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Today's News

  • Water conservation should extend beyond times of drought

    BY AUBREY DUNN
    State Land Commissioner, Guest Editorial

    A report recently published in the Albuquerque Journal revealed that nearly 99 percent of New Mexico is in extreme, severe or moderate drought.  Long before the report was issued, we at the State Land Office (SLO) have been acting with great urgency to protect New Mexico water and I have implemented long-term water conservation initiatives.

    The volumes of water the oil and gas industry use is prolific. Of the 13 million acres of mineral estate managed by the SLO, 3 million acres are leased for oil and gas development. Oil and gas activity on state trust lands generates 92 percent of the agency’s annual revenues, most of which supplements the operating budgets of public schools, therefore the industry’s investment in New Mexico is critical to our mission. However, while revenues are soaring, we are taking action to ensure the state has adequate fresh water supplies.

  • Shaffer seeks to retain seat on 1st Judicial District Court

    In November 2016, Greg Shaffer was a unanimous recommendation to fill the vacancy on the First Judicial District Court by the independent, bipartisan Judicial Nominating Commission.

    Now he feels that selection is the main reason voters should keep him in that position when they go to the polls to vote in the June 5 Democratic primary.

    “The most important quality I bring to the table was that I was unanimously recommended for appointment to the bench by the commission,” Shaffer, a Democrat, said recently. “Each of my three opponents has tried to go through that same process and has been unsuccessful.”

    The position will be decided in the June primary since there are no Republicans seeking the position.

    According to his website, keepjudgeshaffer.com, two of his opponents in the upcoming primary were passed over and not recommended by the same commission that recommended him while a third was twice passed over and not recommended by the commission.

    “Another thing that quite readily sets me apart is my experience working with civil cases,” Shaffer said. “I’ve been doing that for 20-plus years and this position is a civil docket and only hears civil cases.”

  • Pelosi stumps for Rep. Lujan in Santa Fe

    SANTA FE – The tax plan signed by President Donald Trump in December is nothing more than a “scam” being perpetrated on the American people, according to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

    That was the word she used in describing the plan Friday at a panel discussion held at the National Education Association office in Santa Fe with about 50 people in the audience.

    Accompanying Pelosi on the panel were Congressman Ben Ray Lujan (D-Dist. 3), Charles Bowyer, executive director of the National Education Association New Mexico, and Sandoval County Treasurer Laura Montoya.

    Pelosi said the plan, approved “in the dark of night, at the speed of light,” will drain $1 trillion out of Medicaid and a half trillion dollars out of Medicare when instead those are the amounts Congress should be putting into those programs as well as making an investment in education.

    “Nothing brings more money to the budget than investing in education,” she said.

    Bowyer, who was a science teacher in Los Lunas before taking over as executive director of the NEA, brought up an example of that sentiment. He said a late provision to the bill would send public education dollars into private education venues.

  • Police Beat 4-8-18

    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.

    March 28
    5:18 p.m. – Los Alamos County Police investigated an Internal Revenue Service scam.

    March 29
     12:15 a.m. - Samuel Herrera, 31, of Santa Fe was arrested by Los Alamos County Police on a magistrate court bench warrant, and booked into the Los Alamos County Detention Center.

    8:31 p.m. – Police found drug paraphernalia while patrolling La Mesa Mobile Home Park.

    10:23 p.m. – Gregario Luis Trujillo, 29, of Española was arrested by Los Alamos County Police on a magistrate court bench warrant and booked into the Los Alamos County Detention Center.

    10:53 p.m. – Los Alamos County Police investigated a possible harassment incident at the McDonald’s restaurant on Trinity Drive.

    March 30
    2:59 p.m. – Los Alamos County Police investigated a larceny.

  • Code ordinance break OK’d by council

    Applause and a few cheers greeted the Los Alamos County Council at its regular meeting Tuesday night following the council’s vote to approve a 60-day moratorium on code enforcement within the county.

    The vote was unanimous among the council, passing by a 6-0 margin. Councilor James Chrobocinski was absent.

    Chrobocinski and Councilor Antonio Maggiore originally brought the resolution before the council. Following much civil discussion of the hot topic – by members of the audience and councilors alike – Maggiore read the resolution after the addition of some amendments by the councilors.

    The moratorium does not hold for violations that have already been received by the code enforcement staff as well as violations immediately affecting health, safety and welfare.

    The council did specify that appropriate action would be taken to address any situations involving a perceived or increased fire risk, which was a big issue with regard to fire danger.

    Los Alamos Fire Department Chief Troy Hughes pointed out that his department’s main concern is protection against the threat of fire.

  • Scant snow, rain leave reservoirs around West below average

    FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Scant snow and rain are leaving reservoirs around the West well below average.

    The bright spots are the Green River basin in Wyoming and the Duchesne in northeast Utah. And, forecasters say near-normal March temperatures in the Colorado River basin mean snow hasn't melted as quickly.

    Still, the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center says there's only a 10 percent chance that enough precipitation will fall this spring to bring inflows back to average.

    Weather patterns in the next couple of weeks could bring rain and snow to West and boost water supplies, but confidence in the forecast is low right now.

    The lackluster runoff won't immediately affect millions of Colorado River water users.

    But the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says another dry year could trigger shortages.
     

  • New Mexico border wall work to begin Monday

    SANTA TERESA (AP) — Work will begin soon to replace existing vehicle barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border in southern New Mexico with a new bollard wall.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that a groundbreaking near the Santa Teresa port of entry on Monday will mark the official start of construction along a 20-mile stretch of the border.

    The $73 million contract for the work was awarded to a Montana company in February.

    With a new wall, federal officials say agents working in southern New Mexico will be better equipped to stop drug trafficking and illegal crossings in the area.

    Environmentalists have sued over the project, saying the federal government overstepped its authority in waiving laws as a way to speed construction. A federal judge recently sided with the government in a similar case in California.
     

  • New Nuclear Security chief visits Los Alamos National Laboratory

    The new Department of Energy Undersecretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty toured Los Alamos National Laboratory facilities Friday and address employees.

    “The work that’s done at Los Alamos is critical to the nation’s nuclear security and central to our stockpile stewardship mission,” she said to a standing-room-only audience of employees. “Los Alamos was established to develop a scientific solution to win World War II, and it has remained a truly extraordinary place where cutting-edge science and engineering are deployed in service to the nation.”

    Gordon-Hagerty was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in February. This was her first visit to the laboratory as NNSA administrator.

  • Geisik hearing delayed

    Stephen Geisik, 27, of Hernandez, a former Los Alamos resident, was granted a postponement of an evidentiary hearing Thursday. The new hearing date is May 4.

    Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer granted the move after Geisik’s attorney, Jennifer Burrill, asked for more time.

    “He’s facing a probation violation, and there are some allegations that involve some other agencies that we’re trying to get paperwork from,” Burrill said.

    Geisik was arrested Feb. 23 for violating the 20-year parole sentence he received April 6, 2015.  At that time he pleaded guilty to three counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor second degree (child under 13) and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

    Geisik moved to Hernandez July 15, 2017, and registered as a sex offender with the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Department in Española. His two children were living with him at the time.

    When Children Youth and Families officials made a second visit to his house Jan. 20, they removed his children and told him he had to get rid of his cats and buy mattresses for his kids. Geisik said he complied with their order. On Feb. 23 though, he was arrested.

  • County’s plan to use drones for inspections draws critics

    Los Alamos County’s plans to use drones for roof and construction inspections is already drawing fire from a group of local residents.

    County Council Candidate Helen Milenski said she’s concerned, not so much about the person who may request the roof inspection, but the neighbors next door and those who live in the general vicinity of the camera’s eye.

    “I waived my right to privacy because of that permit, but did my neighbor, or the neighbor down the block?” Milenski said.  

    Los Alamos County Council Chairman David Izraelevitz said he feels there really isn’t an issue with the Los Alamos County Development Office using a drone to do roof inspections.

    When asked about the expectations of privacy and other issues, Izraelevitz said there would be policies in place that will protect residents.

    Izraelevitz said the drones would also save the town money in the long run by preventing medical and legal liability.

    “Why wouldn’t you want to find a way for your workers not to climb on roofs?” Izraelevitz said.

    County Development Office Manager Paul Andrus said worker safety was the main reason why the drone was purchased.