Nut robbers raiding N.M. pecan orchards

From - ROSWELL, N.M. - Someone is stealing pecans, and it's mostly happening in southern New Mexico where the pecan harvest is underway. While orchards said they've been a big target, some ordinary people claim they've been hit, too. Residents with pecan trees in Roswell are busy sorting the good ones from the bad. Whether to make a profit or cook with, pecans are a valuable commodity. "I sell them, and then I buy ingredients to make cookies," said a recent victim of pecan theft, who did not wish to be identified. "I give them to friends. Everyone where I can't afford Christmas gifts for, I just make a whole bunch of cookies." Area farmers said pecan theft is a growing problem. Whole pecans are selling for about $3 per pound. Buy them shelled at some places and the price can jump to around $10 per pound. State makes a larceny over $500 is considered a fourth-degree felony. That carries a maximum punishment of 18 months in prison and a fine of $5,000. Read more


NM Bowl impact reaches across the state, even into Rio Rancho

From the Rio Rancho Observer - ALBUQUERQUE - Although the Gildan New Mexico Bowl is played in Albuquerque, its reach, as its name implies, is truly statewide. "The entire state sees an economic benefit from this event," said New Mexico Bowl Executive Director Jeff Siembieda. "You've got people staying in Rio Rancho who are going up there to eat. "It's the entire metro area," he added. "People are coming through Albuquerque, through Rio Rancho and they're going everywhere in the metro area to eat, shop and stay." The annual economic benefit to the metro area "is quantifiable," he said. "I don't know what it is right now, but I know it's in the millions to this community and it's not just Albuquerque. And I think that's something that needs to be stressed." The game will be played on Saturday at University Stadium and will pit the Mountain West's Wyoming, making its second appearance in the bowl in three years, against Tem-ple of the Atlantic-10 Conference. The Owls will be making just their fourth bowl appearance in school history. It's the first bowl game of the season, set up that way on purpose. "This is strategically placed to be the week before Christmas because that is the slowest tourism week of the year in Albuquerque and in New Mexico," Siembieda said. "So to be able to fill hotels, restaurants, bars and retail stores in the week before Christmas is tremendous." And on paper, it has the makings of a great game between two teams that finished 8-4. Read more

Portales says yes to Sunday alcohol sales

From the Clovis News Journal - Portales voters approved Sunday alcohol sales by a narrow margin in a referendum Tuesday. The final total was 311-278 for allowing sales of alcohol on Sunday at local restaurants. Election officials described the flow of voters as steady most of the day, but only a fraction of the city’s 6,007 registered voters ended up casting ballots. Thirty-four Portales residents voted within the first two hours with votes increasing to 118 halfway through the day. “It’s been slow and easy but we’ve been busy,” said voting judge Judy Terry. The single question on the ballot: “Shall ‘Sunday Liquor Sales in Licensed Restaurants’ be allowed within the local option district of the City of Portales.” Read more

State wants to unleash anglers on northern pike

NewsNM: Swickard - but how do they taste fried in garlic butter?
From the Alamogordo Daily News - SANTA FE -- If the state has its way, anglers will be allowed to catch all the northern pike they want at Eagle Nest Lake. The state Game Commission will vote Thursday on removing bag limits on northern pike in Eagle Nest Lake to prevent the aggressive predator fish from decimating popular rainbow trout. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports state fisheries managers are asking the commission to let anglers catch all the pike they want, as long as they don't dump any back in the lake. Pike can grow to more than 2 1/2 feet long, weigh up to 40 pounds and live up to 30 years. Read more

New Details in the Hezbollah/Mexican Cartel Drug Ring

From -Today we receive new details in the case of a Lebanese national who is the ringleader of the international drug smuggling group that works with Mexican drug cartel as well as Hezbollah. Aymon Joumaa has been indicted and is still at large. A report from earlier today revealed a cyber-attack on the U.S. by radical Islamic groups in Mexico and a recent report tells of Hezbollah’s global secret spying capabilities. So being the gracious and giving Americans that we are, we handed their ally and advocate (Iran) a U.S. billion dollar drone to help sharpen those “mad” skills. But just in case they need a little more help, the National Park Service has proposed an unmanned border entry in Texas with Mexico.  More News New Mexico

Hezbollah Running Vast Drug Ring With Mexican Cartel

From - The indictment was announced Tuesday in federal court in Alexandria against Ayman Joumaa, who is currently at large. It alleges he led a conspiracy that, among other activities, sold nearly 100 tons of Colombian cocaine to the Zetas drug cartel in Mexico between 2005 and 2007 that was ultimately smuggled into the United States. The conspiracy has run since at least 2004 and at times brought in as much as $200 million in a single month, according to court documents.  More News New Mexico

MVD Fraud Hotline Mailbox Completely Full

KOAT TV ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A phone number that MVD offers to give New Mexicans a way to report driver's license fraud didn't accept tips for nearly two years because its voicemail box was full. One northern New Mexico landlord said he's convinced that people are illegally using his address to get driver's licenses in New Mexico. Target 7 hid his identity because the man fears retaliation. "I got calls from Colorado, Arizona and Oklahoma," he said. All of the calls came from former renters who were asking if they could use his address even though they moved. So, the landlord called the MVD tip line to report fraud. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Issa Seeks Documents Linking White House to D.C. Occupiers

Washington Examiner - The chairman of the congressional committee that oversees the District's affairs is demanding to know whether the Obama administration is allowing Occupy DC to camp illegally in McPherson Square for political purposes. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., is asking Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to turn over documents and communications between the White House and the National Park Service, which is in charge of McPherson Square park, among other things. The protesters' camp has already caused serious damage to McPherson Square on which $400,000 of economic stimulus money was recently spent for new sod and other improvements, Issa said. Occupy DC has been camped in McPherson Square without a permit for two months even though camping in the park is illegal. Park Police said they consider the encampment a "24-hour vigil." Read full story here: News New Mexico

Cable News Viewer Standings: Fox Rules, CNN Drools

Bill O'Reilly
CNN COOPER 634,000

Holiday Gun Sales Shoot Through the Roof

CBS Sacramento - If you’ve pulled the trigger on a new firearm this holiday season, join the club. As in your neighborhood shooting club, because faster than a speeding bullet, guns are going out the door. Well, not right away, of course — there is that 10-day waiting period, 11 here at TDS Guns in Rocklin, where Bob Norgard wasn’t caught off-guard. He’s making his purchase today so he’ll have his firearm under the Christmas tree as he joins a growing number of people who say they’re simply “doing what they need to do to protect themselves and their family.” This surge in gun sales — the best holiday sales season in three years, according to the Firearms Dealers Association — got a shot in the arm on Black Friday. “Black Friday sales were off the charts this year,” a TDS employee said. FBI stats show the number of background checks done on Black Friday three years ago pales in comparison to the number done this year — a 32-percent jump. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Grand Jury Investigates Solyndra Deal

Washington Times - A grand jury has begun investigating Solyndra LLC, the failed California solar-panel maker that lost more than a half-billion dollars in federal loans, according to law-firm billing records. Weeks after Solyndra filed for bankruptcy in September, a judge allowed the company to hire a law firm to represent it in what court records at the time called a “federal criminal investigation.”
Now the firm, K&L Gates, has filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware a detailed, hour-by-hour account of how attorneys have been spending their time. Most of their efforts have focused on what the firm called the U.S. attorney’s office and Department of Justice investigation of Solyndra. In an 18-page invoice from the law firm dated Dec. 9, the words “grand jury” appear numerous times: “Prepare response to grand jury subpoena,” one entry reads. Another said, “Review and prepare documents to respond to grand jury subpoena.” Read full story here: News New Mexico

Governor Backs Measure to Require Changes in Statute

Governor Susana Martinez
SANTA FE - Governor Susana Martinez announced today that her administration has completed an overhaul of the New Mexico Sunshine Portal, which now displays the names, titles, and salary rates of all state employees, regardless of their classification. In the past, the Sunshine Portal has only listed information for exempt employees. The portal now includes information for classified employees, who work under the rules and guidelines of the state’s civil service system. In October, Governor Martinez announced that she had directed the Department of Information Technology to make employee information for all state workers available through the Sunshine Portal. Governor Martinez also announced her support for legislation that will be offered in the upcoming legislative session by Sen. Sander Rue (R-Albuquerque) which will require, by law, that the Sunshine Portal post name, title, and salary rate for all state employees regardless of classification. “Listing this important information on the Sunshine Portal will give New Mexicans an even greater idea of how their tax dollars are spent in the operation of state government,” said Governor Martinez. “New Mexico taxpayers deserve to know where their money is going – whether it pays the salary of a civil servant or an appointee. Senator Rue’s legislation will put into law the changes we have made over the last several weeks and guarantee that New Mexicans will continue to be part of the process of their government.”
New Mexico’s Sunshine Portal is a website that displays wide-ranging data for state agency budgets, expenditures, employees, revenue, and purchases, along with a number of informational reports including state investment reports and annual fiscal summaries. This summer, the official version of the Sunshine Portal was unveiled after a 6-month beta mode trial, to include additional functions as developed by constituent feedback. It is administered by the Department of Information Technology (DoIT).
Sander Rue
“The Department of Information Technology has worked hard to implement this important transparency measure,” said DoIT Secretary Darryl Ackley. “As with all of our transparency measures, we encourage feedback to ensure that information is as thorough and accurate as possible.”
“The Sunshine Portal is a great tool that promotes and encourages open and honest government,” added Sen. Rue. “Governor Martinez’s direction to include information for all state employees on the portal is a victory for government transparency. By putting these measures into law, we are ensuring that future generations of New Mexicans will have a much clearer idea of how their tax dollars are used.”


Ben Ray Lujan: Taxing the Rich is the Key

Ben Ray Lujan
Congressman Ben Ray Luj├ín of New Mexico’s Third District voted against legislation to extend the payroll tax cut yesterday. Lujan characterized the bill as one that would require more sacrifices from middle-class families and seniors. In a news release on his website he said the bill protects the interests of millionaires and billionaires while including provisions that have already been declared dead on arrival by the Senate and rejected by the President – threatening final passage of tax cuts for 160 million Americans.
Representative Martin Heinrich also voted against the bill that would extend the payroll tax cut. He posted no statement regarding his vote on his website.


SpaceShipOne Could Be Big News for Spaceport

(KRWG) News that Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and aerospace pioneer Burt Rutan are building the world's biggest plane to help launch cargo and astronauts into space has New Mexico officials excited. Allen and Rutan announced their plans Tuesday, saying the new craft would keep America at the forefront of space exploration. The two men also collaborated on SpaceShipOne, which was the basis for the craft that will be used by Virgin Galactic at Spaceport America in southern New Mexico. The company has nearly 500 people signed up and ready to fly. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Are Higher Ed Mission Statements Mere Window Dressing in New Mexico?

Paul Gessing
(Albuquerque) Florida Gov. Rick Scott recently made headlines around the country when he argued that institutes of higher education in his state of Florida should prioritize funding for the study of science and technology in the his state’s institutes of higher education. Said Scott, “If I’m going to take money from a citizen to put into education then I’m going to take money to create jobs…so I want the money to go to a degree where people can get jobs in this state. Is it a vital interest of the state to have more anthropologists? I don’t think so.” One may agree or disagree with Scott’s statement, but prioritization of limited resources is essential. In order to better understand how those resources should be allocated in higher education in New Mexico, the Rio Grande Foundation undertook an effort to survey members of the boards of regents of the state’s six public senior universities on their views of their schools’ mission statements. Unfortunately, poor returns – only 26.7% of the regents responded – seem to indicate that many of the people responsible for leading these institutes do not take their mission statements seriously. Read full column here: News New Mexico


Zia Station Never Used by Railrunner

SANTA FE (KRQE) — It's rush hour Tuesday morning in Santa Fe, and like clockwork, the northbound Rail Runner Express is chugging up St. Francis Drive. The train slows but rolls right on through Zia Station at the intersection of Zia Road and St. Francis Drive. It's not missing anyone. The only passengers here are tumbleweeds sitting inside of a fence that wraps around the station's base. The Rail Runner has stopped thousands of times at Santa Fe's three other stations, but it has never stopped at Zia Station since the platform was built in 2008. "It was a different station," said Santa Fe City Council member Rebecca Wurzburger. "It was different from the beginning." One of the biggest differences has to do with the land around the station. Although the state owns the platform itself, the land behind the station is privately owned. "To get to [the station] for any sort of parking facility, you have to cross private property, our property," said Merritt Brown with developer SF Brown. "I think that's where the gray area began." Read full story here: News New Mexico

"ACLU" Sues Wisconsin Over Voter-ID Law

Pulaski note: Another political coincidence that Eric Holder just announced his war on voter-id laws yesterday?  From - The American Civil Liberties Union sued the state of Wisconsin on Tuesday over its law that will require voters to present official identification, claiming it is unconstitutional and will deprive citizens of their right to vote.The federal complaint seeks to block the voter ID law, which takes effect on February 21, 2012 for Wisconsin's spring primary elections. It requires voters to present identification, such as a driver's license or a passport, to cast ballots in federal, state and local elections.  More News New Mexico

Former Governor Carruthers Back on NewsNM

Dr. Garrey Carruthers
Former New Mexico Governor Dr. Garrey Carruthers will appear as a guest on News New Mexico at 7:30am this morning. Carruthers currently serves as Dean of the College of Business at New Mexico State University. He has one of the most impressive resumes of any guest to appear on our show. Carruthers was Special Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from 1974 to 1975, Director of the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute at New Mexico State University, State Chair of the Republican Party of New Mexico from 1977 to 1979, Assistant Secretary of Interior for Land and Resources from 1981 to 1984, the 27th Governor of New Mexico from 1987 to 1991, and was President and CEO of the Cimarron Health Plan from 1993 to 2003. Carruthers has a Ph.D. in economics from Iowa State University. Always an engaging speaker with a great sense of humor, we will get Carruthers' take on the fast approaching 30 day legislative session in Santa Fe and the first year of Governor Susana Martinez.


Pearce: Favors Middle Class Tax Relief, Job Creation

Yesterday, Congressman Steve Pearce voted in favor of H.R. 3630, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, which includes the Keystone Pipeline project and payroll tax relief.
Steve Pearce
"As I have continually said, job growth is the only solution to our current economic crisis," said Pearce. "The Keystone Pipeline project alone would create about 20,000 jobs immediately. Additionally, by preventing tax increases to America's middle class, we enable this group of job creators to grow their businesses, hire additional workers, and spur economic growth. Washington cannot continue down the path of destruction by overtaxing hard working Americans."
This legislation extends temporary payroll tax relief and provides tax relief for businesses. The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, which passed the House of Representatives today, also includes an extension to unemployment insurance and focuses on job growth as a solution to the national economic crisis.


GOP Angered Over Senator Cravens Replacement Claiming She is NOT Political and "Independent"

Lisa Curtis
New Mexico’s Republican Party is still steamed over the decision by Democrats to appoint Albuquerque trial lawyer Lisa Curtis to the Senate seat vacated by Senator Kent Cravens. They are accusing her of already trying to spin her way to re-election before being confirmed for her appointed position. Curtis, the President of the New Mexico Trial Lawyers Association, is claiming to be an independent who will put the needs of her district first. You can read the full article here: News New Mexico The GOP says Curtis words in an interview attempt to have her come across as moderate and non-partisan while previous public statements have been a clear indication that she is on the extreme left wing of the Democrat Party. At a Bernalillo County Commission meeting, Curtis stated:
• She supports continuing to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.
• She supports the policy of social promotion where children are passed from one grade to the next, even when they haven't mastered the basics.
• She opposes requiring voters to show a photo ID in order to vote.
“If Ms Curtis is sincere about wanting to represent the views of her district, she will reverse her positions on these and other issues. Ms. Curtis might be a skilled trial lawyer, but her rhetoric won't be able to hide the fact that she is out-of-touch with everyday New Mexicans,” said Republican Party of New Mexico Executive Director Bryan Watkins.


Governor Martinez in Otero County Today

Susana Martinez
Governor Susana Martinez will make multiple appearances in the Tularosa Basin today. At noon Martinez will speak to the Tularosa and Alamogordo Rotary Clubs. At 1:30pm the Governor will tour Holloman Air Force Base followed by a visit to White Sands Missle Range later in the afternoon. The Governor will be joined by Representative Yvette Herrell of Otero County. For security reasons the tours of both military installations will be closed to the media.