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Today's News

  • NM’s ‘Chief Transparency Officer' shines light on bad government

    Like some other government officials, New Mexico State Auditor Wayne Johnson started his political career as an ordinary citizen who had a negative experience with his local government. Johnson, a Republican, is running for state auditor this year in the General Election.

    Johnson started his public life when he got involved in a dispute with a neighbor who had deep political connections.

    “I felt like I wasn’t treated fairly. I decided, ‘well, I can get mad and continue to yell at the TV, or I can do something about it,’” Johnson said.

    Johnson’s first successful run for office was for Bernalillo County Commissioner, where he quickly became known as the commissioner who pushed for greater transparency in government, ethics and accountability, things he’s been building his public career on ever since. While in office, he said, he was responsible for creating one of the strongest Sunshine Portals in the state. New Mexico’s Sunshine Portals are transparency and accountability programs New Mexico’s municipal and county governments offer citizens.

    “My platform and my first act was about transparency. It’s one of the best tools to use to modify good behavior in government. People tend to act better if they know they are being observed,” Johnson said.

  • Fire crews search for lost hiker in White Rock Canyon

    The Los Alamos Fire Department located a missing hiker at about 4:50 p.m. Tuesday near the Rio Grande River in White Rock Canyon.

    Crews reported the hiker asked for water and he was slightly disoriented, according to reports over the police radio. He complained of dehydration, but no injuries.

    A man called police from a cell phone around 3 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Los Alamos Fire Department. Crews looked for the hiker in the Tsankawi area of Los Alamos County, which covers an area between the Omega Bridge and White Rock Canyon.

    The report came in around 3 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Los Alamos Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Steve Dawald. 

  • New Mexico Gov. Martinez attends White House Hispanic event

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has traveled to Washington to attend a Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration hosted by President Donald Trump.

    The nation's only Latina governor attended a White House Hispanic Heritage Month event on Monday, days after Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham of Albuquerque strongly rejected Trump's invitation over his policies and his previous comments about Latinos.

    Lujan Grisham, a Democrat who is running for New Mexico governor to replace Martinez, cited Trump's previous comments he made about Latinos during the 2016 presidential campaign. She also cited Trump's denial about lives lost in Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria last year.

    Martinez, a once a rising star within the Republican Party, criticized Trump's campaign rhetoric about Mexican immigrants but has warmed up to him in recent months.
     

  • County hosts first AOPA fly-in

    Los Alamos County hosted it’s first “fly-in” Friday, as 12 people came by plane and 22 by other means to the Los Alamos Airport to meet up with fellow flyers and aviation buffs. The event was hosted by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and the County of Los Alamos. It is part of a two-day event that also included a fly-in to the Santa Fe Airport on Friday and Saturday.

    Pilot Rol Murrow said this was a pretty big deal for Los Alamos County and the state, as the AOPA only hosts about four fly-ins a year at various states around the country. Though Los Alamos Airport Manager Cameron Humphries couldn’t be reached for comment, Murrow said airports bid to host the event.

    “Usually the AOPA does about four fly-ins around the country, and this is the first time they’ve done one in New Mexico,” Murrow said.

    As a former employer of the AOPA, Murrow wasn’t exactly sure why the AOPA picked New Mexico and Los Alamos County was picked this time around, but maybe it was for the beauty of the region and for it’s large aviation community.

    “They do them for various regional places around the country and we have very a very enthusiastic aviation community in New Mexico. Santa Fe is also a very beautiful destination,” Murrow said.

  • Return of missing WWII airman’s remains years in the making

    BY MADDY HAYDEN
    The Albuquerque Journal

    ALBUQUERQUE — Before his burial in Santa Fe late last month, Sgt. Alfonso Orlando Duran was one of nearly 73,000 American servicemembers still missing in action from World War II.

    But he never would have made it home without dozens of people over two continents working tirelessly over the course of more than a decade to find him.

    Duran, an El Rito native, was 22 and serving as a substitute nose gunner with the Army Air Forces when his B-24 Liberator, nicknamed “Knock It Off,” was shot down and crashed in what was then Yugoslavia on Feb. 25, 1944. He was the only member of the 10-person crew not to bail out, for unknown reasons.
    Fellow crew members reported at the time that Alfonso appeared uninjured, but would not leave the aircraft.

    A tail gunner on a nearby aircraft said he saw “Knock It Off” assailed by “ack ack” – antiaircraft fire – and struck on its right wing, according to his eyewitness statement.

    “It immediately passed out of sight below, and I did not see it again,” he said. “Knock It Off” was a part of the massive “Operation Argument,” that targeted enemy aircraft factories and sought to destroy their forces in the air.

  • Police Beat 9-16-18

    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.

    Sept. 5
    12:23 p.m. — Los Alamos police investigated the theft of an ID at the Mountain Vista Apartments.
    2:20 p.m. — Los Alamos police investigated a pane of broken glass at the Los Alamos County Ice Rink. Investigation is inactive.

    Sept. 6
    1:05 p.m. — Los Alamos police investigated an abandoned vehicle at the White Rock Visitor Center.

    Sept. 7
    11:47 a.m. — Los Alamos police apprehended a minor in possession of drug paraphernalia on the Los Alamos High School campus. He was referred to juvenile authorities.

    Sept. 8
    12:44 p.m. — Los Alamos police investigated a burglary in Los Alamos that proved to be unfounded.
    3:24 p.m. — Los Alamos police arrested a suspect on a warrant from another jurisdiction.
    5:09 p.m.  —  Jonathan M. Wilke, 38, of Los Alamos, was arrested on a misdemeanor warrant. He was later released.

  • New Mexico observatory closed for security reasons to reopen

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — An observatory in the mountains of southern New Mexico that had been closed since early September because of an undisclosed security concern is scheduled to reopen on Monday, officials managing the facility said.

    The Sunspot Solar Observatory no longer faces a security threat to staff, the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy said in a statement Sunday. The facility closed on Sept. 6.

    The association has hired a temporary security team to patrol the observatory when it reopens.                "Given the significant amount of publicity the temporary closure has generated, and the consequent expectation of an unusual number of visitors to the site, we are temporarily engaging a security service while the facility returns to a normal working environment," the association said.

    Authorities have not revealed the nature of the security threat the observatory faced. The FBI has referred all questions to the association.

    "We recognize that the lack of communications while the facility was vacated was concerning and frustrating for some.

  • Horse owners seek more public input on flow trail

    Horse owners opposed to a planned bike flow trail in Bayo Canyon said it was time other Bayo Canyon trail users show concern.

    Louis Schulte and Nancy Boudrie, who are horse owners, said hikers, historical preservationists and others should also take an interest.

    They are circulating a petition to involve other trail users.

    “At least for me, that was one of the reasons for doing the petition,” Boudrie said. “(The project) was being marked as horses against bikers, and we’re saying no. There’s other people in the community being affected by it also.”

    Boudrie and the other petitioners can usually be seen at the Los Alamos Farmer’s Market every Thursday and they are also conducting a door-to-drive.

    According to Boudrie and Schulte, they already have a few hundred signatures, with a goal of growing the petition into the “lower thousands” before submitting it to the Los Alamos County Council for consideration when the time comes to choose where the trail will go, which will probably be sometime next year.

  • Court halts straight-ticket voting plan

    The New Mexico Supreme Court voted unanimously Wednesday to prevent the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office from adding straight-ticket voting to the November ballot.

    Chief Justice Judith Nakamura called it “strange logic” to assume the secretary of state had that power.

    “Given the Legislature’s clear authority for elections, its detailed treatment of ballots, including ink color, it’s strange logic to suggest that the secretary of state has the discretionary authority to include straight party voting on the ballot,” Nakamura said. “Until the Legislature makes a decision one way or another, the secretary of state cannot.”

    The court ruled that silence from the Legislature was not to be interpreted as permission from the Legislature to give Toulouse Oliver, or any other secretary of state, the power to rearrange or change the ballot.

    Toulouse Oliver’s office is working with the vendor to reformat the ballots.

    Spokesman Alex Curtas said Thursday the office will meet the Sept. 22 printing deadline to ensure ballots get to registered voters overseas, including members of the military. He said there’s no additional cost for reworking the ballots.

  • AP Poll: Voters open to candidates who aren’t very religious

    NEW YORK (AP) — Religion’s role in politics and public policy is in the spotlight heading toward the midterm elections, yet relatively few Americans consider it crucial that a candidate be devoutly religious or share their religious beliefs, according to a poll released Tuesday by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

    Just 25 percent of Americans say it’s very or extremely important that a candidate has strong religious beliefs, according to the poll. Only 19 percent consider it very or extremely important that a candidate shares their own beliefs, and nearly half say that’s not very important or not important at all.

    Still, most Americans see a role for religion in shaping public policy. A solid majority of Americans, 57 percent, want the influence of religion on government policy to extend beyond traditional culture war issues and into policies addressing poverty. Americans are more likely to say religion should have at least some influence on poverty than on abortion (45 percent) or LGBT issues (34 percent).

    There is little public support for the campaign by some conservative religious leaders, backed by President Donald