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Local News

  • Huffman named First Born Program director

    Regina Huffman, former director of the Family Infant Toddler Program in Gallup, has been named executive director for the Northwest New Mexico First Born Program at a press conference Tuesday at the State Capitol.
    Huffman has a master’s degree in counseling from Western New Mexico University and a bachelor of university studies degree in early education and psychology from the University of New Mexico.
    The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has announced a $1.8 million grant to the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation to provide parenting training in San Juan and McKinley Counties. St. Joseph Community Health is providing $150,000 and the Navajo Nation Growing in Beauty Program is giving $50,000.
    Families having their first child will receive three years of home visits, medical advice and training to build parenting skills and child brain development through the Northwest New Mexico First Born Program. At least 200 families per year are expected to benefit from the guidance of home visitors, with the first beginning this spring.

  • Lawmakers OK rule to shield email

    New Mexico lawmakers have approved a policy that could shield legislators’ email from disclosure through public records requests.
    The new legislative rule will govern how the Legislature handles requests under the Inspection of Public Records Act, which grants access to records about public business with certain exceptions, such as trade secrets.
    Legislators contend that much of their communication with constituents and others about legislation should remain confidential. Some lawmakers use email through personal accounts rather than a legislative email system.
    The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government opposes the new records policy and disagrees with lawmakers who contend the state constitution provides special protections exempting legislative email from public disclosure.
    The proposal cleared the Senate without debate Wednesday night on a 39-1 vote. It previously passed the House.
    Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Sandoval and Rio Arriba) voted against the measure in the House.
    Gwyneth Doland from NMFOG made the following points.
    • We strongly oppose the stated intent of HCR 1, which would pull a curtain of secrecy over important decisions that affect all New Mexicans.

  • Council considers meetings on Friday

    A proposal by councilor Kristin Henderson to replace one Tuesday night meeting a month with a meeting from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. on Friday, sparked lively debate both in Los Alamos County’s online Open Forum and during a council work session Tuesday.

    At the conclusion of the debate, Council Chair Geoff Rodgers asked county staffers to return with a revised proposal to conduct a Friday meeting every other month for a calendar year. Council will vote on the motion March 26.
    Henderson, meanwhile, not only advocated for her idea in council, she weighed in on the Open Forum website.

    “My reason for suggesting the modification is, it allows people who typically cannot attend night time meetings the chance to do so if they want. This includes, especially, families with young kids at home …” Henderson wrote. “Having meetings only at the same day and time by definition eliminates some portion of the community. Allowing more participation of the whole community by having an alternative time is, I think, a good thing.”

    Councilor Fran Berting asked how it would affect councilors David Izraelevitz and Steve Girrens, who both work for Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    Izraelevitz said his current schedule is such that it would not be an issue, but it could be if he took a management position.

  • Police: Sleeping Pills in Kid Cups at Daycare
  • Today in History for March 14th
  • The Heinrich maneuver

    U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, released the following statement after meeting with Secretary of Energy nominee Dr. Ernest Moniz:
    “Secretary of Energy nominee Dr. Ernest Moniz and I met today in my office to discuss issues important to New Mexico, and his qualifications and vision to lead the U.S. Department of Energy.
    “New Mexico’s Sandia and Los Alamos labs heavily depend on strong leadership from the Department of Energy to support the lab’s energy research and nuclear stockpile programs. Dr. Moniz’s expertise, knowledge of New Mexico and service as the former Undersecretary of Energy make him a well versed and qualified candidate.
     “I look forward to continuing my discussion with Dr. Moniz during his confirmation hearing and learning more about his qualifications for this important post.” 

  • Update 03-13-13

    Farmer's Market

    Los Alamos Winter Farmers Market, 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Thursday at Fuller Lodge. For more information, visit lamainstreet.com/farmers-market.htm.

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    Lunch With a Leader

    The League of Women Voters Lunch with a Leader will be at 11:40 a.m. Thursday at Mesa Library. The community is welcome to attend. The speaker will be Gary Leikness, principal planner of the Community and Economic Development Department. You do not need to purchase lunch to attend.

    Kiwanis meeting

    Kiwanis meets each Tuesday, noon-1 p.m., at the Masonic Temple on Sage, near the intersection of 15th and Canyon. March 19: Mike Lansing, associate director for Safeguards and Security at Los Alamos National Laboratory, will discuss new security initiatives at LANL.

    Poetry gathering

    Poetry Gatherings with Jane Lin will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the upstairs rotunda of Mesa Public Library.

  • Senate passes state budget

    SANTA FE (AP) — Lawmakers are close to wrapping up work on a nearly $5.9 billion spending plan to finance state government and public education next year, but Gov. Susana Martinez is threatening to veto the budget.
    The budget would provide state workers and educators with their first across-the-board pay increase since 2008, when the state’s economy nosedived and lawmakers had to cut spending to avoid a deficit.
    The Senate unanimously approved the proposal Tuesday with little debate, and the measure will go to the Republican governor if the House agrees to it. The House passed its version of the budget last month and the Senate added provisions that increased spending by $6.5 million.
    Martinez’s staff issued a statement Tuesday evening that said she is “disappointed by the amended budget” and it “would be vetoed in its current form.”
    “This unbalanced approach provides government employee pay raises, but cuts common-sense education reforms such as funding for early childhood literacy programs and merit-based pay raises for teachers,” the statement from Martinez’s staff said. “The budget also shortchanges economic development initiatives, which is particularly concerning given that a tax reform package has not yet been agreed to.”

  • LAHS comes to grips with student's death

    A 16-year-old Los Alamos High School student died Tuesday night and Los Alamos police are investigating the incident as a possible suicide.

    “We did have an unattended death of a 16-year-old male last night,” LAPD Cmdr. Randy Foster said. “It appears to be a suicide.”

    Foster and Deputy Fire Chief Justin Grider confirmed the incident happened at the White Rock home of the juvenile.
    Foster said the juvenile sustained a gunshot wound and his body was taken to the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator in Albuquerque.

    “That is standard procedure for any unattended death,” Foster said.

    The police activity report said a suicide call came in at 8:29 p.m.

    Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Gene Schmidt said he is working on coordinating with the police chaplain, in the hope of meeting with the family later today.

    Schmidt also said that high school Principal Sandy Warnock has met with the staff and implemented the district’s “good grief” policy.

    In addition, Schmidt said at least five additional counselors were sent to the high school this morning from other schools around the district.

    “We are adequately staffed to meet the needs of the students,” Schmidt said.

  • Councilors scrutinize broadband

    The Los Alamos County Council spent two-and-a-half hours questioning Project Manager Estevan Gonzales, Information Management Manager Laura Gonzales and Broadband Planning Group President Tobey Johnson about their recommendations for a business plan to finance and build a Community Broadband Network.

    Although some councilors acknowledged that CBN would be an important asset to the community they were reluctant to accept the proposed funding option and appeared to be skeptical of the potential for the system’s success during a work session Tuesday in White Rock.

    Building the 1Gbps fiber optic network to every home and business in Los Alamos would cost approximately $47.2 million. Consultants also recommend an “equipment refresh” within seven to nine years of operation, with an estimated reinvestment of another $7.6 million. Average annual operating expenses associated with the day-to-day administration, maintenance, support and marketing of the network have been estimated at $2.3 million.