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Local News

  • New regulations limit experienced New Mexico sub teachers

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A new law and regulations are requiring more retired New Mexico teachers to limit the amount of time they spend in a classroom or take off a year.

    The Albuquerque Journal reports legislative and Educational Retirement Board rule changes altered eligibility requirements for retirees who go back to work in education while collecting a pension.

    New Mexico Educational Retirement Board executive director Jan Goodwin says retirees who collect their pension can't work more than a quarter of full-time equivalent hours unless they are part of the "return to work program."

    Under the program, which is already in place, retirees can work as many hours as they like, but can't join the program until they take a year off from education.

  • Legislative leaders take command of campaign resources

    SANTA FE (AP) — New rules for funneling resources to political campaigns in New Mexico may provide legislative and party leaders with a stronger hand in influencing the outcome of elections, as Democrats assert their control over the Legislature and governor's office.

    The Democratic House speaker and Republican minority leader have registered specialized political committees this month that can command vast resources through unlimited non-cash contributions.

    Democratic House Speaker Brian Egolf says his legislative caucus committee is likely to provide campaign strategy services and door-to-door canvassing in key legislative races.

    The committees are one outcome of legislation aimed at disclosing more about the sources of political contributions by independent expenditure groups and others.

    Transparency advocate Austin Graham of the Campaign Legal Center describes some provisions as a "power grab by legislative leadership."
     

  • Podcast about Manhattan Project needs stories from seniors

    A team of scholars will be in Los Alamos hoping to speak with local senior citizens about their experiences with the Manahattan Project for a special podcast project.

    Matthew Jordan is a Rhodes Scholar and an MSc candidate in the History of Science at Oxford University. He previously studied mathematics and physics in McMaster University’s interdisciplinary Arts and Science program, where he was a TEDx speaker and the only undergraduate student to ever teach a mathematics course.

    He has conducted research on the mathematical foundations of quantum mechanics, the history of special relativity, and the science of science communication.

    Nathaniel Smith is an enthusiastic scientist who studies the way matter and interfaces behave at the nanoscale. His MSc at the University of Waterloo focuses on carbon quantum dots and other fluorescent nanomaterials. He graduated from McMaster University’s Integrated Science program, where he forged the strong belief that innovation requires crossing interdisciplinary boundaries. This interdisciplinary focus has led him to diverse research projects, including the nanofabrication of gold electrodes and cardiac tissue engineering.

    The diverse duo are coming to Los Alamos, where they would like to speak to seniors involved with the Manhattan Project.

  • Lawsuit against SOS, AG offices alleges abuse of constitution

    A group called the New Mexico Patriot Advocacy Coalition filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Office of the New Mexico Attorney and the Office of the Secretary of State for alleged abuse of the New Mexico Constitution.

    According to the group’s attorney, A. Blair Dunn, the group alleged Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver and Attorney General Hector Balderas repeatedly ignored state constitutional law when it rejected multiple attempts by the group to petition against recent legislation.

    “The coalition’s lawsuit references 10 items of legislation that New Mexico citizens have presented to the secretary of state and the attorney general for authorization to gather petition signatures and have been rejected,” a statement from the group said.

    The group listed background checks of private sales of firearms, red flag firearm confiscation, enacting wildlife corridors, raising the minimum wage, enacting the agreement to elect the president by popular vote, early voting registration during voting, automatic voter registration, the preemption of local government right-to-work legislation, adopting the New Mexico New Green Deal, requiring the reporting of independent campaign expenditures and prohibiting coyote hunting contests as the reasons for the lawsuit.

  • Schools, county partner in new housing project

    The Los Alamos School Board and county officials formalized a memorandum of agreement July 16 to develop a 30-acre parcel of land on North Mesa for affordable housing.

    The motion also OK’d the county to hire a consultant for design and outreach, and the board then made another motion to assign Los Alamos School Board Vice President Stephen Boerigter to the project’s steering committee.

    The county is helping the schools with the project because Los Alamos County Council is trying to provide more housing in wake of the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s hiring boom.  

    The lab has been hiring about 1,000 people a year for the last two years.

    “It’s such a huge concern for us right now,” Community Development Director Paul Andrus said. “That’s one of the few parcels in town that could support it.”

    According to Andrus, the county has already secured $475,000 in capital outlay funding from the state for the project.

    The money is part of the $1.7 million needed to bring utilities to the 30-acre site, which is between the North Mesa ball fields and the Los Alamos Middle School.

  • Less than a third of New Mexico students test proficient

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Less than a third of all New Mexico students are proficient in reading and only about one-fifth are proficient in math, according to results released Friday.

    The results from a revamped test in 2019 show that public school districts and charter schools saw a small jump in reading from the year before but a slight drop in math — though the scores are from separate exams.

    According to the results, only 32.7% of all New Mexico students tested proficient or better in reading. Meanwhile, just 20.3% tested proficient or better in math.

    Last year, results from the test called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, show that around 31 percent of students tested were proficient or better in reading and more than 21 percent were proficient or better in math.

    "These (2019) results reinforce the governor's call for a transformation of the education system in New Mexico," the state Public Education Department said in a statement.
    Yet they come just days after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham abruptly fired Public Education Secretary Karen Trujillo, sparking questions from lawmakers and confusion among educators.

  • Lawsuit accuses former Espanola mayor of sexual abuse

    ESPANOLA (AP) — A former longtime mayor of a northern New Mexico city has been accused of sexually abusing the son of a former employee in the 1980s.

    The lawsuit filed against Richard Lucero alleges he began abusing the boy in the mid-1980s when the child worked for him at his farm supply store in Espanola. The lawsuit says the victim's mother had worked for Lucero in city government.

    Lucero served a total of 22 years between 1968 and 2006 as mayor of Espanola, where a community center that includes the local library and athletic center is named after him.

    He did not immediately respond to a message left at his store Friday in Espanola seeking comment in response to the lawsuit.

    The victim is now in his 40s.
     

  • Saturday Farmer’s Market starts in LA

    Residents who can’t get out to the Thursday Farmer’s Market will now get a second chance on Saturday.

    According to Farmer’s Market Manager Cindy Talamantes, the decision to offer a Saturday market was an easy one to make.

    “We looked at our customers and said they are weekday people,” Talamantes said. “The ones that don’t come to market, work. “We decided then to see if it would be feasible to have Saturday markets.”

    The Saturday market will be held across the street at the Los Alamos Justice Center Parking Lot from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    Talamantes said the trial would last through September, with the exception of the rodeo.

    They have had about three Saturday markets so far.

    “We haven’t had a lot of them, but the ones that we did have, the vendors have been very supportive,” Talamantes said.

    Goods being sold at the Saturday market include honey, honey sticks, lamb, eggs, produce, herbs, fruits, baked goods and burritos.

    For the trial period, Talamantes is offering a $3 discount of a 10-by-10-foot space at the market for $15.

  • Mixed messages for lab in NDAA bills

    There are marked differences in the House of Representative and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act, with the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s weapons life extension programs being caught in the middle.

    For 2020, the Senate version of the bill is granting the NNSA’s request to spend $2.1 million on the programs. The House of Representatives version of the bill has cut out funding for the W76-2 warhead extension program and only OK’d partial funding for the W87-1 modification program. The House version funds the lab’s modification programs at $2 million.

    According to a House Armed Services Committee staff member, Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA), who is also chair of the HASC, is opposed to deployment of the 76-2 low- yield nuclear warheads, which was the reason why $10 million was taken out of the budget for the extension program.

    “The majority’s view is that it’s unnecessary, that we have plenty of low yield weapons in the arsenal,” the staffmember said. “The United States has never deployed low-yield nuclear weapons on board our submarine force and we don’t believe there’s any reason to do so.”

  • N.M. 502 now open

    The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office reported that eastbound N.M. 502 was reopened Friday morning. The eastbound lane near Mile Marker 9 near the Totavi gas station was closed Thursday night starting at 9:30 p.m. due to mud and gravel slides. 

    According to Juan Rios, spokesman for the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office, no accidents or injuries occurred because of the mud or gravel slides.