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Today's News

  • 2018 State Legislature: Front-end license plates proposed for New Mexico vehicles

    BY ANDREW OXFORD
    The New Mexican

    What do you have on the front of your car?

    New Mexico is one of 19 states that does not require a front license plate, leaving room for plenty of custom plates bearing the names of automotive dealers, the brands of car makers, the logos of sports teams and of universities and all manner of slogans.

    Plenty of New Mexicans do not have anything at all affixed to their front bumper.

    But the state’s dubious distinction as having the country’s highest rates of automotive theft and property crime is leading legislators to rethink that long-running policy.

    The House Transportation Committee approved legislation earlier this week that would require vehicle owners to get license plates for their front bumpers, with some exceptions.

    Backers argue House Bill 158 would make it easier for law enforcement to identify vehicles.

    But the bill, which is also backed by companies involved with the production of license plates, may also raise concerns about encouraging the proliferation of speed cameras or red light cameras and cause some New Mexicans to peer under their vehicle’s front bumper to make sure they have a place to attach another license plate.

  • 32 Russians appeal to CAS seeking Olympic spots

    Six-time Olympic gold medalist Viktor Ahn and three former NHL players are among 32 Russian athletes who filed appeals Tuesday seeking spots at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

    The 32 athletes all failed to pass the mandatory International Olympic Committee vetting — imposed as a result of Russian doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics — and weren’t invited to the games, which begin later this week.

    The Court of Arbitration for Sport said it would likely hear the case Wednesday in Pyeongchang.

    If the Russian athletes force the IOC to invite them, it would mean the medal contenders in some sports change dramatically only days before the games open on Friday.

    CAS added that as well as short-track speedskating great Ahn, the 32 include world cross-country skiing champion Sergei Ustyugov and world biathlon champion Anton Shipulin.

    Also on the list are former NHL players Sergei Plotnikov, Anton Belov and Valeri Nichushkin, who had been considered possible candidates for the Russian team in Pyeongchang.

    If figure skater Ksenia Stolbova is invited, she could compete as soon as Friday morning in the pairs short program component of the team event.

    Some of the 32 Russians are already in Far East countries like Japan so they will be acclimatized and ready to travel to Pyeongchang if invited.

  • NMSU wins 20th game of season

    Backed by Zach Lofton’s season-high 34 points, the New Mexico State men’s basketball team routed UT Rio Grande Valley 90-67 early Saturday evening inside the pan American Center.

    In a game full of highlights for NM State, senior Jemerrio Jones had a big night and pulled down a career-tying 20 rebounds to go with 10 points and five assists for his 14th double-double of the year.

    Jones last grabbed 20 boards in 2015 against Temple College (Feb. 21) while at Hill Junior College.

    Jones’ 20 boards made him the 12th Aggie to pull down at least 20 rebounds and was the 24th time an NM State player pulled down 20-plus in a single-game.

    The Aggies (20-3, 7-0 WAC) got off to slow start and trailed the Vaqueros by as much as seven (9-2). However, the offense slowly began to waken and finally took a 24-21 lead on a deep 3-pointer from Lofton – his second of seven in the game – with 8:01 left in the first half.

    From that point on, New Mexico State never looked back as it finished off the half with an 18-9 run capped off by Jones, who fittingly scored on an offensive put-back for the 42-30 lead. NMSU dominated the paint in the first-half, outscoring UTRGV 26-4.

  • Second half struggles keep LAHS winless in district

    Despite showing flashes of exciting play Saturday night, the Los Alamos High School girls’ basketball team lost its fifth straight district game, falling to Del Norte High School on the road 53-31.

    Heading into the game, there was reason for optimism among the Hilltopper faithful. In the first meeting between the teams, the game came down to the final seconds in a 39-36 Del Norte victory. It was close from beginning to end.

    This game had a much different feel early on, as the Knights’ girls attacked the Hilltoppers without fear in the first quarter. Del Norte captain Amanda Burks set the tone offensively, scoring her team’s first 11 points of the game, including three impressive 3-point shots. With the strong shooting of Burks, Del Norte jumped out to a quick 11-2 lead.

    The gap continued to widen throughout the first quarter, as the Knights repeatedly found a way to get open underneath the basket, resulting in easy layup opportunities.

    After falling behind 21-6 as time expired in the first quarter, the Hilltoppers caught a break for the first time in the ballgame. Attempting a three-quarter-court heave at the buzzer, LAHS’ Alex Calderon was fouled, sending her to the free throw line to shoot three shots.

    She made two of the three, and cut the deficit to 21-8 heading into the second quarter.

  • Sheriff’s candidate Chris Luchini has eye on bigger picture

    The desire of Los Alamos County to close the county sheriff’s office is not a new idea.

    During the last two years, a round of lawsuits between County Sheriff Marco Lucero and the county have embroiled the two in legal battles.

    Lawsuits, sheriff’s candidate Chris Luchini said, are a waste of time and resources, and taxpayer money.

    He said the lawsuits the sheriff and the county have pending in the courts now would not solve the real problem.

    “No matter how that ruling ends up, it’s not going to be the end of the fight. It’s a waste of time effort and money. Let’s stop doing this. We’ve been doing this for sixty years. Let’s please stop,” Luchini said.

    Luchini, 54, a business entrepreneur who does contract work for the Department of Enery in Los Alamos County, runs an energy company dealing in oil and gas, and renewable energy. He does not have a law enforcement background.

    Luchini would be running against resident Greg White, who has also declared his intentions to run for sheriff. Sheriff Lucero is not able to seek a third term.

  • UNM drops close contest with Broncos at the Pit

    The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team suffered a narrow 73-71 loss to Boise State after leading by as many as 13 points on Tuesday night in Dreamstyle Arena - The Pit. The Lobos led by six with 1:47 left but an 8-0 run by the Broncos over the final minute sealed the Lobo loss.

    Boise State led for just 2:34 the entire night while the Lobos held the advantage for 36:28 before the final Bronco push.

    “Their offensive rebounding really hurt us, and our offensive ineptitude really got us in the second half,” head coach Paul Weir said. “We, unfortunately, turned the ball over at some really inopportune times, on some really basic plays.”
    “...Our defense really stepped up tonight and had a pretty good game, and our offense really let us down...We have to get better offensively, it was a rough night.”

    The Lobos ultimately outshot the Broncos 46.2 percent to 43.5 percent from the floor, but UNM had a commanding 55.2 percent to 39.3 percent advantage at the halfway mark. In the second half, Boise State roared back with a 47.1 shooting percentage while UNM shot just 34.8 percent from the field.

  • Authorities continue search for shooter

    Authorities continued to search Thursday for an apparent shooter who, while reportedly driving a white Jeep Wrangler with a blue Marine Corps license plate, pulled up next to another driver and fired shots at him on NM 502.

    The incident happened Feb. 1, at about 6 p.m. on near Pojoaque. The victim was a Los Alamos National Laboratory employee who was headed home from work to  Santa Fe.

    Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Juan Rios said his department has received some calls regarding the incident, but none of them provided any information of substance.

    The victim was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital where a CT scan determined he had a bullet lodged between his scalp and skull. He underwent surgery later that night.

    The apparent case of road rage has spurred conversation about what drivers should do if they find themselves in an aggressive encounter while behind the wheel.

    That stretch of highway has a reputation of being tough to navigate, especially at the end of the workday when it’s filled with vehicles leaving Los Alamos.

    Even though the area is patrolled by various law enforcement entities, the amount of traffic adds to the hazardous conditions.

  • LAHS suffers fourth quarter collapse in loss to Academy

    After leading by as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter against Albuquerque Academy, the Los Alamos High School boys’ basketball team watched the game slip away in a heartbeat, falling 72-71.

    Heading in with a 0-5 record in District 2-5A, the Hilltoppers recognized that this game was the best chance to earn a district win this season, with matchups against Española Valley and Capital looming next week.

    Academy entered the game with a 1-4 district record, with its lone win coming last month in Los Alamos, a 71-60 victory over the Hilltoppers.

    If LAHS were able to win the rematch by 12 points or more, it would have earned the tiebreaker over the Chargers in the upcoming district tournament. And though that seemed likely at times during the game, Academy had other ideas.

    It was a game of scoring runs, and that started from the very beginning. The Chargers appeared unstoppable in the first few minutes, scoring the first 8 points of the game and forcing three turnovers from LAHS’ Antonio Trujillo.

    The Hilltoppers settled down after digging the deep hole, and climbed back into the game with a pair of 3-pointers from Trujillo, and another from David Owen. Michael Naranjo also played a key role in the quarter with 6 points.

  • Renovations planned for select county playgrounds

    Because of the importance of playgrounds to adults and children in the community, the Los Alamos County Parks and Recreation Department will renovate some select playgrounds in Los Alamos and White Rock as part of a $20,000 upgrade project.

    Upgrades are expected to be completed by June.

    Los Alamos County Parks and Recreation Department has targeted several neighborhood playgrounds for renovation. They include three playgrounds in Los Alamos. Those include the tot lots in Walnut Park, the 37th Street Tot Lot and the Ridgeway Drive Tot Lot.

    Also on the list are Overlook Park in White Rock  and Urban Park in Los Alamos. Twelve-thousand dollars has been allocated for improvements at Urban Park, and Parks and Recreation plans to spend $14,000 on improvements to the concession stand at Overlook Park. The department also plans to spend $18,000 on Overlook Park’s playground.  

    Most of the work will be to make all of the parks more accessible to the disabled by removing safety hazards and upgrading some of the fencing around play areas.

    Also, Parks and Recreation will make the parks more attractive to a wider variety of age groups.

  • Georgia holds on this time to finish No. 1 in recruiting

    Georgia was not about to blow this lead.

    The Bulldogs, who let a 13-0 halftime advantage get away in a national championship game loss to Alabama, finished their 2018 recruiting class with a flourish and laid claim to the No. 1 ranking on national signing day.

    Georgia loaded up in the new early signing period and came into Wednesday’s start of the traditional signing period with the top-rated class, according to 247 Sports’ composite rankings. Coach Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs put the finishing touches on the recruiting championship by flipping a pair of four-star linebackers, one who had been committed to Michigan (Otis Reese) and another who had been committed to Alabama (Quay Walker), and grabbing a highly touted wide receiver from Texas (Tommy Bush).

    Georgia also beat Miami and Alabama for star cornerback Tyson Campbell from American Heritage High School in Plantation, Florida.

    “It’s ridiculous,” said Mike Farrell, the national recruiting coordinator for Rivals. “The average star ranking is near historic levels.”