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Today's News

  • Lujan supports Trump impeachment

    Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., assistant Speaker of the House, released a statement Monday declaring his support to impeach President Donald Trump.

    “I support moving forward with an impeachment inquiry, which will continue to uncover the facts for the American people and hold this president accountable,” Lujan said.

    Lujan posted his statement on Facebook and his official website.

    “The Trump presidency is creating grave national security concerns. Our country's intelligence agencies have confirmed that the Russian government attacked America during the 2016 elections,” he said in a statement posted on social media.

    Lujan said he reached his decision after reading the Muller Report and was convinced Trump’s campaign had ties to the Russian government.

    “When Special Counsel Mueller released his report, I read it in full. I was alarmed by the Trump campaign and the Trump White House's brazen disregard for the rule of law. The report detailed sustained and frequent attempts by the Trump campaign to establish ties to the Russian government and an eagerness to benefit from hacked information stolen from our fellow Americans."

    He said he was certain Trump attempted to obstruct justice during the Muller investigation.

  • USDA recalls some Tip Top Poultry products

    The USDA issued a nationwide recall late Tuesday on packages of fully cooked poultry products made by Tip Top Poultry, Inc., a Rockmart, Georgia company, recalling about 135,810 pounds of chopped, fully cooked and frozen chicken meat products that were shipped nationwide.

    The products may be adultered with Listeria monocytogenes, according to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service notice.

    The contaminated meat can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that mostly affects older adults, people with weakened immune systems and pregnant women and their newborns. Other people can also be affected, though less commonly, the USDA said.

    Listeria can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, convulsions and other intentional symptoms.

    The problem was discovered on Aug. 17, when the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, CIFA, notified FSIS that a sample of Tip Top Poultry, Inc. confirmed positive for the presence of Listeria monocytogenes.

    The investigation is ongoing.

    The products subject to recall bear the number “P-174-453” inside the USDA mark of inspection or on the case. These items were shipped to hotels, restaurants and institutions nationwide. However, the USDA urges that all packages of these products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

  • National lab details $13B in building plans over next decade

    LOS ALAMOS (AP) — Officials at Los Alamos National Laboratory have plans for $13 billion worth of construction projects over the next decade at the northern New Mexico complex as it prepares to ramp up production of plutonium cores for the nation's nuclear weapons arsenal.

    They outlined their plans at a recent meeting attended by hundreds of representatives of construction firms from around the country.

    Beyond the new infrastructure related to plutonium assignment, other work likely will be aimed at serving a growing workforce — from planned housing projects and parking garages to a potential new highway that would reduce commute times from Albuquerque and Santa Fe for the 60% of employees who live outside of Los Alamos County.

    Lab Director Thomas Mason told the Albuquerque Journal the lab currently has 1,400 openings and plans to add another 1,200 jobs to its workforce of 12,000 by 2026.

    "It's a busy time at the lab," he said. "We're probably busier than we have been since the height of the Cold War."
    Mason said $3 billion in spending is planned for improvements to the lab's existing plutonium facility for the core work.

    An accelerator project and a new-generation super computer also will require major investments.

  • El Rigoberto’s to expand in White Rock at the end of August

    Restaurant entrepreneurs Fernando Loya and Andres Gomez have a few simple rules when it comes to building successful restaurants: don’t overthink it, and go where you’re wanted.

    Loya said that’s what made their El Rigoberto’s Taco Shop in Los Alamos such a huge success. And it’s that success is what led them to start another El Rigoberto’s Taco Shop in White Rock, which they said should be open by the end of August.

    The new restaurant will be at 25 Bonnie View Drive.

    “People that lived in White Rock always kept telling us to open one in White Rock. We’re going there because the people asked us to,” Loya said.

    And don’t worry, El Rigoberto’s Los Alamos is staying right where it is, inside the Central Park Square Shopping Center.

    Talk about going where you are wanted… that shop only came to be five years ago when their original Rigoberto’s, which was once located on Riverside Drive in Española, fell into disrepair.

    “The building was falling apart and the landlord didn’t want to fix anything,” Loya said.

    However, they did note that they were getting a lot of customers from Los Alamos coming to their Española store.

  • Meet County Shelter Manager Paul Sena

    The first thing you notice about Paul Sena, the Los Alamos County Animal Shelter’s manager, is that he’s genuinely happy with his job. No matter what time of day it is or what task he’s involved in, he always seems to have a smile for the customers who approach the counter at the shelter.

    Sena said there’s one reason for that, and that is, he truly loves what he does.

    “This is my dream,” Sena said.  “I’m doing what I love to do. Thanks to God, I’m still able to do that and support my family. I never had any intention of leaving the county, so when this opened up, it was right in my field. It kept me where I’m happy, it kept me in a good job, it allows me to get back into what I love to do, which is work with animals.”

    Sena described himself as the type of kid that was the one that took the time to  nurse the family dog back to health and gladly spent hours on his grandfather’s farm caring for the livestock and poultry.

    Sena started his professional life as a veterinary technician before he even graduated high school, working for Dr. Kathleen Ramsay at the Cottonwood Veterinary Clinic in Espanola.

    He did that for a number of years, where he quickly earned a reputation for being one of the best vet techs in the valley.

  • BPU to consider more solar

    The Board of Public Utilities will consider Thursday whether to approve a 1.32-megawatt solar Power Purchase Agreement on the East Jemez Road landfill.

    The public is invited to attend the regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers.

    Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities staff will present the agreement at the meeting. If approved, the agreement will be forwarded to the Los Alamos County Council for consideration.  

    The proposed 1.32-MW photovoltaic solar array would be installed adjacent to the existing 1MW array on the closed landfill owned by the Department of Energy and leased to Los Alamos County.

    Under the terms of the agreement, Los Alamos Solar II, LLC would deliver photovoltaic generated electricity to the DPU at a price of $0.0585 per kilowatt hour (kWh) for a 25-year term.

    It is estimated that the new PV system would generate on average 2,250 MWh per year which is about 2% of the county’s annual load, according to the DPU. 

    With a BPU-approved goal to be a carbon neutral electric provider by 2040, this project would bring the DPU one step closer, the DPU said Friday.

  • Farmington aims to keep open San Juan Plant

    FARMINGTON — Farmington city officials on Friday signed an agreement with a company that proposes outfitting the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station with carbon-capture technology in an effort to extend the power plant’s life beyond its planned closure in 2022.

    Under the agreement, the city would keep its 5% share in the plant and Enchant Energy Corp. would acquire a 95% ownership interest from other utilities that will be divesting in the plant.

    Public Service Co. of New Mexico plans to shut down the facility as it moves toward a 2040 emissions-free goal and the state begins implementing a new energy law aimed at transitioning to more renewable resources. The utility’s decommissioning application is pending before state regulators along with proposals for replacing the lost capacity once the plant closes.

    Environmentalists oppose keeping the plant open, saying there are now less expensive and cleaner options.
    Camilla Feibelman with the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club said it’s unlikely that anyone would want to purchase the electricity generated by the coal-fired plant.

    But the pending closure has left elected leaders in northwestern New Mexico looking for ways to ease the socio-economic challenges that will come with the plant’s decommissioning.

  • Police Beat 8-18-19

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department records. Charges or citations listed in Police Beat do not imply innocence or guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested, served a court summons, or issued a citation.

    Aug. 7
    10 a.m. — Los Alamos police bomb squad was called out on an incident. Case is inactive.

    10:49 p.m. — Los Alamos police cited/summoned a suspect for simple battery.

    Aug. 9
    2:12 p.m. — Los Alamos police responded to a burglary in Los Alamos. Case is still active.

    Aug. 10
    9:12 p.m. — Los Alamos police went out on an animal call. Case is active.

    Aug. 11
    11:26 a.m. — Los Alamos police investigated an incident where a motor vehicle was stolen from a residence. Case is active.
    12:25 a.m. — Los Alamos police responded to a domestic disturbance. Case is inactive.

  • LAPS students head back to class

    BY DAVID VASQUEZ
    lasports@lamonitor.com

    The first day of school is always exciting for Barranca Mesa Elementary School principal Gina Terrazas, but Thursday was extra special for Terrazas as she welcomed her students to a brand-new school building.

    “It’s always exciting, not only to see the students’ reactions coming back to school, but also seeing parents and how happy they are, how excited the are, taking pictures of their children coming back to school. It’s nice,” said Terrazas, who is in her fifth year as principal at the school.

    Parents, students and the community got their first glimpse of Barranca Mesa’s new building at a meet-and-greet Wednesday and the classrooms were ready for the students for Thursday’s first day.

    “We are still in the process of moving some stuff out of the hallways, but that’s moving along pretty quickly so we should be ready to roll and have everything cleaned out and ready for students on Monday,” Terrazas said. “Right now, they’re all in their classrooms. All the classrooms are ready and the students are really excited about that, so we’re excited for them. It’s been nice and we are really pleased and happy with our new building.”

  • New Mexico oil production improvements cause economic boom

    SANTA FE (AP) — An economic boom in southeast New Mexico has been attributed to skyrocketing oil production.

    The Albuquerque Journal reported Friday that New Mexico's revenue exceeded projected levels allowing lawmakers to authorize a $663-million spending increase for the budget year that started in July.

    Officials say the 11% increase is expected to be used toward teacher salary increases, education spending, highway repairs and construction.

    Officials say improvements to drilling techniques made New Mexico the nation's third-highest oil producing state and contributed to mass production in the Permian Basin about 290 miles (467 kilometers) from Albuquerque.

    Officials say revenue levels came two years after a steep decline forced lawmakers to cut spending.
    Economists are expected to release official revenue estimates later this month.