Senate leader shuns Domenici over affair

From - by reporter Kayla Ayres - ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Former New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici's extramarital affair decades ago is a national media story again. This time it's because one of his longtime colleagues, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., appears to have shunned Domenici. 
     Reid and Domenici, 81, were on opposite sides of the political aisle, but they were still friends. In fact, Reid had high marks for Domenici when Domenici announced his retirement in 2007. "I like him very much. I have great admiration for him," Reid told the press then.
     It's a different story now because of the affair Domenici acknowledged in February in which he fathered a child. Domenici's affair was with Michelle Laxalt, who's more than two decades his junior and the daughter of a former Nevada U.S. Sen. Paul Laxalt . Domenici had a reputation as a family man who had eight children with his wife, to whom he's been married for more than 50 years.
     Reid was elected to Laxalt's Senate seat in 1987 when Laxalt retired. Reid and Domenici then served together for 22 years before Domenici retired at the end of his sixth term in 2008.
     In an interview with Las Vegas Review Journal , Reid says he refused to meet with Domenici last week because of the affair. Reid's statement came about during an interview about mental health care, which is a passionate issue for Domenici. "I don't mention Domenici's name anymore because of what he did to Michelle Laxalt," Reid told the newspaper. "I wouldn't let him come and see me. But anyway, that's another story." Read more


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Gila Regional Medical Center cuts employee hours

Gila Regional Medical Center has downgraded 70 full-time hospital employees to part-time status as part of new cost cutting measures. 

The Silver City Sun-News reports that the hospital says the measures were needed after it saw an increase in the numbers of uninsured and underinsured patients. The hospital also is facing a cash crunch because of the shift from inpatient care to outpatient care, and reduced reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid.

In addition to the employee changes, the hospital is halting plans for the nearly $40 million expansion project and postponing the conversion to a new health information software system. 

The employee status changes are expected to save the hospital around $3.1 million.


SpaceX coming to Spaceport America

  Governor Susana Martinez has announced that Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or SpaceX, has signed a three-year agreement to lease land and facilities at Spaceport America to conduct the next phase of flight testing for its reusable rocket program. 

The company will be a new tenant at Spaceport America, the state-owned commercial launch site located in southern New Mexico

 SpaceX has completed its first series of successful, low-altitude tests of the “Grasshopper” vehicle in McGregor, Texas and is proceeding to the next phase of development that includes testing in New Mexico

With Grasshopper, SpaceX engineers are creating technology that will enable a rocket to return to the launch pad intact for a vertical landing, rather than burning up upon reentry in the Earth’s atmosphere.