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Today's News

  • UNM challenged over sports cuts

    BY RUSSELL CONTRERAS
    Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE — The attorney general of New Mexico announced Thursday that his office will take the University of New Mexico to court unless its board of regents reconsiders a decision to eliminate four sports.

    Attorney General Hector Balderas gave the university 15 days to respond to an opinion by his office that the school violated state open meetings laws when it moved to cut men’s soccer, men’s and women’s skiing and women’s beach volleyball.

    “The clock is ticking,” Balderas said at a news conference. “They violated state law and the actions they took are invalid.”

    University spokeswoman Cinnamon Blair said she didn’t know about the news conference and had not seen the remarks.

    Balderas told reporters the university’s board didn’t properly give the public notice that it would be discussing the cuts and should take up the process again with “full transparency.”

    The regents voted unanimously July 19 to eliminate the four sports, cut diving from the women’s swimming and diving program and dramatically reduce the men’s track and field roster.

  • Dem New Mexico House speaker defends candidate hit by audit

    By RUSSELL CONTRERAS, Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Democratic House Speaker Brian Egolf is defending a Democratic House candidate criticized in a state audit for improper reimbursements as head of an agency that promotes the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    Egolf told The Associated Press this week that a report released by State Auditor Wayne Johnson showed Andrea Romero acted properly to correct reimbursements as executive director of the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities.

    "I am not calling on Andrea Romero to step aside," Egolf said. "I'm looking forward to serving with her in the House. This audit report clearly shows she took appropriate responsible for reimbursement errors."

    The New Mexico state auditor has said the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities approved improper reimbursement for alcohol, food, travel and baseball tickets.

    The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities is an agency made of nine northern New Mexico cities, counties and pueblos surrounding the Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory. The group promotes the economy in connection with the lab and contracts associated with lab work.

  • County hopes for best with MUNIS rollout

    When Los Alamos County rolled out its new, fully integrated computer operating system on July 1, officials were hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

    Since the rollout, though, it’s been fairly smooth sailing.

    “There have been, as is the case with any implementation, some minor hiccups,” said Los Alamos County Manager Harry Burgess. “But overall, I’d say it’s gone very well and well above any expectations given the amount of issues we’ve had.”

    The county used the Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERPS) for several years before updating to this new system called MUNIS through the vendor Tyler Technologies.

    Burgess said there were initial issues where programs in certain departments, like the Community Development Department, for instance, weren’t communicating with the new system. The problem, however, was fixed before the day was over.

    “Our next real notable activity was the issuance of payroll and, out of over 700 checks that we write, we did initially have about 10 percent that we had some problems with,” he said, adding that those problems were quickly straightened out.

  • Pearce focuses on solving NM’s financial, social problems

    To entrepreneur and gubernatorial candidate Congressman Steve Pearce, the preservation of New Mexico’s core industries – oil, gas, timber and coal – is the key to solving many of the state’s financial and social problems.

    For too long, he said, decision makers have chosen policy over people, and these same decision makers have fallen into a pattern of treating the symptoms of New Mexico’s problems instead of the problems themselves.

    “You aren’t going to solve them independently. Education is not going to be solved until you begin to solve the poverty problem,” Pearce told the Los Alamos Monitor Wednesday.

    “Kids that are going to school hungry are just not going to learn, and kids suffering tremendous abuse at home are not going to learn,” Pearce said. “They’re all interrelated, and we have to address them all at a pretty good depth.”
    The Hobbs Republican has spent the past 20 years serving the people of New Mexico, and is known for his down-to-earth style and for meeting regularly with constituents to hear their concerns throughout the southern district.

  • Pence outlines plan for new Space Force by 2020

    By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Pointing to growing threats and competition from Russia and China, the White House on Thursday announced ambitious plans to create the U.S. Space Force as a sixth, separate military warfighting service by 2020.

    The proposal taps into the American public's long fascination with space but with a military focus, and it faces daunting hurdles. It requires congressional approval and has been met with skepticism from military leaders and experts who question the wisdom of launching an expensive, bureaucratic new service branch.

    Vice President Mike Pence announced the new force during a Pentagon speech, fleshing out an idea that President Donald Trump has flagged in recent months as he vowed to ensure American dominance in space. Pence described space as a domain that was once peaceful and uncontested but has now become crowded and adversarial.

    "Now the time has come to write the next great chapter in the history of our armed forces, to prepare for the next battlefield where America's best and bravest will be called to deter and defeat a new generation of threats to our people, to our nation," said Pence.

    Trump marked Pence's announcement with a tweet: "Space Force all the way!"

  • Assets in Action: Time to practice getting ‘ready for school’

    This week, I would like to suggest that you practice getting up a little earlier, if you have kids attending school next week. It is always a harsh reality to all involved in the process.

    If you back up the going to bed time and make the time to rise earlier too, it will make the first few days much less harsh. It is the reason that I am always happy that school starts on a Thursday.

    Those two days of intensity really help to assist in the getting back in a routine.

    I think as parents and caregivers, we forget that it is a mad dash from the alarm going off to heading out the door. It helps if we plan ahead and help our children to plan ahead, too. Think about easy things to pre-package the night before and leave items in a row and easily accessible to make it easier on everybody, especially of you require kids to make their own lunch.

    This will be my last, first day back to school and I still want to make sure it is a positive start. Life is too short to be grumbling about anything on such a great day. You would feel the EXACT same way as the kids if you have 10 weeks off and had to go back to work.

  • ‘Spaceballs’ to screen at Nature Center

    Watch the cult classic movie “Spaceballs” in the Los Alamos Nature Center’s planetarium on Thursday.

    This event is part of the nature center’s summer movie and beer night series “Suds & Shows.”

    Doors will open and beer and wine will be available from Pajarito Brewpub at a cash bar starting at 6 p.m. The movie will start in the planetarium at 7 p.m. Bring a picnic dinner, buy drinks and enjoy spending time at the nature center before the movie. Movie tickets are $5 per person and drinks will be available for purchase.

    Because there is limited seating in the planetarium, please purchase your tickets in advance. Tickets may be purchased by visiting or calling the Los Alamos Nature Center at 662-0460.

  • LALT to hold auditions

    Los Alamos Little Theatre will hold auditions for Neil Simon’s “Rumors” at 7 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday, 7 p.m. Aug. 17 and 2 p.m. Aug. 18 at the Performing Arts Center, 1670 Nectar St., Los Alamos.

    Scripts are available at Mesa Public Library.

    This over-the-top farce is a non-stop romp of confusion, miscommunication and  
    hilarity as an anniversary party goes awry when the host shoots himself, his wife goes missing, and the help is nowhere to be found.

    Directed by Patrick Webb. Performances will be Nov. 2-17.

    Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script and improvisational exercises. Characters needed are 10 characters, including four men, four women and two gender-neutral characters.

  • Tickets for ‘Opera on the Rocks’ now available

    Once again, The Los Alamos Opera Guild of The Guilds of The Santa Fe Opera, Inc. is joining Bandelier National Monument to present Opera on the Rocks Sept. 15.

    The performance returns this year with a concert staging of scenes from several popular operas.

    The New Mexico Performing Arts Society will present selections from Gounod’s “Faust,” Richard Strauss’ “Der Rosenkavalier,” Johann Strauss, Jr.’s “The Gypsy Baron” and Offenbach’s “Barcarolle,” all selections from their sold-out performances in Santa Fe.

    The New Mexico Performing Arts Society was founded to promote the work of New Mexico-based professional musicians and features several singers who have already delighted audiences at past Opera on the Rocks performances; Andre

    Garcia-Nuthmann and Jennifer Perez will be welcomed back. Artistic Director Franz Vote brings to Santa Fe many years of international experience, including conducting at Bayreuth and the Metropolitan Opera. Artist information may be found at NMPAS.org.

    Opera on the Rocks is an informal, family-oriented introduction to the world of opera, set in the beautiful, rustic amphitheater at Bandelier’s Juniper Campground.

  • Prosecutor: Man at compound trained kids for school shooting

    By MORGAN LEE and MARY HUDETZ, Associated Press

    TAOS (AP) — The father of a missing Georgia boy was training children at a New Mexico compound to commit school shootings, prosecutors said in court documents obtained Wednesday, as authorities waited to learn if human remains found at the site were those of the boy.

    The documents say Siraj Ibn Wahhaj was conducting weapons training with assault rifles at the compound near the Colorado border where authorities say they found 11 hungry children living in filthy conditions in a raid Friday.

    Prosecutor Timothy Hasson filed the court documents while asking that Wahhaj be held without bail after he was arrested last week with four other adults facing child abuse charges.

    "He poses a great danger to the children found on the property as well as a threat to the community as a whole due to the presence of firearms and his intent to use these firearms in a violent and illegal manner," Hasson wrote.

    Prosecutors did not bring up the school shooting accusation in court on Wednesday during an initial appearance by the abuse suspects.  A judge ordered Wahhaj held without bond pending further proceedings.