Today's News

  • Jal OKs resolution against interim nuclear storage plan

    JAL (AP) — Another New Mexico community has voted to oppose bringing interim high-level nuclear waste storage in southeastern New Mexico.

    The Hobbs News-Sun reports Jal City Council voted last week not to support a plan to temporarily store tons of spent fuel from U.S. commercial nuclear reactors in and around Lea County.

    Holtec International has applied for a 40-year license with Nuclear Regulatory Commission to store thousands of metric tons of nuclear waste at the site.

    Opponents of the project expressed concern about the safety of transporting the fuel across the country as well as the project's effects on the environment.

    Albuquerque City Council also voted last week to oppose the plan.

    Information from: Hobbs News-Sun, http://www.hobbsnews.com

  • US unemployment falls to nearly 1969 levels; hiring solid

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Another month of strong hiring drove the nation's unemployment rate down to 3.8 percent — tantalizingly close to the level last seen in 1969, when Detroit still dominated the auto industry and the Vietnam War was raging.

    Employers added 233,000 jobs in May, up from 159,000 in April, the Labor Department reported Friday. And unemployment fell to an 18-year low.

    The report shows that the nearly 9-year-old economic expansion — the second-longest on record — remains on track and may even be gaining steam. Employers appear to be shrugging off recent concerns about global trade disputes.

    "The May jobs report revealed impressive strength and breadth in U.S. job creation that blew away most economists' expectations," said Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West.

    With the unemployment rate so low, businesses have complained for months that they are struggling to find enough qualified workers. But Friday's jobs report suggests that they are taking chances with pockets of the unemployed and underemployed whom they had previously ignored.

    Roughly an hour before the employment data was released, President Donald Trump appeared to hint on Twitter that a strong jobs report was coming. "Looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning," he tweeted.

  • 2 killed in crash of small plane in Midland

    MIDLAND, Texas (AP) — A racehorse trainer from Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico and his son were killed when the single-engine airplane they were flying crashed shortly after takeoff in Midland.

    In a statement Friday, Ruidoso Downs identified the dead as trainer John M. Cooper and his 16-year-old son, Gavyn Cooper.

    The Federal Aviation Administration says the Cirrus SR22 aircraft had just taken off from Midland International Airport about 7:20 p.m. Thursday and was banking left when it crashed and burned.

    No cause for the crash was immediately determined, and the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

  • Wildfire burns empty Boy Scouts' buildings in dry New Mexico

    CIMARRON, N.M. (AP) — A wildfire raced across a swath of tinder-dry forest in northeastern New Mexico on Friday, sending up a thick plume of smoke that forced residents to flee their homes as heat and wind threatened to drive the flames.

    The blaze destroyed about a dozen empty buildings on the Boy Scouts' storied Philmont Ranch and threatened nearly 300 homes, officials say. The flames were first reported Thursday and ballooned quickly in a part of New Mexico hardest hit by a severe drought gripping the American Southwest.

    More than 60 percent of the U.S. West is experiencing some level of drought, the latest federal drought maps show, forcing national forests and other public lands to close because of escalating fire danger. The area where Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado meet is at the center of a large patch of exceptional drought.

    Dry, windy and warm weather was expected to make conditions worse as the New Mexico fire burned on state and private land, including part of the Boy Scouts' ranch, state forestry spokeswoman Wendy Mason said. Estimates put the blaze at more than 25 square miles (66 square kilometers). Its cause isn't known.

    Officials say no scouts were at the ranch and all staff members were accounted for. Employees who live in the nearby community of Cimarron were allowed to leave to care for their families.

  • Lieutenant governor can make a difference

    Lieutenant governor candidate, guest opinion

    Last October I announced my candidacy for lieutenant governor on the Democratic ticket. In the months since then I’ve been asked many times, “What does the lieutenant governor do?”

    The lieutenant governor has a complex workload based on a combination of statutory responsibilities, standing within the executive branch, and personal initiative.

    Statutory responsibilities are clear. The lieutenant governor serves as president of the Senate, sits on eight boards and commissions, and has been designated as the “Ombudsman of the People of New Mexico.” In addition, the lieutenant governor takes over as the state’s chief executive when the governor is out of state or the position becomes vacant.

    Serving as the Senate president is not the same as being an elected legislator. The Senate president does not serve on any legislative committees, introduce legislation, or vote – except to break a tie. Instead, the lieutenant governor ensures that Senate proceedings move smoothly and that all members are treated with respect. While the role can be seen as largely ceremonial, it provides a personal connection between legislators and the governor’s office that could be valuable on critical issues.

  • The unintended journey of a Japanese midget submarine

    In war-time New Mexico, what were crowds so eager to see that they spent $700,000 for a glimpse?

    The story begins in Japan in 1938 with the launch of that nation’s first midget submarines. They were 81 feet long, 6 feet in diameter, and armed with two torpedoes. Powered by a 600-horsepower electric motor, they had a speed of 19 to 23 knots , but at full power the sub’s battery was only good for 55 minutes.

    On Dec. 7, 1941, five of the diminutive subs joined the attack on Pearl Harbor. After riding piggyback on large subs, they launched near the harbor entrance the night before the attack. Their mission was to attack war ships and then rendezvous with the mother ships or blow themselves up next to a war ship. They began prowling before the air attack, but none of them would do any damage that day.

    One of the five, Ha-19, had a malfunctioning gyrocompass. It hit a coral reef several times and ran aground. When a U. S. ship spotted the little sub, it fired, knocking it off the reef. The sub dived, and its crew tried again to complete their mission but damage prevented them from firing one torpedo. More attacks from the now-alerted fleet caused more damage that kept Ha-19 from firing its second torpedo, and fumes overcame the crew members. The little sub drifted.

  • U.S. Forest service closes 1.5 million acre forest to visitors

    As the severest drought conditions in recent memory tightens its grip on the northern New Mexico region, county and federal officials are shutting New Mexicans out of large portions of public lands in an effort to prevent wildfires.

    The Los Alamos Fire Department closed all unpaved trail systems within the county beginning today.

    Closures include Camp May. The only exceptions are Canyon Rim Trail, La Mesa Trail and the paved access to Overlook Point in White Rock.

    “Under current conditions, any fire could cause a catastrophic event. With such a dangerously high fire risk, the County wishes to take every precaution to protect our natural and cultural resources, and asks the public to cooperate with the new restrictions,” a statement from the Los Alamos Fire Department said.

    The U.S. Forest Service declared the Santa Fe National Forest, all 1.5 million acres of it, off limits to the public Thursday.

    “We are at historic levels for our indices we use for fire risk. We are at or above our 10-year maximums we use across the forest,” said U.S. Forest Service Supervisor James Melonas.

    Campgrounds, hiking trails, and all other types of forest recreation spots and roads are closed to the public.

  • Free fishing day Saturday in N.M.

    SANTA FE – Anglers can fish for free in New Mexico Saturday as the state celebrates National Boating and Fishing Week.
    Anyone can fish for free in public fishing waters throughout the state that day, but everyone must observe bag limits and all other rules and regulations.

    “This is a great time to take your family fishing and teach them a skill that will provide a lifetime of enjoyment,” said Kevin Holladay, conservation education coordinator for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.

    Several fishing spots across the state will offer special opportunities Saturday.

    Monastery Lake in Pecos Canyon: The second annual Fishing Expo at Monastery Lake in will be from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. This family friendly, alcohol-free fishing derby will have booths, exhibits and over $1,000 in prizes for kids who catch tagged fish. This expo will have a food truck, free fly-casting lessons from Truchas Chapter of Trout

    Unlimited, aquatic bugs under microscopes to view, deejay services by Sider Esquibel, wildlife hides and skull table, spin-casting games for the kids and live birds of prey in the afternoon presented by the Santa Fe Raptor Center.

  • School board moves ahead on building projects

    The Los Alamos School Board made decisions during its monthly work session that will advance two separate construction projects within the district.

    The first vote during the session, held May 24 at Piñon Elementary School in White Rock, was to approve the final contract for the Barranca Mesa building project. The second was to approve selection of an architect for a project at Mountain Elementary School.

    Lisa Montoya, the assistant superintendent for finance and operations, said meetings were held the previous day on the Barranca project, which is on schedule for a June 4 start.

    “We met with Barranca folks to finalize everything,” she said. “We went through the add alternates and set tentative dates for weekly meetings just to make sure we were all on the same page.”

    Albuquerque’s Bradbury Stamm Construction was hired for the Barranca project and is working with a budget of $14, 240,100, which includes items listed as add alternates.

    “It includes everything,” Montoya said. “So we are well within the budget we had to work with.”

    Board member Ellen Ben-Naim asked Montoya if it were possible to add clauses in the district’s building contracts in the future that would compensate accordingly for early or late finishes.

  • LA mental health counselor arrested for domestic battery

    Los Alamos Monitor

    A Los Alamos child, adult and family counselor who worked with middle and high school students in 2015 as a youth resource advocate for the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board was arrested Saturday on multiple charges related to domestic battery.

    Robert Ward, of Santa Fe, was booked into the Santa Fe Adult Detention Facility in at 5:03 a.m. Saturday.
    Ward worked with Los Alamos High School students and families for JJAB but resigned in early 2016, according to minutes of a March 3, 2016 meeting of the Los Alamos Community Health Council.

    He is now listed as a provider on the Los Alamos Mental Health Access Project. He also worked for an undetermined period at a Los Alamos County psychiatry practice as a counselor.

    Ward’s charges include aggravated battery of a household member and conspiracy of aggravated battery of a household member, both are third offenses; false imprisonment and interference with communications. Bond was denied for the false imprisonment charge.