, SolarFests, SolFests, Darkening of the SunFests, MoonshadowFests, EclipseCons, Eclipse Encounters and Star Parties are planned along the long but narrow path of totality, where the moon completely blots out the sun.

    Vineyards, breweries, museums, parks, universities, stadiums — just about everybody is getting into the act.