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Today's News

  • Feds lose track of 1,475 migrant children

     
    Federal officials lost track of nearly 1,500 migrant children last year after a government agency placed the minors in the homes of adult sponsors in communities across the country, according to testimony before a Senate subcommittee Thursday.

    The Health and Human Services Department has a limited budget to track the welfare of vulnerable unaccompanied minors, and realized that 1,475 children could not be found after making follow-up calls to check on their safety, an agency official said.

    Federal officials came under fire two years ago after rolling back child protection policies meant for minors fleeing violence in Central America. In a follow-up hearing on Thursday, senators said that the agencies had failed to take full responsibility for their care and had delayed crucial reforms needed to keep them from falling into the hands of human traffickers.

    “You are the worst foster parents in the world. You don’t even know where they are,” said Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. “We are failing. I don’t think there is any doubt about it. And when we fail kids that makes me angry.”

  • Loope to remain in jail until hearing

     

    Marion Loope, a Los Alamos resident, who is accused of putting a knife to her mother’s throat during an argument April 15, will be held in custody without bond until her preliminary hearing, according to a ruling made by Judge Glenn T. Ellington in court Wednesday. 

     

    “The judge granted the safe motion, and she’s being held without bond,” Assistant First Judicial District Attorney Kent Wahlquist said. 

    Loope’s next appearance is in Los Alamos County Magistrate Court is expected to be May 11, when she is scheduled for a preliminary hearing.

    The hearing will determine if there is enough evidence to try her on the charges.

    On April 15, Loope’s mother reported to police that her daughter had attacked her at the home they shared on the 2100 block of 34th Street. 

    According to the police report, during the altercation, Loope apparently accused her mother of taking her medications. The mother then reportedly told Loope to stop acting like she was sick. 

  • Public airs concerns about proposed nuclear waste project near WIPP

     
    Environmental activists, leaders of nuclear safety organizations and New Mexico residents voiced concerns Wednesday during an online meeting about Holtec’s plans to build a temporary holding facility for spent nuclear waste in southeastern New Mexico.

    The company plans to store up to 8,680 tons of spent fuel from nuclear reactors from across the United States. 

    Holtec has applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a 40-year license for the project. The overall lifespan of the facility is for 120 years. 

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission held the meeting Wednesday to gather public comment for Holtec’s environmental review application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the project.

    Many were concerned about the company’s plans to bring waste from all over the country to the facility.

  • Advisory board sets location for new sculptures

    The Arts in Public Places Advisory Board discussed plaques for two outdoor art exhibits, decided on the location for a third and touched briefly on two other possible future projects during its meeting Thursday.

    The board voted to locate the new Kinetic Wind Sculptures in the open area in front of the Mesa Public Library between the Skate Park and Central Avenue.

    Board member Pete Carson said he and other board members liked the location because it was a place where the sculptures would be visible “from the street, the sidewalk along the street, the entrance to the library and if you’re walking out (of the library) or even walking in from the parking lot.”

    “It’s a pretty visible location,” he continued, “so we thought it would be a good spot for them.”

    Carson said even though there’s no utility hookups currently at the location there is power close enough so that the sculptures could be illuminated at night.

    The meeting opened with a discussion on the installation of an informational plaque for the White Rock Pottery Project, which will be affixed to the railing at the White Rock Visitor Center.

  • Smiles for the Earth
  • Police Beat 4-29-18

    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.

    April 18
    10:38 a.m. –Los Alamos  police arrested an individual on a warrant.
    7:08 p.m. – Los Alamos police investigated and aggravated assault case, and arrested a suspect.
    9:03 p.m. – Trenton Paul Engelking, 20, of Los Alamos was booked into the Los Alamos County Detention Center.
    9:03 p.m. –  Michael Weiss was booked into the Los Alamos County Detention Center on a magistrate court bench warrant, attempting to escape the custody of a police officer, aggravated assault against a household member, resisting/evading or obstructing an officer, tampering with evidence and unlawful possession of a firearm or destructive device by a felon.
    4 p.m. – Los Alamos police were called out to investigate a suspicious package at Tech Area 55.

    April 19
    2 .a.m. – Los Alamos police referred an emergency evaluation to another agency.

  • US regulators set public meetings for nuclear fuel proposal

    ROSWELL (AP) — Federal regulators have scheduled a series of public meetings as they consider a plan to temporarily store spent nuclear fuel from commercial nuclear reactors around the United States at a proposed site in southern New Mexico.

    The first meeting hosted by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will be Monday on the Eastern New Mexico University campus in Roswell.

    Another meeting will follow Tuesday in Hobbs and a third will be May 3 in Carlsbad.

    The public comment period will last through May on the application filed by Holtec International.

    Holtec and a coalition of local leaders from southeastern New Mexico first announced plans three years ago to construct a below-ground space for temporarily housing tons of spent nuclear fuel. The company is seeking an initial 40-year license.
     

  • Nuclear agency authorizes construction on New Mexico complex

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The National Nuclear Security Administration is beginning work on a multimillion-dollar complex in New Mexico that will serve as a new workspace for some 1,200 employees.

    The agency says construction was recently authorized to begin. Bids were solicited over the winter and officials estimated at that time that the new building could cost between $100 million and $250 million.

    The current facility includes a former military barracks at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque. Some portions date to the early 1950s and are in poor condition. Because of the age of the buildings, officials say routine maintenance is costly and inefficient.

    The new building is expected to reduce the agency's total deferred maintenance by about $40 million.

    The agency expects construction to be done in the first part of the 2021 fiscal year.
     

  • New Mexico Supreme Court rejects governor's vetoes

    SANTA FE (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court sided with lawmakers Wednesday in a dispute over the extent of the governor's veto powers, ordering that 10 bills vetoed by Republican Susana Martinez in 2017 go into effect because she offered no immediate explanation to the Legislature.

    In oral arguments before the court, an attorney for the Democratic-led Legislature said Martinez made it difficult or impossible to respond to her concerns about proposed legislation by not providing her reasoning in writing, or by waiting until long after the vetoes.

    "The Constitution requires the objections must accompany the allegedly vetoed bills," Chief Justice Judith Nakamura said. "Because the objections did not accompany the bills, they became law."

    Martinez, a second-term Republican who cannot run for re-election this year, previously said the Legislature was overstepping its authority.

    Paul Kennedy, an attorney for the governor, argued Wednesday that lawmakers eventually received written explanations for five of the contested vetoes, leaving enough time to revise the bills or attempt an override vote.

  • State ed officials pursue school retention plan

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico education officials are proceeding with a proposal that would require public schools to administer improvement and intervention plans and in some cases hold back students who have literacy skills below grade level.

    Education Secretary-designate Christopher Ruszkowski is proposing the new rules that would apply to students in kindergarten through third grade.

    Under the measure, schools would be required to hold back students who are struggling with reading proficiency based on a state assessment.

    The proposal would allow exemptions in certain circumstances. Parents could also sign a waiver to allow the student to move on to the next grade level, but retention would be mandatory if the student’s reading is still below proficiency at the end of the following year.

    “It seeks to codify that which is already found in state statute – which already includes language requiring additional instruction for students who can’t read,” Ruszkowski told the Albuquerque Journal.