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Today's News

  • Health food store may open next to Pasta Paradiso

    A Colorado-based developer is looking to build a Natural Grocers health-food store in the lot next to Pasta Paradiso on Trinity Drive, according to a permit application pending with the county Planning and Zoning Department.

    The Los Alamos Shriners Club building on the property now will be torn down and rebuilt in a smaller configuration closer to Los Alamos Canyon, according to county development officials familiar with the proposal.

    The Planning and Zoning Board will hold a public hearing Feb. 27 on the lot split for the grocery store and the Shriners Club at 1469 Trinity Drive.

    The deal is a private sale between the owners of the Shriners Club property and Leadership Circle, LLC.

    Some business owners contacted about the story were happy with the news and others were not.

    Tim Morrison, manager of the Los Alamos Co-op, Los Alamos County’s only established health-food store located in Entrada Business Park, did not welcome the news.

    “I would prefer Natural Grocers not to come in, but I don’t think the county has mechanisms to stop it that are fair or proper,” Morrison said.

    Morrison also added they are already preparing for the approval.

  • Looming redistricting task prompts legislation

    By Andrew Oxford
    The New Mexican

    Everybody around the state Capitol seems to have a favorite example.

    There's the state House district in Northern New Mexico that is split in two by a mountain range and wilderness. You couldn't drive across it if you tried.

    Then there's the state Senate district that stretches some 180 miles from Santa Fe to Ruidoso.

    When it comes to political districts that have been precisely if nonsensically contorted, the New Mexico Legislature has got some real doozies.

    And some lawmakers already have their eyes on the next round of redistricting, when they will carve up the state's political map yet again. Or, more likely, the courts will.

    "It's so political," said state Sen. Bill O'Neill, D-Albuquerque. "... Some people are already saying, 'I want this precinct.' "

    O'Neill has backed legislation in the past that would take the job of redistricting New Mexico's political boundaries every 10 years away from lawmakers and put it into the hands of an independent commission.

  • Governor says troops withdrawal is popular

    SANTA FE (AP) — A spokeswoman for New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is calling an impeachment petition against the governor's decision to withdraw border troops a sham effort by President Trump supporters mostly outside the state.

    Lujan Grisham spokeswoman Nora Sackett said Tuesday that the governor has encountered strong public support within New Mexico for her decision last week to withdraw most of the state's National Guard troops from the border with Mexico.

    The petition seeking Lujan Grisham's impeachment garnered more than 35,000 signatures by Tuesday afternoon as federal border authorities announced another group of more than 300 migrants had been apprehended at Sunland Park.

    Sackett says the "silly" petition is a diversion from Trump's efforts to build an unpopular border wall. Sacket said the federal government should be focused on filling vacant Border Patrol jobs.
     

  • Mexican wolves caught in traps in New Mexico

    By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN
    Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The death of a Mexican gray wolf and injuries to another prompted environmentalists on Tuesday to call on New Mexico lawmakers to ban trapping on public land.

    Defenders of Wildlife said four wolves have been caught in traps in New Mexico over the last two months. The wolf that died was a female member of the Prieto Pack that roams northern portions of the Gila National Forest. Another member of the pack that was also trapped remains in captivity after having its leg amputated.

    The two other wolves that were caught were released into the wild.

    More than 40 wolves have been caught in traps in the Southwest since 2002, according to the group.

    "This is having a significant impact on the recovery of the species. Every wolf lost to trapping is unnecessary and unacceptable," Bryan Bird, the group's Southwest program director, said.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did not immediately return a message seeking comment. The wolf management team this week is conducting an annual survey to determine how many of the predators are roaming parts of New Mexico and Arizona.

  • Women's caucus emerges in New Mexico Legislature

    Staff and Wire Report

    SANTA FE  — Female legislators in New Mexico have formed a women's caucus to leverage their growing numbers and influence and announced officers Tuesday.

    The caucus elected co-chairs, Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez (D-Albuquerque) and Rep. Kelly K. Fajardo (R-Los Lunas), co-vice chairs Rep. Gail Armstrong (R-Magdalena) and Rep. Dayan Hochman-Vigil (D-Albuquerque), Secretary Rep. Natalie Figueroa (D-Albuquerque), Treasurer Rep. Rebecca Dow (R-Truth or Consequences), and Parliamentarian Rep. Andrea Romero (D-Santa Fe).

    Romero said Monday the group includes lawmakers from both major political parties and is designed to push for reforms that can help women, children and families. The caucus is made up of 39 women from both the House and the Senate.

    “This caucus is a bipartisan effort to address the issues that affect our state, and to find solutions that will improve our communities,” said Hochman-Vigil. “We know that when women, children, and families succeed, our whole state succeeds. I am proud to be a Vice Chair of the Women’s Caucus and to work on smart solutions for our families.”

    In November elections, 31 women won election to the 70-seat state House of Representatives. That's a stark change from 1973, when there were none.

  • US expects record domestic oil production in 2019, 2020

    By DAVID KOENIG
    AP Business Writer

    The United States expects domestic oil production to reach new heights this year and next, and that prices — for both crude and gasoline — will be lower than they were in 2018.

    Government forecasters are sticking to their forecast that the United States — already the world's biggest oil producer — will become a net exporter of crude and petroleum products in 2020.

    The U.S. Energy Information Administration said Tuesday that it expects the United States to pump 12.4 million barrels of crude a day in 2019 and 13.2 million barrels a day in 2020. The January average was 12 million barrels a day, up 90,000 from December.

    Most of the increase is expected to come from the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico, where production has been booming for several years as operators use hydraulic fracturing and other techniques to squeeze more oil and gas from shale formations.

    "The U.S. energy industry continues to transform itself," said Linda Capuano, administrator of the agency, which is part of the Energy Department.

  • House speaker rejects impeachment petition

    SANTA FE (AP) — The Democratic speaker of the New Mexico House of Representatives says there is no way he would initiate impeachment proceedings against the state's governor for withdrawing troops from the border with Mexico.

    An online petition seeks to impeach Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for treason in withdrawing about 100 New Mexico National Guard troops and has garnered more than 30,000 signatures.

    On Tuesday, House Speaker Brian Egolf of Santa Fe said "no way, forget about it" regarding prospects for impeachment proceedings. He holds the authority to initiate House investigations.

    Lujan Grisham has challenged President Trump's description of a security crisis on the border, while leaving about a dozen national guardsmen at the border to address humanitarian needs in a remote corridor for border-crossing immigration.

    Republican Minority Whip Rod Montoya of Farmington acknowledged Tuesday that the effort to impeach Lujan Grisham likely would not go far since Democrats control the House but that the governor and her supporters in the chamber should listen to the concerns of New Mexicans.

    He said public safety should come before politics.

  • House speaker rejects impeachment petition

    SANTA FE (AP) — The Democratic speaker of the New Mexico House of Representatives says there is no way he would initiate impeachment proceedings against the state's governor for withdrawing troops from the border with Mexico.

    An online petition seeks to impeach Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for treason in withdrawing about 100 New Mexico National Guard troops and has garnered more than 30,000 signatures.

    On Tuesday, House Speaker Brian Egolf of Santa Fe said "no way, forget about it" regarding prospects for impeachment proceedings. He holds the authority to initiate House investigations.

    Lujan Grisham has challenged President Trump's description of a security crisis on the border, while leaving about a dozen national guardsmen at the border to address humanitarian needs in a remote corridor for border-crossing immigration.

    Impeachment in New Mexico requires a majority vote of all House members. A subsequent Senate trial requires a two-thirds majority to convict.

  • Smith criticizes cap on property valuation increases

    By Thom Cole
    The New Mexican

    An influential state senator on Monday railed against a law that changed the way New Mexico taxes residential properties, saying the 2001 measure was supposed to help low-income people but instead has hurt them while providing a windfall to wealthier homeowners.

    Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Arthur Smith, in remarks on the Senate floor, also said the law has robbed counties of needed tax revenue.

    Smith, D-Deming, called the fallout from the law the "unintended consequences of the do-good of the Legislature."

    The senator made the remarks in response to a story in Sunday's New Mexican, which examined the law's history and effects. It was designed to protect longtime homeowners in gentrified neighborhoods like Santa Fe's east side from being taxed out of their residences due to rising property values.

    Under the law, which applies statewide, the market value of a residential property for tax purposes cannot be increased more than 3 percent a year as long as the owner remains the same. Resold and newly constructed residences are taxed at full market value.

  • It’s frustrating being a Republican this year

    By Daniel J. Chacon
    The New Mexican

    After a midterm election in which Democrats wrested back control of the Governor's Office and expanded their majority in the state House of Representatives, Kelly Fajardo feels almost invisible at the Roundhouse this year.

    Fajardo, you see, is a Republican representative in a Democrat-dominated House, where members of the GOP are now outnumbered by the largest margin in two decades.

    "It just feels like we don't matter," said Fajardo, R-Los Lunas.

    "Our job is to create good policy, and when you're going, 'I don't need you. I don't need to listen to you,' that creates a problem," she said. "I'm feeling that we're not being listened to."

    Fajardo isn't alone.

    Other members of the state's Republican Party say New Mexico Democrats, emboldened by big gains in November, are pushing through contentious and liberal-leaning legislation, including bills on abortion and guns, and completely ignoring their Republican counterparts.