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Today's News

  • Less than a third of New Mexico students test proficient

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Less than a third of all New Mexico students are proficient in reading and only about one-fifth are proficient in math, according to results released Friday.

    The results from a revamped test in 2019 show that public school districts and charter schools saw a small jump in reading from the year before but a slight drop in math — though the scores are from separate exams.

    According to the results, only 32.7% of all New Mexico students tested proficient or better in reading. Meanwhile, just 20.3% tested proficient or better in math.

    Last year, results from the test called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, show that around 31 percent of students tested were proficient or better in reading and more than 21 percent were proficient or better in math.

    "These (2019) results reinforce the governor's call for a transformation of the education system in New Mexico," the state Public Education Department said in a statement.
    Yet they come just days after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham abruptly fired Public Education Secretary Karen Trujillo, sparking questions from lawmakers and confusion among educators.

  • Lawsuit accuses former Espanola mayor of sexual abuse

    ESPANOLA (AP) — A former longtime mayor of a northern New Mexico city has been accused of sexually abusing the son of a former employee in the 1980s.

    The lawsuit filed against Richard Lucero alleges he began abusing the boy in the mid-1980s when the child worked for him at his farm supply store in Espanola. The lawsuit says the victim's mother had worked for Lucero in city government.

    Lucero served a total of 22 years between 1968 and 2006 as mayor of Espanola, where a community center that includes the local library and athletic center is named after him.

    He did not immediately respond to a message left at his store Friday in Espanola seeking comment in response to the lawsuit.

    The victim is now in his 40s.
     

  • United Church of LA offers Vacation Bible School

    The United Church of Los Alamos offers Vacation Bible School for kids and their parents.  

    The theme is, Athens: Paul’s Dangerous Journey to Tell The Truth. VBS will take place from 11a.m.-12:30 p.m. each Sunday in August.

    On Aug 4, there will be a hamburger and hot dog kickoff.

    “VBS is a fun, engaging way to learn and be part of Church community,” said Youth Pastor Keith Lewis. “As we engage the scriptures.”

    The United Church of Los Alamos is located at 2525 Canyon Road and families can call 662-2971 to register.

  • Los Alamos Co-op to host Kokedama Ball class

    BY DANIEL GROSS
    Los Alamos Monitor Staff

    Los Alamos Co-op will host a make-your-own Kokedama Ball lesson, taught by resident experts Calvin McKinley and Dominic Chiri on Saturday.

    Kokedama balls are a Japanese technique for displaying plants without the need for a pot or a vase, using moss, soil and peat to form a ball, with the plant’s roots tucked inside.

    The Co-op hosts about 12 events of this ilk a year, taught by co-op employees and community members alike.

    The lessons vary in attendance greatly, with some requiring waitlists and others needing to be cancelled due to low turnout.

    The Co-op has hosted similar lessons for the past seven years, offering everything from beer education classes to warm farming classes.  

     “The community has been very supportive, and that’s what the whole idea is, we are just really trying to gather the community and give people something fun to do while educating,” said Outreach Co-Coordinator Katie Gallaugher.

    The Co-op will offer a kids cooking class in August, hosted by Kelly Parker in conjunction with little sprouts kitchen. The children are told to bring their “favorite adult” to attend the cooking class with them.

  • Midnight at Billy the Kid’s gravesite

    BY DAVID GRIEDER
    Eastern New Mexico News

    FORT SUMNER — You visit the moonlit gravesite of an infamous outlaw at midnight on the anniversary of his violent death, you do well to expect about anything.

    So if you visited the Fort Sumner burial ground purporting to hold the remains of “Billy the Kid,” shot dead just before midnight on July 14, 1881, in a house on a property adjoining that site, you could be forgiven a few goose bumps.

    Maybe there won’t be something as dramatic as a spectral vision or a rattling on the bars of the cage enclosing the tombstone, but what was that sound, and what are those strange lights in the distance?

    That sound is a birdsong — interpret that as you will — and those three new lights in a row out yonder are probably a new fixture by the farmers who live out there.

    Apart from a storm flashing distantly in the north, it was a calm summer evening lit by a near full moon Sunday when a small cohort gathered to commemorate the 138th anniversary of The Kid’s killing and herald a new film examining his life.

  • Taos convent becomes home to Benedictine monks

    BY CODY HOOKS
    The Taos News

    TAOS — The old convent in the middle of the parking lot at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Taos has mostly sat quiet for 43 years, since the nuns that used to run Central High School packed up and moved on.
    But in the last three weeks, the former convent on Don Fernando Street has been a lively place. Buzz saws whined as coats of paint have gone up on the walls, and the kitchen — a currently unusable artifact of a bygone era — is getting a makeover.
    The historic two-story building needs to be warm and comfy because a group of monks who had been looking for a new home have finally landed in Taos.

    Five Benedictine monks from the Abbey of Christ in the Desert, located along the banks of the Chama River near Abiquiú, are in the midst of establishing the Monastery of San Juan Diego.

    A special mass is planned for Sept. 15, when Archbishop John C. Wester will be in Taos to bless the burgeoning Benedictine community.

    With the help of the archbishop, the men searched for an ideal location to establish the new monastery in New Mexico.

  • Lottery CEO’s excessive pay, golden parachute come at expense of New Mexico students

    BY FRED NATHAN
    Think New Mexico

    The New Mexico Lottery Authority recently voted to raise Lottery CEO David Barden’s salary by 26%, from $174,142 to $220,000.

    That is twice as much as the governor of New Mexico is paid. It is more than twice what the state Attorney General is paid. It is significantly more than the chief justice of the Supreme Court and state cabinet secretaries are paid.

    As a spokesman for Gov. Lujan Grisham put it: “What is the rationale” for this enormous raise? “Is the lottery doing a 26% better job of getting scholarship money to New Mexico students? I think if people find this salary and increase to be inequitable or improper, given the primary goal of the program, they have some justification for feeling that way.”

    After all, every dollar going to excessive compensation for the Lottery CEO is a dollar less for college scholarships for deserving New Mexico students. The statutory purpose of the New Mexico Lottery is to “provide the maximum amount of revenues” for scholarships at the state’s public universities.

  • Lujan Grisham ouster of Trujillo raises questions

    BY SYLVIA ULLOA
    New Mexico In Depth

    Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s decision to fire Education Secretary Karen Trujillo on Monday took a lot of people in New Mexico by surprise, including Trujillo, who said she was blindsided.

    It’s been three days, and some New Mexicans suspect they haven’t been given the real reason Trujillo was fired and why now.

    The administration has said it was about her ability to communicate, manage and meet the governor’s expectations for transforming public education in New Mexico.

    A spokesman initially pointed to the shaky rollout of a signature education program called K-5 Plus across the state, but the administration is beginning to walk back an effort to pin the firing on implementation of that program. Trujillo had pushed back, saying she didn’t get much direction from the governor and that she had raised alarm early on about how difficult K-5 Plus would be to implement immediately, as designed by the Legislature.

    And Trujillo said if communication was deficient, it was on the part of the governor.

    “It would have been nice to have a conversation with the governor where she said what her concerns were so that I could have done something about them, but that conversation never took place,” Trujillo said.

  • Saturday Farmer’s Market starts in LA

    Residents who can’t get out to the Thursday Farmer’s Market will now get a second chance on Saturday.

    According to Farmer’s Market Manager Cindy Talamantes, the decision to offer a Saturday market was an easy one to make.

    “We looked at our customers and said they are weekday people,” Talamantes said. “The ones that don’t come to market, work. “We decided then to see if it would be feasible to have Saturday markets.”

    The Saturday market will be held across the street at the Los Alamos Justice Center Parking Lot from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    Talamantes said the trial would last through September, with the exception of the rodeo.

    They have had about three Saturday markets so far.

    “We haven’t had a lot of them, but the ones that we did have, the vendors have been very supportive,” Talamantes said.

    Goods being sold at the Saturday market include honey, honey sticks, lamb, eggs, produce, herbs, fruits, baked goods and burritos.

    For the trial period, Talamantes is offering a $3 discount of a 10-by-10-foot space at the market for $15.

  • Mixed messages for lab in NDAA bills

    There are marked differences in the House of Representative and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act, with the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s weapons life extension programs being caught in the middle.

    For 2020, the Senate version of the bill is granting the NNSA’s request to spend $2.1 million on the programs. The House of Representatives version of the bill has cut out funding for the W76-2 warhead extension program and only OK’d partial funding for the W87-1 modification program. The House version funds the lab’s modification programs at $2 million.

    According to a House Armed Services Committee staff member, Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA), who is also chair of the HASC, is opposed to deployment of the 76-2 low- yield nuclear warheads, which was the reason why $10 million was taken out of the budget for the extension program.

    “The majority’s view is that it’s unnecessary, that we have plenty of low yield weapons in the arsenal,” the staffmember said. “The United States has never deployed low-yield nuclear weapons on board our submarine force and we don’t believe there’s any reason to do so.”