APS Looks Into Forming Own Law Enforcement

From KOAT-TV.com - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The discussion continues on whether the sheriff's department or the district should control Albuquerque Public School police. The deadline for APS to sign a new agreement with the sheriff's department was set Monday. APS officials said they have a few options they're looking into. They said they are asking the Bernalillo County sheriff for an extension, after the sheriff outlined changes in the amount of control he has over APS police. On Friday, APS asked for an extension to discuss their option of setting up its own force. "After discussions with Chief Schultz yesterday, it would be wise to ask for another extension," said APS superintendent Winston Brooks. Brooks said they are asking for more time to consider the sheriff's demand for more control over APS police. The sheriff said he doesn't want APS police investigating crimes at schools anymore, and that the Albuquerque Police Department or the Bernalilo County Sheriff's Office should do it. "There are a number of felonies that occur every year on our school property. I think what Chief Schultz is concerned with is that they don't have the staff to be able to investigate all those felonies," Brooks said. He said setting up their own force could actually work in the district's favor. "It may enable us to get grants that we're not currently able to get," Brooks said. Read more
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Officials mum on cause of NM explosion three years ago

From KRQE-TV.com - LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) It's been three years since an explosion leveled a 4,500-square-foot home and a $350,000 motor coach on Deadwood Camp Court in the affluent Talavera neighborhood east of Las Cruces. Now, investigators say they're still leaving the possibility open of filing criminal charges in the explosion. Nobody was injured when the home and RV were destroyed in the early morning hours of Oct. 23, 2008. The explosion damaged 13 homes up to a quarter-mile away. At the time, the home had been for sale for more than a year, listed for $723,000. The owners were a former El Paso Drug Enforcement Agency agent and his wife. Read more
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Sunland Park resident allegedly tries to smuggle Mexican bologna into US

From El Paso Times & Las Cruces Sun-News Reports - Customs officials cited a Sunland Park resident Friday for attempting to smuggle 76 pounds of bologna into the United States by hiding it in a spare tire, according to a news release. The eight rolls of Mexican bologna were discovered aboard a truck at an El Paso port of entry, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. "This bologna is a prohibited product because it is made from pork and has the potential for introducing foreign animal diseases to the U.S. pork industry," said Hector Mancha, El Paso port director for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. "This is a highly unusual seizure because of the concealment method." The seizure was made at about 6:30 a.m., when a Ford F-150 arrived at the Paso Del Norte international crossing port. CBP officers detected an anomaly in the appearance of the vehicle and initiated a secondary inspection. They scanned the spare tire with a "Buster" density meter, which gave readings consistent with hidden contraband. Read more
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Marita Noon: Going Green with Shady Deals

From TownHall.com - We all know about Solyndra. We are learning about Fisker, the start-up electric car company, which received a $529 million loan from the Department of Energy. Touted by Vice President Biden as “a bright new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs,” the cars are being manufactured in Finland. These are big stories being covered by the major media outlets. And these are only two such stories out there. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about two smaller stories from little states where shenanigans, at the least, and possible outright corruption, at the worst, were engaged in attempting to push through supposed green-energy projects. While researching those, another shady story surfaced: Rhode Island’s Block Island Wind Farm Project. Back in 2004, in a different political and economic world, the RI General Assembly passed a Renewable Energy Standard that states: “fossil fuel prices are extremely variable and created economic hardships for employers and families, and increased use of renewable energy can both lower and stabilize energy cost.” The ratepayers of RI were sold a bill of goods that renewable energy can lower energy costs. Republican Governor Donald Carcieri wanted to make RI the first state in the country with an offshore wind farm. In 2008, he pushed the Block Island Wind Farm project. It may give him a longed-for legacy—but it will not “lower energy costs.” The RI Public Utility Commission rejected the project as “commercially not reasonable.” Undaunted, Carcieri and the General Assembly, in a late-night session, rushed to change the law, mandating that the PUC reconsider its rejection—a decision that would ultimately guarantee the project’s approval. Within the plan, hatched by then-Governor Carcieri’s administration, is a guaranteed 3.5% price escalation for Deepwater Wind Inc., the New Jersey-based company developing the project—pricing starts at 24.4 cents/kwh, which will become 47 cents/kwh in 20 years. However, earlier this year, because of a drop in natural gas prices—the source fuel for most of RI’s electricity generation—the RI PUC approved a rate decrease from 9.4 cents/kwh to 6.9. Wind power rates nearly quadruple current prices logically should have sunk the Block Island project. Nevertheless, it has continued forward. Read column
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U.S. rating likely to be downgraded again: Merrill

From Yahoo! news - NEW YORK (Reuters) - The United States will likely suffer the loss of its triple-A credit rating from another major rating agency by the end of this year due to concerns over the deficit, Bank of America Merrill Lynch forecasts. The trigger would be a likely failure by Congress to agree on a credible long-term plan to cut the U.S. deficit, the bank said in a research note published on Friday. A second downgrade -- either from Moody's or Fitch -- would follow Standard & Poor's downgrade in August on concerns about the government's budget deficit and rising debt burden. A second loss of the country's top credit rating would be an additional blow to the sluggish U.S. economy, Merrill said. Read more
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Swickard: The not-so-high times on medical cannabis

Commentary by Michael Swickard, Ph.D. - There is a brisk debate about what patients in several categories may find helpful in their quest to endure that which is somewhat unendurable. There is pain that modern pharmacology does not alleviate. Likewise, there are other conditions that do not respond well to conventional treatments. Some patients find medical cannabis does give relief. There are three major problems with using medical cannabis: First, there is not clarity as to the difference between current street drugs illegally for sale and medical cannabis. Second, the use of medical cannabis, while legal in some states, is not legal nationally. A citizen can be both legal and illegal at exactly the same moment. Finally, there are questions as to the proof of beneficial effects. In general medical cannabis is not intended to get patients high. In fact, that is not at all what is wanted by most patients because then those patients cannot drive or go to work. There are two main varieties of cannabis, sativa and indica, and each has medicinal qualities. They are seriously different, though. What many people who are looking for relief seek are the cannabinoids rather than the compound tetrahydrocannabinol, abbreviated as THC. Often street marijuana is loaded with THC to produce the high, but it has little of the important cannabinoids for people with chemotherapy nausea. Most media attention about medical cannabis seems to proclaim that all cannabis is exactly alike and those using medical cannabis are using the same substance as is sold illegally on street corners. This is simply not so. In fact, medical cannabis is more expensive than street marijuana. Read column
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MVD Workers: Foreign Nationals Strain the MVD System

From koat.com Taxation and Revenue Secretary Demesia Padilla told state lawmakers Wednesday that around 300 to 400 foreign nationals a week apply for licenses through in-person appointments at Motor Vehicle Division field offices across New Mexico. She said one or two employees at each office are dedicated to handling the applications, and that takes away from customer service.  More News New Mexico
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Police Probe Pumpkin Patch Plunder

From google news -US authorities are searching for whoever drove through two pumpkin patches and caused 4,500 US dollars in damages just weeks before Halloween. New Mexico deputies said someone drove through a fence in Curry County and damaged the pumpkin patch and corn maze at Davis Farms.  Two nights later, someone did the same thing at another farm. The culprits also took several items, including a life-sized, custom painted dairy cow from the top of one of the buildings.
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Poverty is Way Up In NM


From businessinsider - Despite a year of economic growth following the end the recession in 2009, the number of poor rose in nearly every area of the US in 2010.  Citing new US Census data released Thursday, Reuters reports that New Mexico and Mississippi have more than one in five people living in poverty, the highest in the nation. Read full story here: News New Mexico

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ERB Has Recovered Less Than a Third of Overpayments

Jan Goodwin - ERB
KOAT TV - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The New Mexico Educational Retirement Board has started collecting money from members who were overpaid because an error in calculating interest. In May, Target 7 uncovered that the ERB overpaid its members by a total of $1.7 million. Since they started recollecting the money in June, the ERB has recouped $565,000 of that money. Next week, a third letter will go out to ERB members who received too much money to remind them to repay the fund. Read full story here: News New Mexico
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"Mission Accomplished"


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Workforce Solutions Hasn't Prosecuted in Five Years

Santa Fe New Mexican - The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions is strengthening efforts to catch those who cheat the state's unemployment benefits system. While the department hasn't prosecuted anyone for fraud in the past five years, it has reported that it detected fraud of $15.7 million last year alone. In September, the agency received a $2.5 million grant to connect with a national computer system that tracks people who are returning to work and no longer qualify for benefits. The money also will help the department audit 50 claimants a week to be sure they are actually looking for a new job. "We are very excited about it," said department Secretary Celina Bussey, who has called fraud and other incorrect payments a top priority for the Gov. Susana Martinez administration. Read full story here: News New Mexico
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Wall Street Funnels Money to New Mexico Delegation

Capitol Report New Mexico - One of the chief complaints by protesters taking part in the Occupy Wall Street movement has been that government has been too cozy with the financial sector, especially when it comes to bailouts of banks and investment firms. All four of the Democratic members of the New Mexico delegation on Capitol Hill — Sen. Tom Udall, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Rep. Martin Heinrich and Rep. Ben Ray Luj├ín – have expressed sympathy with the protestors but a look at the record of campaign contributions shows they have received healthy donations from investment groups, some from a noteworty firm (Goldman Sachs) that received a government bailout. (On a related note, yesterday’s Washington Post reported President Obama — who has also supported the protestors — has received $15.6 million in Wall Street donations.) The lone Republican in the delegation — Rep. Steve Pearce – has also received a good chunk of money from financial institutions. Capitol Report New Mexico went to the website www.opensecrets.org to look at how many financial firms rank among the top 20 contributors to each of the five members (four Democrats, one Republican) in the New Mexico delegation. We also looked at some individual contributions at the Federal Election Commission website, www.fec.gov and here’s what we found: Read rest of story here: News New Mexico
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Cain Wins Nevada Straw Poll

Herman Cain
Washington Times - LAS VEGAS — The good news continued for Herman Cain Friday, as the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO won the Western Republican Leadership Conference straw poll of GOP presidential contenders, edging out former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — and leaving Texas Gov. Rick Perry in a distant fifth place. Mr. Cain, whose longshot campaign got a major boost by winning a major Florida straw poll last month, received nearly 31 percent of the vote and Mr. Romney pulled in nearly 29 percent of the vote. Mr. Gingrich, who has also risen in recent national polls after his campaign’s shaky start, secured more than 20 percent of the vote. Texas Rep. Ron Paul finished with about 10 percent, Mr. Perry received almost 4 percent, and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota received just 1 percent. The results follow Mr. Cain’s surprise victory in the so-called Presidency 5 straw poll in Orlando last month, which was seen as a big blow to Mr. Perry’s front-runner status at the time. Since then, the former businessman and Atlanta radio talk-show host has surged in the polls, stealing a lot of the conservative and tea party support that helped Mr. Perry leapfrog to the front of the GOP presidential field shortly after he entered the race in August. Read full story here: News New Mexico
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NM Unemployment Rate Down 2% in 12 Months

KOB TV - New Mexico is in pretty good shape when it comes to unemployment. The latest jobs numbers show the state’s unemployment is at 6.6 percent compared to 8.6 percent at the same time last year and well below the 9.1 percent national average. New Mexico saw the largest unemployment drop in the nation over a one year period. However, there are many New Mexico residents still unemployed. “I got laid off due to low funding,” Darren Peshtikai said. Dennis Korovlov said factors he can’t control are limiting his job options. “Unemployed, over 54-years-old and finding it harder to even find places to apply,” he said. Although New Mexico didn’t show any job growth the past month, it fared better than many other states. In the past month, North Carolina lost 22,000 jobs, Ohio reported 21,000 jobs lost and Pennsylvania showed 16,000 jobs less than the month before. Read full story here: News New Mexico

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