Best of Show for Monday

News New Mexico will be playing a "Best of Show" on Monday so that the staff can be with their family. Thanks for your support and attention.

NM winery gets federal grant for chile wine

From - DEMING, N.M. —A New Mexico winery has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the federal government to expand production of its chile-infused wines.
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall announced the funding during a visit to St. Clair Winery in Deming on Wednesday.
      With the funding, the New Mexico Democrat said the winery will be able to boost revenues and grow its customer base for its chile-infused line of wines by reimbursing production, marketing and distribution costs.
      The winery's chile wines are made using hot peppers from the Hatch Valley in southern New Mexico.
      The grant was awarded through a U.S. Department of Agriculture program that helps agricultural producers grow their businesses by turning raw commodities into marketable products. The grants often support development for niche and specialty products in rural communities. More

Survey: State’s pinon juniper trees are growing

From - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – Good news for pine nut lovers. Not so good for allergy sufferers. A five-year inventory of New Mexico’s forested lands shows positive growth rates among the state’s most important pinon and juniper species. However, other trees in the drought-stricken state have struggled more in recent years.
      Researchers with the State Forestry Division and the U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station studied more than 3,000 areas across New Mexico between 2008 and 2012 to get a better idea of what was happening within the state’s forests. Officials say the resulting inventory is the most comprehensive collection of forest health trends in the state’s history.
       While the recent drought has undoubtedly affected pinon and juniper resources in New Mexico, researchers said the magnitude of the impact varies widely and future mortality rates will depend on temperature and precipitation trends.
       Pinon and juniper trees make up the most abundant types of forest in New Mexico. They cover more than 13.6 million acres, and more than half of those acres include pinon groves old enough to produce harvest-worthy quantities of pine nuts.
       Data collected by the researchers suggest that in the absence of a major disturbance, New Mexico’s pine nut output will likely increase over the next 20 years. More

Lawsuit alleging long Election Day lines in Sandoval County will move forward

From - By: Kai Porter, KOB Eyewitness News 4  A judge is allowing a lawsuit to move forward that alleged long Election Day lines in Rio Rancho in 2012. The lines were long because of an alleged lack of polling equipment, and the lawsuit demands changes to the way Sandoval County runs elections.
      A voter and two candidates who lost in the 2012 general election claim in the lawsuit that thousands of voters were denied their right to vote. Some people allege lines were so long, they just gave up trying to wait.
      Some potential Rio Rancho voters were forced to wait up to five hours – a result of the county having just five voting centers for more than 80,000 people.
       Sandoval County Clerk Sally Padilla defended her job at the time. "I think I did my job; I've been doing it for many years, and I did my job the best I could," she said.
      The lawsuit asks for a series of changes to the way elections are run in Sandoval County, including no fewer than 15 voting convenience centers in Rio Rancho and more ballot printers.
      Last week a judge denied the county's request to have the lawsuit dismissed. During that hearing, the state said county officials took full responsibility for what happened in 2012. More

Marita Noon: U.S. Government releases predators against its own people

Commentary by Marita Noon - Many times the sound of howling and yelping coyotes awake me from a sound and cozy slumber. I sit bolt upright in my bed as my sleep-filled brain tries to calculate where my critters are and whether or not they are safe. The dogs on the floor beside me, the cat on the foot of the bed, I roll over and go back to sleep.
      In the years that I've lived in the mountains outside Albuquerque, I've lost three cats and three ducks to coyotes. I know they are natural predators and if my pets are outside, there is a chance they’ll fall prey. I hear the coyotes, but I hardly see them. They don’t generally come close to humans. They are after the squirrels and rabbits—and an occasional cat or duck.
      But that could all change due to a new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) plan to expand the area for the Mexican grey wolf reintroduction. The current plan calls for virtually all the southern half of New Mexico to become wolf habitat—but wolf advocates at a hearing about the plan, held in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, on Wednesday, August 13, repeatedly declared that Southern New Mexico wasn’t enough. They want the wolf introduced north of I-40—which would include Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Some called for wolves to be released in the Grand Canyon and the Four Corners area.
      Wolves are master predators—and they are enemies of coyotes. Wolves attack bigger prey: deer and elk, horses and cattle—but are known to carry off a dog or cat as well. The wolves that are a part of the reintroduction program are not afraid of people and will come right up to a house if they are hungry. Read full column

UNM soccer coach gets suspension

 University of New Mexico women's soccer coach Kit Vela has been suspended for a week without pay and 22 players will be suspended for one game over a hazing incident. 
Athletic director Paul Krebs says he expects Vela's suspension to begin immediately, but university policy dictates she has 10 days to appeal. Krebs says assistant coaches Jorge Vela and Krista Foo will receive letters of reprimand. 
School officials say last Sunday's hazing involved seven true freshmen and two were taken to the hospital for excessive alcohol consumption. Twin sisters Danielle and Devin Scelsi quit the team Monday, withdrew from school and returned to their home in Orange County, California
On Tuesday, Krebs announced the team's season opener Friday at Texas Tech was canceled.


Rattlesnake sightings in the rise in Southern NM

Officials in southeastern New Mexico say sightings of one of the most lethal rattlesnakes appear to be on the rise. 

The Carlsbad Current-Argus reported Saturday that the Eddy County Sheriff's Department says more snakes have been spotted in yards this year, including the Mojave rattler. The New Mexico Game and Fish Department says the snake is a type of pit viper that has fangs infused with a neurotoxin that is more potent than some other rattlesnakes. Treatment for a bite from a Mojave rattler requires different anti-venom.

Carlsbad Medical Center says they have already treated five patients for snake bite wounds this year. Experts say the rattler recently migrated from California and Arizona.


Lawsuit filed against Family Detention Center in Artesia

From - By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4 - Hundreds of women and children have been deported from the Family Detention Center set up at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia since it opened more than a month ago.
     Few cameras have been allowed inside, but advocates, like Tannia Esparza of Young Women United, have. “Many of the women I met with are strong mothers and are really just looking to care for their children,” Esparza said.
     Esparza says she heard stories from moms about how in the center, their kids are given little medical attention and women are given little legal help. “They feel very judged and they don't feel safe,” Esparza said.
      The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico says they’ve heard the same. Friday, they along with immigration rights groups, filed a lawsuit representing women who say their deportation hearings didn’t meet the letter of the law.
      The Department of Homeland Security won’t comment on pending litigation, but officials say everything happening in Artesia and other detention centers has been humane and lawful. More

UNM Hospital: Woman not infected with Ebola virus

From - By: Elizabeth Reed,  ALBUQUERQUE -- A UNM Hospital patient who was tested this week for Ebola is not infected with the virus, according to test results from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
      The hospital received the results on Thursday, according to UNMH epidemiologist Dr. Meghan Brett, who helped coordinate the precautionary care and testing.
      "The safety and well-being of our patients, visitors and staff is our top priority," said Dr. Robert Bailey, associate dean of clinical affairs at the UNM School of Medicine, in a statement. "UNM Hospital is well-prepared to handle any situation requiring infection control, and our staff demonstrated that preparedness this week, performing superbly in following the necessary protocols that are in place to protect our patients, visitors and staff."
      The 30-year-old woman recently visited Sierra Leone, Africa, and returned to the United States earlier this month.  She went to UNM Hospital last week with a sore throat, headache, muscle aches and a history of fever at home. Sierra Leone is one of several countries in West Africa with known cases of Ebola. More

Clovis may change area farming due to water shortage

From - CLOVIS, N.M. (KRQE) – Water in New Mexico is sparse, especially in Clovis. “Today, if you have a well that’s producing 200 gallons-per-minute you have a good well,” said Clovis Mayor David Landsford.
      Just a decade ago, a good well in the area produced about 1,200 gallons of water-per-minute. Officials say years of drought and extensive irrigation has nearly depleted the Ogallala Aquifer which is the city’s only source for drinking water.
      “It’s a concern and if we don’t conserve the ground water supply that we have today then we are going to be regretting that decision in the near future,” said Landsford. That’s why the city is hoping to start a new conservation program that would change the way area farmers use their water supply.
      “We would have to change from irrigation to dry land farming,” said Farmer Frank Blackburn. The city plans to pay farmers with federal grant money to stop watering their crops. Farmers would be paid about $400 an acre to make the switch.
      The change would mean farmers would have to rely on rain to water their land and some may have to change their crops to those that require less water. “It will lower your production and it will require more acres to make a living off of a farm,” said Blackburn.
      Blackburn, who has more than 60 years of farming experience, says the transition will be difficult for many area farmers, but says the community needs to act fast or else. “We will be out of water or I guess have less water,” he said. More

Drought leads to spike in beef prices

From - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Beef prices in New Mexico may not be going down anytime soon because cattle growers are being impacted by the ongoing drought. Even though monsoon rain has been abundant, and it’s greener than it’s been in years, cattle growers are still worried.
      The severe drought of the past three years resulted in record-low cattle counts and record-high beef prices. “(Prices) are going up, and it’s just a supply and demand issue,” said Caren Cowan of the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association.
      Abundant monsoon rainfall means ranchers are starting to reconsider their downsizing. “There’s definitely short-term relief, and people to my knowledge have pretty much stopped culling,” Cowan said.
      Culling, or trimming, the heard was widespread because prairie grass is the primary food source, and cattle starve when there isn't
enough rain for grass. The grass is growing fast, but the herds will replenish at a much slower rate.
      Breeding them back takes several years, and buying cattle is very difficult right now because they’re expensive and in short supply. With all the challenges facing the nation’s second oldest group of farmers and ranchers, many are worried New Mexico’s cowboy way of life could be dying out.
      “It makes it even more difficult for young people to try to get into the business,” Cowan said. More

Marita Noon: Climate Change~a symbolic battle against an unpleasant, toxic way of life

Commentary by Marita Noon - I suspect most readers of my column do not religiously read The Atlantic. I don’t either. But I have people—readers who alert me to news and information I might not see otherwise. Though The Atlantic has gained recent notoriety for the interview with Hilary Clinton, in which she says: “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle,” there is more to it. With so much focus on the Clinton quote, it would be easy to overlook an article within the September issue: How to Talk About Climate Change So People Will Listen.
      While I don’t think the author of the nine-page article, Charles C. Mann, ever really offers the answers the title posits, and is seven pages in before he even attempts to advise the reader on the premise, he does offer some noteworthy insights.
      Mann is obviously a believer in anthropogenic (or man-made) climate change. Much of his essay is spent deriding the left for its unrestrained rhetoric that it uses to “scare Americans into action.” He says: “the chatter itself, I would argue, has done its share to stall progress.” read full column

'Abundance of caution' prompts isolation for UNMH patient with Ebola-like symptoms

From - By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4 - Health officials continue to monitor a Bernalillo County woman showing symptoms similar to the Ebola virus. The woman was traveling in the West African nation of Sierra Leone at the beginning of the month. 
      She then returned to Albuquerque and soon after began to develop symptoms on Friday. She was admitted to UNM Hospital on Saturday. The patient is currently undergoing a series of tests and remains in isolation at the hospital -- blood samples will go to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.
      Health officials say this is not a highly probable case of the virus, but because of the symptoms -- and her recent return from West Africa -- there's no room for guesses.
      On Saturday that woman checked herself into UNM Hospital with flu-like symptoms. Officials say she's in isolation, with hospital staff following strict guidelines. "They wear gowns, gloves, face masks, in addition to eye protection," said UNM Hospital epidemiologist Meghan Brett.  Brett says extreme caution is being taken.
     CDC and state health officials say the patient's symptoms do not rise to what would be considered a "probable" case of the virus -- but some of Ebola's most basic symptoms are there. Baumbach says the woman does not believe she was in contact with anyone who has the virus -- and transmission is difficult.
     Blood samples from the woman are being collected and will be shipped to the CDC in Atlanta. More


NMFOG: Public deserves answers in Brooks resignation

From - ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE)- It’s the first week of the new school year and APS has given its superintendent the boot. Winston Brooks was forced out and in exchange for his resignation, he gets a small fortune. Yet, you’ll be hard-pressed to find out what led to his ouster and that has people upset.
      Sources tell News 13 the investigation that led to all this was centered around Brooks’ wife but APS still won’t confirm it. A $250,000 a year salary, two more years left on his contract and Winston Brooks steps down to the unanimous approval of the school board.
      President Analee Maestas read a joint statement, speaking for Brooks. “The decision to end the the appointed relationship will allow both the board and Brooks to establish a new direction. Both agree this decision is the best option for APS at this time,” read Maestas.
      In a nine-page settlement agreement, the district agrees to pay Brooks $350,000 and another $25,000 for him to remain on sick leave until he’s gone in a month. If APS bad-mouths Brooks publicly, that’s another $25,000. Brooks would see the same fine if he says anything negative about the district.
      What about the results of that private investigation? The settlement reads it’s not to be released to anyone. “The public still has a right to know what led to this, what were the facts that led us to a situation in which the superintendent resigned and the school district had to pay a payout,” explains New Mexico Foundation for Open Government Officer Greg Williams. More

Hearing officer: Delay medical pot rule changes

From the Santa Fe New Mexican - By Phaedra Haywood, The New Mexican - A hearing officer hired to make recommendations on proposed changes to the state’s Medical Cannabis Program has advised the Department of Health to hold off on implementing the changes.
      After listening to comments from about 140 people and reviewing about 1,000 written comments — most of which were critical of the changes — hearing officer Susan Hapka recommended the department not alter the rules until the Medical Cannabis Program’s Medical Advisory Board has met and issued recommendations and another public hearing is held.
      More than 240 people attended a July 14 hearing on the proposals, which include increasing fees for patients and nonprofit producers, adding more testing of medical marijuana and reducing the number of plants patients can grow. Many who spoke said the proposed new regulations would unfairly limit patient access to legally grown marijuana.
      About 11,200 patients — each with one or more of 16 qualifying conditions — are enrolled in the program. More

Energy secretary vows WIPP will reopen

From - CARLSBAD, N.M. (KRQE) – The Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz is vowing to get the WIPP site near Carlsbad back up and running, and is hoping a plan will be in place by the end of next month.
      Moniz is touring the site Tuesday which has remained shut down since the February radiation leak.
      Officials have yet to pinpoint the cause of the leak, but do know it came from a barrel that had been shipped to WIPP from Los Alamos National Lab.
     Moniz says investigators are narrowing in a plausible theory. More

Marita Noon: Colorado Dems Frack Backtrack is all about November

Commentary by Marita Noon - In June, in a sparsely populated county in northern New Mexico, a primary election surprisingly unseated an incumbent County Commissioner. No one seemed to notice. But, apparently, high-ranking Democrats to the north were paying attention.
     The northern New Mexico county is Mora. The high-ranking Democrats: from Colorado. The election upset was about Mora County’s oil-and-gas drilling ban.
     In April 2013, the Mora County Commission voted, 2 to 1, and passed the first-in-the-nation county-wide ban on all oil-and-gas drilling. It was spearheaded by Commission Chairman John Olivas—who also served as northern director for the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. Since then, two lawsuits have been filed against the little county because of the anti-drilling ordinance.
     A little more than a year after Olivas’ pet project, the Mora County Water Rights and Self-Governance Ordinance, was passed, he was ousted. Olivas didn't just lose in the Democrat primary election, he was, according to the Albuquerque Journal, “soundly beaten” by George Trujillo—59.8% to 34.2%. 
     Both Olivas and Trujillo acknowledged that the ban had an impact on the outcome, with Olivas saying: “In my opinion, it was a referendum on oil and gas.” Trujillo campaigned on a repeal of the ordinance (which, due to the language of the ordinance will be difficult to do) and has said he is open to a limited amount of drilling in the eastern edge of the county. Read full column


Swickard: Time, the great destroyer of students

© 2014 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. Last week I wrote about standing in line at college. So this week I pondered the lessons from my time in college. During my career at college I came to understand that time is the great destroyer of college students. Understand, it is not having too much time or, as most think, too little time doing the damage.
      Rather, it is the act of saying, “I don’t have to do this assignment now, I have plenty of time.” When we say that to ourselves, one part of our brain thinks, “Wait a second, you just don’t feel like doing it now.”
      While we mull this over the North and South parts of our brain go through some rationalizations: “If I don’t spend the evening studying, I’ll flunk the test.” This is countered by “No, you won’t, you really want to go out tonight.” Hmmm, “I want to go out tonight, but I don’t want to flunk the test.”
      That lazy brain says “You can study when you get back, there's plenty of time.” Well, “After the party I won’t feel like studying.” College logic, “You don’t feel like studying now!” But but,“But I don’t want to flunk.” One voice gets the upper hand, “You won’t flunk. Besides right now everyone else in the class is out partying, you will do at least as good as them and since the course is graded on the curve you will get a C and heck, a C is OK.”
      “Well, maybe you are right; I’ll go for a little time.” Time passes. It is now 2:00 a.m. and you sit at your desk. You have recreated until closing time. The words in the book swim before your eyes when North and South speak again: “I have to read the material.” Yawn, “You don’t want to read the book; you want to go to bed so you will be fresh for the test in just 6 hours. Go to bed now and get up an hour early, you’ll still have plenty of time.”
      “You’re right; I’ll get up an hour early.”
       As you drag into class at 8:32 a friend asks if you studied. You say, “A little.”
       What you don’t say to your fellow classmate is that you woke up at 8:23 a.m. which didn’t leave much time to do all of the studying you had been avoiding. You begin writing. As you scan the test questions you recognize a word here and there, but you wonder if you sat down in the wrong classroom.
       While grading your paper the professor notices your fine work such as, “Christopher Columbus discovered America with his ships the Nina, the Ford Pinto and the Santa Fe.”
       Your professor is not amused and rewards your work with the grade of an F minus, minus, minus. When you get your paper back you say to yourself, “Well, I still have other tests. I can pull my grade up to a C if I get an A on a couple of them. I’ll start studying tonight.”
       There’s that voice, “But I thought you were going to go out tonight.” “I don’t want to flunk the course.”
       “You won’t, you have plenty of time to study.” “Yeah, you’re right, I have plenty of time to study, but I’m going to start studying tomorrow so I can ace the other tests.” Read full column

Thursday NNM crew not in studio

NewsNM - Swickard: we are not in studio Thursday because most of us are sick, really sick, with the summer flu. I know it is more blessed to give than receive so we are trying to keep our summer flu to ourselves and not give it to anyone else in our broadcast complex.
     Therefore, we are playing a "Best of" show Thursday and taking all sorts of meds to get unsick including drinking tea and resting in bed while reading good books. That will get us well I am sure.
     It is our best hope that enough of us will have a miracle cure and get better so that we can resume broadcasting live on Friday.
     God Bless and Keep each of you. Michael
PS - Conrad the dog is completely well and cheering us on.

Investigation into veteran deaths comes up negative

From - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – After careful review by the New Mexico Veterans Affairs health care system, no link has been found between the deaths of dozens of veterans and their place on the waiting list for medical care.
      Veterans affairs found 21 people who died as a result of being on the waiting list waiting for the doctor. As a result, officials investigated finding an additional 167 patients who died while awaiting various appointments.
      It wasn't until today that the officials found that there was no link between the two.
      Last week’s audit of Albuquerque’s Veterans Affairs hospital showed that there were 248 veterans on the waiting list.
      Veterans are still awaiting appointments and more doctors are currently being recruited. More

EPA goes from Environmental Protection Agency to Extremist Political Agenda

Commentary by Marita Noon - During the week of July 28, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held hearings in four cities: Atlanta, Denver, Pittsburgh, and Washington. DC. The two-day sessions were to allow the public to have their voice heard about the proposed rules it released on June 2 that will supposedly cut CO2 emissions by 30 percent.
      Many, including myself, believe that these rules are really an attempt to shut down coal-fueled electricity generation and implement a cap-and-trade program that the Administration couldn't get through Congress in 2009, when cap-and-trade’s obvious allies held both houses of Congress.
      If the EPA’s plans were clear, direct, and honest, the public would likely revolt outright. Instead, the intent is hidden in pages of cumbersome language and the messaging becomes all about clean air and water—and about the health of children.
      Because I was in the area—speaking a few hours from Atlanta on Sunday—I took advantage of the proximity and signed up to speak at the hearing. When I first attempted to sign up, day one was already full. The EPA had so many people who wanted time to share their opinions, a second day was added, and I was put on the schedule. Read full column


Parents say son robbed them at gunpoint

NewsNM Swickard - My goodness, what is this younger generation coming to? Sounds like he is going to get coal for Christmas this year. From - ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – An Albuquerque man has been arrested, accused of robbing his parents with a weapon.
      Sheriff’s deputies were called out to a northeast heights home friday night where a woman said her son, 31 year-old Thomas Korman, broke into her home. She said he smashed the window with a rock to get inside.
      According to a criminal complaint, the women says Korman threatened to stab her and her husband if she didn't give him money. The frightened couple gave him cash and their car keys.
      On Sunday, a judge told Korman he will not see his parents for a while. Officers say prior to Friday’s incident, the victims claim Korman posted threatening messages to them on Facebook.
      He’s still locked up on a $25,000 cash-only bond. More