Renovation planned for Carlsbad Cavern elevators

From the Carlsbad Current-Argus: Carlsbad Caverns National Park is doing some renovation in the name of safety. On Sept. 13, a contract to replace most of the steel support beams in the Caverns' primary elevator hoistway will commence. According to a press release, the maintenance is required due to peeling lead-based paint and damage caused by corrosion on the 55-year-old steel framework. "This is a very necessary project that will improve employee safety for the elevator mechanics and significantly prolong the useful life of the primary elevator system," said park Superintendent John Benjamin. "We regret that it will affect visitor use on busy days. We have scheduled the work for the time of the year with the lowest visitation, and we have made extensive contingency plans to lessen the adverse effects of the project." The elevator system at the park provides transportation for visitors and cargo to and from the main cavern, located 754 feet below the Visitor Center. The system includes four elevators: a primary set that carry 16 passengers each and a secondary set that carry eight passengers each. Many factors, such as the difficulty of accessing the hoistway, the presence of lead-based paint and the interest in public safety, raised the recommendation to reinforce the structure with galvanized beams, from a team of National Park Service and industry experts. Read more

Former Alamogordo Mayor: Backs Teague

From the Alamogordo Daily News - by -Steve Brockett, former mayor of Alamogordo - I am compelled to respond to Steve Pearce's hit-and-run attack in the Aug. 22 edition of this newspaper. Perhaps the most surprising thing about the article wasn't what Pearce said; the criticism was clearly motivated by election-year politics and should surprise no one. What surprised me was Pearce's willingness to communicate with the public at all, a skill woefully lacking during his six-year stint in Washington. Teague is one of us. He is a good and humble man who cares about helping people. He has been accessible and believes he needs to hear from the public and that includes opinions that do not favor him. He believes the public has the right to chew on their elected officials when they are angry. Teague is a true public servant, not a self-server. I'm proud to call him my representative. Read more

Aggie Volleyball Sweeps Miners

From - LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The Aggie volleyball team made it 12 straight victories over I-10 rival UTEP on Friday night. The Aggies swept the visiting Miners 3-0 winning set one easily 25-15 before getting challenged 25-23 in set two and then rebounding with a convincing 25-13 victory in set three. The Aggies were led by Kayleigh Giddens who recorded a match-high 17 kills and hit .351 with just four attack errors on 37 swings. The Aggies held UTEP to just a .149 hitting percentage, well below their season average of .316. "We did a good job for the most part," said head coach Mike Jordan after the match. "We attacked the ball well and minimized our errors so from that standpoint we did some good things." The Aggies hit .326 for the match en route the easy victory. Read more here


Denish Keeping Meyners & Co. Donation

Diane Denish
From the Santa Fe New Mexican - The day after Bruce Malott, the chairman of New Mexico's educational pension fund, resigned over a questionable $350,000 loan, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Diane Denish's campaign announced it was donating to a charity more than $4,000 in campaign contributions from Malott — whose company once kept the books for the Denish campaign. "In light of today's revelation, the campaign immediately donated donations from Mr. Malott to a New Mexico nonprofit that supports our early-childhood education professionals," Denish spokesman Chris Cervini said in an e-mail Thursday. "It was the right thing to do." However, records kept by the Institute on Money in State Government show that in addition to Malott's personal donations, his company, the accounting firm of Meyners & Co., gave Denish $8,750 since 2007. Malott and his business also have contributed $4,500 to the campaign of Denish's running mate, Brian Colón. Read more here:

Steve Forbes: Railroading The Taxpayer

Commentary by Steve Forbes - Washington likes to think that government-funded infrastructure projects boost economic activity. It was just such a belief that the President tapped into last year to justify part of his expensive grab bag of projects and programs that constituted his initial $787 billion stimulus package. But there is at least one form of Washington-generated infrastructure spending we could manifestly do without: high-speed rail projects. If the White House has its way the federal government--as well as state and local ones--will spend hundreds of billions of dollars over the next couple of decades on projects that will be mammoth moneylosers and serve but a tiny fraction of the U.S. traveling public. Despite the fact that almost all the world's bullet trains operate in the red, they have cast a spell over political elites. Environmentalists love them because they will allegedly get us out of our automobiles. Unions love them because government projects mean bloated payrolls, pay packages and pensions. And the poor taxpayer gets railroaded. Nevertheless, with great fanfare the Administration announced last year that it would shovel out $8 billion to help fund several high-speed rail corridors around the country. While that's seemingly small change by today's government standards, transportation officials understand that these appropriations are but a down payment on massive amounts of money yet to come. Traditionally, once a pork barrel scheme is started, nothing in heaven or on Earth is likely to stop it. Like barnacles on a ship, too many vested interests will glom onto it and fight to protect it. Read more

Varela: Close the Gate the Horse is Out

From the Santa Fe New Mexican - A seven-person unit in the state's Department of Workforce Solutions faces the annual task of trying to sort through how much the department might have overpaid in unemployment benefits. This year's task is large. The department potentially overpaid claimants by more than $97 million in 2009, according to U.S. Department of Labor figures, although a state labor department spokeswoman said a more accurate figure is $22 million. The state labor agency says it routinely looks for those who cheat the system, performing such tasks as matching the Social Security numbers of new hires with those of people collecting benefits, spokeswoman Carrie Moritomo said.
The state recently received a $1.2 million grant to help automate the system that sends notices to potential violators. In a year when money is tight, lawmakers want to know how the state plans to recoup any overpayments. State Rep. Lucky Varela, D-Santa Fe, said this week he wasn't aware of the overpayments but plans to bring the topic up with department leaders who are scheduled to testify late this month before the Legislative Finance Committee, which he chairs. Read more here:


Denish Campaign: Averting the Malott Scandal?

Bruce Malott
From the New Mexico Independent - The fall from grace of another Richardson insider hijacked center stage of the New Mexico governor’s race Thursday. The campaigns of Democratic Lt. Gov. Diane Denish and Republican Susana Martinez found themselves trading accusations over the abrupt resignation of Bruce Malott as chairman of the Educational Retirement Board (ERB). Malott admitted to borrowing $350,000 from the father of a man who had shared in $22 million in so-called third-party marketing fees, the Albuquerque Journal reported Thursday.
The fees are part of an ongoing federal criminal investigation and came from dozens of investment deals involving the State Investment Council and the ERB, which Malott helped to oversee as chairman. “It is clear that the culture of corruption is deeply rooted in the Richardson/Denish Administration and we are finding more conflicts and wrongdoing every day,” Martinez’s campaign manager, Ryan Cangliosi, said. Read more here:


Baum - "Working Girl" Big Idea Needed for 1990s Redux:

Caroline Baum
“The U.S. economy remains almost comatose....The current slump already ranks as the longest period of sustained weakness since the Great Depression....Once- in-a-lifetime dislocations...will take years to work out. Among them: the job drought, the debt hangover, the defense-industry contraction, the (banking) collapse, the real estate depression, the health-care cost explosion and the runaway federal deficit.” That’s how Time magazine described the dismal state of the U.S. economy -- in September 1992. The passage has been making the rounds in financial circles, a token reminder that today’s pessimism -- the forecast of a “lost decade” for U.S. employment by Pimco CEO Mohamed El-Erian, for example -- may turn out to be too extreme.
Mohamed El-Erian
Almost before that Time article reached the recycling bin, the U.S. economy was humming again. Real gross domestic product rose 4.3 percent, both in the fourth quarter of 1992 and on a year-over-year basis -- and for the rest of the decade America never looked back. Read more here:

Obama May Seek Permanent R&D Credit

President Obama
President Barack Obama may include a permanent extension of the research and development tax credit among the tax breaks for businesses he is contemplating to spur job growth, two congressional aides said. The White House also has been considering payroll tax relief to encourage new hiring, more tax breaks for small businesses and new infrastructure spending, according to people familiar with the discussions who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions are preliminary. Obama’s spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said no decisions have been made. The administration’s economic team is reviewing “targeted” measures to boost economic growth and hiring that won’t be at the same scale as the $814 billion stimulus legislation approved last year, he said yesterday. A permanent extension of the research and development tax credit would cost $70.5 billion over the next 10 years, according to the president’s 2011 budget proposal. Read more here:

Governor Race Lacks Substance, Long on Rhetoric

From the Rio Grande Sun - Commentary by RGS Publisher R. Braiden Trapp - Those of us looking for some substance in the November governor’s race are truly frustrated. It’s normal to not expect much substance from candidates but the two ladies vying for the state’s highest office are creating a new high in lack of information. The Albuquerque Journal’s poll Sunday states Doña Ana County District Attorney Susana Martinez leads Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish 45 to 39 percent with 16 percent undecided. The poll would have made more sense if that 45 was in front of the undecided and the candidates were sniping back and forth to gain a third of voters’ confidence. Neither have said anything worth reporting other than the same old lip service to cleaning up corruption, we’ve got to fund education and it’s all about the economy. The last time we heard a politician speak with any hard message was Bruce Throne, who ran for PRC in 2008. He knew more about the PRC than all the sitting commissioners combined. He lost to Jerome Block, who’s still under indictment for fraud and at last report hadn’t found the bathroom in the PERA building, much less done anything of note. Read more

Linda Chavez - Bad News for Big Labor

Linda Chavez
The labor movement doesn't have much to celebrate this Labor Day. Congress first established the national holiday in 1894 at unions' behest. Since then, the American labor movement's fortunes rose to their zenith in 1956, when more than three-in-10 workers were union members, only to decline each year after. Today, only 12 percent of workers hold union cards. And if you discount union members who are public employees, barely 7 percent of private-sector workers are union members. So why has labor unions' membership declined so far in the last 54 years? Some of it has to do with the changing work trends in the United States. We've moved from large-scale industry to service and white-collar jobs, from big employers to small business, and from lifetime tenure to job insecurity and frequent career changes -- all of which makes union organizing more difficult. But the biggest problem for unions has been their own leadership, which has grown increasingly out of touch with the very people those unions hope to represent. Read more here:

Feds sue Arizona sheriff in civil rights probe

PHOENIX – Associated Press - The U.S. Justice Department sued Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Thursday, saying the Arizona lawman refused for more than a year to turn over records in an investigation into allegations his department discriminates against Hispanics. The lawsuit calls Arpaio and his office's defiance "unprecedented," and said the federal government has been trying since March 2009 to get officials to comply with its probe of alleged discrimination, unconstitutional searches and seizures, and having English-only policies in his jails that discriminate against people with limited English skills. Arpaio had been given until Aug. 17 to hand over documents it first asked for 15 months ago. Arpaio's office had said it has fully cooperated in the jail inquiry but won't hand over additional documents into the examination of the alleged unconstitutional searches because federal authorities haven't said exactly what they were investigating. It's the latest action against Arizona by the federal government, which earlier sued the state to stop its strict new immigration law that requires police officers to question people about their immigration status. Read more

Knights Buried by Americas 54-6

LAS CRUCES -- Americas running back Jack Fields went wherever he wanted to on the field, tallying 21 carries for 209 yards and three touchdowns as Americas hammered Oñate, 54-6, at the Field of Dreams Thursday night. Fields ran for 140 yards and three scores in the first half. That set up the play-action passing game, where quarterback Dustin Dailey found daylight, connecting on 46-yard and 45-yard scoring tosses to Octavio Baro and Bobby Schulte, respectively, in the second quarter to put Americas up 35-6. Oñate fell to 0-2 on the season -- the Knights lost 49-2 last week to Franklin -- while Americas improved to 2-0. Read more here:

Mayfield Loses Heartbreaker in O.T.

From the El Paso Times - EL PASO — What a finish. Sophomore quarterback Ebrahim Britton hit Pascual Mendoza with a 22-yard touchdown pass to lift Montwood to a come-from-behind 34-31 overtime victory against Mayfield on Thursday night at the Socorro Student Activities Complex. "Our kids played their hearts out," Rams head coach Chuck Veliz said. "We knew Ebrahim could make plays with his legs and if he could throw the ball, he'd be really dangerous and he made lots of big plays. Our defense did a good job. Overall, our kids won a great game against a very good team." Read more here:

American Gullibility Is Optimism's Dark Side

From - by Rich Karlgaard - Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds gave the average sports fan what he wanted--a thrill. Those amazing years of 60-plus home runs changed the pleasure of watching baseball from sublime to sensational. Americans are suckers for the sensational. Just check movie box-office ratings. Sensational trumps sublime every time. Bernie Madoff gave his investors what they wanted too: a 1% return per month, 12 months a year, year in, year out. Think about that--a quarter-million annual retirement income on a humble $2 million stash. You, Bernie, are sensational! Lance Armstrong stirred the cancer community by beating the disease himself then coming back to win the most physically demanding event in sports--a three-week sufferfest called the Tour de France--a record seven times. Our sensational Texan put those spandexed Euroweenies in their place. None of these were remotely plausible feats, of course. They belonged in the superhero comic books. So why did we eat them up at the time? What unmet needs did Americans have--and still have, as evidenced by the thriving Armstrong cult--that causes us to swallow these tales every time? Read more

Worm found in Alamogordo HS toilet

From the Alamogordo Daily News - Shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday, the administration at Alamogordo High School reported finding a small worm of unknown origin in a toilet at school, according to a press release from Alamogordo Public Schools. District administrators responded immediately and coordinated with the New Mexico Environmental Inspection Department, New Mexico Department of Health and the city of Alamogordo. Inspection and water samples were conducted during the night. Preliminary water testing conducted by the New Mexico Department of Health revealed nothing other than good water quality. As a precaution, all water fountains were shut off. Bottled water is being provided for students and staff at Alamogordo High School. All matters concerning food preparation and service are being conducted by New Mexico Environmental Inspection Department. In-depth testing of the water samples should be completed and results available today. Until final testing results are received, AHS will continue with the precautionary measures already implemented, school officials said.