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Today's News

  • US border agency tests body-cam use by agents in 9 locations

    By ELLIOT SPAGAT, Associated Press

    SAN DIEGO (AP) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Tuesday began testing the use of body cameras by its employees at nine locations, potentially leading to a broad rollout by the nation's largest law enforcement agency that would make it the first federal agency to use the devices on a large scale.

    Customs and Border Protection previously concluded in 2015 after a yearlong study that body cameras were not yet suitable for widespread use due to cost, technological challenges and the need for labor union approval. However, it said the cameras had potential in limited circumstances.

    The agency's review also found that cameras used in field tests did not function well in the rugged, remote conditions in which many Border Patrol agents work.

    "Some fared better than others," said Austin Skero, director of the agency's law enforcement safety and compliance directorate.

    Customs and Border Protection officials said technology has evolved since the 2015 test, and the cameras used in the current field tests will build on lessons learned in the previous test. The equipment was provided by several manufacturers the agency declined to name.

  • Chicoma fire west of Española grows overnight

    A wildfire nine miles west of Española and five miles east of Chicoma Peak grew overnight and is now at 42 acres, Forest Service officials said Tuesday.

    The fire was first reported at 2:46 p.m. Monday.

    The fire is still within Rio Arriba County, according to Forest Service officials. No cause has been identified.

    No structures have been damaged in the fire, and the fire has not affected national parks or landmarks, such as the Puye Cliff Dwellings, which are approximately 30 miles southeast from the fire.

    The Forest Service responded to the fire with three engines and a 20-person ground team. According to the U.S. Forest
    Service’s report, a 20-person Hotshot crew with two more teams were expected to join the ground team Monday night to help contain the fire. Four air tankers have also responded to the fire.

  • Chicoma fire grows to 20 acres

    A wildfire nine miles west of Española and five miles east of Chicoma Peak has grown to 20 acres as of late Monday afternoon, According to the U.S. Forest Service. No new updates are available. The cause of the fire is unknown. A report from the U.S. Forest Service indicated southwestern winds gusting up to 20 miles an hour. No new information is available at this time. The forest service responded to the fire with three engines and a 20-person ground team. According to the U.S. Forest Service’s report, a 20-person Hotshot crew with two more teams was expected to join the ground team tonight to help contain the fire. Four air tankers have also responded to the fire.

  • Chicoma fire grows to 20 acres

    A wildfire nine miles west of Española and five miles east of Chicoma Peak has grown to 20 acres as of late Monday afternoon, according to the U.S. Forest Service. No new updates are available. The cause of the fire is unknown. A report from the U.S. Forest Service indicated southwestern winds gusting up to 20 miles an hour. The U.S. Forest Service posted the information about the fire on its Facebook page 7:30 p.m. Monday nignt.

    The forest service responded to the fire with three engines and a 20-person ground team. According to the U.S. Forest Service’s report, a 20-person Hotshot crew with two more teams was expected to join the ground team Monday night  to help contain the fire. Four air tankers have also responded to the fire.

  • Los Lunas High School students take top award in Supercomputing Challenge

     
    Jen Marie Phifer and Forest Good of Los Lunas High School won top honors on Tuesday at the 28th Annual New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge held at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  

    Their project, “What’s Missing?” looked at a way to create a systematized method for finding missing pieces of data. The project has implications for the fields of accounting, logistics, and cybersecurity.

    Second place went to Lillian Petersen of Los Alamos High School for her project, “Predicting Food Shortages in Africa from Satellite Imagery.” She created a tool to predict crop yields so that international aid organizations can be better prepared for humanitarian relief operations.

    Elijah Pelofske of Los Alamos High School took third place with his project, “RSA-Based Primality Test.”

    This year, 60 teams representing 26 schools from around the state submitted final reports. New Mexico Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski attended the awards ceremony and presented one of the awards to the finalists.

  • Teacher walkouts shut Arizona, Colorado schools

     
    PHOENIX (AP) — Teachers in Arizona and Colorado turned their state Capitols into a sea of red Thursday as they kicked off widespread walkouts that shut down public schools in a bid for better pay and education funding, building on educator revolt that emerged elsewhere in the U.S. but whose political prospects were not clear.

    Tens of thousands of teachers wearing red shirts and holding “Money for Schools” signs launched the first-ever statewide strike by marching 2 miles in 90-degree heat to a rally at the Arizona Capitol. They plan to walk out again Friday to press lawmakers for their demands as will Colorado educators.

    Educators in both states want more classroom resources and have received offers either for increased school funding or pay, but they say the money isn’t guaranteed and the efforts don’t go far enough. The walkouts are the climax of an uprising that spread from West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kentucky.

    Most of Arizona’s public schools will be closed the rest of the week, and about half of all Colorado students will see their schools shuttered over the two days as teachers take up the Arizona movement’s #RedforEd mantle.

  • Construction begins on airport hangars

     

    The Los Alamos County Airport is expanding its current hangar space with the addition of one box hangar and three T hangars.

     

    While the pads have been in place at the location east of the existing hangars for a couple of years now, the steel didn’t start going up until this week. The new metal buildings will allow more covered space for the aircraft at the airport.

    “We currently have 60 based aircraft,” said Los Alamos County Public Works Director Philo Shelton. “This will add space for five more.”

    The hangar farthest from the runway will be the 60-foot by 60-foot box hangar, which could house as many as two aircraft. The three T-hangars can hold as many as two planes each with space for storage.

    The work is being done over an old landfill that was cleaned out and re-filled with compacted fill dirt. This came after the Department of Energy had poured five pads on that end of the property, only to have the ground settle underneath them, making them not fit to put anything on top of them.

  • Feds lose track of 1,475 migrant children

     
    Federal officials lost track of nearly 1,500 migrant children last year after a government agency placed the minors in the homes of adult sponsors in communities across the country, according to testimony before a Senate subcommittee Thursday.

    The Health and Human Services Department has a limited budget to track the welfare of vulnerable unaccompanied minors, and realized that 1,475 children could not be found after making follow-up calls to check on their safety, an agency official said.

    Federal officials came under fire two years ago after rolling back child protection policies meant for minors fleeing violence in Central America. In a follow-up hearing on Thursday, senators said that the agencies had failed to take full responsibility for their care and had delayed crucial reforms needed to keep them from falling into the hands of human traffickers.

    “You are the worst foster parents in the world. You don’t even know where they are,” said Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. “We are failing. I don’t think there is any doubt about it. And when we fail kids that makes me angry.”

  • Loope to remain in jail until hearing

     

    Marion Loope, a Los Alamos resident, who is accused of putting a knife to her mother’s throat during an argument April 15, will be held in custody without bond until her preliminary hearing, according to a ruling made by Judge Glenn T. Ellington in court Wednesday. 

     

    “The judge granted the safe motion, and she’s being held without bond,” Assistant First Judicial District Attorney Kent Wahlquist said. 

    Loope’s next appearance is in Los Alamos County Magistrate Court is expected to be May 11, when she is scheduled for a preliminary hearing.

    The hearing will determine if there is enough evidence to try her on the charges.

    On April 15, Loope’s mother reported to police that her daughter had attacked her at the home they shared on the 2100 block of 34th Street. 

    According to the police report, during the altercation, Loope apparently accused her mother of taking her medications. The mother then reportedly told Loope to stop acting like she was sick. 

  • Public airs concerns about proposed nuclear waste project near WIPP

     
    Environmental activists, leaders of nuclear safety organizations and New Mexico residents voiced concerns Wednesday during an online meeting about Holtec’s plans to build a temporary holding facility for spent nuclear waste in southeastern New Mexico.

    The company plans to store up to 8,680 tons of spent fuel from nuclear reactors from across the United States. 

    Holtec has applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a 40-year license for the project. The overall lifespan of the facility is for 120 years. 

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission held the meeting Wednesday to gather public comment for Holtec’s environmental review application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the project.

    Many were concerned about the company’s plans to bring waste from all over the country to the facility.