Today's News

  • Former New Mexico senator starts prison term for corruption

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Former New Mexico state Sen. Phil Griego has begun serving a jail term for fraud, bribery and other convictions stemming from accusations he misused his elected office to profit from a real estate deal.

    Defense attorney Thomas Clark said Thursday that Griego turned himself over to the state Corrections Department in Los Lunas to serve an 18-month sentence.

    A judge has asked that the 70-year-old Griego be confined in a facility reserved for elderly inmates or those with health difficulties rather than with the general prison population. Corrections officials have yet to decide where to hold Griego.

    Griego initially was fined $47,000 and sentenced to 12 years in prison. A judge waived all but 18 months. Griego may serve as little as 9 months with credit for good behavior.

  • Today in history March 8
  • Valles Caldera National Preserve offers reward for information on poached elk

    Jemez Springs — Valles Caldera National Reserve park rangers are seeking information and help from the public to solve a crime that involved the poaching of a cow elk sometime between Monday and Tuesday.

    Park rangers said sometime late Monday evening or early Tuesday, a cow elk was poached in Valles Caldera National Preserve along NM 4, near mile post 41.

    A reward of up to $1,500 will be paid for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible, according to a release from the preserve.

    Anyone who may have witnessed suspicious activity in the area or has knowledge of the incident is encouraged to call or text the Park Crime Tip Line at 505-709-0077. Callers can remain anonymous.

  • Trinity Site to host first of 2 annual open houses

    WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. (AP) — Military officials in southern New Mexico are preparing to host visitors at the spot of the world's first atomic test during a special one-day open house at the Trinity Site.

    The first of two annual open houses will be April 7.

    At the site on White Sands Missile Range, visitors can take a quarter-mile walk to ground zero where a small obelisk marks the spot of detonation. Historical photos are mounted on the fence surrounding the area.

    Visitors can also tour the Schmidt/McDonald Ranch House, where scientists assembled the bomb's plutonium core.

    Last July marked the 70th year anniversary of the test at the Trinity Site. It was part of the Manhattan Project, a top-secret World War II nuclear development program out of the then-secret city of Los Alamos.

  • Former Clovis store worker faces 149 counts of embezzlement

    CLOVIS (AP) — A 58-year-old former employee of a Clovis grocery store faces 149 misdemeanor and felony criminal counts accusing her of embezzling over $12,000 from the business over a two-year period, reportedly to help pay for medications for her father.

    Rosa Davis of Hobbs was arrested Wednesday as a result of an investigation that started in December when an Albertson's official reported that Davis processed refunds when no customer was at the counter.

    The Eastern New Mexico News reports that a search warrant affidavit says the Albertson's official provided police with documents and said he had surveillance video.

    The Albertson's official told police that Davis told him she took the money "to help with her father's medications."
    Online court records don't list an attorney for Davis who could comment on the allegations.

  • New Mexico brings more certainty to lottery scholarships

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico is providing more certainty for college students about the amount of financial aid they can count on from state lottery revenues, but elected officials and others say more needs to be done to shore up the scholarship program as higher education costs climb.

    Gov. Susana Martinez signed legislation Wednesday that decouples the value of lottery scholarships from the cost of tuition by setting a fixed amount for the awards based on the kind of institution a student attends.

    Tuition and demand for financial aid have outpaced lottery revenues for nearly a decade, forcing lawmakers and university administrators to get creative about helping students fill the gap. When it began in 1996, the scholarship covered 100 percent of average tuition rates. This year, only 60 percent is covered.

    The lottery-funded scholarships help pay tuition for about 26,000 students.

    The two-term Republican governor warned that the measure approved by the Legislature during the recent session is just one step toward addressing the deeper issues facing the scholarship program.

    "Until our elected officials act to overhaul the program, the legislative lottery tuition scholarship and our students will continue on their uncertain roller coaster," Martinez wrote.

  • New Mexico attorney general goes after rooftop solar company

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A residential rooftop solar provider that operates in New Mexico and 20 other states was accused Thursday by the state attorney general of defrauding residents and jeopardizing their home ownership through deceptive sales practices.

    Attorney General Hector Balderas filed a lawsuit in state district court against Vivint Solar, Inc. over claims that the company was engaging in a pattern of unfair and unconscionable business practices, fraud and racketeering.

    The case centers on the company's door-to-door sales tactics and agreements made with customers to purchase power from the solar panel systems. Similar complaints by prosecutors in other states have resulted in settlements.

    Vivint said it takes the allegations seriously but believes the lawsuit lacks merit.

    "Our commitment to our customers is to provide them the opportunity to adopt clean, renewable energy while always adhering to the highest ethical sales standards. We believe we have honored this commitment in New Mexico and that our practices in the state comply with applicable law," company spokeswoman Helen Langan wrote in an email.
    New Mexico prosecutors say an investigation has identified hundreds of clouded titles among Vivint's customers in the state.

  • Lab offers pricing preference to New Mexico businesses

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A national research and development laboratory announced a 5 percent pricing preference for qualified New Mexico small businesses.

    The Albuquerque Journal reports Sandia National Laboratories' Supply Chain Integration Department Senior Manager Delfinia Salazar says the preference could apply to about $100 million in competitive subcontract awards during the first year of the program.

    The program would apply to subcontracts for research and development, customized equipment, professional services, commercial items and information technology.

    Sandia will apply the 5 percent preference while evaluating subcontract awards worth $150,000 to $5 million. When a qualified New Mexico small business submits a bid, the labs will add 5 percent to the bids of other businesses that don't qualify as New Mexico small businesses.

  • Gardening class at Nature Center set for March 18

    March is the perfect time to learn the tricks to extend the growing season for your garden. Natali Steinberg will teach everything you need to know to start and care for your veggies and annuals before the last frost from 1:30-3:30 p.m. March 18 at the Los Alamos Nature Center.

    This class will teach gardeners how to start seeds indoors, transplant successfully into the garden, and start some veggies directly in the garden.

    There will be handouts and demonstrations, but no seed planting during class.

    Steinberg has taught this class for 20 years at a nursery/greenhouse in Boulder. She had a large vegetable garden on her farm, and she sold produce at the Boulder Farmers Market. Steinberg also raised and sold bedding plants.

    The cost is $25, and Pajarito Environmental Education Center members save $5. Advance registration is required. To register or learn more information about this and other PEEC programs, visit peecnature.org, email programs@peecnature.org or call 662-0460.

  • LACA presents Venice Baroque Orchestra Friday

    The Venice Baroque Orchestra, one of the world’s great period instrument ensembles, will appear in Los Alamos at 7 p.m. Friday in the Crossroads Bible Church, 97 East Road.

    Presented by the Los Alamos Concert Association, the ensemble will bring with them recorder virtuoso Anna Fusek.

    LACA’s usual venue, the Duane Smith Auditorium is undergoing renovation and will not be available for this performance.  Concert attendees are encouraged to carpool and arrive early as parking in the Crossroads Bible Church parking lot and surrounding vicinity is limited. 

    Fusek, a native of Prague, has a distinguished career throughout Europe as both recorder soloist and in Baroque opera production. The Venice Baroque Orchestra is a much-admired exponent of the Italian Baroque and is notable for its rediscovery of many 17th and 18th century masterpieces several of which will be included in its Los Alamos program.

    Anna Fusek will perform one of those discoveries, a sonata for recorder and basso continuo by the all-but-forgotten Giovanni Antonio Pandolfi Mealli.  She will also be featured in two concertos by Antonio Vivaldi, one a double concerto in partnership with concert master Gianpiero Zanocco.