U.N.M. explains football coach Mike Locksley firing

From KRQE-TV.com - U.N.M. Athletic Director Paul Krebs admitted Monday that he made a mistake in hiring Mike Locksley. A mistake that will cost the cost about $750,00. That's for the remainder of this season and the buyout for the next two years. U.N.M. President David Schmidly said he is one-thousand percent behind Krebs saying Krebs has made a lot of good hires and built up the lobos athletic program overall. As for Krebs, he didn't try to sugarcoat his hiring of Locksley. "Hindsight is 20/20 if I knew then what I know now would I have made a different decision? Yes," Krebs said. He said Locksley's dismal performance on the field combined with problems off the the field made this the right time to let him go. Krebs says both he and Locksley agreed Saturday's embarrassing loss to lower division Sam Houston State in the homecoming game was a litmus test for the rest of the season. A homecoming game that saw the Lobos lowest attendance since 1992. "We had to make a change we needed to make a change we expect our fan base to rally lobo fans are great if we put a product on the field we do the right thing our fans turn out," Krebs said. Read more

Despite praise as success, some say N.M. medical cannabis program needs work

From the Santa Fe New Mexican.com - by Phaedra Haywood - Four years after New Mexico's Medical Cannabis Program was created, nearly 4,000 New Mexico residents have been approved to use the herb as medicine, and 25 nonprofit producers have been licensed to sell it to them. New Mexico's system for regulating those producers is being adopted by other states as a model for allowing medicinal use of marijuana without seeing pot dispensaries pop up on every street corner, as they have in California and Colorado. The program has produced some spinoff businesses and is generating hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of tax revenue from the sale of medical marijuana. And this year, for the first time, the state coffers will see an influx of cash from fees paid by producers. But program participants and patient advocates say the system still needs tweaking and fear it could be canceled if Gov. Susana Martinez follows through on statements she made during her campaign that she would like to see the medical marijuana law repealed. Read more

'The Lone Ranger' Back On

NewsNM: Swickard - some of this movie is said to be set to be shot in the Silver City New Mexico area - From the Hitlist Movie Blog - Johnny Depp's recently aborted "The Lone Ranger" will now look to follow the "Moneyball" path to success. According to Deadline, director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer have apparently done enough tinkering to the script to lower the film's production budget from a staggering $250 million to a more manageable $215 million. And that was all Disney wanted in the first place. An official announcement from Disney—clarifying that, yes, the film is back on, and that it will (ostensibly) start shooting sometime in the new year—would thus seem imminent, if not inevitable. "The Social Network" hunk Armie Hammer is still on board as the title character. Depp is still attached to play Tonto. The only question remains, will the film still make it's planned December 21, 2012 release date? Only time will tell. More details as they become available...

How the stacks will fall: Dynamite part of $8.8M effort to bring down Asarco icons

NewsNM: Swickard - Perhaps it is not for everyone, but some people love to watch when the experts bring down a large structure. In Southern New Mexico there is that chance. The Asarco stacks are near the UTEP campus in El Paso on I-10 south from Las Cruces about 35 miles. From the El Paso Times - by Chris Roberts - When the two tallest Asarco stacks are demolished within seconds of each other early next year, old-time dynamite will bring them down. The stacks -- one of which rises 826 feet and displays the Asarco lettering -- will be among the last vestiges of a smelting plant that operated for more than a century. There is historical symmetry in the use of dynamite, which will be employed to fell the concrete stacks like giant tree trunks. At the turn of the century, when the plant was built, dynamite was replacing nitroglycerine as a safer tool for mining raw materials processed by the smelters. Over time, the plant's furnaces purified copper, lead and other materials blasted from the Earth's crust. "It's (dynamite) still the best workhorse in the industry," said Jim Redyke, president of Dykon, the explosive demolition company hired to bring the stacks down. Redyke's Tulsa, Okla.-based company has used explosives to bring down numerous structures in Texas, including Texas Stadium, and around the world, including a 900-foot smokestack in South Africa, which the company bills as the world's "tallest stack shot." "I've done hundreds of smokestacks," Redyke said in an interview last week at the Asarco site. Read more

Cannon Air Force Base hosting aircraft ceremony

From the Clovis News Journal - Cannon Air Force Base will host an aircraft acceptance ceremony 1 p.m. Thursday, marking the first MC-130J Combat Shadow II for Air Force Special Operations Comman. Lt. Col. Paul Pendleton, commander of the 522nd Special Operations Squadron at Cannon, said the MC-130J can carry about 40 percent more payload and do it 15 to 20 percent faster than previous C-130J’s. The MC-130J Combat Shadow II is the first C-130 specifically built for special operations, making it lighter and more efficient. Most special operations aircraft are modified after production to accommodate special operations missions. The aircraft will be delivered from the Lockheed Martin plant in Marietta, Ga. Read more

President Solyndra and his mean green wealth-wasting machine.

From the Weekly Standard - By Steven Hayward - The spectacular collapse of Solyndra has all of the trappings of an epic Washington scandal, with serial revelations of embarrassing and potentially improper White House machinations to secure a $535 million federal loan guarantee for a startup company with dubious prospects of success. The sudden bankruptcy of the Fremont, California, manufacturer of solar panels​ ​after it was feted as a model creator of “green jobs” by President Obama and Vice President Biden​ ​has already featured FBI raids, contentious congressional hearings, and demands for a special prosecutor to investigate. The plot thickened further last week when Solyndra’s two top executives, who made 20 trips to the White House while their loan application was under consideration, invoked the Fifth Amendment rather than answer questions from the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Even if the administration eventually escapes any finding of legal wrongdoing, Solyndra threatens to haunt the green energy campaign in much the same way that the collapse of Lincoln Savings became the emblem of the savings and loan industry’s recklessness in the 1980s. The Solyndra story includes Obama campaign donors and everybody’s favorite Wall Street whipping boy, Goldman Sachs, in the middle of the whole sorry mess. Yet it would be a mistake to mark the story down as merely another excrescence of crony capitalism. It is much worse. Read more

U.S. Government Used Taxpayer Funds to Buy, Sell Weapons During 'Fast and Furious,' Documents Show

From FoxNews.com - By - Not only did U.S. officials approve, allow and assist in the sale of more than 2,000 guns to the Sinaloa cartel -- the federal government used taxpayer money to buy semi-automatic weapons, sold them to criminals and then watched as the guns disappeared. This disclosure, revealed in documents obtained by Fox News, could undermine the Department of Justice's previous defense that Operation Fast and Furious was a "botched" operation where agents simply "lost track" of weapons as they were transferred from one illegal buyer to another. Instead, it heightens the culpability of the federal government as Mexico, according to sources, has opened two criminal investigations into the operation that flooded their country with illegal weapons. Operation Fast and Furious began in October 2009. In it, federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives encouraged gun stores to sell weapons to an arms smuggling gang, then watched as the guns crossed the border and were used in crimes. Each month, the agency allowed hundreds of guns to go South, despite opposition from some agents. All told, the gang spent more than $1.25 million for the illegal guns. In June 2010, however, the ATF dramatically upped the ante, making the U.S. government the actual "seller" of guns. According to documents obtained by Fox News, Agent John Dodson was ordered to buy six semi-automatic Draco pistols -- two of those were purchased at the Lone Wolf gun store in Peoria, Ariz. An unusual sale, Dodson was sent to the store with a letter of approval from David Voth, an ATF group supervisor. Dodson then sold the weapons to known illegal buyers, while fellow agents watched from their cars nearby. This was not a "buy-bust" or a sting operation, where police sell to a buyer and then arrest them immediately afterward. In this case, agents were "ordered" to let the sale go through and follow the weapons to a stash house. According to sources directly involved in the case, Dodson felt strongly that the weapons should not be abandoned and the stash house should remain under 24-hour surveillance. However, Voth disagreed and ordered the surveillance team to return to the office. Dodson refused, and for six days in the desert heat kept the house under watch, defying direct orders from Voth. A week later, a second vehicle showed up to transfer the weapons. Dodson called for an interdiction team to move in, make the arrest and seize the weapons. Voth refused and the guns disappeared with no surveillance. Read more

Wells Fargo Invests in Solar Energy in NM

From zacks.com -Last week, Wells Fargo & Company announced to finance for the operation of 53.5 megawatt (MW) photovoltaic solar power project of Sun Edison in New Mexico. The project includes five solar power plants, while three plants will be activated in the installation phase. The remaining two plants are anticipated to be in operation before the end of 2011. For the installation phase, Wells Fargo has already provided more than $200 million.  More News New Mexico

NM Seeks Federal Education Waiver

Hanna Skandera
From krqe.com -New Mexico will be applying for a waiver from the federal government to opt of out the No Child Left Behind Act.  State Education Secretary-Designate Hanna Skandera says she is pushing to replace the "adequate yearly progress" scores with an A to F grading system for individual schools. Skandera stood behind president Obama on Friday at the white house as he announced a plan to allow states to opt out.  More News New Mexico

Republicans Gathered in NM to "Lure" Latino Voters

Sen Norm Coleman
From mercurynews.com -A conservative Republican group brought its fight for Hispanic votes to New Mexico on Friday, opening a two-day conference in the presidential battleground state that is home to one of the parties rising Hispanic stars—Gov. Susana Martinez. Former Sen. Norm Coleman, chairman of the American Action Network, called Martinez the poster child for his effort to make the GOP more inclusive for the minority group that he says shares the party's basic values of strong family, strong education and jobs. "Hispanic Americans are centrist-right, they just don't always act that way in the voting booth," Coleman said.  More than 400 people were registered for the conference that featured a speech by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and video remarks by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.  More News New Mexico

Miller: Plenty of Blame to Go Around

Jay Miller
Inside the Capitol - SANTA FE - New Mexico's special legislative session on redistricting has adjourned. Everyone is blaming everyone else for not getting much done. They all are correct. Everyone bears some blame.  Democrats control both houses of the legislature so they could pass about anything they wanted. But they knew that Gov. Susana Martinez would veto it. So why go to the trouble of passing something they know she will shoot down? It now will be up to the state Supreme Court to draw the lines for legislative and congressional redistricting. They know from experience that those lawsuits will cost millions. Some estimates run as high as $9 million. Read full column here: News New Mexico


Federal Government Borrows $400,000 to Give to San Juan Community College

Santa Fe, NM – Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District announced today that San Juan College (SJC) is receiving a federal grant for nearly $400,000 through the Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions Program. The program is designed to provide support and assistance to Native American-serving schools in order to enable them to improve and expand their capacity to serve the community. “A quality education is the key to unlocking a world of opportunities for our young people,” Congressman Luján said. “In this challenging economic climate and this increasingly global economy, a higher education is essential to future success. This important grant will help San Juan College provide its students with the resources they need to complete their education and earn the skills and knowledge they will need to be the next generation of leaders in our community.”


Jeff Denies Pulling Driver's License Support

Sandra Jeff
Capitol Report New Mexico - Back on Friday, we posted a story in which Rep. Andy Nuñez (I-Hatch) revealed that he would not be able to introduce a bill aimed at repealing the state law granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrantsduring the special session of the legislature. “I don’t have the votes,” Nuñez said, adding, “The thing that I got out of that right there was the shaft. Because Sandra Jeff would not support me after voting for that bill, for my driver’s license bill. And I needed her vote.” On Sunday (Sept. 25), Capitol Report New Mexico heard back from Rep. Jeff (D-Crownpoint). Here’s the e-mail we received: Read full story here: News New Mexico


A Handful of Boos in Florida and Elsewhere

Col. Victor Fehrenbach
Newsnm note - Spence - We ran a story in December of 2012 about Col. Victor Fehrenbach, a gay officer serving in the U.S. Air Force. It ran just as the "Don't Ask Don't Tell Policy was being revoked. Sorry, I do not boo people who risk their lives to protect America. Does that make me a "progressive?"
The Hill - Some members of the GOP debate audience booed a gay soldier who asked via video whether the Republican candidates would reinstitute the recently repealed "Don't ask, don't tell" policy of banning openly gay soldiers. After Stephen Hill, who is serving in the Army in Iraq, asked his question, a handful of members of the audience booed loudly. None of the Republican candidates responded to the audience's reaction. Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) answered that "Any type of sexual activity has no place in the military" and that he would return to the policy of requiring gays and lesbians to stay silent on their sexuality or get thrown out of the military. His response garnered loud applause. When pressed with what he would do with soldiers who have now come out, he said, "What we're doing is playing social experimentation with our country right now, and that's tragic" but said that he would not throw out soldiers who have recently come out due to the end of "Don't ask, don't tell." Read full story here: News New Mexico

Session Ends With Work Undone

Michael Sanchez

NMPolitics - The first 2011 special session of the New Mexico Legislature ended Saturday with no deals on at least most redistricting plans and a looming court battle. Lawmakers failed to even pass a plan for congressional redistricting after a handful of Southern New Mexico Democrats in the House refused to go with their party’s plan that would have essentially abandoned the southern 2nd Congressional District to Republicans.
Ben Lujan
Without the votes to pass the plan most House Democrats wanted, the House adjourned Saturday without approving a congressional redistricting plan. That came after the Senate passed its own congressional redistricting plan – one the southern Democrats in the House opposed – and adjourned earlier Saturday. Lawmakers did pass redistricting plans for state House and Senate seats on party-line votes, but they did so with pledges of vetoes from Gov. Susana Martinez. Read full story here: News New Mexico