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Today's News

  • Sessions to address immigration at border sheriffs meeting

    LAS CRUCES (AP) — As thousands of National Guard troops deploy to the Mexico border, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions plans to bring his firm stance on immigration enforcement to New Mexico, where a group of Southwest border sheriffs are meeting Wednesday.

    Sessions will speak in Las Cruces at the Texas Border Sheriff's Coalition Annual Spring Meeting with the Southwestern Border Sheriff's Coalition, made up of 31 sheriff's departments from Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

    All of the counties their departments patrol are located within 25 miles (40 kilometers) of the U.S.-Mexico border.
    Immigrant rights activists promised to protest Sessions' visit, as they rejected his past characterization of the border region during a 2017 visit to El Paso, Texas, as "ground zero" in the Trump administration's fight against cartels, and human traffickers.

    "He treated our home like a war zone, referring to it as 'ground zero,'" said Fernando Garcia, executive director of the Border Network for Human Rights in El Paso. "He was wrong then, and he is wrong now."

    El Paso is some 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Las Cruces.

  • State population gains a little but people are still leaving

     
    The grey of population loss travels the East Side from Lea County to Colfax and the West from San Juan County to Hidalgo. In between is a light thread of slight population gain along the Rio Grande. 

    Overall, New Mexico’s population grew by 2,638 for the 2016-2017 year. The 1.1 percent increase brought us to 2,088,070 New Mexicans, a gain of 23,463 since 2010, the year of the last census. Bernalillo (+14,241) and Sandoval (+10,929) counties, two of metro Albuquerque’s four counties, more than accounted for the state’s seven-year population gain with 25,166 more people. 

    Doña Ana County (+6,357) and Santa Fe (+4,533) together added fewer people than did Sandoval County. Together these four counties grew by 36,056 over seven years. The 26 rural counties plus metro Farmington (San Juan County) together lost 59,519 people. That’s like eliminating Eddy County (56,997) population and making up most of the rest by dumping DeBaca County (1,829).

  • Sessions to discuss immigration enforcement in N.M.

     
    LAS CRUCES (AP) — U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is slated to visit southern New Mexico and speak at a conference for sheriffs in border states.

    Sessions will travel to Las Cruces on Wednesday and deliver remarks on immigration enforcement at an annual meeting organized by the Southwestern Border Sheriff’s Coalition and the Texas Border Sheriff’s Coalition.

    Sessions’ visit comes after President Donald Trump said last week he wants to send 2,000 to 4,000 National Guard members to the border.

    Trump also has said he wants to use the military at the border until progress is made on his proposed border wall.

    The Southwest Border Sheriff’s Coalition is made up of 31 sheriff’s departments from Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

  • Spending surges in governor race

    SANTA FE (AP) — Democratic candidates for governor of New Mexico went on a spending spree of more than $2 million during the past six months as the sole Republican candidate stockpiled more cash than any other contender, according to campaign finance statements filed Monday with state regulators.

    U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s campaign for governor spent $1.2 million as it worked out of three offices in Las Cruces, Santa Fe and her home city of Albuquerque – while collecting contributions of $1.4 million.

    Lujan Grisham is locked in a three-way race for the Democratic nomination in the state’s June primary election against former media executive Jeff Apodaca and state Sen. Joseph Cervantes of the Las Cruces area.

    Cervantes injected $1 million of his own family money into his campaign in early April in the form of a loan from himself and wife Jennifer Cervantes, while collecting $54,000 from contributors over the past six months.

    Apodaca, who has been running ads on cable and network TV since December, reported spending of roughly $628,000, while raising $254,000 from donors. Apodaca previously lent his campaign $450,000.

  • Purdue confirms bid submission for LANL contract

     
    Purdue University and Bechtel Corporation publicly announced Friday that they too have put in a bid for Los Alamos National Laboratory’s management and operations contract. 

    In an email to the Los Alamos Monitor Tuesday, Zink confirmed that Purdue University has put a bid for the contract, presently valued at over $2 billion. 

    “We can confirm that Purdue has submitted a proposal but there is nothing else we can share at this time,” Zink said in a written statement.  

    According to news reports, Purdue has partnered with Bechtel Corp, but a spokesman for Bechtel neither confirmed nor denied the partnership.

    Bechtel is a current partner with the University of California in the Los Alamos National Security consortium. 

    “We aren’t discussing the procurement at this time out of respect to the NNSA acquisition process and the lab workforce Bechtel Spokesman Fred deSousa said. “We are concentrating on managing and operating the lab with the LANS team.”

  • Border Patrol: Wall in N.M. to be ‘serious structure’

     
    A new wall being constructed along a 20-mile stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border in southern New Mexico as part of President Donald Trump’s fight against drug trafficking and illegal immigration is being advertised as a “very serious structure” made of metal and concrete.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials gathered Monday to mark the groundbreaking of the $73 million project at Santa Teresa near New Mexico’s state line with Texas. They say the new wall will be harder to get over, under and through.

    The work to rip out the old vehicle barriers and replace them with the bollard-style wall is expected to take a little more than a year, but opponents are suing in an effort to stop the work.

     

    Out with the Old

    Gone will be the old post and rail barriers that are meant to stop vehicles but have been of little use against people trying to cross on foot. Aside from being easy to breach, U.S. Border Patrol officials say the existing barriers and mesh fencing are expensive and time consuming to repair.

  • Police investigate arson attempt

     
    Los Alamos County Police opened an arson investigation April 2 after officers were called to Big Rock Loop that Monday morning on a property damage call. 

    There, officers discovered a glass jar filled with a flammable liquid and some charring on a stucco wall of a house and a nearby piece of wood. 

    “It was very minor, but it was obvious the intent of arson was there,” Det. Sgt. James Rodriguez said. The investigation is still active, and it’s not known when it will be completed. Police said they have no suspects. It is the first incident of arson reported this year.

  • Congressional District 2 candidates hold forum

    RUIDOSO — Lincoln County Republicans were interested Monday to hear ideas about how three Republican candidates plan to replace longtime Congressman Steve Pearce.

    State Rep. Yvette Herrell, Hobbs Mayor Monty Newman and former Trump aide Dr. Gavin Clarkson, each with distinct personalities, put forward their plans and ideas about how to move the state and country forward.

    The three candidates are vying for the top spot in the June 5 Republican primary.

    Pearce announced last year he would vacate the seat to run for New Mexico governor.

    Newman, a hard-charging mayor in oil and gas country said he supports President Donald Trump and the wall, and he supports that the experts say the country needs it.

    “How about we just start enforcing the law of the land? Nothing else functions without it,” Newman said.

    Newman answered questions from audience members about whether he or his campaign spread suspect information about his opponent, Herrell, about possible inconsistencies with her financial disclosures.

    One of Newman’s consultants is Gov. Susana Martinez’s consultant Jay McCleskey, who has been accused of similar attacks on opponents in the past.

  • Police break up jail fight

     

    Los Alamos County Police broke up a fight between two male inmates Thursday around 2 p.m. at the Los Alamos County Detention Center. Officers at the scene said the inmates were using closed fists. 

    The fight took place inside the detention center’s recreation yard. After securing inmates inside the building, two officers entered the recreation yard and told all the inmates to get on the ground in an attempt to get control of the scene. They succeeded, and the detention center was put on lockdown as emergency personnel arrived to treat the inmates involved in the fight. 

    The LAPD declined to identify the two inmates, since neither of them pressed charges. One inmate was sent to the Los Alamos Medical Center for treatment and the other refused medical attention. 

  • LANL struggles with fission materials issues in March

     
    An overflowing bathroom sink that leaked a few gallons of water into a basement where nuclear waste is stored and an incident where a manager discovered possible fissionable material being stored inside half a plutonium pit sparked federal and lab inquiries in March at the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s plutonium processing facility. 

    The most recent incident in early March triggered a safety investigation by the National Nuclear Security Administration.  

    Water from an overflowing sink caused a few gallons of water to leak into a basement at LANL’s plutonium manufacturing facility, where drums of transuranic waste are stored. 

    In a weekly safety report from a federal oversight board about the issue, it was reported NNSA officials are concerned what would have happened if liquids that are capable of setting off a fission reaction came in contact with the drums, instead of water.