Today's News

  • Facebook joins effort to fight opioid crisis in New Mexico

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Facebook is launching an effort to help fight the opioid crisis in New Mexico — a state that has battled heroin addiction for decades, the social media giant announced Tuesday.

    The tech company said it will work with New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas to show Facebook users how they can use its digital tools to combat addiction.

    Ana Martinez, head of Facebook’s community engagement for the U.S. Southwest, said the social media company’s online groups offer families support and information to fight addiction.

    “A great example of this is actually ‘Facing Addiction’, which is a Facebook page started by a nonprofit,” Martinez said before Facebook brought together health experts and advocates in Albuquerque for training Tuesday. “They currently have 60,000 followers on their Facebook page.”

    The members of the page started a more intimate forum where those impacted by addiction to find comfort and support, Martinez said.

    For years, New Mexico has battled heroin addiction that has claimed generations of families in places like Española, New Mexico. That history of an epidemic made the state a natural place for Facebook to experiment with an anti-opioid addiction campaign.

  • Love Shouldn’t Hurt
  • LACF hires executive director

    The Los Alamos Community Foundation has made its first official staff hire, selecting Rachel Kizielewicz to be the foundation’s inaugural executive director.

    The hire was announced Tuesday by the foundation, which exists to facilitate and promote local philanthropy by Los Alamos residents and those with strong local connections, to highlight unmet needs and investment opportunities within the community, and to meet these needs through financial and organizational support to local nonprofits.

    “To have found an organization like LACF that was born out of a robust volunteer community and a like-minded spirit is really a wonderful thing to come across for anyone working in the nonprofit and philanthropic field,” said Kizielewicz.

    “LACF is already on strong footing and off to a great start and to come in here and be able to help is a real honor.”
    Kizielewicz recently served as director of constituent relations at the University of Pittsburgh and played a big part in the university’s $2 billion capital fundraising campaign.

    She also led the way in establishing strong relationships between the university and its constituents and helped increase the donor base while strengthening ties to the community.

  • Federal budget proposal commits funds for plutonium pit program

    President Donald Trump’s budget requests $30.6 billion for the Department of Energy, with  $26 billion marked for the replacement of infrastructure and to modernize the Department of Energy’s nuclear enterprise.

    “We are also requesting to continually upgrade, and construct, new, state-of-the-art facilities at our national labs,” Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry said during a press conference Monday. “We are also committed to science dominance, to spurring discovery and innovation at our national labs, ensuring that America retains its preeminent place in scientific research and technology commercialization in an increasingly competitive world.”

    During the press conference Monday, Acting Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA (National Nuclear Security Administration) Administrator Steven C. Erhart said Los Alamos National Laboratory would remain an integral part of the Energy Department’s maintenance and expansion of the nation’s nuclear stockpile.

    Erhart said the NNSA is committed to the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s plutonium pit production program for 30 pits per year.

  • 2018 State Legislature: Early education proposal dies without hearing

    The proposal to expand early childhood education across New Mexico died quietly Tuesday at the state Capitol, scotched because a vote on the initiative will not be taken in the state Senate Finance Committee.

    Sen. John Arthur Smith, the Democrat from Deming who chairs the committee, said in an interview that he had decided not to give a hearing to the proposed constitutional amendment before the legislative session ends at noon Thursday.

    “It doesn’t have the votes,” Smith said of the measure, House Joint Resolution 1.

    Asked if he had polled his 12-member committee, Smith said he expected that at least he and the five Republican members probably would vote down the initiative.

    That would leave the measure no better than a 6-6 tie, meaning it could not advance to the full 42-member Senate.

    “It may not even be that close,” Smith said.

    The proposal, which cleared the House of Representatives last week by a razor-thin margin, called for spending 1 percent from the $16 billion Land Grant Permanent Fund for a range of programs for children from infancy to age 5.

    Advocates for the early childhood proposal criticized Smith for bottling up the proposal without giving it a vote.

  • 2018 State Legislature: House passes bill to ease coal plant closing impact

    By Steve Terrell
    The New Mexican

    In a case of strange political bedfellows, a conservative lawmaker from San Juan County and the leader of a Santa Fe environmental group not known for compromising came together Tuesday to back a bill aimed at easing the economic woes of New Mexico communities hit by the closing of large coal-burning power plants.

    The House of Representives voted 44-25 to pass Rep. Rod Montoya's House Bill 325, designed to help a large school district keep most of its tax base if Public Service Company of New Mexico closes the San Juan Generating Station by 2022.

    To become a reality, the measure would also have to clear the Senate before the Legislature adjourns at noon Thursday.

    "Are you going to refer to me as an environmentalist activist," Montoya joked with a reporter Tuesday.

    Endorsing the bill was Mariel Nanasi, executive director of New Energy Economy, a Santa Fe-based non-profit that has fought many PNM rate increases and other proposals before the state Public Regulation Commission.

    That support was the result of hours of negotiating between Montoya, Nanasi and representatives of other environmentalist groups over the past several days.

  • 2018 State Legislature: Legislative roundup Feb. 13

    The New Mexican

    Days remaining in the session: 2

    Out front: Call that first vote a false start. A state House of Representatives vote Tuesday to require front-end license plates on vehicles registered in New Mexico came a just few days after the chamber rejected the very same bill.

    Rep. Patricio Ruiloba, a Democrat and former Albuquerque Police Department officer, had presented House Bill 158 as a public safety measure. He said requiring two license plates on each vehicle would help law enforcement identify vehicles involved in crimes.

    But the issue -- which would raise the annual vehicle registration fee by $2 -- proved to be a lightning rod, with some House members reporting that they had received more emails from constituents on this bill than on any other.

    The House voted down the bill on Saturday, and when members moved to bring it back up again, the House also voted down changes presented as something of a compromise.

    The ensuing debate again proved to be one of the most impassioned of the session, with some arguing the measure is effectively a tax increase or at the very least an afront to the car culture of a state that is one of just 19 not to require front-end license plates.

  • Travel: Discover a southern jewel in Oxford

    By Debbie Stone

    Special to the Monitor

    Visitors entering Oxford, Mississippi’s historic Square will come nose-to-nose with its famed Courthouse. The stately white building stands in the heart of town, creating a scene that looks like it came right out of one of John Grisham’s legal thrillers.

    The well-known author is actually one of many writers who lived in Oxford, a town with an impressive literary heritage and more published writers per capita than most big-time American cities.

    As a state, Mississippi boasts such distinguished wordsmiths as Richard Ford, Willie Morris, Eudora Welty, Donna Tartt, Jesmyn Ward, Larry Brown and Curtis Wilkie. Perhaps the most acclaimed, however, is William Faulkner. Regarded as one of the greatest writers in the twentieth century, Faulkner made Oxford his home after briefly attending the University of Mississippi, and lived in his antebellum-style house, Rowan Oak, from 1930 until his death in 1962.

  • A Love Story: A man, his wife and his girlfriend

    This is a Valentine’s Day love story about a man, his wife and his girlfriend.

    The man is Doug Pippin, 75, who lives in White Rock with Phyllis, 74, his wife of 56 years. Phyllis is, in fact, the one who introduced Doug to his girlfriend when he turned 70, six years ago.

    The “girlfriend” is actually a bright yellow 1931 Ford Model A, five-window coupe he received as a surprise gift from his wife.

    “We call it ‘his girlfriend’ because that ‘girlfriend’ is costing him money (in repairs),” Phyllis laughed.

    Doug’s love affair with that kind of vehicle started when he was in high school in Española. Another young man had a 1932 Ford Model A, five-window coupe and Doug offered to buy it. They made a “handshake agreement,” and soon after Doug towed the car to his house and was making payments to the young man at a rate of $8 a month, money he collected while working at a full-service gas station for 50 cents an hour.

    “I was going to hot rod that car,” Doug grinned.

    In the meantime, Doug found his real love the day in 1960 when Phyllis rode into the gas station where he worked.

    “That’s how I met her,” Doug said, “working at the gas station.”

  • LANL explosives test scheduled for this afternoon

     The Los Alamos National Laboratory will conduct an explosives test today between 1 and 3 p.m. that may be heard by Los Alamos residents, according lab officials. Unusual conditions today may cause residents to hear sounds from the explosions.