Cops: Man flashes gun at family during road rage incident

From - ALBUQUERQUE - A man is accused of flashing a gun at a family after a road rage incident in Albuquerque. Police say Kenneth Leone pulled a handgun and pointed it at a man, woman and two kids near Central Avenue and Tramway Boulevard Saturday night. Leone told police that the man almost hit his car in a McDonalds parking lot and said he was going to beat him up. Leone said he felt threatened so he pulled the gun. He is charged with aggravated assault and child abuse. Read more

Boy Falls Down Uncover Manhole, Family Wants Answers

From - A 5-year-old Albuquerque boy is out of the hospital after plunging down into an open manhole. (structure looks like on left only buried to street level) He and his family were walking down Lead Avenue over the weekend when the boy fell in. Action 7 News talked to the family and the city, to find out why the manhole wasn't covered. The family asked us not to identify them. The construction project has been ongoing for a year, but the family had no idea there was an uncovered manhole until it was too late. The mom asked, "How could it happen that something could be blatantly left open like that?" The family was walking down Lead when they say they noticed a rise in the road. Their son was running ahead. "It was the worst possible thing, he disappeared in this hole we went running, we were only a few feet behind him, he was gone," said the boy's mom. Without thinking, his father said he jumped in after him. "He was under water when I jumped in and I went down again, and when I saw him go down under I just reached under water," the boy's father said. The father was able to pull his son out. Police responded to the scene and found a second manhole uncovered. Both the boy and the father were treated and released from the hospital. The boy appears to be fine but his father suffered some injuries when he jumped in. Read more

Should NM legislators get a salary? Let the debate begin!

From Capitol Report New Mexico - New Mexico is one of the few states in the entire country with a so-called “citizen legislature” and the only state in which state lawmakers receive no salary at all. That’s right. Roundhouse representatives and senators get no pay — just a per diem for expenses that comes to $153 a day when they are in Santa Fe during legislative sessions and committee meeting hearings. Some people say that’s the way it should be. Others argue that lawmakers should be paid a part-time salary (for example, another western state — Utah — pays its legislators $117 per day, $95 for lodging and $61 for meals) while others call for full-time pay (California pays its full-time legislators more than $95,000 a year — nice work if you can get elected to it). For more on the debate, here are some links: Blogger Heath Haussamen suggests paying lawmakers about $25,000 a year. Democratic state rep Antonio “Moe” Maestas of Albuquerque told the Las Cruces Sun-News, “I support a paid legislature – maybe $40,000 or $50,000 a year per member – and zero gifts of any kind.” The conservative editorial page of the Albuquerque Journal hasn’t come down on one side or the other, but in a recent editorial says the issue deserves a hearty debate. The writers at CalWatchdog recently posted a story about an initiative to scale back the salaries of state lawmakers in California. If you’d like to see how lawmakers in other states are paid, the folks at Ballotpedia have a handy guide. Click here for that. Read more

Cerrillos Road construction: A delay proves dear

From the Santa Fe New - by Bob Quick - Road work on Cerrillos Road that tied up traffic for months led to large losses in sales for many businesses along the route. Some business owners said they were forced to lay off workers because sales fell so much. In addition to that, the project is not completely done — workers will return in the spring to complete "some time-sensitive work," said Joyce Bond, city public information officer. Bond said a gas-line relocation was mainly responsible for the delay in the project. As for the possibility of fines for the contractor for not finishing on time, "city staff is currently discussing ... contractual issues with AUI Inc., the contractor on the project," Bond said. "To date, a final outcome has yet to be determined." One of those Cerrillos Road businesses that lost money was Tortilla Flats, a Northern New Mexican restaurant owned by restaurateur Dean Alexis. "The work on Cerrillos Road led to a great deal of avoidance" by customers, he said. "It also tied up traffic for 10 plus minutes." Alexis said losses for his business amounted to "easily 10 percent of sales" for the six months it took to complete the construction work in front of his restaurant. The effect of the work wasn't limited to Cerrillos Road, as drivers took to residential streets to avoid the other main thoroughfares that were especially busy during the construction, Alexis said. Read more

AP ‘top 10’ list confirms media still ignoring Fast and Furious story

From the - The killing of Osama bin Laden during a raid by Navy SEALs on his hideout in Pakistan was the top news story of 2011, followed by Japan's Earthquake/tsunami/meltdown disaster, according to The Associated Press' annual poll of U.S. editors and news directors,” David Crary of the Associated Press reported, presenting the news agency’s top 10 stories for the year. Fair enough. They were huge stories. The other stories selected were all noteworthy in their own ways as well, but there is one more that is remarkable in its absence from inclusion: Fast and Furious. Officials of the United States government allowed guns to be smuggled across international borders into a sovereign neighboring country—where they were received by murderous cartels, and which resulted in the deaths of American law enforcement officers and untold numbers of Mexican (and U.S.?) citizens—all the while leaving the Mexican government in the dark and stonewalling numerous Congressional inquiries to prevent exposing how high up in the administration approval and direction came from—and that does not make the top 10? Read more

Ohio quakes linked to oil-drilling waste pumped into wells?

From the blog Cowboy Byte - Oil-drilling wastewater pumped into a northeast Ohio well “almost certainly” triggered 11 minor earthquakes around Youngstown since last spring, including one Saturday, a seismologist tells the Associated Press. Ohio officials closed four inactive “fluid injection” wells within a five-mile radius of the Youngstown well, which is near a fault that geologists apparently weren’t aware of. Pressure from the wastewater caused the fault to shift. Northstar Disposal Services has used the wells to dispose of brine wastewater from shale oil and gas drilling, which officials said is different from so-called fracking, the Youngstown Business Journal and AP report.

Montana High Court Says 'Citizens United' Does Not Apply In Big Sky State

From the blog Alter - Montana’s Supreme Court has issued a stunning rebuke to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010 that infamously decreed corporations had constitutional rights to directly spend money on ‘independent expenditures’ in campaigns. The Montana Court vigorously upheld the state’s right to regulate how corporations can raise and spend money after a secretive Colorado corporation, Western Tradition Partnership, and a Montana sportsman’s group and local businessman sued to overturn a 1912 state law banning direct corporate spending on electoral campaigns. “Organizations like WTP that act as a conduit for anonymously spending by others represent a threat to the political marketplace,” wrote Mike McGrath, Chief Justice of the Montana Supreme Court, for the majority. “Clearly the impact of unlimited corporate donations creates a dominating impact on the political process and inevitably minimizes the impact of individual citizens.” The 80-page ruling is remarkable in many respects. Throughout, including in a lengthy dissent by a state Supreme Court justice who felt Montana was dutibound to abide by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the Montana Court attacked the thinking behind the Citizens United decision and the impact of big money in political culture, including the notion that corporations are deserving of the same political speech rights as citizens. “While, as a member of this Court, I am bound to follow Citizens United, I do not have to agree with the [U.S.] Supreme Court’s decision,” wrote Justice James C. Nelson, in his dissent. “And, to be absolutely clear, I do not agree with it. Read more

"Excessive Self-Regard"


NM Schools Rank 46th in Science and Engineering

Capitol Report New Mexico - It may be a new year, but New Mexico still ranks among the worst states in another educational survey. This one is from the American Institute of Physics, which compiled the Science and Engineering Readiness Index (SERI) ranking how well the United States’ schools are preparing students for science and engineering careers. New Mexico finished 46th. I wonder if it would have been even worse if the sons and daughters of all the Los Alamos scientists had been excluded. Massachusetts came in first with a score of 4.82 while New Mexico came in at 1.72. One of our neighboring states, Colorado, finished 15th while Texas finished 31st and Arizona 45th. Here are the rankings: Read full story here: News New Mexico


Did Poor Border Security Lead to Murder of Infant?

KOAT TV - Federal agents said the man accused of sexually assaulting and killing a 1-month-old baby girl had recently sneaked back into the United States after being deported to Mexico four months before the crime. Police released a recording of the 911 call that indicated the baby was already dead before anyone contacted the authorities. "(The) baby was taking a bottle and choked and couldn't stop, and the baby has now passed away," the caller told a 911 operator. According to a criminal complaint, sheriff's deputies found a 4-week-old baby girl battered, with blood pooling around her clothes all the way into the footie of her Onesie. Officers said the baby had two black eyes, a bite mark on her cheek, brain bleeds, a lacerated liver and anal and vaginal tearing. The 911 operator asked the family to perform CPR, but it was too late. "The baby's gone," the caller said. Authorities said they arrested 37-year-old Juan Galindo on charges of sexual assault and child abuse resulting in death. Officers said Galindo admitted he was high on meth when he assaulted the baby. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Richardson Contributor Pleads Guilty to Bid Rigging

NewsNM note - CDR Financial won investment business in New Mexico during the eight years of the Richardson administration. Though investigations were conducted into their activities no charges were filed.
Bloomberg - CDR Financial Products Inc. and its founder, David Rubin, pleaded guilty less than a week before trial on charges tied to a federal investigation of bid- and auction-rigging in the municipal bond market.
Rubin, 50, and his Beverly Hills, California-based firm were charged along with two other employees. Prosecutors said Rubin, who served as chief executive officer, took kickbacks for running sham auctions for investments. He pleaded guilty along with the company yesterday in Manhattan federal court. Jury selection in the trial of former CDR Chief Financial Officer Z. Stewart Wolmark and Vice President Evan Zarefsky is set to begin next week and was to include Rubin as a defendant.
In New Mexico, CDR received almost $1.5 million in fees for advising the New Mexico Finance Authority in 2004 after donating $100,000 to political groups affiliated with former Governor Bill Richardson. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Public Employee Retirements Soaring

According to the Albuquerque Journal the number of retiring New Mexico public-sector employees has jumped in the past two years. As of December, a total of 4,145 public-sector employees had retired across New Mexico in 2011, according to the state’s two public retirement systems, the Public Employees Retirement Association and the Educational Retirement Board.
Rising New Mexico retirement numbers are mirroring trends in a number of other states and experts believe there are many reasons for increased retirements including the possibility that many public employees think it is wise to get themselves grandfathered in on generous benefits. Also cited is the aging baby boomers in the workforce. Rising New Mexico retirement numbers are mirroring trends in a number of other states.


Circle K Fires Employee for Self-Defense

Consumerist - Imagine you're working at a Circle K (or any other store of its type) when a trio of wannabe robbers enter and begin waving a gun at you. What do you do? And more importantly, are you thinking about company policy or your own safety?  That was the situation facing a Pensacola, FL, man earlier this month, when his workday at the Circle K was interrupted by armed baddies, a man and two women.
"She starts yelling shoot him, shoot him!" the man tells Pensacola's Fox 10 TV. "I grabbed her around the neck and slammed her on the ground and grabbed the gun in both my hands."  The man says he knows of Circle K's policy against provoking, chasing or engaging a robber, but explains that he didn't really have a choice.  "I don't care if it were a bigger person, smaller person or a child; if you have a gun in your face, if you're struggling with somebody you're going to bite, kick, scratch, pull," he tells Fox 10. "You're going do every dirty thing you can think of to save yourself."
Regardless, once the folks at Circle K saw the video footage of the incident, they decided he needed to longer be employed by the chain. A local police detective tells Fox 10: "I don't recommend anybody to put your life in danger, but in my opinion this clerk had an opportunity. He obviously felt like he was in danger and he saw an opportunity to save himself." Read full story here: News New Mexico