Today's News

  • New Mexico farmers brace for another dry year

    LAS CRUCES (AP) — Farmers in southern New Mexico are bracing for what could be another dry year.

    There’s not much water in Elephant Butte and other key reservoirs upstream, meaning any new water would have to come from snowmelt runoff next spring in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, The Las Cruces Sun-News reported.

    Snowmelt isn’t looking promising either, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts warm weather and low precipitation over the next 90 days in those areas.

    “It’s very dismal,” said Gary Esslinger, manager for the Elephant Butte Irrigation District, which delivers Rio Grande water in Dona Ana County. “Looking at the forecast, it’s not looking good. They’re saying warmer temperatures and less snowpack.”

    Esslinger said there has been light snowfall in southern Colorado but that there still needs to be more in southern cities. Snowfall in the mountains near Denver drains into basins other than the Rio Grande.

  • BPU studies, weighs value of solar

    At it’s Nov. 16 meeting, the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) heard a report on the “value of solar” from Utility Financial Solutions President Mark Beauchamp. UFS was contracted to conduct a study of how residential solar installations can impact the electrical grid and the local distribution network. 

    According to Beauchamp, Los Alamos has the second highest value for solar his firm has encountered, largely due to the impact of Los Alamos National Laboratory. Peak demand for LANL – the county’s largest customer – is in the afternoon, when solar is producing. 

    “So solar directly lines up with your production demands, so there’s a fairly high value,” Beauchamp said. 

    But according to Beauchamp, the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) is still under-recovering costs by offering net metering to rooftop photovoltaic (PV) customers. 

    He explained that rooftop PV helps reduce the system’s load profile by peaking when lab and other commercial usage peaks, but that residential peaks tend to occur around 7 or 8 p.m., when solar is not producing. 

  • The snake whisperer

    Snake Wrangler Dusty Webb does not call himself a snake whisperer, but others have. And listening to him describe what he does, it is hard not to see him that way.

    Webb’s company, Badass Critters, provides rattlesnake abatement, wrangling, handling and training. Webb has worked on numerous film, commercial and television shoots, providing his snakes for plot elements and capturing and relocating snakes from location. 

    Webb has been involved with the film industry for about 25 years, but his career as a rattlesnake wrangler started almost by accident. When he was working on the History Channel’s “Black Blizzard” series, they needed snakes. Webb caught one and the photo ended up on a film industry union website.

    That led to the role of snake wrangler for “Breaking Bad” for four seasons. Webb has also worked on “Magnificent Seven,” “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trial” and the television series “Longmire.” “Manhattan,” “The Preacher,” “Night Shift” and “Better Call Saul.” And those are only a few of his many credits. 

  • Catholic pro-life offices torched

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The FBI and Albuquerque Fire Department need help finding the person responsible for arson at a pro-life Catholic organization on Wednesday.
    Authorities say someone set several fires at the office of Project Defending Life, a Catholic-based ministry that offers help to pregnant women.
    The office and a chapel inside the building were damaged.
    Firefighters quickly put the blaze out and nobody was injured.
    The office is on San Mateo and Lomas boulevards.

  • Pope OKs priests to absolve ‘grave sin’ of abortion

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Saying nothing is beyond the reach of God’s mercy, Pope Francis told Catholics worldwide he is allowing all priests to absolve the faithful of abortion — women and health workers alike — even while stressing that it is a grave sin in the eyes of the church to “end an innocent life.”
    In an Apostolic Letter made public Monday, Francis said he was extending indefinitely the special permission he had granted to all rank-and-file priests during the just ended Holy Year of Mercy.
    “There is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled” with God, the pope wrote in the 10-page letter, signed Sunday, the day the Holy Year ended.
    But, he added: “I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life.”
    Because the Roman Catholic Church holds abortion to be such a serious sin, absolution had long been a matter for a bishop, who could either hear the woman’s confession himself or delegate it to a priest considered an expert in such situations, a potentially intimidating scenario for many of the faithful.

  • Pot farming becoming a big business

    By Bob Hagan

  • Re-opening of History Museum topic of History on Tap Dec. 1

    Join the Los Alamos History Museum for History on Tap at 5:30 Dec. 1 at UnQuarked Wine Room, 145 Central Park Square, for an engaging discussion about the new History Museum campus led by Museum Educator Aimee Slaughter.
    Learn the inside story of how museums create new exhibits and get a sneak peek into what to expect in the renovated History Museum.
    History on Tap, part of the On Tap series presented by the Los Alamos Creative District.
    Also, don’t miss the Dec. 30 grand re-opening of the Los Alamos History Museum! The festivities start at 10 a.m. in Fuller Lodge, with special guest speakers, surprises and refreshments. Explore exhibits, artifacts and activities that share stories of Los Alamos history, from the Ancestral Pueblo era through the Cold War as you experience the new History Museum campus for the first time. Begin with the new galleries in the Guest Cottage and continue to the Romero Cabin and the Ancestral Pueblo site on the way to the Harold Agnew Cold War Gallery in the Hans Bethe House.
    More information about History on Tap and other Historical Society programs and events, visit losalamoshistory.org and follow the Los Alamos History Museum on Facebook.

  • LALT to hold play reading Dec. 3

    Los Alamos Little Theatre announces a staged reading of “After You’ve Gone,” a new work by Santa Fe-based playwright Mark Dunn.
    The staged reading will be 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3, at the Performing Arts Center, 1670 Nectar St., Los Alamos.  
    Admission is free for this one-time event.
    “After You’ve Gone,” which takes its title from a song first published in 1918, introduces the audience to Adele Pike, who has just buried her husband of 36 years, and her two daughters and son-in-law.
    Amidst the leftover casseroles, cakes and pigs-in-a-blanket brought by her Southern friends and neighbors, Adele confronts the appearance of a former lover, and her family learns more about her in an evening than they had in the previous three decades.
    “I wrote an early draft of this play several years ago when I was writing about Greenwich Village during World War I,” Dunn said. “I have long been fascinated with how gay people throughout the history of this country were able to reach out, find one another and express their love in such a sexually buttoned-down country. This play looks at the complications of same-sex love at a time in which such love wasn’t accepted or understood.”

  • LANL has successful turkey drive

    Los Alamos National Laboratory held its annual Bring a (frozen) Turkey to Work Day Monday, in partnership with the Food Depot of Santa Fe.
    The drive is something the lab has done for years. The Food Depot partners with 145 other agencies throughout northern New Mexico to ensure that people in the area don’t go without food this week, according to LANL spokesman Steve Sandoval.
    Lab employees and contractor Cray Computers donated 475 frozen turkeys, which are packaged with nonperishable food items also donated by lab employees during the food drive.
    Food Depot personnel were onsite Monday and have already taken the frozen turkeys to Santa Fe for distribution via their partners.

  • NM Dem chair won’t seek second term

    SANTA FE (AP) — Democrats in New Mexico will be able to get new leadership as the head of the party has announced she will not seek a second term.
    Democratic Party of New Mexico state Chairwoman Debra Haaland said Tuesday that she will step down in April, when the party will elect a new state leader.
    On Tuesday the party’s 24-year-old vice chairman, Juan Sanchez of Belen, declared his interest in the position.
    Haaland’s decision to step down comes after a number of Democratic victories around the state during this year’s election and a presidential election cycle where Haaland was accused of showing favoritism toward eventual nominee Hillary Clinton.
    State GOP Chairwoman Debbie Maestas has also announced she will not seek re-election.