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Local News

  • Rio Grande del Norte gains designation

    President Barack Obama is designating five new national monuments, using executive authority to protect historic or ecologically significant sites — including one in Delaware sought by Vice President Joe Biden.
    The White House said Obama would make the designations Monday, using the century-old Antiquities Act to protect unique natural and historic landmarks. The sites are Río Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico; First State National Monument in Delaware; Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland; Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio; and San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington State.
    The largest site is Río Grande del Norte in New Mexico, where Obama will designate nearly 240,000 acres for protection. The site includes wildlife habitat valued by hunters and anglers; rafting, camping, and other recreation; and is prized by the region’s Hispanic and tribal groups.
    Advocates say the new monument in New Mexico, to be run by the U.S Bureau of Land Management, will contribute an estimated $15 million a year in economic benefits to the area.

  • Part Two: Rookie legislator reflects on first session

    Second of two parts

    Talk about some of the legislation that you sponsored and the bills and memorials that passed.

  • USS Santa Fe officer visits pueblo

    USS Santa Fe Commander Tim Poe and Senior Chief Juan Gonzalez came to Santa Fe to experience the culture and history of their submarine’s namesake city.

    They left with an unforgettable memory: a taste of a traditional feast day celebration at the San Ildefonso Pueblo home of Elmer and Deborah Torres, replete with a feast day dinner and dances by the Red Turtle Dancers from the Pueblo of Pojoaque.

    “This was more than I expected,” Gonzales said. “The dancers are beautiful, their outfits. It’s probably the biggest honor I’ve ever had, for the family to put the feast on and for the dancers to come out for us.”

    The celebration was Deborah’s idea. She learned of the visit when Rick Carver, Chairman of the USS Santa Fe SSN-763 Committee, visited the Torres’ Than Povi Gallery in Cuyamungue looking for gifts to send home with the officers. She suggested they should have a chance to experience Puebloan life and offered to host the event.

  • How to help Bandelier

    Superintendent Jason Lott laid out several ways people could help Bandelier. Lott suggests:
    • Volunteer: Lott is actively seeking volunteers to man the entrance station and the fire tower, assist in interpretation and provide visitor outreach at special events around the area. Those with specialized skills, such as trained electricians or woodworkers are also in demand.
    • Purchase either a Bandelier Pass or a National Parks Pass at the monument. Proceeds from those sales directly benefit the park.
    • Contribute to Friends of Bandelier. The park welcomes both general contributions and those directed at specific programs such as trail work, the Bandelier Conservation Corps or special programs such as the naturalization ceremony. Donations may be mailed to P.O. Box 1282, Los Alamos, N.M. 87544. Questions may be directed to Dorothy Hoard, 662-2662.

  • Budget ax hits Bandelier

    A scenario is unfolding at Bandelier National Monument that Superintendent Jason Lott hoped to avoid.

    A five percent decrease in the park’s budget due to sequestration is cutting deep. Both the park and the campground remain open, but cutbacks to staffing and programming are likely to impact the visitor experience.

    Many subject-to-furlough employees have received full furloughs. Subject-to-furlough employees are guaranteed at least six months of full-time work, with a minimum two-week furlough each year. Lott has done what he can to mitigate the impact.

    “In every case we tried to minimize furloughs by using program funds and other sources,” Lott said.

    The budget reductions have also affected seasonal employment, which usually swells the workforce by approximately 40 jobs, many of which are filled by locals.

    Lott stressed that permanent full-time employees are not being furloughed, although a hiring freeze has left key positions such as a law enforcement ranger and a facilities manager vacant.

    Staff reductions mean that the visitor center will maintain winter hours, operating from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., restrooms will likely be cleaned once daily instead of two or three times and grounds maintenance and trail work will be reduced.

  • Today in History March 26
  • $338M NJ Powerball winner says he'll help family

    PASSAIC, N.J. (AP) — The winner of a $338 million Powerball jackpot told several media outlets Monday that his first priority will be helping his family.

    Pedro Quezada, 44, entered Eagle Liquors store, where the ticket was sold, late Monday afternoon. The Passaic store owner ran Quezada's ticket through the lottery machine to validate that it was a winner as a newspaper and television outlets recorded the moment.

    The New Jersey Lottery confirmed that the winning ticket was validated at the store at 4:30 p.m. Monday, but officials said they didn't yet know the winner's name.

    Quezada told reporters in Spanish that he was "very happy" and that he intends to help his family.

    His wife, Ines Sanchez, told the Bergen Record that Quezada called her with the news Monday afternoon.

    "I still can't believe it," she said. "We never expected it but thank God."

    The numbers drawn Saturday were 17, 29, 31, 52, 53 and Powerball 31. A lump sum payout would be $221 million, or about $152 million after taxes. It's the fourth-largest jackpot in Powerball history.

  • Raw: Spring Snow Covers DC Cherry Trees
  • LANL's Melton to head W.Va. Capitol agency

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — An official at the Los Alamos National Laboratory will oversee the West Virginia Capitol and other state buildings.

    Administration Secretary Ross Taylor announced Gregory Melton as the new director of the General Services Division on Monday. Melton starts April 1.

    A West Virginia native, Melton has been a maintenance manager and group leader at Los Alamos. The New Mexico complex is 36 square miles with more than 1,200 buildings and 8 million square feet of facility space.

    General Services oversees the state Capitol building and its campus as well as other state government buildings around West Virginia.

    Melton is a West Virginia University graduate and a former U.S. Air Force officer. He succeeds David Oliverio, who helped oversee a major turnaround at General Services before his departure earlier this month.

  • Today in History March 25th