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Local News

  • Lujan Grisham earns lukewarm approval rating

    Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s popularity with New Mexico voters is off to a lukewarm start, according to a poll released Thursday.

    The new governor came out near the bottom in a national ranking with a 41% approval rating. About 33 percent of voters disapproved of her performance. The remaining did not have an opinion or were undecided.

    The poll shows Lujan Grisham as the as the 44th most popular governor.

    Republican Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky took the last spot with a 33% approval rating. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Barker, also a Republican, came out on top with a 73% approval rating. Only 14% of voters in that state disapproved of his job.

    GOP Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland came in second with a 71% approval rating.

    All 10 of the most popular governors in the country are Republican, according to the poll and the average GOP governor has a net approval that is 14 points higher than the average Democratic governor.

    The poll also reported Sen. Tom Udall’s (D-NM) popularity among voters has dropped to 39%. He had 53% popularity among voters at this time 2017 and 44% this time last year.

    Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) has gone from 48% popularity to 41% in 2018 to 39% this year.

    Morning Consult surveyed over 5,000 registered voters across the U.S. for the poll.

  • Garcia Richard to end all on new oil and gas leasing on state land in Greater Chaco Region

    Staff and Wire Report

    State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard will sign executive order to place a moratorium on new oil and gas development on state trust land in a buffer zone around the Greater Chaco Region.

    The executive order will protect 72,776 acres of mineral estate near the renowned World Heritage site.

    The announcement, made late Thursday, comes one week after Democratic lawmakers convened a congressional hearing in the area to explore the possible impacts of air pollution on sacred sites.

    The state’s all-Democratic House delegation is seeking to halt new oil and natural gas lease sales on federal holdings within a 10-mile buffer zone around Chaco Culture National Historic Park.

    Four members of New Mexico's all-Democratic congressional delegation has also introduced legislation to prohibit the expansion of mineral development on federal inholdings within a roughly 10-mile radius surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

    The future of that legislation is uncertain in a GOP-controlled Senate.

    Acoma Pueblo tribal Gov. Brian Vallo told members of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources at the congressional hearing earlier this month that not enough was being done to safeguard sacred sites scattered beyond the national park at Chaco Canyon.

  • New Mexico regulators make emissions sweep in Permian Basin

    CARLSBAD (AP) — New Mexico regulators are looking to crack down on air quality violations by energy companies operating in one of the nation's most productive oil and gas basins.

    The state environment department announced Wednesday that its staff recently conducted nearly 100 inspections across New Mexico's portion of the Permian Basin.

    They were checking compliance with air quality regulations and permits.

    Agency spokeswoman Maddy Hayden says it will take the department at least several weeks — and possibly months — to review and determine what enforcement cases should be pursued.

    The inspectors used infrared cameras to detect emissions that are invisible to the naked eye.

    Five New Mexico Environment Department staff were involved in the effort for five business days. At an average of $27.00 per hour for a total of 40 hours each, the department’s air quality bureau chief estimated the inspections cost $5,400.

    “These types of evaluations are consistent with the work that is already being performed by the Department and, thus, is in line with the resources allocated for that work. No additional equipment was required for these inspections,” Hayden told the Los Alamos Monitor.

  • New Mexico to market 'green bonds' for energy conservation

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico plans to issue specialized green bonds as it borrows roughly $12 million to complete efficiency and renewable energy upgrades on a fleet of state buildings in the capital.

    The board of the New Mexico Finance Authority approved the additional borrowing Thursday to help fund improvements to about 30 state agency buildings in Santa Fe. The project upgrades or adds new solar panels, companion battery storage, electrical transformers, doors, windows, and heating and cooling systems.

    Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and the Legislature already approved direct state spending of $20 million on the project in efforts to reduce energy costs and limit contributions to climate change.

    The General Services Department expects to reduce its utility costs for the affected buildings by 50%, mainly on electricity, with annual guaranteed savings of $1.1 million written into an agreement with Trane U.S. Inc., a subsidiary of multinational Ingersoll Rand.

    Thursday's decision marks the state's likely entry into a green bond market that can attract socially conscious investors including nonprofits and certain pension funds.

  • Last week to apply for probate judge vacancy

    Applicants interested in filling the probate judge vacancy created by the resignation of Anne Nobile last month are reminded to submit their letter of interest to the county manager’s office no later than 5 p.m. the April 30. 

    The successful applicant will finish Nobile’s term, which will end Dec. 31, 2022. 

    Interested applicants are asked to submit a one- or two-page letter indicating why they would be interested in serving as probate judge. Under State law, any qualified person over the age of 18 who is a resident of Los Alamos County may serve. 

    Letters of interest should be mailed or hand-delivered to County Manager Harry Burgess, Los Alamos County Municipal Building, 1000 Central Ave., Suite 350, Los Alamos, NM 87544 by the deadline.

  • Jobless rate holds at 5.1%

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico officials say the state’s seasonally adjusted rate of unemployment held steady at 5.1% in March.

    The Workforce Solutions Department said Friday that the unemployment rate remained unchanged from February, while the national unemployment rate fell to 3.9% for March.

    Only Alaska and the District of Columbia have higher unemployment rates .

    During a year ending in March, payroll employment across New Mexico grew by 10,300 jobs or 1.3%. That doesn’t include agricultural work.

  • Pothole project to start

    Weather permitting, Los Alamos County’s Public Works Traffic and Streets Division plans to begin a project to fill in potholes on Trinity Drive next to the Los Alamos Medical Center at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, which will take about one hour to complete. 

    The left turn lane (eastbound turn lane) on Diamond Drive that takes drivers on to Trinity Drive next to the hospital will be closed for one hour at 9:30 a.m. while crews repair potholes. Call Traffic and Streets Division with questions at 662-8113 or email us at LACPW@lacnm.us.

  • Community Winds to perform ‘Flemenco Ole!’ Saturday

    For “ Flemenco Ole! its April concert, the Los Alamos Community Winds dropped a little spice into the repertoire as it features, for at least one tune, a very talented flamenco guitarist from Los Alamos, Marcos Cavalcante. 

    “He’s a virtuoso musician, but he’s a particularly good flamenco guitarist,” Community Winds’ artistic director and conductor Ted Vives said. 

    Calvacante will be featured in Concierto de Aranjuez, by Joachín Rodrigo. 

    “That is a quintessential piece that every guitarist wants to perform,” Vives said. 

    It’s also a piece that many concertgoers will be familiar with  as Concierto de Aranjuez, especially its middle passage, has been featured in a few movies audience members may be familiar with. 

    “It’s an exciting piece if you ask anybody on the street, but they may not know it by name,” Vives said. 

  • Eggcelent memories

    Baby Riley Klements sits with the Easter Bunny Saturday at the Easter Egg Hunt event at Ashley Pond Park, sponsored by the Elks Lodge. SKIP WECKSUNG/Monitor

  • Wildfire Day 2019 mixes fun, fire safety

    Los Alamos Wildfire Day 2019 got off to a roaring start Friday with games and fun activities for the kids and a little bit of education when it comes to protecting their homes for adults. 

    As far as John Klumppwas concerned though, the day was all about his three-year-old son Sam having a good time.

    “It’s all about getting Sam out of the house,” John said. “We got to sit in the helicopters… His favorite part was getting to steer.” 

    The Los Alamos Fire Department used the day to let people know about its upcoming Wildfire Mitigation Plan, where the presented to the public seven mitigation projects they are going to carry out in various neighborhoods through May 2021. They include Walnut Bench, Villa Bench, Ponderosa Estates Range Road, North Horse Stable Bench, Lower Loma Linda, Camino Redondo and Camino Uva.

    According to Wildland Division Chief Kelly Sterna, they were going to start as soon as this Monday marking the trees. They are also doing a home assessment program for residents that are interested.