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Today's News

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 2016 weather: Extreme and anything but normal

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Last year’s global weather was far more extreme or record breaking than anything approaching normal, according to a new report.

    The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday released its annual checkup of the Earth, highlighting numerous records including hottest year, highest sea level, and lowest sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctica.

    The 299-page report, written by scientists around the world and published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, shows that 2016 was “very extreme and it is a cause for concern,” said co-editor Jessica Blunden, a NOAA climate scientist.

    Researchers called it a clear signal of human-caused climate change. A record large El Nino, the warming of the central Pacific that changes weather worldwide, was also a big factor in last year’s wild weather.

    “2016 will be forever etched in my brain as the year we crossed a new threshold of climate change – one that gave us a grim glimpse into our future,” said Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb, who had no role in the report.
    Scientists examined dozens of key climate measures and found: