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November 10, 2015

New Mexico GOP leader eyes criminal justice reformsLas Cruces Sun News

House Majority Leader Nate Gentry wants state lawmakers to take up new criminal justice reform measures amid a string of high-profile crimes involving repeat offenders (HB 453).

The Albuquerque Republican is scheduled Monday to unveil proposals aimed at requiring harsher penalties for intentional child abuse and developing a criminal database to help judges. Gentry also wants a bill to allow cities to pass curfews laws targeting minors. -- 11/10/15

November 9, 2015

Obama Starts Personal Facebook Page -- New York Times

The leader of the free world now has a personal Facebook page, and more than 45,000 people clicked “like” on it in the first hour it was live on Monday.

It seems unlikely that a man whose daily schedule often includes meetings with world leaders and briefings on national security will have much time to post pictures of his meals or comment on pet photos. But as The Times reported this week, Mr. Obama now has a 20-member social media team at the White House that aims to bring more spontaneity and accessibility to the presidency, a position that has become highly choreographed and constricted in modern times. -- 11/9/2015


Final Environmental Impact Statement Issued For Electric Transmission Line South Of Las Cruces -- KRWG TV/FM

The Bureau of Land Management and Western Area Power Administration today announced the release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Southline Transmission Line Project, a 360-mile electric transmission line proposed to run from New Mexico to Arizona.

The Final EIS is the result of a major collaborative project that involved multiple state, local and federal cooperating agencies from Arizona and New Mexico, and the public. Of particular note is an agreement that provides the Arizona Game and Fish Department with upgraded habitat for a wide variety of wildlife  and in particular the sandhill cranes near the Willcox Playa in southern Arizona. -- 11/9/2015


Interior, Energy Departments To Sign Agreement Establishing Manhattan Project National Historical Park -- Los Alamos Daily Post

Tuesday, Nov. 10, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz will sign a Memorandum of Agreement at the Department of the Interior South Building Auditorium, to establish the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

The park will have three locations: Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Tenn. and Hanford, Wash. National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis will attend the ceremony along with Senators Martin Heinrich, Lamar Alexander and Maria Cantwell, who represent each of the park’s locations. -- 11/9/2015


New Mexico receives low marks in integrity assessment -- Santa Fe New Mexican

New Mexico scored only 61, a letter grade of D-minus, and landed tied for 34th place in the 2015 State Integrity Investigation, an assessment of state government accountability and transparency conducted by the Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity. Behind the score: widespread and systemic weaknesses in overseeing ethics, campaign finance and lobbying. -- 11/8/2015

November 5, 2015

New Mexico Museum to Unveil Rare Fossil Find -- ABC News/Associated Press

Paleontologists with the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science on Thursday planned to unveil the first baby Pentaceratops skull ever discovered.

Scientists already have cut open a giant plaster jacket that protected the skull as it was airlifted out of the desert badlands of northwestern New Mexico and trucked to the museum.

Now, technicians will begin the painstaking work of digging out the fossil from the rock in which it has been encased for some 70 million years.

The process will take many months, but the public will be able to watch from windows that offer a view into the museum's preparation room.

A free public viewing is scheduled Thursday evening November 5, 2015. -- 11/5/2015


Probe: 1,800 wild horses sent to slaughterhouse instead of pasture -- Santa Fe New Mexican/Washington Post

The government’s largest sale of wild horses was to a rancher who sent almost 1,800 mustangs to slaughterhouses across the Mexican border and lied to federal officials, a new report concludes, finding lapses with a federal program that’s supposed to find the animals safe homes.

The Colorado rancher and livestock hauler admitted to investigators from the Interior Department’s Inspector General’s Office that “probably close to all” of the horses were resold for slaughter and that he assumed they would be killed. -- 11/4/2015


State study: We’re stuck with Rail Runner -- Albuquerque Journal

A study unveiled Wednesday by the state Department of Transportation says selling the commuter train isn’t feasible and switching to a commuter bus service running between Belen and Santa Fe would not be a huge budget-saver.

“We’re finding out that despite all the difficulties we’ve had, we’re probably going to have to love each other,” Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, told a legislative hearing Wednesday at the state Capitol. “We have too much invested in it now that we can’t divorce.”

The DOT study was requested earlier this year by the Legislature. It focused on the feasibility of selling the 97-mile Rail Runner line, the cost of maintaining train service over the next 20 years and the possibility of replacing the commuter train with bus service. -- 11/4/2015


New Mexico recovers $1 million from Google -- Albuquerque Journal

Google Inc. deposited nearly $1 million in a state account this week to repay New Mexico for an economic development grant the government made for infrastructure upgrades at the Moriarty Municipal Airport.

The upgrades helped pave the way for Google to build a 60,000-square-foot facility at the airport to house Titan Aerospace, a Google subsidiary that was developing a solar-powered drone there.

But Google moved Titan’s operations to California this summer, prompting New Mexico to impose clawback provisions to recover the state’s money, Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela said. -- 11/4/2015

November 6, 2015

President Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline Plan -- NPR

Ending a process that has lingered for much of his time in the Oval Office, President Obama announced Friday that the U.S. has rejected TransCanada's application for a permit to complete the Keystone XL pipeline.

The president said that "after extensive public outreach" and consultations, the State Department determined that the proposal "would not serve the national interests of the United States." He added, "I agree with that decision."

Back in February, Obama vetoed congressional legislation that approved the project. The Senate failed to override that veto in March. The first application for approval of TransCanada's plan was filed in September of 2008. -- 11/6/2015


Rocket blows up during test launch -- Albuquerque Journal

An experimental rocket being tested by the U.S. Air Force’s Operationally Responsive Space Office, based at Kirtland Air Force Base, blew up just seconds into its debut mission Tuesday after lifting off from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii, the Air Force has confirmed.

The three-stage Super Strypi rocket, based on designs developed by Sandia National Laboratories as part of nuclear testing programs dating back to the 1960s, carried 13 small experimental satellites, SpaceNews reported the day after the failed launch.

The Operationally Responsive Space Office, set up at Kirtland in May 2007, is charged with rapidly developing and fielding smaller and cheaper satellites that can be of immediate use to combat commanders. One such effort, ORS-1, fielded a satellite that aided military commanders in Afghanistan in 2011. -- 11/6/2015


N.Y. Attorney General Investigates Whether Exxon Mobil Lied On Climate Change -- NPR

New York's attorney general would like to know: Did Exxon Mobil lie to you about the risks of climate change and to investors about how those risks might reduce profits?

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman's office confirms that a New York Times story is correct in reporting that an investigation has been launched into Exxon Mobil. That story said Schneiderman issued a subpoena on Wednesday, seeking financial records, emails and other documents.

Recently, Inside Climate News and the Los Angeles Times reported that in fact Exxon Mobil's own scientific research had long ago proved that climate change posed big risks. The company was even using that research to guide its own long-term planning for drilling in the Arctic, according to the reports. -- 11/5/2015


Ag vendors sought for holiday market -- Las Cruces Sun-News

Individuals and companies in New Mexico that produce food and other agricultural items are invited to be vendors at a two-day event happening in Las Cruces later this month.

The second annual "HomeGrown: A New Mexico Food Show & Gift Market" happens Nov. 21 and 22 at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, 4100 Dripping Springs Road.

Companies that sign up or are already signed up as members of New Mexico Department of Agriculture's NEW MEXICO—Taste the Tradition/Grown with Tradition® logo program can participate as HomeGrown vendors at no cost. Companies interested in selling at HomeGrown should call Rachel Banegas at the museum at 575-522-4100. -- 11/4/2015

November 3, 2015

Gov. seeks $10M more for state reading program -- Santa Fe New Mexican

Gov. Susana Martinez said Monday she wants state legislators to allocate $10 million more next year for a program aimed at helping the state’s youngest students read better.

The New Mexico Reads to Lead program provides school districts with money for reading coaches, additional training for teachers and screening of children from kindergarten through third grade to pinpoint those who need the most help. -- 11/3/2015


Governor: No Special Session On REAL ID In New Mexico – KUNM/Associated Press

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez's office says she won't call a special legislative session to fix the state's noncompliance with the federal REAL ID Act.

The governor is expected to put the issue on the agenda — again — for next session. -- 11/2/2015