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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 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

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 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 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 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