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Today's News

  • Council supports state health plan

    A universal healthcare plan touted by some as a way to cover a majority of New Mexicans was heard Tuesday by Los Alamos County Council. 

    The council passed a resolution in favor of the plan that they expect state legislators will present in January to the state Legislature.

    “As this gets talked about, a lot of people will be viewing this as socialized medicine,” Councilor Antonio Maggiore told the plan’s Executive Director Mary Feldblum at Tuesday’s meeting. “But, from what I’m hearing, this is not so much socialized medicine as socialized insurance. Would you say that is fair?” 

    “Yes,” Feldblum said. 

    Feldblum’s organization, the Health Security for New Mexicans Campaign, was founded in 1997. The organization has been organizing a health coverage plan designed to cover all New Mexicans who are not covered under government, military health plans and other exceptions.

  • Judge: Impound ballots after vote is certified

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Democrat Xochitl Torres Small is expected to take her U.S. House seat in southern New Mexico despite a pending court challenge to inspect certain ballots, the New Mexico secretary of state's office said Friday.

    New Mexico Secretary of State spokesman Alex Curtas said the office is scheduled to certify results by Nov. 27 that will show, according to unofficial results, Torres Small defeating Republican Yvette Herrell.

    "That is not expected to change," Curtas said. However, he said the office still has to officially certify the results.

    Those comments come after State District Judge Manuel Arrieta ruled Friday that the New Mexico Secretary of State's Office can tally results amid Herrell's request to impound absentee ballots in a key county.

    Arrieta said while the tally is being completed, Herrell's lawyers and the Secretary of State's Office can come up with agreement on how those ballots can be inspected and come back to him for a ruling.

    Herrell's lawyers have cited "chain-of-custody issues and other improprieties" but haven't provided any details of allegations of irregularities. During a hearing Friday, Herrell's attorneys signaled they wanted to check signatures and voter registrations.

  • Managers come clean on ceiling collapse at nuke waste dump

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Operations at the federal government's nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico resumed Friday as managers acknowledged there was radioactive waste in the area where a portion of the underground facility's ceiling collapsed earlier this week.

    The acknowledgement came a day after the U.S. Energy Department announced there had been a rock fall at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. The agency's office in Carlsbad initially said there was no waste in the area, but watchdogs voiced concerns.

    The radioactive waste included two canisters that were encapsulated in holes bored into the salt formation that makes up the walls and ceilings of the repository and its underground disposal rooms. There also were pieces of equipment in the room where the collapse happened that were contaminated by a 2014 radiation release.

    Watchdogs pointed to agency documents and testimony during a recent hearing, saying officials knew what was in the room.

    "For them to say there's no waste, that's just worse than false," said Don Hancock with the Southwest Research and Information Center, an Albuquerque-based watchdog group. "Documents available to the public show 320,000 pounds of contaminated equipment in the room. That is waste. They know that."

  • Lujan Grisham calls for delay in New Mexico oil case

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico oil and gas regulators are being pressured to delay a decision on an application by a Texas-based company that seeks to ease restrictions on well locations in one of the nation's oldest producing basins.

    U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who begins her first term as New Mexico governor in January, is among the Democrat politicians who are asking for a delay in the proceedings or to raise questions about the process. Her request on congressional letterhead was followed Friday by a similar letter from other members of the state's delegation.

    Lujan Grisham wrote that more information is needed from the Bureau of Land Management and from Hilcorp Energy Co., the company seeking the state rule change.

    "The oil and gas industry is a cornerstone of the New Mexico economy, but it is imperative that we balance this key economic driver with health, safety and environmental considerations," her letter reads.

    Lujan Grisham and the state's Democrat-controlled Legislature will inherit a significant budget surplus for the coming year when they take office. Most of that surplus is linked to the state's oil and natural gas sector.

  • Citizens ask for review of crime stats

    Former Los Alamos County sheriff candidate James Whitehead presented a petition Tuesday to the county council, asking them to look into whether the Los Alamos Police Department was underreporting crime statistics. 

    The Los Alamos Police chief disputed the claims, saying the department reports violations under different categories.

    Whitehead and eight other residents signed a petition that was presented to councilors.

    “I’m here to speak to you about your role in preserving the public trust,” Whitehead said. “While I’m grateful for the opportunity to run for the role of sheriff in Los Alamos County, and I accept the wisdom of the electorate, I’ve found a disturbing disregard for factual accuracy in regards to law enforcement in Los Alamos County.”

    Whitehead said certain inmates at the center have been allowed to harass residents through letters and phone calls without police interference. 

  • Snow on the Hill

    Children of all ages took advantage of the snowfall Monday, as the county received one to three inches of snow. In this picture, children sled the slopes in Urban Park. According to the National Weather Service, Los Alamos had a high of 26 degrees and a low of 17 degrees toward nightfall. 

  • Sandia National Labs gets $1.2M to help with energy projects

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Sandia National Laboratories has been awarded $1.2 million in federal funds as part of an effort that supports some of the top research and development teams working to transform the nation's energy system.

    The funds were announced Thursday by the U.S. Energy Department. In all, nearly $100 million is paying for 40 new projects.

    Sandia will use its share to develop advanced core materials for electrical transformers with the aim of improving efficiency and resiliency.

    Current transformers use copper windings surrounding a magnetic core to amplify the magnetic field generated by the coil.

    With new materials, scientists want to increase electrical efficiency while shrinking the size of the transformers by about 50 percent.

    Sandia researchers also will work on developing a new polymer additive for transformer oil.
     

  • Local blogger awaits news about today’s decision for the kilo

    The International Bureau of Weights and Measures plans to make a decision today that could have big implications in the world of weights and measurement and one Los Alamos blogger will be on the forefront of the announcement. 

    For 129 years, deep inside the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Sevres, France, there has been a corrosion-proof metal alloy ball whose physical weight determines how what a kilogram actually weighs. 

    Three different keys, kept in separate locations, are required to unlock the vault where the Grand K and six official copies – collectively known as “the heir and the spares” – are entombed together under glass bell-jars at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, in Sevres on the western outskirts of Paris.

    Known as the Grand K, it is the physical standard for one kilogram. 

  • Lujan Grisham names transition team

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico Gov.-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday selected a panel of experts to help identify potential cabinet leaders and to make recommendations as the Democrat prepares to take the top office in state government.

    Several committees have been established by Lujan Grisham’s team to focus on different areas of government. The committee co-chairs include a former governor who most recently led New Mexico State University as chancellor and a former state police chief.

    Lujan Grisham said in a statement that the effort will be bipartisan, with the goal of setting the state on a new path and leveraging every possible opportunity.

    Lujan Grisham will follow Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, whose second consecutive term wraps up at the end of the year. She will inherit a significant budget surplus for the coming fiscal year – most of which is linked to the state’s oil and natural gas sector.

    The education transition committee will be headed by former Gov. Garrey Carruthers, a Republican; Kara Bobroff, founder, principal and chief executive of the Native American Community Academy; and Everett Chavez, a councilman and former governor of Santo Domingo Pueblo.

  • Hearing set for Republican seeking to seize US House ballots

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Democrat Xochitl Torres Small is expected to take her U.S. House seat in southern New Mexico despite a pending court challenge to inspect certain ballots, the New Mexico secretary of state's office said Friday.

    New Mexico Secretary of State spokesman Alex Curtas said the office is scheduled to certify results by Nov. 27 that will show, according to unofficial results, Torres Small defeating Republican Yvette Herrell.

    "That is not expected to change," Curtas said. However, he said the office still has to officially certify the results.

    Those comments come after State District Judge Manuel Arrieta ruled Friday that the New Mexico Secretary of State's Office can tally results amid Herrell's request to impound absentee ballots in a key county.

    The Associated Press called the race for Torres Small after absentee ballots tallied in Dona Ana County put her over the top.

    Arrieta said while the tally is being completed, Herrell's lawyers and the Secretary of State's Office can come up with agreement on how those ballots can be inspected and come back to him for a ruling.