Report decries large number of NM college campuses as symptomatic of problems in education system

From the Carlsbad Current-Argus - By Stella Davis - Current-Argus Staff Writer - CARLSBAD — A report on a study conducted by the Rio Grande Foundation says New Mexico has a proliferation of college campuses, and that those higher numbers are a symptom of larger problems within the state's overall education system when measured against other states. But Carlsbad's higher education and municipal schools officials disagree with the report. They believe that branch campuses are needed in rural areas, and that the students who attend them do so for many reasons, but the bottom line is a college education they can afford. The Rio Grande Foundation is a research institute based in Albuquerque. A solution offered by foundation on the plethora of branch college campuses is for the New Mexico State Legislature and the state's higher education leaders to consider eliminating or combining some buildings and resources.According to the study, New Mexico's four-year colleges have 38 campuses combined, while the state's two-year campuses and junior colleges have 27. Measured against other states, the study and report, co-authored by Rio Grande Foundation President Paul Gessing and William Leonard, states that New Mexico dedicates a far greater percentage of personal incomes to higher education — $17.39 per $1,000 — while the national average is about $7 per $1,000. The study also determined that New Mexico is ranked 46th in the nation when it comes to college student graduation rates and that its first-year retention rate is the worst in the nation, it demands that taxpayers disproportionately foot the bill for higher education and asks less than all but one other state of the students themselves, the direct beneficiaries of higher education when it comes to tuition and fees. Read more

New Mexico OKs bonds for $70M in capital projects

From the Alamogordo Daily News - SANTA FE, N.M.—The state Board of Finance says New Mexico is getting exceptionally low-cost financing for $70 million in capital improvement projects across the state.  The board has accepted bids from Morgan Stanley that provide for an interest cost of 1.47 percent on state bonds backed by revenues from severance taxes on oil and natural gas production.  State officials said the rate was the lowest in memory and there were 12 competitive bids submitted by potential bond underwriters.  The latest bond issuance will pay for projects approved during a 30-day legislative session earlier this year.  Gov. Susana Martinez said Wednesday the low interest rate on the 10-year severance tax bonds will provide savings to taxpayers on the costs of financing capital improvements. Read more


Judge gives 5 years to NM gun dealer who pleaded guilty to supplying a guns-to-Mexico ring

Washington PostThe dealer who supplied a border town smuggling ring that shipped nearly 200 guns to Mexican drug cartels was handed a five-year prison sentence Thursday along with a stern lecture. “It’s time to say ‘basta!, enough!,” federal judge Judge Robert Brack said to defendant Ian Garland. “There is a war in Mexico and the war machine requires fuel,” the judge said. “This conspiracy was happy to supply that fuel. What made my decision was that in this terrible supply chain, that link was you.” Gun dealer Ian Garland was the second of 14 people charged in the Columbus, N.M.-based conspiracy to be sentenced. All have pleaded guilty. Other defendants include former Columbus Police Chief Angelo Vega, former Mayor Eddie Espinoza and former trustee Blas Gutierrez. Mario Ortiz, Garland’s lawyer, pushed for a lesser sentence, saying that despite his guilty plea, Garland thought the guns were for Gutierrez, to whom he had sold guns in the past after performing mandatory background checks. Read More News New Mexico


Bill Clinton? I Did NOT Have My Picture Taken With Those Porn Stars

Some things never change, and they shouldn't. If you can't count on Bill Clinton for this sort of story every so often know.
The Daily Caller - Bill Clinton sure knows how to have a good time, as evidenced by a photo taken Wednesday at Monte Carlo’s “Nights in Monaco” event.
The former president was photographed with a giant grin on his face, surrounded by three porn stars, TMZ first reported. But these aren’t just any porn stars. Read full story here: News New Mexico

O'Reilly: Hating the "Rich"

Bill O'Reilly
Townhall - My late father was a man of strong opinion. He despised phonies, cowards and liars. He named names -- sometimes in very close proximity to those being singled out. A veteran of World War II, he recognized a weasel when he saw one. But my dad never denigrated rich people in general.
We lived in Levittown, N.Y., where everybody had pretty much the same -- that is, not much. We ate tuna casserole, hot dogs and Hamburger Helper. My parents never owned a new car.
Ten miles away, my dentist, a college classmate of my father's, lived in Garden City. Lovely place, filled with rich people. My father often drove us through there and never said a disparaging word about the fine lawns and shiny foreign cars. America was the land of opportunity, and Garden City proved it.
But that was then.
Today, many Democrats believe the wealthy are bad to the bone. A new Gallup poll asks: "Do you think the U.S. benefits from having a class of rich people or not?" An amazing 46 percent of self-described Democrats answered "or not." Read full column here: News New Mexico

Landing Gear Not Down? No Problem

Chuck Franco and Susana Martinez at Inauguration
Santa Fe New Mexican - Gov. Susana Martinez and First Gentleman Chuck Franco were among several passengers of a private single-engine plane that touched down late Wednesday without landing gear deployed, screeching to a stop on the runway of the Santa Fe Municipal Airport. A spokesman for the Governor said she and all passengers, including Clovis-based Ninth Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler, were unharmed in the troubled landing. The group was flying back to Santa Fe from Tucumcari where they attended a "meet-and-greet campaign event" for New Mexico Senate candidate Angie Spears, whose campaign paid for the flight, according to Martinez's spokesman Scott Darnell.
While Scott Darnell told The New Mexican in an email the incident happened around 10 p.m. Wednesday, Santa Fe Police Lt. David Holliday said officers received word of the troubled landing from emergency dispatchers shortly after 11 p.m.
"When we arrived, the Governor and her party were already in the terminal and doing fine," Holliday said. "But the plane was still stuck out on the run way."
The single-engine Malibu propeller plane was piloted by Clovis businessman Sid Strebeck, who has approximately 3,000 flight hours, Darnell said. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Wind fuels Whitewater & Baldy fires

KRQETwo fires in the Gila Wilderness have exploded creating dangerous conditions. The Whitewater fire grew from 1,000 to 10,000 acres in just one day and the Baldy Fire has jumped from 6,000 to 11,000 acres. Both fires were started by lightening and until Tuesday had been burning pretty slowly. But high winds Tuesday fueled those fires and now the Whitewater fire spread is threatening homes, prompting a precautionary evacuation of the summer community of Willow Creek. Firefighters have not been able to get close the fire Wednesday because they say it is burning in very steep terrain and is very aggressive. Officials say the fire is pretty unpredictable and firefighters would be putting themselves in great danger if they got too close. Wednesday’s winds are so bad that crews say it’s too dangerous to even send up tankers and helicopters to help fight the blaze. At this point they say their focus is to protect homes. The Baldy fire is burning not too far away from the Whitewater fire. However that fire is burning in wide open wilderness and is not threatening any buildings. Smoke and ash from these fires is visible from pretty far away, due to the high winds falling ash has been reported as far as 40 miles away. Read More News New Mexico


Spence: Foreign drug traffickers seeking NM Driver's Licenses have Sanchez to thank

Commentary by Jim Spence - The crossroads of I-25 and I-40 in Albuquerque should be renamed the Ben Lujan-Michael Sanchez illegal drug trafficking and driver’s license crime corridor. Why so?
Ever since Susana Martinez was elected Governor of New Mexico in 2010, she has tried to put an end to the outrageous practice of this state actually issuing driver’s licenses to people living here illegally. And on Monday we saw yet another case in point on why an end should have come long ago to this insidious practice.
Michael Sanchez
According to a story on KOB TV's website it seems the Albuquerque Police Department received word of suspicious activities at a hotel in the I-25 - I-40 area of the Duke City. This area is often frequented by drug traffickers. Low and behold when law enforcement officials swooped in to investigate and eventually make drug arrests, it soon became clear that the suspects in question were also in the country illegally and trying to obtain New Mexico driver’s licenses.
Several suspects arrested were from Guatemala and El Salvador. Evidence recovered suggested they were in the process of obtaining documents so they could then obtain New Mexico driver's licenses.
This sort of criminal activity can succeed easily in New Mexico. The way for these criminals has literally been paved by the majorities in both houses of the New Mexico legislature. Thanks to the dubious leadership of retiring Speaker Ben Lujan and sitting Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, every single effort to put an end to the practice of issuing driver’s licenses to people who have entered the U.S. and the state of New Mexico illegally has been blocked.
And so you have it. In the summer of 2012, not only are foregin drug traffickers who are here illlegally working on ways to distribute narcotics in our state, they are using the gaping holes in New Mexico's laws on driver's license issuance to obtain documents that help them legitimize their efforts to move about the country. Thanks Michael Sanchez. Great job.


Griego Had a Failure to Appear Problem, Eleven Warrants for His Arrest Were Issued

State Senator Eric Griego
 From The Republic - What is up with the vetting of Congressional candidate Eric Griego by public employee unions and radical environmentalists? According to an article in the Albuquerque Journal Griego simply skipped out on court dates and also ignored judicial orders after getting tickets for speeding. Instead of paying the fines or showing up to contest the trafic violation charges Griego was a no-show. As a result, apparently eleven different arrest warrants were issued for Griego by Albuquerque Metropolitan Court judges between 2000 and 2007 for failing to appear at scheduled court hearings and/or missing court-ordered driver school programs for traffic citations.
It would seem that Griego feels that one set of rules applies to everyone else and another set of rules applies to him. Incredibly, Griego's campaign manager, Ed Yoon, says Griego addressed the violations, paid the fines and regrets the warrants. Yoon says they do not reflect on Griego's ability to represent Albuquerque in Congress. What would reflect on his ability? Read story here: News New Mexico

APD Catches 38 in Shoplifting Sting

KOAT TV - Thirty-eight arrests in three days, all at Coronado mall and it was all part of an effort to bring down property crime in Albuquerque. Nine loss prevention officers worked with the Albuquerque Police Department at Coronado Mall, recovering more than $3,500 in stolen merchandise.
Police said they waited for a crime to occur, then followed the thieves.
"We also followed them out to their vehicles, so we have information about how they work, how they work together as a team and how they get the merchandise out of the shopping center and into their vehicles," said Police Chief Ray Schultz. Police said those arrested included mother-daughter teams, father-son teams and even parents using their small children to hide merchandise. Read story and watch video here: News New Mexico