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Local News

  • Official: 'Strange Spike' in Baby Dolphin Deaths
  • DWI bill passes State House

    The House has unanimously approved a proposal Wednesday toughening penalties against drunken driving in New Mexico.

    The legislation will establish new standards for drunken drivers to meet before they can get their licenses fully restored and stop using an ignition interlock, which are intended to prevent vehicles from operating if the driver has been drinking.

    Drivers must blow into the devices before starting their vehicles and then randomly after that.

    Another provision allows judges to require drunken drivers sentenced to house arrest to use a breath alcohol analyzing device in their home to determine whether they remain sober.

    The measure also will add mandatory prison time to the basic sentence of drunken driving offenders with previous felonies.

    The legislation cleared the House on Wednesday and goes to the Senate for consideration.

    The vote was 63-0 and the bill was sponsored by Elizabeth “Liz” Thomson (D-Bernalillo), Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-Los Alamos, Sandoval, Rio Arriba and Santa Fe) and Tim Lewis (R-Sandoval) and the House Judiciary Committee to consolidate their three separate bills into one comprehensive package.

  • Update 02-28-13

    Brisket night

    The LAHS NJROTC will host its monthly brisket night at 5:30 p.m. today at the Posse Lodge. The menu includes brisket, potato salad, baked beans, roll, cookie and drink for $10.

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    Benefit

    There will be a charity benefit for Cindy Geoffrion from 5-9 p.m. Saturday at De Colores. $5 donation at the door, music by Jemez’s Train Wreck Blues Band. A cash bar will be available.

    Authors Speak

    The Authors Speak Series presents Slim Randles, veteran newspaperman and outdoorsman, at 7 p.m. today in the upstairs rotunda.

    Photo show

    The Los Alamos Photography Club (LAPC) will be hosting its annual photography show for 2013 at the Mesa Public Library from March 4 through March 29. 

  • Commission approves Smith's Marketplace site plan

    Bret Wahlen, president of Great Basin Engineering, and Smith’s Vice President of Corporate Development Steve Sorensen, answer the Planning and Zoning commission’s questions concerning the site plan for the Trinity Site. P and Z approved the site plan by a 6-1 vote, with Avivah Smith-Nelson voting no. Commissioner Catherine Mockler — who is one of the owners of Pajarito Brew Pub and therefore potentially affected by the project — recused herself. Smith’s/Kroger hopes to have construction drawings submitted for County approval by mid-March. If all goes as planned, construction will begin this summer and the new Smith’s Marketplace will open in November 2014. 

  • Sequestration may have lasting effects

    The White House released a report last week detailing the possible effects of sequestration including how it would affect New Mexico.

    President Barack Obama will meet Friday with the top leaders in the House and Senate to discuss what to do about automatic cuts to the federal budget, White House and congressional leaders said.

    The meeting is set to take place hours after the $85 billion in across-the-board cuts will have officially kicked in. This suggests both sides are operating under the assumption a deal won’t be reached to avert the cuts ahead of the March 1 deadline.

    The top congressional Republicans, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and the top Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, will attend the White House meeting.

    McConnell said the meeting will focus on ways to reduce government spending, but indicated he’s not backing down on his opposition to any new tax increases.

  • Judge vacates fines for protesters

    Each side got its share of justice recently when a group of anti-nuclear activists learned the final outcome of a petition they filed with the Los Alamos Municipal Court.

    Shortly after they were sentenced in January for blocking the road and disobeying a police officer during a demonstration on the corner of Diamond Drive and East Jemez Road in August of last year, the six demonstrators petitioned the court to drop their fines in favor of performing community service. In February, Judge Alan Kirk informed them that the court vacated their fines in exchange for community service hours. That ruling has freed the protesters to work for an organization of their choosing.

    Jeffrey Haas, the attorney for the group dubbed the “LANL Six,” welcomed the change in heart. 

    “It was a result of the defendants’ strong principles that Judge Kirk allowed them to convert their fines to community service with organizations with whom they had political agreement in their own communities.  A good precedent.”

  • A rundown of other Bandelier cutbacks

    • The visitor center will maintain winter hours year-round, closing at 4:30 p.m.

    • Placing a ranger at the White Rock Visitor Center to provide information for visitors waiting for the shuttle cannot be implemented.

    • The number of ranger-led tours will be reduced.

    • Las Conchas fire recovery efforts will be impacted, especially trail repair. “We’re not going to have the trail crews here this summer to work on the trail recovery,” Bandelier Superintendent Jason Lott said.

    • Maintenance staff faces furloughs, reducing custodial hours. Lott is channeling their efforts to the visitor center, but restrooms will be cleaned once daily and not touched up during the day. Administrative staff will also be cleaning their offices in addition to their regular duties.

    • Lott may move Night Walks from Wednesday and to Friday, replacing one of the campfire programs that usually occur on Friday and Saturday.

    •As a last resort, campgrounds may have to be closed due to lack of staff to maintain them.

    •Replacing a tower and repairing an antiquated radio system is also on hold.

    • An archival film project will be postponed.  

  • Sequestration could hit Bandelier, impact visitors

    Sequestration is not an abstract concept for Bandelier National Monument Superintendent Jason Lott.

    The possible looming reduction of government spending may be felt by park visitors this season.

    “The fiscal situation is already tight, even before the sequestration. If we indeed do have to take a five percent cut it’s going to cut deep,” Lott said. “Until now, we’ve tried to keep these fiscal impacts away from the public. We have tried to protect opportunities and programs and our mission to provide enjoyment. With sequestration, there will be some public impacts, regrettably.”

    One of Lott’s greatest concerns is search and rescue.

    “We get anywhere from five to 20 of those a year. I don’t have staff coverage, so my ability to respond when we have an SAR is impacted. I have to bring people in and rely more heavily on the state and other resources, which just means it takes longer for us to support those activities,” Lott said.

    “If someone gets hurt in the park, we’re going to have to rely on 911, as opposed to having a staff member on full coverage like we usually have. And we won’t have EMTs always on, although we’ll try to reduce that to times when there’s low visitation.”

  • Today in History for Thursday, February 28th
  • Police detain suspect

    Los Alamos police arrested a juvenile Wednesday morning at Sullivan Field after an eyewitness saw him allegedly pulling on car door handles and entering a vehicle that was not his. The juvenile then ran to the Teen Center across the street where he was apprehended by police. Police said the teen will be charged with burglary and referred to juvenile authorities.