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Today's News

  • Los Alamos, Santa Fe RTD Blue bus service stopped after bomb threat

    UPDATE (2:25 p.m.): Service has been canceled for the rest of the day for the RTD Los Alamos route following Thursday morning's bomb threat.

    The Los Alamos bus is being held at Cities of Gold Casino while authorities continue to inspect the bus, according to RTD Public Information Officer Jim Nagle. Service for many of the other RTD buses has resumed, except for the San Ildefonso route and the Santa Fe to Taos route.

    Bus service on the North Central Regional Transit District in Los Alamos and Santa Fe was stopped after a man called in a bomb threat just after 11 a.m. The caller said the bomb was set to detonate at 11:20 a.m. on either the 200 Santa Fe, 300 Taos or 400 Los Alamos bus, according to Nagle.

    According to Nagle, the bomb threat was not connected to the series of bomb threats reported across the country and in Santa Fe Thursday. The transit district did receive a phone number connected to the bomb threat and forwarded it to law enforcement authorities, Nagle said.

  • Workers’ union threatens to strike at Smith’s

    Workers at the Los Alamos County Smith’s Marketplace stores may stage an informational strike as early as next week, claiming the company is using unfair labor practices.

    “Smith’s employees came into negotiations in May, 2018 hearing that Kroger wanted to reinvest in them due to the corporate tax break signed into law, but instead have met with drastic changes which will result in less premiums, more work, less scheduled hours and an attack on their health fund status with outside vendors,” said United Food and Commercial Workers Union of New Mexico President Greg Frazier.

    The union has filed three unfair labor practices against Smith’s over the last few months.

    According to Frazier, Smith’s is trying to lift restrictions to bring in outside vendors, which may mean actual Smith’s employees have fewer scheduled hours, less customer service and “damage to their retirement and health funds.”

    Frazier said Smith’s does not pay any health or retirement benefits to outside vendors.

    “Over the last 20 years, Smith’s employees have sacrificed wage increases so they could keep better health care for their families,” Frazier said.

  • New Mexico to pay $63M more for Medicaid next year

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico's Medicaid program will cost state taxpayers an additional $63 million next year.

    The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the federal government is scaling back the share it pays to cover many New Mexican residents under the health insurance program.

    The federal government covered 93 percent of costs this year but will pay 90 percent in the budget year that begins in July.

    Human Services Secretary Brent Earnest says that alone will cost the state an extra $32.5 million.

    The total cost of the program will rise for other reasons, too, such as the federal government rolling back some financial support for children's health insurance and rising enrollment.

    With all of this, Medicaid's cost to the state general fund is projected to increase to a total of $997 million in the next fiscal year.

  • County to ask for funds for housing project

    County and school officials are working on a plan that could make life a lot easier for teachers that want to live and work in Los Alamos County.

    The county council plans to include in its list of legislative priorities a funding request that could help get an affordable housing project off the ground on North Mesa, near the Los Alamos Middle School.

    “We’re hoping to get some funding for some of the infrastructure that would be needed there,” Los Alamos County Council Chairman David Izraelevitz said.

    Infrastructure would include gas and electric hook ups and other support systems for the housing development. There are no solid plans yet, but school officials presented a plan to the Los Alamos School Board Oct. 9 about the project.

    “The idea of going to the Legislature for some support for this project is on our list of (Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan) proposals that was approved last August,” Izraelevitz said.

    The plan came about as the schools and the county talked about uses for the land, and how the two entities could achieve their goals of retaining teachers and ending the county’s housing shortage.

  • Petree Garden Center blooms with Christmas decorating ideas

    Petree Garden Center has everything available to get people in the holiday spirit, from those unique one-of-a-kind handmade ornaments for the tree to that wreath that makes the right statement over the hearth. And of course, they also have Christmas trees.

    From now until Dec. 23, Petree Garden Center which is also a full-service florist shop, has a large selection of garland, fresh cut greens, wreaths and plants and flowers that can add that special holiday accent to any home and occasion.

    The center carries a full line of poinsettias, from the traditional red, to other colors such as blue, pink and peach.

    “We have all the traditional favorites and more,” Petree Garden Center Manager Laural Hardin said.

    Speaking of being a full-time floral shop, center also has makes special holiday centerpieces to order and has plenty in stock.

    The store keeps its special, hard-to-find flowers in its refrigeration section for those looking for those unique and one-of-a-kind flowers. That would include different types of hydrangeas and seasonal flowers.

    Just call and order. They also can deliver wreaths, poinsettias, Wreaths, amaryllis, and other decorative plants.

    The garden center also carries holiday home décor that includes unique ornaments, some of them handmade.

  • State News Briefs 12-12-18

    Oil sector boosts state government fortunes in N.M.

    SANTA FE (AP) — A surge in income from the New Mexico’s oil sector is providing a financial windfall to state government as the governor’s office passes from Republican to Democratic control.
    State government economists on Monday said state revenues will outpace current spending obligations by $1.1 billion or 17 percent for the fiscal year that begins in July as lawmakers prepare to craft a budget.
    State financial reserves are expected to exceed $2.5 billion by mid-2019, bolstered by unusually large federal mineral lease payments. The savings are equal to 40 percent of annual state general fund spending.
    Democratic Gov.-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham has placed a high priority on increasing resources for public education as she prepares to succeed termed-out Republican Gov. Susana Martinez on Jan. 1.

    Albuquerque celebrates $450M drinking water project

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A $450 million drinking water project that was first conceived decades ago is paying off as New Mexico’s largest metro area has slashed its reliance on groundwater by almost 70 percent despite the arid state’s struggles with drought.

  • Christmas tree farmers aim to boost sales via social media

    BY GILLIAN FLACCUS
    The Associated Press

    TUALATIN, Ore. — Rosa Villarreal’s three young sons jumped and ran around the field of Christmas trees like jackrabbits, their excitement palpable as they raced from evergreen to evergreen. The boys, ages 2, 4 and 6, were picking out a real tree this year — a new tradition their young parents hope will create lasting memories.

    “I saw this video where the big tree, the mom decorates it, and the little tree, the kids get to decorate it,” she said, as her husband, Jason Jimenez, snapped a photo of their toddler posing with a tiny tree just his size.

    Christmas tree farmers across the U.S. worry families like Villarreal’s are slowly dwindling. Artificial trees, once crude imitations of an evergreen, are now so realistic that it’s hard to tell they are fakes even though many are conveniently pre-strung with lights and can fold up for storage at the push of a button.

    Between 75 and 80 percent of Americans who have a Christmas tree now have an artificial one, and the $1 billion market for fake trees is growing at about 4 percent a year – even though they can be reused again and again.

  • North Mesa Stables to host luminaria walkabout Sunday

    Calm and peaceful. That’s North Mesa Stables after the sunsets, and on a beautiful winter’s night during the holiday season.

    As the horses and other barnyard animals munch their hay, it’s a great time to meander up and down the stable roads.

    SUBMITTED TO THE MONITOR

    Between 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday, various stable owners will greet visitors with decorated barns, and maybe some other holiday cheer. Folks of all ages are invited to warm themselves and chat at the scattered luminarias (little bonfires) during their stroll.

    Visitors are invited and welcome, but to preserve the ambiance of the peaceful scene, plan to participate on foot.  

    Vehicles can be parked at the ball fields across from the Posse Lodge, soccer field parking at the corner of San Ildefonso and North Mesa Roads, or tennis courts by the Rodeo Arena (accessed off of San Ildefonso).

    People are encouraged to wear reflective clothing and keep pets on a leash.

    The North Mesa Stables is a Los Alamos County Park where the operations are descended from a horse riding and rodeo concession granted by the US Army in 1946 to individuals who had riding stock.  

    In 1947, the newly created Atomic Energy Commission took over, and by 1952 the stables were configured and organized as they are now.  

  • Lollypops and Lights
  • LA man faces drug, sex charges

    A Los Alamos man facing several drug trafficking charges and charges related to sex crimes is expected to face a district court judge Wednesday.

    Austin Lee Cox, 24, was charged by Los Alamos police Tuesday with 23 counts of criminal sexual penetration, three counts of trafficking in controlled substances (narcotic or meth), four counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, one count of dangerous drugs, conditions for sale and one count of  use or possession of drug paraphernalia.

    Cox will remain in custody until Wednesday when he will go before a district court judge to determine if he can be released pending trial.

    Police are accusing Cox of having sexual relations with a 15-year-old girl he first met at a movie theater on Nov. 16. 

    Cox is also accused of giving her methamphetamine and beer on several occasions when they were again together between Nov. 19 and Nov. 21. 

    When police reported her as a runaway during that time, Cox came to the police station and reported that she was with him.