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Today's News

  • Education-funding suit hangs over session

    By Robert Nott

    The New Mexican

    If state Sen. Bill Soules had his way, New Mexico would invest an extra $375 million in public schools right now.

    Where the cash-strapped state would find that money is another matter altogether.

    Soules, a Las Cruces Democrat, has once again introduced legislation calling for the state to follow the recommendation of a decadeold study and funnel hundreds of millions of dollars more into its public education system – one that generally ranks at or near the bottom in most national reports.

    But Soules' bill doesn't have a chance in the upcoming legislative session. And he knows it.

    "Every year I put that in there," he said. "I know there's not enough money for it, and I know it's not going to get funded. But it's to remind people how we are underfunding education year after year after year."

    If Soules' bill is a muffled drumbeat that barely registers, then a still-undecided lawsuit asking a state court to force New Mexico to increase investments in its per-student funding formula to meet constitutional mandates may serve as the cymbal crash that makes both the governor and Legislature act on the matter.

  • Police Beat 1-14-18

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department Records. Charges or citations listed in Police Beat do not imply innocence or guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested, served a court summons, or issued a citation.
    Jan. 1
    10:45 p.m. – Los Alamos police investigated a disturbance.

    Jan. 2
    9:34 p.m. – Los Alamos Police investigated a public nuisance.

    Jan. 3
    1:20 a.m. – Los Alamos Police arrested an individual for simple battery

    2:24 a.m. – Steven Stock, 40, of Los Alamos was arrested and booked into the Los Alamos County Detention Center for aggravated battery against a household member. He was later released.

    7:18 a.m. – Los Alamos Police arrested an individual for driving with a suspended license at the Los Alamos Middle School. The individual also had a warrant for their arrest.

    8:06 a.m. – Veronica A. Padilla, 35, of Hernandez was arrested and booked into the Los Alamos Detention Center on a misdemeanor warrant from another jurisdiction. She was later released on a $161 bond.

  • LANL positively impacts region’s economy in 2017

    SUBMITTED TO THE MONITOR

    Los Alamos National Laboratory’s efforts to stimulate new business growth, strengthen existing companies, create jobs and contribute to a diverse economy in northern New Mexico’s communities saw notable progress across the board in 2017.

    “The role that Los Alamos plays in the region’s economy is significant – and one that is critically important to both growing the local workforce and developing the cutting-edge technologies that support the work we do,” said Laboratory

    Director Terry Wallace. “Our contribution can be felt throughout the region, not only in the number of people we employ, but through our programs that directly infuse dollars into locally owned businesses.”

    As examples, he cited the Venture Acceleration Fund, which has awarded $4.2 million in grants to northern New Mexico entrepreneurs since its inception in 2006, and the Native American Venture Acceleration Fund, which has awarded another $330,000 to native-owned businesses in the region since 2011. “Our legacy of supporting home-grown businesses and spurring the local economy is something we’re exceedingly proud of and is an integral part of our culture.”

    Economic impact statistics

  • Republican attorney to run for sec. of state

    Republican attorney JoHanna Cox, of Albuquerque, announced her candidacy Friday for New Mexico Secretary of State.
    Cox, 36, said she is prepared to take her prosecutorial experience to the Secretary of State’s office and take politics out of the decision-making process.

    “Running a clean, transparent, and fair election is not the job of a political organizer, but rather an attorney who understands the law and the role of the position in which she will be elected,” she said in a release.

    “As one of the highest elected officers in New Mexico state government, the secretary of state should not be playing partisan politics with every decision,” she said. “If I am elected, every voter in New Mexico will be able to trust the duties of the office are being conducted with the highest regard to the law.”

    Born in Colorado, Cox completed her undergraduate work at Colorado State University with a bachelor’s degree in finance and law school at the University of North Dakota.  After law school, she moved to New Mexico.

  • Lawmakers tackle crime as New Mexico state finances improve

    BY MORGAN LEE
    Associated Press

    SANTA FE — New Mexico lawmakers and Republican Gov. Susana Martinez are preparing to boost spending on public schools, early childhood education programs and law enforcement as state government climbs out of a financial crisis linked to fluctuations in energy markets.

    Strategies for reducing property crime and violence, particularly in New Mexico’s largest city, also are at the top of the agenda, as lawmakers convene Tuesday for a 30-day session.

    New Mexico government income for the coming fiscal year is expected to surpass annual spending obligations by $199 million – new money that lawmakers in the Democrat-led Legislature want to direct toward public schools, early childhood education programs and the judiciary.

    The governor wants to raise an additional $99 million to further bolster public education, prisons, business incentives and state spending reserves. Both spending proposals emphasize investments in early childhood education.

    The fiscal scenario marks a dramatic turnaround from a year ago, when lawmakers scrambled to fill a budget hole and address a credit-rating downgrade amid a sustained slump in oil and natural gas sectors. The state resorted to tapping severance tax notes, spending cuts at several state agencies and a hiring freeze.

  • Workshop trains citizens to lobby at Legislature

    The Santa Fe Public Library and community groups are co-hosting a lobbying workshop from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday to help New Mexico citizens feel comfortable advocating at the state Legislature.

    State Sen. Liz Stefanics will join trainers from the Rio Grande Sierra Club to offer tips on how citizens can make their voice heard at the Legislature. They will also provide a preview of some of the legislation likely to be considered in the 30-day short session starting next week.

    The workshop is free and open to the public.

    Those who want to attend should RSVP to Diane at DianeAbqNM@gmail.com or at riograndesierraclub.org/sflobby

    Write to DianeAbqNM@gmail.com for more information.

    The Southside Branch Library is located at 6599 Jaguar Drive in Santa Fe.

  • Roundhouse prepares for session

    It’s about 1 p.m. on Friday at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe and Assistant Sergeant at Arms Richard Sena was quiety placing books behind nametags inside the Senate Chamber.

    Food Service Manager Terry Bell was doing paperwork inside her office.

    It was the calm before the storm. Tuesday, thousands of people will start flowing in and out of the Capitol for the next 30 days as the session gets underway.

    Legislators will start the fight to get their bills through committees, special interests, activisits and lobbyists will be looking to help or hinder. Hundreds if not thousands of tourists, students and media will come to watch the show.

    If those people are lucky, they will stop to eat Bell’s famous chile, which has been a well-kept, delicious secret at the Roundhouse for 30 years. It’s rumored her green chile cheeseburgers are apparently amazing.

    Before each session, at least six members of Bell’s crew come in a week before to get everything up and running. Unlike a typical restaurant that opens everyday, people come to the Roundhouse from all over the state, and from different jobs, to fire up the kitchens and get the food ready. 

    “We pull out all of our equipment out of the walk-in freezer, get everything washed and divided between the two kitchens,” she said.

  • UC grilled over LANL safety issues

    Three university systems went before the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities Friday to tell the coalition once again why they would be the best candidate to take on the job of operating and managing the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    The University of California, Texas A&M  made full presentations while the University of Texas System gave a short statement at the end of the meeting during the public comment portion.

    All three systems submitted bids to the National Nuclear Security Administration before the administration’s deadline.
    UC Vice President for National Laboratories Kim Budil faced some tough questions before the coalition from Coalition Chairman and Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales.

    The University of California has been a partner in the lab’s operation since it’s inception in 1943.

    “Clearly there were a lot of mistakes made of the last couple of years in Los Alamos that led to the shut down of WIPP (Waste Isolation Pilot Plant) and the threat that ultimately posed to the community for those mistakes,” Gonzales said. “I’m interested in how the University of California during that time and what levels of assurance as communities we would get, if you were selected, that it wouldn’t happen again.”

  • White House doctor: Trump in 'excellent health'

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's White House physician declared him in "excellent health" after the president received his first medical checkup at Walter Reed military hospital on Friday, undergoing a physical examination amid suggestions in a recent book and by his detractors that he's mentally unfit.

    Dr. Ronny Jackson, in a statement released by the White House, said the examination "went exceptionally well. The President is in excellent health and I look forward to briefing some of the details on Tuesday." Trump spent about three hours at the medical facility in Bethesda, Maryland, outside Washington, for the Friday afternoon checkup, his first as president, before departing for Florida for the weekend.

    The fairly routine exam for previous presidents has taken on outsized importance in the age of Trump, given the tone of some of his tweets, comments attributed to some of his close advisers and Trump's recent slurring of words on national TV.

    Some of the comments were published in a new book about Trump's first year, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" by Michael Wolff, which White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has denounced as "complete fantasy" for portraying her 71-year-old boss as undisciplined and in over his head as president.

  • Stocks keep pushing higher in 2018, led by retailers

    By STAN CHOE, AP Business Writer

    NEW YORK (AP) — Rising retailers pushed U.S. stock indexes further into record territory on Friday, as the market's fabulous start to 2018 carried through its second week.

    Interest rates also climbed after a report showed that a key component of inflation accelerated last month. But stocks absorbed the gains without a hiccup, unlike earlier in the week when rate worries helped send the Standard & Poor's 500 lower for its lone blemish this year.

    The S&P 500 rose 18.68 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,786.24 on Friday to close out its seventh week of gains in the last eight. The index is already up more than 4 percent for 2018.

    The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 228.46, or 0.9 percent, to 25,803.19, the Nasdaq composite rose 49.28, or 0.7 percent, to 7,261.06 and the Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks gained 5.18, or 0.3 percent, to 1,591.97.

    Retailers led the way after a government report confirmed that the holiday shopping season was a strong one, with retail sales rising 0.4 percent last month following a 0.9 percent surge in November. The numbers fit with what individual retailers have said recently, and several have raised their profit forecasts as a result.