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Today's News

  • Board proposes $3 hike in waste fee

    To partially cover a projected $300,000 budget deficit in FY 2017, Los Alamos County’s Environmental Sustainability Board is recommending the county raise its $25 trash collection fee by $3.
    All trash container types — 48, 64 and 96 gallon — would be included. Inflation from labor costs, contracts and a rise in the price of trash cans are fueling the deficit, as are oil prices.
    “The biggest market change has to do with when oil prices dropped,” Public Works Director Philo Shelton said.
    Though it’s still cheaper for the county to recycle, the county is now paying to recycle. The county used to get $22 a ton for it’s recyclables, now it has to pay $15 a ton, and next year $16, to recycle.
    The county’s landfill contract and its trucking and hauling contract are two major contracts involved in the recycling and disposing of county waste. Labor costs and inflation are the other drivers behind the rate increase.
    “Every time we renew a contract, we’re seeing inflationary pressures and cost escalations,” Shelton told the board on Thursday.

  • State voters to weigh in on ethics

    BY STEVE TERRELL
    The New Mexican

  • House rejects Roundhouse ban on openly carrying guns

    BY ANDREW OXFORD
    The New Mexican

  • Beer, music, skiing in play at Skiesta

    This past Saturday was the annual Skiesta festival that took place on Pajarito Mountain. This long-standing spring tradition dates back to 1948 and includes slalom competitions, costume contests and plenty of beer to enjoy under the New Mexico sun.
    The weather was mid-60s and sunny, which drew a sizable crowd and also created soft snow for participants on the mountain.
    In addition to the various competitions, a fundraiser called “The Pajarito Pump Track” was organized to raise money for the Pajarito Freeride Team to go to Nationals.
    Breweries represented at the event included Taos Mesa Brewing, Rowley Farmhouse Ales, Second Street Brewery, Santa Fe Brewing and Bathtub Row Brewing. All tents seemed to have a steady stream of eager customers.
    After grabbing a beer, Second Street Brewery told me that they have sold at Skiesta multiple times. One of the brewers warmly commented that Pajarito Mountain is their “favorite ski resort.” Second Street tries to come out to all events at Pajarito. The most popular of the brews on tap Saturday were the stout and porter.

  • Xcel plans $1.6 billion wind farms in New Mexico, West Texas

    PORTALES (AP) — Xcel Energy has announced plans to invest $1.6 billion to build wind farms in eastern New Mexico and West Texas.
    The energy company announced Tuesday that it has filed proposals with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission and the Public Utility Commission of Texas to construct and operate two facilities and to purchase wind under a third transaction.
    David Hudson, president of Xcel Energy of New Mexico and Texas, said the wind initiative is part of his company's larger strategy to lower the cost of energy production.
    "These new wind facilities will cost $1.6 billion to build," Hudson said, "but will allow us to produce wind energy at a cost lower than energy produced at our coal and natural gas-fueled plants."
    Xcel plans to build a 522-megawatt wind facility about 20 miles south of Portales. The new wind farm will be the state's largest, far surpassing the state's current largest windfarm, a 250-watt holding in Roosevelt County owned by Xcel subsidiary Southwest Public Service Co.
    The company also plans to build a 478-megawatt farm in Hale County, Texas, just north of Lubbock.
    Xcel also plans to purchase another 230 megawatts of wind energy under a long-term power purchase agreement with NextEra Energy resources.

  • Los Alamos County debuts a revamped website

    Los Alamos County debuted a revamped website today that it hopes will be more user-friendly.

    The website’s main feature is better communication through the use of interactive forms.

    County officials also said the website, at losalamosnm.us, features:

    • Better navigation tools,

    • Redesigned sub-sites for departments or services,

    • Improved search engine capabilities,

    • Easy access through home page “quick links” for the most popular links,

    • Enhanced photo and video hosting capability,

    • An integrated calendar of events with filter options,

    • Responsive design for viewing on smart phones and tablets.

    Also included in the site is software designed for easier public access to information on county boards and commissions. With the new software, the public will be able to review a board’s or a commission’s work plan and find out what the board does.

    The software also allows for those interested to check on vacancy statuses and reapplying for openings.

  • Police arrest 7 in drug bust operation

    Los Alamos Police, New Mexico State Police, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents and New Mexico Department of Corrections officials conducted an early morning drug bust in Los Alamos County Monday.

    DOC and DEA agents provided helicopter and K-9 support. The raids began at 7 a.m.

    LAPD Investigators recovered various amounts of methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine, acid, mushrooms, prescription pills, drug paraphernalia and cash, according to an LAPD spokesman.

    “Future arrests linked to this operation are likely as this investigation continues,” LAPD Spokesman Commander Preston Ballew said.

    At least a few of the arrests occurred on San Ildefonso Road, according to witnesses who informed the Monitor.

    Nichole Marsh, 36, of Los Alamos was arrested and charged with one count of trafficking in a controlled substance and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

    Nicholas Conner, 35, of Los Alamos was arrested and charged with four counts of trafficking in a controlled substance.

    Amanda Osborne, 32, of Los Alamos was arrested and charged with two counts of trafficking in a controlled substance and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

    Anthony Knief, 32, of Los Alamos was arrested and charged with two counts of trafficking in a controlled substance.

  • 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

  • News for Retirees March 19-25

    March 19-25
    For information, call the Betty Ehart Senior Center (BESC) at 662-8920, the White Rock Senior Center (WRSC) at 672-2034 and “Day Out” (adult day care, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.) at 661-0081. Reservations: by 10 a.m. for lunches.
    Betty Ehart

    MONDAY    
    8:45 a.m.        Cardio
    8:30 a.m.        Tax Preparation
    9:45 a.m.        Pilates
    10 a.m.         Senior Civic Discussion
    10 a.m.        LARSO Advisory Council
    11:30 a.m.        Lunch: Taco Salad
    6 p.m.        Argentine Tango Dancing
    7 p.m.        Ballroom Dancing
    TUESDAY
    8:30 a.m.        Mac Users Group
    8:45 a.m.        Variety Training
    10 a.m.        Computer Users
    11:30 a.m.        Lunch: Salisbury steak
    1 p.m.        Bingo
    1 p.m.        Party Bridge
    7:30 p.m.        Table Tennis