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Today's News

  • New Mexico land office goes after Texas ‘dirt bandits’

    SANTA FE (AP) — The New Mexico State Land Office is going after a West Texas county after it was learned that loads of dirt, sand and gravel were disappearing from a parcel of state trust land along the border.

    An investigation found that Hudspeth County crews have been using material from the site for road improvements, Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn said. Mining at the site appears to have started a few years ago.

    The dirt bandits have been using a dusty byway from Hudspeth County to access the site in southern New Mexico, he said.

    The State Land Office has owned the mineral and surface rights on the property since 1958, so Dunn is asking Hudspeth County that all mining stop until New Mexico is compensated for the resources that have been taken and a mining lease is issued.

    Hudspeth County Attorney Kit Bramblett said Friday there’s some confusion around the location of the pit, which contains a layer of rock-hard caliche, or calcium carbonate.

    “There’s a fence just north of this gravel pit, an old fence. We’ve always interpreted it as being the state line,” he said.

    “We need to make a determination of exactly where the line is and then we’ll talk about what has happened.”

  • 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.

  • LANL coalition mulls benefits with new contract

    Worried about what benefits and retirement packages may look like under a new contract with the Los Alamos National Laboratory, The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities invited one of its advisors to provide insight Friday.

    Consultant John Jekowski, of Innovative Technology Partnerships, discussed the options with the coalition.

    Los Alamos County Councilor Chris Chandler, Los Alamos’ representative on the board, asked Jekowski what the likelihood the current benefits structure will remain intact through the transition process.

    “That is the concern of folks that have invested a lot of time in the laboratory, what’s going to happen to my retirement, what’s going to happen to my benefits.” Jekowski said. “The way I read the draft RFP, they’re marching more toward industry standards for benefits packages. “There’s a rule of thumb that’s used now that bidders can’t offer more than a 105 percent of the benefits that would be identified by a statistical analysis by credentialed benefits providers.”

    Jekowski also said he and his colleagues have been watching the contract transition process now occurring at Sandia National Laboratories closely.

  • 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.

  • Judge: Bills vetoed by Gov. Martinez should be law

    SANTA FE (AP) — A state district judge on Friday sided with Democratic lawmakers who asked that certain vetoes by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez during the last regular legislative session be invalidated, setting the stage for the proposals to become law.

    Judge Sarah Singleton ruled that the governor did not follow proper procedures when she nixed 10 bills without providing an explanation. The judge directed the Secretary of State’s Office to enter the bills in question into their respective chapters of state law once final paperwork is submitted, a process that could take a few weeks.

    Martinez’s lawyers plan to ask for a stay to keep the bills from becoming law while they appeal the ruling.

    “We’re disappointed in this decision because there is no question the governor vetoed these bills,” said Joe Cueto, a spokesman for the governor. “It’s telling how some in the Legislature love running to the courts when they know they don’t have the support to override a veto.”

    Lawmakers had argued that issuing the vetoes without any explanation made it impossible to understand the governor’s objections so that they could revise the bills for possible approval.

  • Los Alamos GOP elects new leadership

    Thursday’s Republican Party of Los Alamos began with some controversy when party member James Whitehead challenged the legitimacy of the current party leadership.

    Whitehead claimed, among other things, that former County Clerk Sharon Stover was no longer a voting member of the party’s central committee when she voted in the party’s June election.

    “It is my understanding that Sharon Stover after the conclusions of the elections in November and the swearing in of her replacement she was no longer a voting member of the Central Committee…,” Whitehead said. “Because this person participated in this election, I’m concerned that the election was not conducted properly, and therefore is not valid.”
    Republican Party of New Mexico vice chair Rick Lopez told Whitehead he should take his complaint up with the state party.

  • Students, staff gear up to head back to school

    In just a few short days, students of all ages will be grabbing their backpacks, sharpening their pencils, and tucking in new textbooks in preparation for the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.

    The first day of school is Thursday for all elementary schools, the middle school and high school in Los Alamos.

    “I think it’s going to be a really good year,” said incoming Sophomore Michael Aslan. Aslan waited in the ever-expanding line outside Los Alamos High School with his father Wednesday morning in order to complete his registration.

    Aslan pointed out the new high school principal, Carter Payne, who was checking students in at the head of the line.

    Since Payne was the Topper Freshman Academy principal last year, many parents and students are already familiar and comfortable with him.

    “The last few days have been pretty smooth,” said Athletic Secretary Stephanie Fabry of the registration process.

    Fabry, along with other helpful staff, roamed the halls answering questions and directing students to the next appropriate line.

  • 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.”

  • Judge: Bills vetoed by New Mexico governor should be law

    SANTA FE (AP) — A state district judge on Friday sided with Democratic lawmakers who asked that certain vetoes by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez during the last regular legislative session be invalidated, setting the stage for the proposals to become law.

    Judge Sarah Singleton ruled that the governor did not follow proper procedures when she nixed 10 bills without providing an explanation. The judge directed the Secretary of State's Office to enter the bills in question into their respective chapters of state law once final paperwork is submitted, a process that could take a few weeks.

    Martinez's lawyers plan to ask for a stay to keep the bills from becoming law while they appeal the ruling.

    "We're disappointed in this decision because there is no question the governor vetoed these bills," said Joe Cueto, a spokesman for the governor. "It's telling how some in the Legislature love running to the courts when they know they don't have the support to override a veto."

    Lawmakers had argued that issuing the vetoes without any explanation made it impossible to understand the governor's objections so that they could revise the bills for possible approval.

  • 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.