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Local News

  • Mayo Clinic picks Viome in medical study

    The Mayo Clinic is using specialized diets developed by Los Alamos-based health science company Viome, a company that specializes in using bacteria to cure certain diseases, for a study to help cure certain disorders.

    The Mayo Clinic wants to see how the specialized diets developed by Viome can help in managing and perhaps in some cases, cure sleep disorders and obesity.

    “Viome is fundamentally changing healthcare in two aspects,” said Viome’s Chief Health Science Officer Momo Vuyisich. “One is, we are going to bring true preventative medicine to healthcare. Currently, healthcare is a symptoms-management system.” 

    According to Vuyisich, medicine is mostly offers a passive approach to disease, it only gets up to fight when a disease suddenly makes itself known through a heart attack or a dizzy spell. Viome, through a natural approach using foods that are available at the grocery store, has been researching ways to use those foods to cure some chronic diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and others, by changing the type of bacteria that resides in the digestive tract through diet. 

  • Haaland one of 12 sued by Covington Catholic teens

    Congresswoman Deb Haaland (D-New Mexico) is one of 12 individuals being sued by eight Covington Catholic teens for defamation, their lawyers announced Thursday.

    The lawsuit was filed in Kentucky’s Kenton County Circuit Court against lawmakers, journalists/media figures and media personalities, according to a Law & Crime.com report published Thursday.

    Attorneys Robert Barnes and Kevin Murphy began the suit following an incident involving the teens that occurred Jan. 18 in Washington, D.C., when the group was approached by a Native American man, Nathan Phillips, who was banging a drum in the face of one of the boys, Nick Sandmann.  Sandmann was wearing a red baseball cap at the time that is often associated with President Trump supporters. 

    A video of the incident went viral and sparked widespread reaction.

    The lawsuit claims that the defendants jumped to conclusions about the teens, libeling the minors and publicly painting them as racists. 

    The minors are filing the lawsuit through their parents.

    Shortly after the incident, Haaland spoke to the press about the incident.

  • Sen. Martinez pleads not guilty

    State Sen. Richard R. Martinez (D-Rio Arriba, Santa Fe, Los Alamos) skipped arraignment in Rio Arriba County Court Thursday preferring instead to enter a not guilty plea for aggravated driving while intoxicated and reckless driving.

    "I hereby give up my right to personally appear before the court for arraignment and I hereby enter a plea of not guilty to all criminal offenses," Martinez said in a written plea his attorney, David Foster, entered into the court record.

    Martinez was arrested June 28 after he ran his sports utility vehicle into the back of a vehicle in Espanola. While no one was seriously injured in the crash, Martinez was taken into custody for being intoxicated.

    According to Associated Press reports, Martinez refused to take a breathalyzer test at the scene. He failed all the sobriety tests given to him.

    When officers told him that night that he was going to be arrested, Martinez reportedly said "Are you serious? Jesus Christ."

    Martinez remains free on his own recognizance. His conditions of release include no consumption of alcohol.

    Martinez has been senator for Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Santa Fe and Sandoval County since 2001. He is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a member of the Senate Conservation Committee.

  • County buys historic WAC dorm

    Before it slipped too far into the past, Los Alamos County Council voted Tuesday to buy one of the last privately-owned buildings in the county leftover from the days of the Manhattan Project.

    The original building was built in 1943 and was first used as a Women’s Army Corps dormitory.

    Known as the headquarters of the Los Alamos Christian Science Society since the late 1940s, council voted for the county to acquire the building for $600,000.

    Though the county does not yet know what it will use the building for, it was eligible to be a part of the Manhattan Project Historical Park. For the council, the decision to buy the building was easy to make.

    “I’m excited to see that we can move forward with this building. I’ve walked by it several times and knowing it was a part of the actual Manhattan Project itself was exhilarating,” Councilor James Robinson said. “…I’m glad we can preserve it and keep that going.”

    Members of the Los Alamos Historical Society were at the council meeting, and were glad to see the building bought by the county.

    Elizabeth Martineau, executive director of the Los Alamos Historical Society, remembered touring the building some years ago and noting how well preserved it was.

  • Plutonium found in glovebox during cleanup

    Workers cleaning a material management room at Los Alamos National Laboratory discovered plutonium inside a glovebox July 1.

    The plutonium was discovered within a powdery substance beneath a brush inside the glovebox, according to a report by the Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.

    Nuclear Facilities Safety Board inspectors at the site said the box was supposed to already be swept clean of debris after the last activity inside the room.

    A work pause was implemented before resuming activities, according to a LANL spokesman.

    “Laboratory employees are encouraged to pause work if they encounter unexpected conditions or have a concern. In this instance, they rightly did just that,” a laboratory spokesman said.

    Lab officials also said the amount of plutonium found was a small amount and because it was inside a glovebox, workers were not exposed.

    “…Because the material was enclosed in a glovebox, there were no worker exposures or safety concerns,” the lab spokesman said. “The material has since been safely removed under our Material Recovery and Recycling Program and the glovebox is back in use.”

  • Members of electric cooperative suing trustees

    Some members of the Jemez Mountains Cooperative are petitioning the cooperative’s board of trustees to reverse what they say is a misinterpretation of the cooperative’s election bylaws. One of the allegations is the trustees mistakenly removed newly elected trustee Bruce Duran because he did not pay his electric bill on a regular basis.

    “The board… incorrectly determined at a meeting July 3, 2018, after his successful unchallenged reelection to the board, that Mr. Duran did not meet the qualification to be a trustee because he was not a resident of District 6 Ward B on the erroneous contention that he had not paid the electric bill continuously,” a statement in the lawsuit said.

    The lawsuit further stated that even though Duran did not pay the bill sometimes, his wife, whom he lives with, did from a separate account. The lawsuit stated the Durans are both members of the cooperative. Duran was an unchallenged candidate in the board’s June 2019 election and was beginning his second term when he was removed by the board. He represented District 6, Ward B.

    “I am very concerned that this Board under its current leadership is incapable of acting with integrity and following the bylaws,” Duran said.

  • New Mexico Rep. Haaland among 12 sued by Covington teens for defamation

    Congresswoman Deb Haaland (D-New Mexico) is one of 12 individuals being sued by eight Covington Catholic teens for defamation, their lawyers announced Thursday.

    The lawsuit was filed in Kentucky’s Kenton County Circuit Court against lawmakers, journalists/media figures and media personalities, according to a Law & Crime.com report published Thursday.

    Attorneys Robert Barnes and Kevin Murphy began the suit following an incident involving the teens that occurred Jan. 18 in Washington, D.C., when the group was approached by a Native American man, Nathan Phillips, who was banging a drum in the face of one of the boys, Nick Sandmann. Sandmann was wearing a red baseball cap at the time that is often associated with President Trump supporters.

    A video of the incident went viral and sparked widespread reaction.

    The lawsuit claims that the defendants jumped to conclusions about the teens, libeling the minors and publicly painting them as racists.

    The minors are filing the lawsuit through their parents.

    Shortly after the incident, Haaland spoke to the press about the incident.

    "I feel like some of that has truly been lost and that's all condoned by our president," Haaland told The Hill in an interview Jan. 19, following the incident. "You could tell that by the hats they were wearing."

  • Sewage cleanup near Santa Fe hospital sparks probe

    SANTA FE (AP) — Three wastewater workers say the city of Santa Fe failed to protect them from exposure to hazardous waste and needles during a sewer backup near a hospital.

    The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the state Occupational Health and Safety Bureau has launched an investigation into the condition of the cleanup by Santa Fe Wastewater Management Division employees.

    A complaint says city wastewater employees were assigned to clean up "effluent discharge from waste created" by Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center last month. Documents say the only protective gear they were given to clean the backup were steel-toe shoes, gloves and hard hats.

    City Public Utilities Director Shannon Jones says the Wastewater Management Division and the City Manager's Office are cooperating with state investigators.

     

  • Candidate's tax returns show 'mountain' of student debt

    By MORGAN LEE Associated Press

    SANTA FE (AP) — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Maggie Toulouse Oliver released her 2018 state and federal tax returns Wednesday in what her campaign called a good faith effort to be candid with voters, while urging her campaign rivals to do the same ahead of 2020 elections.

    The tax documents for Toulouse Oliver — New Mexico's top campaign finance regulator in her elected role as secretary of state — show that she paid nearly $10,000 in taxes on roughly $75,000 in taxable income last year.

    Campaign spokeswoman Heather Brewer said the release of the tax returns shows Toulouse Oliver, who earns an $85,000 annual state salary, had nothing to hide as a "hard-working, single mom with a mountain of student loan debt."

    Toulouse Oliver reported paying about $2,900 in interest alone in 2018 on at least $60,000 in student loans for her own education at the University of New Mexico and that of her older son, who attends community college. She was able to deduct $650 of the money spent on loan interest. She holds at least $30,000 in credit card debt.

  • Santa Fe startup gets $1M grant for virtual reality tech

    SANTA FE (AP) — A Santa Fe startup has received a $1 million federal Small Business Innovation Research grant to complete its virtual reality data visualization technology.

    The Santa Fe New Mexican reports SciVista is developing a product called Summit VR — a platform to add three-dimensional data into virtual reality.

    Summit VR is being developed in partnership with Intel, Kitware, the Texas Advanced Computing Center, the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy and others.

    SciVista, a builder of data visualization programs, was established in 2018 and is a spinoff from Woodruff Scientific, a Santa Fe research and development company focused on electromagnets.