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Today's News

  • Egolf: January session just the beginning of large scale reform

    As a parade of major legislation on gun control, education and energy makes its way to the senate in the New Mexico Legislature, Democratic House Speaker Brian Egolf  (D-47) said it’s only the beginning of a bigger plan. And no, the Democratic majority is not trying to run the state’s oil and gas industry out of the state.

    “I can’t say there’s been probably 10-to-1 this session conversations appreciating the industry, thanking the industry for making contributions to the state for making the surplus possible and enabling us to engage in an education moon shot,” Egolf said. “A war on oil and gas is a figment of the imagination of the House minority.”

    He also addressed criticism that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s request for a $500 million increase in education funding that the legislature is trying to meet is just a small part of a five-year plan to fully fund public education.

  • Community Winds makes semifinals in prestigious competition

    The Los Alamos Community Winds concert band has a lot to celebrate these days. 

    For one, the band is currently hard at work preparing for its March 2 midwinter concert. Second, the band was recently told by the Hat City Theater organization that the Los Alamos Community Winds is a semifinalist for the “American Prize.” 

    The non-profit organization administers the well-known prestigious prize to ensembles and individuals every year for the best concert performance. Applicants submit a recording of the performance to the prize committee along with supporting documentation.  The Community Winds are semifinalists in the community division, along with bands from Tarrytown, New York, Allentown, Pennsylvania, Quincy, Illinois, Davenport, Iowa and Sacramento, California. 

    Although there is no physical trophy, the prize can bring recognition and prestige to not only the band, but the community the band is based in as well. 

    Ted Vives, the Winds’ conductor and director, said his 50-plus member ensemble are excited to be semifinalists.

  • Traffic accident on Loma Del Escolar

    One person was injured around 1 p.m. Wednesday when a black Volkswagon sedan crashed into a house and an unoccupied truck at the end of Loma del Escolar Street.

    The driver of the black Volkswagon sedan and her son were taken to the Los Alamos Medical Center for injuries. According to officers at the scene, the Volkswagen struck another vehicle at the intersection of Barranca Road and Loma del Escolar Street, then headed down Loma del Escolar at an unknown speed before running into the parked truck and the house.

  • Minimum wage hike passes House with phased-in raise for tipped workers

     BY ANDREW OXFORD

    The New Mexican

    The New Mexico House of Representatives voted Wednesday night to raise the statewide minimum wage to $10 an hour in July and increase it annually starting next year. But amid heavy opposition from the restaurant industry, lawmakers backed off immediately abolishing the lower minimum wage for tipped workers and instead elected to phase it out over the next few years.

    Democrats made boosting the minimum wage a central promise of last year’s campaign and argue House Bill 31 will amount to a raise for about 150,000 workers across the state. With a bigger Democratic majority in the House this year, legislation proposing an increase of several dollars per hour was bound to pass the chamber.

    But HB 31 is still likely to meet opposition in the state Senate, even from some Democrats, spurring what will likely be a round of negotiations over just how high legislators on both sides of the Capitol can agree to raise the minimum wage.

    Still, backers touted the vote 44-26 vote Wednesday night as a victory.

  • Public records bills include secrecy on lottery winners

    BY ROBERT NOTT AND
    ANDREW OXFORD

    The New Mexican

    State Sen. Pat Woods says big lottery winners can turn into losers, so he wants to conceal their identity from the public.

    His push for secrecy initially failed Tuesday when the Senate Public Affairs Committee deadlocked 3-3 on the proposal, Senate Bill 397.

    But then committee members reconsidered and advanced Woods’ bill in a 5-2 decision.

    “I hate hearing stories of people who win lottery prizes and are broke shortly thereafter,” said Woods, R-Broadview, in arguing for the state-sanctioned gambling operation to keep winners’ names private.

    He said those who claim jackpots often don’t know how to manage their money and are easy prey for con men and unscrupulous family members.

    “If we restrict public information about them it may help them keep some of that money,” Woods said.

    Some committee members and members of the public spoke against the bill. They said the New Mexico Lottery is a public entity that should not be able to withhold the names of prize winners.

    Woods said eight states already allow lottery winners to remain anonymous.

  • Shot fired at suburban Albuquerque high school, no injuries

    RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A shot was fired Thursday on the grounds of a suburban Albuquerque high school on the first anniversary of the Parkland, Florida, high school massacre, but police and school officials said no one was injured and a suspect was in custody.

    The V. Sue Cleveland High School in the community of Rio Rancho was evacuated, police said, and worried parents rushed to the school after getting calls from their children. More than 2,500 students attend the high school.

    Rio Rancho Police Chief Stewart Steele said that a male student suspected of using a handgun to fire the shot before school started had been taken into custody and was being questioned by authorities. They did not immediately identify a motive.

    While there were no injuries and students at the school were quickly evacuated, the incident still sent shockwaves through the sprawling suburb north of New Mexico's largest city, Steele said.

    "It was extremely scary," Steele said. "We just thank God it ended the way it did."

    He said the student, who has not been identified by authorities, had fled the school after opening fire and left the weapon behind. He was caught running away, authorities said.

  • Car crashes into house on Loma del Escolar Street

     One person was injured around 1 p.m. Wednesday when a black Volkswagon sedan crashed into a house and an unoccupied truck at the end of Loma del Escolar Street. 

    The driver of the black Volkswagon sedan was taken to the Los Alamos Medical Center for injuries. According to officers at the scene, the Volkswagen struck another vehicle at the intersection of Barranca Road and Loma del Escolar Street, then headed down Loma del Escolar at an unknown speed before running into the parked truck and the house.

  • 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.

  • 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.
     

  • Local schools, police stress bus safety

    School and law enforcement officials are putting out the word that residents who don’t stop for school buses dropping off and picking up children will get a ticket with a hefty fine and points off their license.

    Los Alamos Public Schools officials have started a countywide campaign called “School Bus Safety Week” to make motorists aware that when the school bus stops, they must stop also.

    District officials have done a smaller campaign every year, but felt they had to have a more public campaign this year because of the many motorists that have ignored school bus stop signs and signals. The campaign will run until Feb. 15, but Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus hopes motorists will remember the campaign the whole year.

    “That’s the reason we’re doing this campaign,” Steinhaus said. “We try to highlight this every year, but this is the first time we’ve partnered with county council and made it a full-blown campaign. We’re a data-driven organization, and the data told us we need a campaign.”

    Steinhaus said the campaign is for motorists and students.

    “Part of the week also includes teaching students to be more cautious, teaching them to ‘stop, look and listen’ applies,” Steinhaus said.