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Letter To The Editor: Nuisance Ordinance - It's Even Worse Than It Sounds

on September 18, 2017 - 7:58am
By JIM REDMAN
Los Alamos

I am indebted to David Izraelevitz (link) for explaining to citizens in excruciating detail how burdensome, unpleasant, aggressive and bureaucratic the enforcement of weeds over 18 inches has become in Los Alamos. For this enforcement we must create acronyms, have well defined timelines and threaten court action. It's really difficult for me to think of something so anathema to good neighbors and neighborhoods and a clearer demonstration of poor governance.

That there are reports from citizens that the "best practices" described are not followed might also further

Lujan Grisham Secures $5 million In Additional Funding For High-Crime Cities

on September 18, 2017 - 6:42am
U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham
 
CONGRESSIONAL News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham successfully added four amendments to the omnibus appropriations bill, including increased funding for the hiring of state and local police officers in high-crime communities like Albuquerque.
 
The House passed the appropriations bill today, which now heads to the Senate for consideration.
 
The legislation includes an amendment from Rep. Lujan Grisham that increases funding by $5 million under the Byrne JAG Program. This is the same program highlighted recently by U.S.

DOE Announces WIPP Contract Extension

on September 17, 2017 - 7:00am

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad. Courtesy photo

WIPP News:

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce released the following statement after the Department of Energy (DOE) announced a three-year extension to the AECOM Management and Operations Contract for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad:

“WIPP is a major contributor to the Carlsbad economy and plays a critical role in our nation’s security.

Appropriations Bill Passes With Pearce Amendments

on September 17, 2017 - 6:27am
U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce
 
U.S. CONGRESSIONAL News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C.  The U.S. House of Representatives has passed H.R. 3354, the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act of 2018, which finishes the FY18 appropriations process for the House of Representatives by providing funding levels for eight funding bills.
 
This package included two amendments by U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce that rollback excessive and duplicative regulations on the oil and gas industry. Inclusion of these amendments will greatly benefit New Mexico.
 
“New Mexico’s oil and gas industry represents nearly

Letter To The Editor: More Utility Rate Increases

on September 16, 2017 - 10:40am
By BRADY BURKE
Los Alamos

Remember that discussion a couple of months back about how sewer rates were being rubber-stamped each year for the past five years at 8 percent each year. The Department of Public Utilities wanted an 8 percent increase this year to show that they had revenues to get financing for the White Rock Water Treatment Facility (WRWTF or WWTF).

Remember that I was a strong advocate of tying the increases to the specific projects that they were using as rationale so that they could be removed when that obligation went away?

Council Corner: The ‘How’ Of Code Enforcement

on September 16, 2017 - 10:26am
By DAVID IZRAELEVITZ
Los Alamos
  • Part 2 of a 3-part series
  •  
  • In Part 1 of my editorial on code enforcement, I covered the “why” behind the program. Today, I would like to address in some detail the “how” of code enforcement, a process which is managed within the Community Development Department (CDD) by two full-time Code Enforcement Officers. My hope is that by explaining a little more about the process, I can help clear up confusion and concern in our community.

Let’s begin with clarifying two terms that seem to be interchangeable when the public discusses this sensitive topic, but are very

Fire Suppression Now Hot Topic For National Leaders

on September 16, 2017 - 8:15am
NWTF News:
 
EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The National Wild Turkey Federation applauds Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s continual efforts to advance sportsmen’s priorities, particularly his latest secretarial order, which begins the push to end catastrophic wildfires.
 
Zinke directed all Department of the Interior bureaus, superintendents and land managers at all levels to adopt more aggressive practices to prevent and combat the spread of those catastrophic wildfires.
 
Zinke’s order also spells out how he expects those orders to be carried out, as he wants to see fuel reductions and

NMED Confirms ‘Boil Water Advisory’ To Be Issued By Chaco Culture National Historic Parks Water System

on September 15, 2017 - 8:08pm
NMED News:
 
SANTA FE  The New Mexico Environment Department’s (NMED) Drinking Water Bureau (DWB) is confirming a required “boil water advisory” for the Chaco Culture National Historic Park Water System.
 
Chaco Culture National Historic Park Water System is required to issue the advisory today after bacteriological contamination (E. coli) was detected in repeat drinking water samples from the water system’s distribution system. Chaco Culture National Historic Park Water System is required to notify all water system users of this finding.
 
Chaco Culture National Historic Park Water

Letter To The Editor: Nuisance Ordinance - It’s Not The Messaging ... It’s The Program

on September 15, 2017 - 7:17pm
By JIM REDMAN
Los Alamos

David Izraelevitz works hard for Los Alamos and to support our citizens but on the topic of the nuisance ordinance his opinions are misguided and his advocated solutions inappropriate (link).

There are undoubtedly problems that need to be addressed, but the requirement to solve those larger problems has created an ordinance that is causing unnecessary and useless annoyances to reasonable citizens. Overzealous enforcement is at tax payers expense and adds little value to the community

It's hard to disagree with Izraelevitz’s statement “A community thrives when

Letter To The Editor: Truth Matters

on September 15, 2017 - 9:29am
By MIRANDA VISCOLI, Co-president
New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence

Mr. Visel’s latest offensive and dangerous diatribe (link) attacking the important work of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence (NMPGV) is a troubling reminder that we live in a time when a complete disregard for the facts and intentional distortion of the truth is the new law of the land.

He states, rather emphatically, that NMPGV is financially backed by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. There is not an ounce of truth to this statement.

State Auditor Tim Keller Releases Transparency Report On New Mexico Tax Policy Choices

on September 15, 2017 - 8:40am
State Auditor Tim Keller
 
STATE News:
 
SANTA FE  Today, State Auditor Tim Keller released a report shining a light on New Mexico’s tax policy choices.
 
The Office of the State Auditor (OSA) tallied more than $1 billion in tax breaks, with helpful collaboration from the Taxation and Revenue Department (TRD). The OSA report contains a broader array of tax breaks than what is included in the annual TRD tax expenditure report.
 
“Last year, we gave over $1 billion in tax revenue to different types of tax breaks with little reporting to determine whether they are helping to create

Governor Orders Flags Half-Staff To Honor Domenici

on September 15, 2017 - 8:29am

Courtesy photo

STATE News:

SANTA FE — Gov. Susana Martinez has issued an executive order for flags to be flown at half-staff from sunrise today to sunset Saturday in honor and mourning of former U.S. Sen. Pete V. Domenici.

The text of the executive order is below:

EXECUTIVE ORDER 2017-018 FLAGS FLOWN AT HALF-STAFF IN HONOR AND MOURNING OF SENATOR PETE V. DOMENICI

WHEREAS, Senator Pete V. Domenici, who honorably served the State of New Mexico, passed away on Wednesday, September 13, 2017;

WHEREAS, Senator Domenici dedicated his entire career to putting New Mexico first;

WHEREAS, Senator

Los Alamos County Sheriff Marco Lucero Endorses Jeff Apodaca For Governor Of New Mexico

on September 14, 2017 - 11:20am
By Sheriff Marco V. Lucero
Los Alamos County
 
As the Sheriff of Los Alamos County, I would like to express my strong support of Jeff Apodaca in his bid to be the next Governor of New Mexico.  
 
I grew up with Jeff and have known him, his values, and his character since we were 12 years old. Together we attended junior high through our college days at the University of New Mexico. Jeff was presented with some very difficult circumstances while he was young, and his unwavering faith and strength helped him overcome cancer. This is a true testament to his character.
 
Mr.

House Natural Resources Committee Passed Sportsmen’s Package

on September 14, 2017 - 9:08am
Congressman Steve Pearce
 
U.S. CONGRESSIONAL News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C.  The House Natural Resources Subcommittee passed H.R. 3668, the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, or SHARE Act.
 
“The tradition and culture of hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting is under attack all across the West. Here in New Mexico, we are all too familiar with the impacts of decreased access and overly burdensome regulations on federal lands. It is vital to protect the lifestyle and rights of sportsmen and women,” Rep. Pearce said.

Office Of Justice Programs Awards More Than $28.3 Million To National Center For Missing And Exploited Children

on September 14, 2017 - 8:36am
OJP News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Office of Justice Programs’ Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) announced the award of more than $28.3 million in funding to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to support efforts to prevent child abduction and sexual exploitation.
 
OJJDP has partnered with NCMEC for more than 30 years to respond to incidents of child abductions and to bring children home safely.

Luján Amendment Providing $2 Million For Peer Support Programs Included In 2018 Federal Spending Bill

on September 14, 2017 - 7:57am
Congressman Ben Ray Luján
 
CONGRESSIONAL News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. ―  An amendment authored by Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) providing funding for Peer Support programs was approved for inclusion in the 2018 federal spending bill.
 
The amendment provides $2 million in dedicated funding for Peer Support Paraprofessionals as part of the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training Program (B-HWET). The BHWET Program helps create greater access to behavioral health services by establishing partnerships with community organizations.
 
Peer support specialists are individuals

Udall Proposes Amendments To Benefit New Mexico & Nation In Major Defense Bill

on September 13, 2017 - 2:53pm

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall

From the Office of U.S. Sen. Tom Udall:

  • Measures would strengthen mission & safety of NM’s labs, help military families, and modernize government IT systems & save taxpayers money

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall announced that he is proposing several amendments to a major defense policy bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), to benefit New Mexico’s national labs and military families, modernize outdated and wasteful government IT systems and save taxpayers money.

The bill, which sets defense policy for the nation, is being debated on the

Council Corner: The ‘Why’ Of Code Enforcement

on September 13, 2017 - 12:56pm
By DAVID IZRAELEVITZ
Los Alamos

Editor’s note: This is Part 1 of a 3-part series on code enforcement

Recently, I have read many negative comments on social media and, more recently, letters to the editor regarding the County’s stepped-up Code Enforcement activities. I would like to step back from the fray for a minute to share with you some context relevant to this discussion.

Pete Domenici Has Died

on September 13, 2017 - 12:01pm

Staff Report

Former New Mexico U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici died this morning at the age of 85 at University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque. He had recently undergone abdominal surgery and had been in intensive care.

Domenici represented New Mexico in the United States Senate from 1972 until 2008, making him the longest serving U.S. Senator from New Mexico. During his career, Domenici who was a Republican, rose in the ranks of the Senate to eventually serve as chairman or ranking minority member of the budget committee, depending on which party controlled the Senate.

He also rose to be

Heinrich Backs Medicare For All

on September 13, 2017 - 8:48am
U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich
 
U.S. SENATE News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) released the following statement on cosponsoring U.S Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) Medicare for All bill:
 
“America is the wealthiest country on Earth, yet despite our health care progress in recent years, we still spend far too much of our GDP on health care and some New Mexicans still find themselves without any coverage at all.
 
“It is time to recognize that health care is a human right and I believe that the best way to make that a reality in our nation is to build on what we all

Secretary Zinke Directs Interior Bureaus To Take Aggressive Action To Prevent Wildfires

on September 13, 2017 - 8:14am
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke
 
U.S. SECRETARY News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C.  Sept. 12, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke directed all Department of the Interior bureaus, superintendents, and land managers at all levels to adopt more aggressive practices, using the full authority of the Department, to prevent and combat the spread of catastrophic wildfires through robust fuels reduction and pre-suppression techniques. 
 
This year-to-date, 47,700 wildfires have burned 8 million acres across the country, with the majority of the devastation in the states of California and

Heinrich, Lujan Grisham, Luján Introduce Legislation To Establish Tech-Transfer Maturation Program

on September 13, 2017 - 7:50am
U.S. SENATE News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sept. 12, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representatives Michelle Lujan Grisham and Ben Ray Luján introduced bicameral legislation to authorize an Energy Technology Maturation Program at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to facilitate successful commercialization of laboratory-developed technologies and boost regional, technology-driven economic impact.
 
Heinrich, a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, announced the legislation during a Subcommittee on Energy hearing yesteray on the contributions of the DOE’s

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall To Cosponsor Bernie Sanders’ Medicare For All Legislation

on September 13, 2017 - 4:33am
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall
 
U.S. SENATE News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Tom Udall has announced that he will sign on as an original cosponsor to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All legislation, which would ensure every American would have access to comprehensive health insurance regardless of income or employment status.
 
Udall supported similar proposals sponsored by Rep. John Conyers when he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2003, 2005, and 2007. Udall made the following statement:
 
“I believe that health care is a human right, and that all New Mexicans – and

State Auditor Uncovers Likely Fraud, Embezzlement

on September 12, 2017 - 3:19pm

State Auditor Tim Keller

STATE News:

  • Keller identifies hundreds of checks worth more than $475,000 written to vendors were cashed into a former employee’s personal bank account

ALBUQUERQUE – Today, State Auditor Tim Keller released the results of an investigation into La Promesa Early Learning Center, a state charter school in Albuquerque.

The Risk Review found about half a million dollars were diverted from the School into a former employee’s personal bank account between June 2010 and July 2016. Office of the State Auditor (OSA) subpoenas of bank records uncovered that the former

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich Delivers Opening Statement At Joint Economic Committee Hearing On E-Commerce

on September 12, 2017 - 1:48pm
U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich
 
U.S. SENATE News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C.  U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ranking Member of the Joint Economic Committee, delivered the following statement at Sept. 12 hearing entitled “The Dynamic Gains from Free Digital Trade for the U.S. Economy.” Ranking Member Heinrich highlighted in his opening remarks how e-commerce is crucial to growing and democratizing the economy.
 
Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
 
Thank you, Vice Chairman Lee, and thank you to our panel for being here today.
 
E-commerce touches industries across all sectors

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