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October 29, 2015

Feds deny New Mexico an extension to comply with Real ID -- Santa Fe New Mexican

The federal government has declined to give New Mexico an extension to comply with a controversial law that requires proof of legal U.S. residency in order for state driver’s licenses and ID cards to be valid for federal purposes, including, eventually, boarding commercial aircraft.

An Oct. 19 letter from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to New Mexico's Taxation and Revenue Department agency said the state had not provided adequate justification for another extension to comply with the Real ID law, passed a decade ago in reaction to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. -- 10/28/2015


Technology Device Ownership: 2015 -- Pew Research Center

Today, 68% of U.S. adults have a smartphone, up from 35% in 2011, and tablet computer
ownership has edged up to 45% among adults, according to newly released survey data from the
Pew Research Center.1 Smartphone ownership is nearing the saturation point with some groups:
86% of those ages 18-29 have a smartphone, as do 83% of those ages 30-49 and 87% of those
living in households earning $75,000 and up annually.

At the same time, the surveys suggest the adoption of some digital devices has slowed and even
declined in recent years. -- 10/29/2015

October 27, 2015

Federal grant to fund Southwest Chief rail repairs -- Santa Fe New Mexican

Amtrak’s Southwest Chief, a passenger train that runs through Northern and Central New Mexico, will receive a $15 million federal grant for track repairs, the state’s congressional delegation said Monday.

New Mexico communities and the state contributed money toward obtaining the federal grant. The state Department of Transportation committed $1 million toward matching the federal grant, according to a department spokeswoman. Santa Fe County committed $12,500. -- 10/26/2015


No Cleanup Plan For ABQ Dry Cleaning Spill -- KUNM

There is a problem with the groundwater in Albuquerque—a big problem. A plume of poisonous dry cleaning chemicals is flowing beneath the Sawmill and Wells Park neighborhoods, just north of downtown. The contamination stretches farther than the Kirtland Air Force Base jet fuel spill, and is much closer to the surface.

But two decades into their investigation, state regulators are still waiting for a cleanup plan from the company that spilled the chemicals.Ten years. That’s the amount of time that has passed since the New Mexico Environment Department first ordered a nearby business called Laun-Dry Supply Company to develop a cleanup plan, after state investigators traced the groundwater contamination to chemical tanks on Laun-Dry’s property.

Michelle Hunter,  New Mexico Environment Department’s Groundwater Bureau Chief said the science she’s seen puts the Laun-Dry plume on par with some of the state’s EPA Superfund sites—places so badly polluted they’ve been singled out by the federal government as needing immediate cleanup to protect human health and the environment. -- 10/26/2015


Bad Day For Bacon: Processed Meats Cause Cancer, WHO Says -- NPR

The World Health Organization has deemed that processed meats — such as bacon, sausages and hot dogs — cause cancer.

In addition, the WHO says red meats including beef, pork, veal and lamb are "probably carcinogenic" to people.

A group of 22 scientists reviewed the evidence linking red meat and processed meat consumption to cancer, and concluded that eating processed meats regularly increases the risk of colorectal cancer. Their evidence review is explained in an article published in The Lancet.

The conclusion puts processed meats in the same category of cancer risk as tobacco smoking and asbestos. This does not mean that they are equally dangerous, says the International Agency for Research on Cancer — the agency within the WHO that sets the classifications. And it's important to note that even things such as aloe vera are on the list of possible carcinogens. -- 10/26/2015


Giant transformers to travel through New Mexico -- Farmington Times

The heaviest load ever to be transported on New Mexico public roads will be coming through the Four Corners this week, according to the New Mexico Department of Transportation.

The first transformer is expected to leave Thoreau at approximately 6 a.m. Monday and will be traveling at a rate of 10 mph. It will require one truck pulling and five trucks pushing to move each transformer. It is expected to travel for four to five hours Monday to reach Navajo Route 9 near Crownpoint. From Crownpoint, the load is expected to travel west on Tuesday morning to U.S. Highway 491. The load will be transported starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday from U.S. Highway 491 north of Twin Lakes to U.S. Highway 64 south of Shiprock. On Friday morning, the load will be transported west on U.S. Highway 64 to the Arizona-New Mexico line. From there, the transformers will be transported to Monticello, Utah. -- 10/24/2015

October 19, 2015

New Mexico plan would bring high-speed Internet to every classroom in the state -- American School and University

Every classroom in New Mexico will get high-speed Internet access by 2018 under a proposal put forth by Gov. Susana Martinez.

Using $49 million in state funds over the next few years, several state agencies and a national nonprofit will partner with local districts to improve infrastructure in schools and bring high-speed connections to every classroom. As of now, more than 30 percent of New Mexico’s school districts don't have access to high-speed Internet. -- 10/16/2015

October 23, 2015

Independence of DOI Investigation Challenged by New Mexico -- New Mexico Environment Department Press Release

Today, New Mexico Environment Department officials questioned the intent, independence, and investigative rigor of the U.S. Dept. of Interior’s (DOI) report on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Gold King Mine blowout that released 3 million gallons of heavy metals laced mine wastewater into the Animas and San Juan Rivers.  “While DOI’s technical evaluation squarely places blame for the Gold King Mine blowout on EPA, it suspiciously avoids answering any questions of substance relating to who made the decisions leading to the accident and why they made them,” said New Mexico Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn. -- 10/23/2015

October 9, 2015

Officials to celebrate Valles Caldera’s transition -- Albuquerque Journal/Associated Press

State, federal and tribal officials will be gathering this weekend to mark the official transition of Valles Caldera National Preserve to the National Park Service.

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will be joined by members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation, Native American leaders and other local officials for a celebration at the preserve Saturday.

The federal government purchased the property in 2000 with the goal of operating it as a working ranch while developing recreational opportunities for the public. Legislation signed last year cleared the way for the property to transition from trust management to the Park Service. --10/9/2015