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Today Marks 129 Presidents' Days

on February 17, 2014 - 11:00am

Happy Presidents' Day:

Presidents’ Day is an American holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, it is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government.

Traditionally celebrated Feb. 22—Washington’s actual day of birth—the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers.

While several states still have individual holidays honoring the birthdays

Ranchers May Sign up for Farm Bill Drought Disaster Aid within 60 Days

on February 17, 2014 - 8:35am


WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced that the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture will soon enable livestock producers to sign up for disaster assistance, which the senators helped to pass in the Farm Bill earlier this month.

The assistance is being expedited—signups will begin in 60 days—at the request of Udall, Heinrich and several other senators from western states, where producers have been struggling with several years of drought.

Officials Comment on Radiation at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant

on February 16, 2014 - 10:04am

Operators prepare drums of contact-handled transuranic waste for loading into transportation containers. Courtesy/


CARLSBAD—U.S Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich issued the following statement after an air monitor detected higher than usual radiation levels around 11:30 p.m. Friday on the underground levels of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad:

"We are in close contact with officials at the Department of Energy and WIPP, and we will continue to monitor the situation as more information becomes available.

Rural Communities Awarded Federal Aid for Police Vehicles, Water Well and Sewer Line Upgrades

on February 16, 2014 - 7:32am

USDA News:

Announcement made during visit by federal official from Washington

ALBUQUERQUE–USDA Deputy Under Sec. Doug O’Brien and State Director Terry Brunner announced the award of loans and grants to help two rural New Mexico communities make public safety and infrastructure improvements.

“This funding will help finance projects that are good examples of how USDA Rural Development is committed to making the lives of rural New Mexicans much better through the various programs we have to offer,” O’Brien said.

Rural Development has approved a $28,000 loan and $29,000 grant to help the town of

Woman Embedded with Military Units in Afghanistan Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges

on February 16, 2014 - 7:03am

Farida Yusufi

SHERMAN, TEXAS—A 39-year-old McKinney, Texas woman has pleaded guilty to federal violations stemming from her employment as a translator embedded with several U.S. military units in Afghanistan, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales of the Eastern District of Texas and U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.

Farida Yusufi, a U.S. citizen of Afghan origin, pleaded guilty to eight counts of a nine-count indictment, unsealed in August 2013, Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Amos Mazzant.

IRS Tips for Faster Answers to Typical Questions

on February 15, 2014 - 9:06am

IRS News:

PHOENIX—The Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers the Presidents Day holiday period typically marks one of the busiest weeks of the tax filing season for its phone lines. There are other alternatives to help taxpayers find answers to commonly asked tax questions.

The IRS has several easy-to-use, online tools on Taxpayers can check the status of their refund, request a copy of their tax transcript or get an answer to their tax questions around the clock.

“The entire week of the Presidents Day holiday marks a peak time in the number of calls to the IRS, and we encourage

New Mexico Congressional Delegation Supports Minimum Wage Increase

on February 14, 2014 - 7:50am


WASHINGTON, D.C.–Wednesday, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham announced their enthusiastic support for increasing New Mexico’s minimum wage.

The New Mexico state legislature is currently debating a measure to raise the minimum wage and provide for annual inflation increases to strengthen the economy and help lift more families into the middle class. Udall, Heinrich, Luján and Lujan Grisham also support raising the federal minimum wage.

“Increasing the minimum wage ensures families have money to

Udall, Heinrich Urge USDA to Move Quickly on Disaster Aid to Livestock Producers

on February 13, 2014 - 7:46am


  • Farm Bill provision would ensure new and retroactive aid for ranchers who have had to cut back their herds during N.M. drought

WASHINGTON–U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced that they have sent a bipartisan letter signed by a coalition of senators to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, encouraging the USDA to expedite the implementation of the livestock disaster programs reauthorized in the 2014 Farm Bill.
The Farm Bill's disaster assistance programs are critical for New Mexico's livestock producers, who have had to cut back their herds in

Bill Would Improve Health Care for Rural Veterans

on February 12, 2014 - 9:06am



Bill would improve access to care by expanding transportation options, recruiting and retaining doctors and prioritizing improvements at rural clinics

WASHINGTON–U.S. Senators Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Dean Heller, R-Nev., introduced a bill to address some of the biggest barriers to health care for veterans in rural communities.
More than six million veterans, including a third of all Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, live in rural communities. But as many as half of those veterans may be going without care from the VA.

Local United Way Earns 4-Star Rating From Charity Navigator for Fifth Time in a Row

on February 11, 2014 - 2:42pm

United Way Executive Director Kristy Ortega during a recent presentation to the Rotary Club of Los Alamos. Photo by Carol A. Clark/




United Way of Northern New Mexico (UWNNM) have earned a 4-star rating for the fifth time in a row from Charity Navigator, America's largest independent charity evaluator.


Since 2002, using data-driven analysis, Charity Navigator has awarded only the most fiscally responsible organizations a 4-star rating.

Fee Waived at Bandelier; Across National Park System on Presidents Day Weekend

on February 11, 2014 - 2:12pm



Saturday Feb. 15 through Monday Feb. 17, the public is invited to visit free of charge Bandelier and other national parks, monuments and many areas administered by other federal agencies throughout the United States.

The Presidents Day weekend is the second of the times in 2014 when all National Park Service sites open their gates to visitors without charging entrance fees.
"This should be a wonderful weekend to visit Bandelier," Superintendent Jason Lott said.

FBI: Protecting Aircraft From Laser Strikes

on February 11, 2014 - 11:05am

Last year, 3,960 laser strikes against aircraft were reported. The FBI will offer up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of any individual who intentionally aims a laser at an aircraft. Courtesy/FBI

FBI News:

  • Protecting Aircraft From Lasers ... New Program Offers Rewards for Information

Today the FBI announced a program aimed at deterring people from pointing lasers at aircraft—a felony punishable by five years in jail—and rewarding those who come forward with information about individuals who engage in this dangerous activity.

“Aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft is a

Luján: Farm Bill to Help New Mexico Communities

on February 11, 2014 - 9:05am
Rep. Ben Ray Luján


Santa Fe–After President Barack Obama signed the bipartisan Farm Bill into law Friday afternoon, U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s 3rd District highlighted the important impact the legislation will have on communities in New Mexico.

“Farmers and ranchers in New Mexico have waited a long time for this day.

Udall Statement on Continued Obstruction of Emergency Unemployment Insurance

on February 11, 2014 - 7:40am

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall


WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Tom Udall issued the following statement after Republicans filibustered a measure to extend emergency unemployment insurance that would help 6,000 New Mexicans:

"I'm extremely disappointed that once again, partisanship kept families in New Mexico looking for work from getting help they need. Nearly 6,000 New Mexicans have already lost this lifeline because of partisan obstruction.

Valles Caldera Trust Names Interim Executive Director

on February 10, 2014 - 2:37pm

Dr. Tim Haarmann

VCNP News:

JEMEZ SPRINGS–The Valles Caldera Board of Trustees today named Dr. Tim Haarmann interim executive director of the Valles Caldera Trust.

Haarmann will be in charge of day to day operations until the board selects a permanent executive director. The board will conduct a nationwide search to find a qualified replacement for former Executive Director Dennis Trujillo who retired Jan. 3.

Haarmann is currently Operations Division director on the Valles Caldera National Preserve. He is responsible for management of programs including recreation, environmental

'Experimental Physical Sciences Vistas' Presents 70 Years of Los Alamos Milestones

on February 10, 2014 - 7:17am

LANL News:

Making, measuring and modeling are inextricably linked throughout the history of Los Alamos National Laboratory. These scientific endeavors were instrumental in fulfilling the objectives of the Manhattan Project and they remain so today in executing the Laboratory's national security mission.

The new issue of "Experimental Physical Sciences Vistas" presents 70 years of Los Alamos milestones in making, measuring and modeling; highlights the people who perform this science; and it outlines the evolution of the Laboratory's signature facilities and its pursuit of MaRIE, a new

Heinrich Statement on Republicans' Refusal to Extend Emergency Unemployment Benefits

on February 10, 2014 - 7:12am


WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-NM, issued the following statement after Senate Republicans again refused to advance S. 1845, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act, a bill that would extend federal emergency unemployment benefits to nearly 6,000 New Mexican job-seekers:

"I'm greatly disappointed that Senate Republicans continue to deny emergency unemployment benefits to more than a million Americans, including nearly 6,000 New Mexicans who are looking for work.

Udall Recruiting Summer Interns for Washington Office

on February 9, 2014 - 8:05am
Sen. Tom Udall


WASHINGTON–U.S. Sen. Tom Udall invites New Mexico college students interested in gaining legislative or press relations experience to apply for summer internships in his Washington office.
For more information and to apply for an internship, please visit During the upcoming summer internship program, Udall's office in Washington will host two summer sessions: May 27-June 27, and June 30-Aug. 1. Applications and letters of recommendation for either summer internship session must be submitted by March 16.

Earned Income Tax Credit Gives Workers a Boost

on February 9, 2014 - 7:47am

IRS News:

For nearly 40 years, the Earned Income Tax Credit has been helping low- to moderate-income workers by giving them a boost to their income. Four out of five eligible workers claim EITC, but the IRS wants every eligible worker to claim and get this credit.

Here are some things the IRS wants you to know about this important credit:
Review your eligibility. If you worked and earned under $51,567, you may be eligible for EITC. If your financial or family situation has changed, you should review the EITC eligibility rules.

Veterans Encouraged to Use Comparison Tool

on February 9, 2014 - 7:39am


WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Tom Udall encourages veterans, service members and their eligible dependents to use a new online GI Bill Comparison Tool launched by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA.)

The tool provides users of the Post-9/11 GI Bill with increased information about colleges, universities and other education and training programs.

This new tool will help veterans avoid scams that use misleading or predatory tactics to target veterans and their families as they strive to reach their higher education goals.
“I was proud to support the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and I am

Udall: Jornada ‘Climate Hub’ to Help N.M. Farmers and Ranchers

on February 8, 2014 - 8:17am
Sen. Tom Udall

U.S. Senate News:

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Sen. Tom Udall issued the following statement on President Obama’s decision to name the Jornada Experimental Range in Las Cruces, N.M., the U.S. Department of Agriculture Southwest “climate hub.”

As a climate hub, it will provide information to rural communities in New Mexico, California, Utah, Nevada and Arizona about the impacts of climate change. Udall and Senator Martin Heinrich wrote to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in October in support of the Jornada Experimental Range’s application.

“Difficult conditions are nothing new to New

UPDATE: Luján Announces Congressional App Competition for High School Students

on February 7, 2014 - 7:46am
UPDATE: Submission period is open until 5 p.m. EDT
U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján

U.S. Congressional News:

SANTA FE—U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico's Third District announced details today for the first annual Congressional Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Academic Competition, "The House Student App Challenge." 

High school students from the Third District can compete by creating and exhibiting their software application, or "app," for mobile, tablet or computer devices on a platform of their choice.

Udall Submits 7,515 Petition Signatures for Re-election

on February 6, 2014 - 7:53am
Sen. Tom Udall

U.S. Senate News:

ALBUQUERQUE – U.S. Sen. Tom Udall officially filed for re-election Wednesday, submitting 7,515 petition signatures collected by volunteers from across New Mexico, in order to appear on the ballot in November. Udall gathered signatures from every county in New Mexico, demonstrating broad-based support.

“We’ve seen an outpouring of support from people across our state, and in every county. They know there’s a lot at stake in this election and that we’re focused on what matters - fighting in the U.S.

Heinrich Statement on House Republicans' Immigration Reform Principles

on February 3, 2014 - 5:35am


WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., released the following statement on the new set of principles on immigration reform put forward by House Republican leaders:

"The lack of consensus among House Republicans on immigration reform has been disappointing, so I'm encouraged by the recent progress made toward finding common ground and common sense solutions. I'm especially pleased that there's consensus that we need to provide a special pathway to citizenship to DREAMers.

"But the reality is, passing immigration reform is long overdue.

FBI Director Rates LANL Security 'Excellent'

on February 2, 2014 - 10:17am

National FBI Director James B. Comey flanked by New Mexico law enforcement agency leaders Friday during a press conference at Albuquerque FBI Headquarters. Photo by Salvador Zapien/

Los Alamos Daily Post Publisher Carol A. Clark, left, and Russell Contreras of the Associated Press are among the media invited to Friday's special press conference with National FBI Director James Comey at Albuquerque FBI Headquarters. Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee of the FBI's Albuquerque Division is fourth from left. Photo by Salvador Zapien/

Los Alamos Police Chief Dino