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Today's News

  • Don't expect much from this Legislature

    SANTA FE — What should we expect from New Mexico’s 2013 Legislature? Our chosen leaders have promised to work together but the chances don’t look good.
    Former Gov. Bruce King’s campaign slogan was “Working Together,” But Bruce had been on the county commission, was a former House speaker and a three-time governor. He knew how to make it work.
    Today we are faced with more than 30 of our 112 lawmakers being new to their jobs and a governor whose experience is as a prosecutor — a job not known for working together.
    Add to those problems new leadership in both the House and Senate. House Speaker Ben Lujan retired and Senate President Pro Tem Tim Jennings was beaten in a bitter battle. So we have no steady hand of longtime leadership plus a number of first-time committee chairs.
    And it doesn’t end there. The recent elections were the most expensive ever -- and probably the dirtiest. Everybody claims dirty elections but this is the first time we have had GOP money being used to defeat Republicans in the Republican primary and Democrats in the Democratic primary. And it was the governor’s PAC that was behind it all.

  • Keeping funeral costs affordable

    Anyone who’s put a loved one to rest knows that death is not cheap. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average adult funeral cost $6,560 in 2009 (their most current data).
    That doesn’t include such common add-ons as a cemetery plot, headstone, flowers, obituaries and limousine, which can add thousands to the bill.
    Because death is a frequently avoided topic, many people aren’t armed with information about the many variables — and costs — involved in planning a funeral.
    Thus, just when survivors are grieving and most vulnerable, they’re bombarded by decisions that must be made quickly, often without even knowing what their loved one would have wanted.
    The key message for the living is to decide on preferred funeral arrangements ahead of time and to convey those wishes to your family – ideally in your will.
    Another important lesson: Know your legal rights and what funeral-related goods and services cost so you — or your survivors — don’t feel pressured into buying things you don’t want or need. The Federal Trade Commission oversees “The Funeral Rule,” which regulates how funeral providers must deal with consumers. Among its provisions:

  • Police Beat 01-15-13

    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.

    Jan. 3

    8:36 a.m. — A 63-year-old Los Alamos man reported to damage to his property (less than $1,000) in the 100 block of Mariposa Court.

    12:20 p.m. — C.B. Fox Department store reported the retailer received a series of bad checks.

    Jan. 4

    3:05 p.m. — Gary Shaw, 41, of Los Alamos, was arrested on a felony warrant from another jurisdiction in the 2400 block of East Road.

    4:12 p.m. — Tamarah Singer, 53, of San Juan Pueblo, was arrested on a misdemeanor warrant.

    Jan. 5

    2:05 a.m. —­ Alfred Madrid, 41, of Hernandez, arrested on a charge of aggravated DWI (refusal to submit to chemical testing) in the 100 block of Central Avenue.

    8:46 a.m. — William Lopez, 42, was arrested on a magistrate court warrant.

    4:22 p.m. — Pablo Morenoholguin, 36, of Albuquerque, was arrested for speeding and driving with a suspended or revoked license on Diamond Drive.

    Jan. 6

  • Deadline approaches for charter committee

    The deadline to apply for the five member committee to study utilities-related sections of the County Charter is quickly approaching.
    So far, the county has not received any applicants.
    The committee will include one member of the county council, one member of the Dept. of Public Utilities’ Board, and three citizens who meet any one of the following qualifications:
    • A member of the community with management experience;
    • A member of the community with accounting experience; and
    • A member of the community “at large.”
    Applicants wishing to be considered for appointment to the committee are asked to send a one or two-page letter to the county council with their name, address, phone number and email address.
    They are asked to state which of the three positions they are interested in and should furnish information about their employer (if applicable), as well as a listing of their qualifications and experience.
    In addition, they are asked to submit a paragraph stating “why” they would like to serve on the committee.
    Letters may be emailed to lacadministrator@lacnm.us or mailed or hand-delivered to the county administrator’s office at 133 Central Park Square in Los Alamos.
    The deadline for letters of interest is 5 p.m. Jan. 21.

  • Local developer pleads guilty

    A local developer walked into Los Alamos Magistrate Court for his arraignment by himself Monday, and pleaded guilty to aggravated battery against a household member.

    Without a lawyer and just a packet of papers in his hand, Stan Primak quietly answered a series of questions asked by Judge Pat Casados, before entering the guilty plea.

    When asked why he decided not to fight the charges, Primak, 61, simply said, “I have no comment.”

    The charges come from a domestic case filed on Jan. 4 in response to a police call in the 1300 block of 44th Street.

    On that day, Primak was arrested and taken to the Los Alamos Detention Center. He was later released on a $3,000 surety bond.

    Primak is a prominent developer in Los Alamos, and he’s also served on many local boards and committees in the past, including on the board of directors of Trinity Corp. and Los Alamos National Bank.

    In 2008, he was the lead builder in a Habitat For Humanity House in Española.

    Primak is due to be sentenced in Los Alamos Magistrate Court Feb. 5. He faces a maximum sentence of 364 days probation plus a $1,000 fine. No matter how the judge rules Feb. 5, Primak is ordered to enroll himself in a 52-week domestic violence treatment program.  

  • Update 01-15-13

    Coalition meeting

    The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities will hold its business meeting from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. Friday at the Ohkay Casino Conference Center.

    County Council

    The Los Alamos County Council will hold a work session at 7 p.m. today at the White Rock Fire Station No. 3.

    Kiwanis

    Kiwanis meets each Tuesday, noon to 1 p.m., at the Masonic Temple, on Sage, near the intersection of 15th and Canyon. On Jan. 22, Katherine Gauntt of the Walkin N Circles Ranch, Inc., in Edgewood, will speak on the ranch’s horse rescue program.

    BPU meeting

    The Board of Public Utilities will meet at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the DPU Conference Room at 170 Central Park Square.

    Have a news tip?

    Send press releases, photos and videos to laeditor@lamonitor.com or contact the newsroom at 662-4185.

    Ice rink closure

    The Los Alamos County Ice Rink will close one hour early on Feb. 15 to accommodate a private group.  Public skating will be from 1:45-6 p.m. Contact the Ice Rink at 662-4500 with any additional questions.
     

  • The New Mexico Legislature at a glance...

    TThe start: The 2013 Legislature convenes at noon Tuesday

  • Governor pushes economic plan as legislature convenes

     

    SANTA FE (AP) — As the New Mexico Legislature returned to work Tuesday, Gov. Susana Martinez used her State of the State address to press lawmakers to focus on boosting New Mexico's struggling economy.

    Martinez spoke to a joint session of the House and Senate after legislators convened for a 60-day session, taking the opportunity to say that diversifying New Mexico's economy was needed to protect the state from a federal government that she called "dysfunctional."

    "The national economy is stagnant. It's hardly growing," Martinez said. "And the federal government — on which our state has become so dependent over the years — is faltering, weighed down by $16 trillion in debt."

    Economic and budget issues were possible common ground for the Republican governor and the Democrat-controlled Legislature. New Mexico has lost about 4,800 jobs in the past year — a drop of 0.6 percent — and potential federal budget cuts could deliver another blow to the state's economy.

    Martinez asked the Legislature to approve a reduction in the corporate income tax rate, as well as other economic development incentives to make New Mexico more competitive with neighboring states in recruiting and retaining private businesses.

  • Lecture hall bears Wallace’s name

     Jeannette Wallace’s children, Dr. Terry Wallace and Janice Parra, cut the ribbon on the plaque at the dedication of  Jeannette Wallace Hall at the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos. 

  • LA DPU plans for shortages

    In February 2011, large parts of New Mexico lost natural gas supplies in bitterly cold weather similar to what the state is experiencing now.

    Department of Public Utilities Manager John Arrowsmith said that although New Mexico Gas Company has not finalized plans for dealing with such an emergency, it is better prepared to deal with issues as they arise.

    “I think they are a lot more vigilant about the supply to their system and the demands on their system and I think they’re working with the various groups to try to remedy the problem, to either make sure they have additional compression or additional facilities online or, if there is a crisis, to identify it early and ask each one of the users of the system to cut their use in advance of a collapse,” Arrowsmith said.

    The crisis two years ago resulted when areas of Texas and Southern New Mexico lost electrical power, compromising NMGC’s ability to compress gas. That dropped pressure in the line and NMGC decided to shut down supplies to Bernalillo, parts of Albuquerque and Northern New Mexico in order to maintain sufficient pressure in the rest of its lines.