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Today's News

  • Few jobs from sunsets, many from oil and gas

    Oil and gas industry discussions by public officials and industry tend toward the many worthy numbers.
    For example, nearly all (96.6 percent) the interest from the Land Grant Permanent Fund goes into the state’s general fund, providing for continuing operations of government. The permanent fund predates statehood. Oil royalties appeared in 1924. Every county gets oil and gas production revenue.
    Find the report, “Fiscal Impacts of the Oil and Gas Industry,” at the New Mexico Tax Research Institute (nmtri.org). Check the right side of the page.
    Other numbers from David Martin, secretary of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, at the Legislative Finance Committee’s July 9 meeting in Farmington: Jobs, direct, indirect and induced: 68,838. Average salary: $70,666. State gross domestic product portion: 9 percent.
    The numbers obscure oil and gas as a way of life with a long history here.
    Flush with “enchantment,” sunsets, and mystically seeking God, aesthetes miss this. They fail to track production numbers from the well to the permanent fund to investment income to the general fund to paying for the government they wish to expand.

  • Udall scores a win in tough battle

    Forget for the moment, if you will, all variant partisan predispositions — at least long enough to grant that New Mexico’s U.S. Sen. Tom Udall is one of those rare politicians who will persevere in the service of a conviction.
    Let me explain my point, and for starters we should recall that the United States Constitution has been amended only 27 times since it was adopted in 1787.
    We need also remind ourselves that that fully 10 of those amendments were adopted all at one time, right after the present republic was instituted when what we call the Bill of Rights was appended to the original Constitution.
    In short, amending the Constitution isn’t the least bit easy.
    It requires time, tenacity and resolve, which is precisely what the constitutional framers intended when they hammered it out in Philadelphia back in 1787. They even made it hard to so much as propose an amendment to the Constitution.
    One constitutionally permissible method for proposing an amendment would have at least two-thirds of the states call conventions for that purpose. It is an approach so cumbersome that it has never been used, mainly because getting two thirds of the states to act in concert is next to impossible.

  • County Briefs 07-22-14

    LAFD relaxes fire restrictions for county

    Los Alamos County’s Fire Department announced last weekend it has relaxed the county’s fire restrictions.
    The decision was based on several factors, including moisture received from seasonal rains, rising humidity and reduction in fuel ignition potential among those.
    According to a press release, the fire department will continue to work with the U.S. Forest Service, Los Alamos National Laboratory’s emergency management and the National Park Service to monitor local conditions.

    Five winners get free flights on N.M. Airlines

    The winners were announced in July’s free flight giveaway, sponsored by New Mexico Airlines.
    The winners included Joseph Baiardo, Mary Barrus, Steve Ciddio, Opal Lee Gill and Clifford Hewitt.
    New Mexico Airlines, which is under contract to Los Alamos County, provides commercial airline service between Los Alamos Airport and the Albuquerque Sunport.
    Winners in July’s drawing were selected at random. Entrants completed a survey about air travel during Atomic City Transit rides to and from the Overlook Park fireworks show July 4 or during the Gordon’s Summer Concert July 11.
    More than 800 entries were received in the drawing.

  • Dad says suspects also were homeless

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A man who says he is the father of two of three teens charged with fatally beating two homeless men says that they too were once homeless, and he has no idea what prompted the brutal Friday night attack that police say left the victims unrecognizable.
    After their arrest, the 15-year-old told police that the trio had been targeting homeless people for the past year, according to a criminal complaint. He said they had attacked about 50 people over the last few months, but had never gone that far, according to the criminal complaint.
    “It’s so hard that he could do that to someone where ... I mean, like I said, we came from there,” said Victor Prieto, who identified himself to KOB-TV as the father of the 15- and 16-year-olds accused. “You know what I mean? We’re not there now, but that’s where we ... We got out of there.”
    His sons and 18-year-old Alex Rios were charged on Monday with murder and ordered held on $5 million bonds. The Associated Press is not identifying the minors because of their age. The teens and Prieto all have different last names.

  • Congress returns with plenty to do

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A gridlocked Congress failed to do the big things: overhauling the nation’s immigration system, reforming the loophole-cluttered tax code and stiffening background checks on gun buyers. Now it’s time to see whether it can just do the basics.
    With just two weeks before lawmakers’ sacrosanct August break, progress is decidedly mixed on several must-pass items due to Capitol Hill partisanship, heightened by midterm elections and the Obama administration’s conflicting signals to Congress. Lawmakers must find about $10 billion to keep highway projects on track through next spring, ease long wait times for veterans seeking health care and deal with a humanitarian crisis of some 57,000 unaccompanied immigrant children who have entered the U.S. along the Southern border since last fall.
    Looming large is legislation to keep the government operating beyond the start of the fiscal year on Oct. 1; the House has completed seven of the 12 spending bills while the Senate has done none. A once-promising effort to revive the appropriations process in the Senate appears to have derailed in a test of wills between top Senate leaders over the rights of Republicans to offer amendments to legislation.

  • Caring for the community

    LA Cares volunteer Peg Hume (left) works with other volunteers to prepare for the organization’s monthly food distribution, which occurs on the second Friday of each month. Donation boxes are set up at various locations around the county. 

  • Showing their support

    University of New Mexico-Los Alamos staff is taking part in the 2014 College/Military Day, sponsored by Assets In Action. The community is asked to participate by wearing their favorite college or military apparel to highlight their path of Life Long Learning. The 2014 event is scheduled for Sept 5. 

  • Obamacare subsidies to continue

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama’s health care law is enmeshed in another big legal battle after two federal appeals courts issued contradictory rulings on a key financing issue within hours of each other Tuesday.
    A divided court panel in Washington called into question the subsidies that help millions of low- and middle-income people pay their premiums, saying financial aid can be paid only in states that have set up their own insurance markets, or exchanges.
    About 100 miles to the south in Richmond, Va., another appeals court panel unanimously came to the opposite conclusion, ruling that the Internal Revenue Service correctly interpreted the will of Congress when it issued regulations allowing consumers in all 50 states to purchase subsidized coverage.
    The White House immediately declared that policyholders will keep getting financial aid as the administration sorts out the legal implications.
    Spokesman Josh Earnest said the adverse decision in Washington would have “no practical impact” on tax credits as the case works its way through the courts.
    Both cases are part of a long-running political and legal campaign to overturn Obama’s signature domestic legislation by Republicans and other opponents of the law.

  • Update 07-22-14

    Council canceled

    The scheduled Los Alamos County Council work session, orginally set for tonight in White Rock, has been canceled.

    APP meeting

    The Arts in Public Places Advisory Board will meet Thursday. The meeting will start at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers.

    Personnel board

    Tonight’s originally scheduled Personnel Board meeting has been canceled due to the lack of a qurom, Los Alamos County said in a statement today.

    At the Pond

    Tuesdays at the Pond Series will feature Marcus Cavlante. It is set for 7 p.m. today at Ashley Pond. It’s sponsored by the Los Alamos Creative District.

    Farmers Market

    County officials announced there would be no councilors’ booth at Thursday’s Farmers Market.

    Friday's concert

    Gordon’s Summer Concert Series presents Ray Wylie Hubbard, with opening act the Bill Hearne Trio. The concert will be at 7 p.m. at Ashley Pond. 

  • Report: illegal immigration slows

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Border Patrol agents stationed in South Texas are the busiest in the country, arresting tens of thousands of children illegally crossing the border without their parents and thousands more families with children.
    Here’s a look at some numbers on the immigration situation.
    • In the last budget year, Border Patrol agents arrested about 420,000 people, most of them along the Mexican border. That followed a three-year trend of near record low numbers of apprehensions.
    • Overall, the number of immigrants caught sneaking across the border remains at near historic low levels.
    • The last time so few people were arrested at the country’s borders was 1973, when the Border Patrol recorded just fewer than 500,000 arrests.
    • The number of people being arrested at the border remains dramatically lower than the all-time high of more than 1.6 million people in 2000.
    What makes the situation on the border today different is who is crossing and where.
    Since 2012, the number of unaccompanied children caught at the border has been steadily rising. Compared to the first 10 months of the 2013 budget year, the number has more than doubled. And since most of the children are from Central America, they can’t be quickly sent home like their Mexican counterparts.