Study says ABQ should cut jobs

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry 
A draft report by consultants hired by Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry to evaluate the organizational structure of city government has recommended cutting about 50 jobs and downsizing the city's fleet of vehicles by 20 percent.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that the Matrix Consulting Group's report also recommended creating about a dozen new jobs, increasing animal adoption fees and having one company - not two - in charge of managing and marketing the Convention Center.
A city official says it will take months to analyze the report by the California-based company and determine which recommendations to pursue.
Matrix estimates its recommendations would result in at least $4.7 million in annual savings or new revenue, though that figure would be offset somewhat by suggestions for increased spending in other areas.


No funds for LANL project in Senate bill

A budget bill approved by the Senate on Saturday and headed to President Barack Obama’s desk contains no money for a multi-billion plutonium project at Los Alamos National Laboratory, prompting cheers from nuclear weapons activists.
But the yearlong congressional debate over the future of the Chemistry Metallurgy Research Replacement Facility isn’t over.
Defense authorization bills still pending in the House and Senate would continue development of the CMRR facility at LANL over the objections of the White House. The project has a price of about $6 billion, which is a key reason that the Obama administration and some in Congress want to kill it.
The Senate on Saturday passed a so-called “continuing resolution” to keep the federal government operational for the next six months, giving the deeply divided Congress more time to negotiate a longer-term federal budget deal.
The stopgap measure contained no line item for the CMRR facility – in fact, it didn’t mention the project at all.
The president’s 2013 budget zeroed out funding for CMRR. The continuing resolution, once Obama signs it, will keep the government running until March. Final decisions about CMRR spending in 2013 will be made when Congress enacts full-year spending and defense authorizing legislation...


Muslim Day speakers call for end to first amendment

Is there a tie in between radical Muslims in the Middle East who are burning U.S. embassies and murdering diplomats and so-called moderate Muslims in places like New York City? Some people would argue no. Some people would suggest home grown threats to freedom in America as defined by the very first Amendment to the U.S. Constitution are not threatened by the spread of radical Islam.

Take a look at this video. It captures Muslim speakers invited to speak to a gathering in New York City just this weekend on Muslim Day Parade there. The words and phrases uttered by these people, just a few steps from Ground Zero are chilling. This occurred on American soil in an event that was actually sanctioned by the city of New York.

Sunland recalls peanut butter

Portales-based Sunland Inc. is recalling 76 types of peanut butter and almond butter from its stores across the U.S. after one of its products was linked to a salmonella outbreak at Trader Joe’s.
According to a report in the Albuquerque Journal, Sunland announced the voluntary recall Sept. 24 of the products under multiple brand names after the federalFood and Drug Administration and theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention linked 29 salmonella illnesses in 18 states to Trader Joe’s
There are no confirmed salmonella cases in New Mexico.
Sunland manufactures and packages the Trader Joe’s product. Trader Joe’s recalled the Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter from its stores Sept. 22.
There are two Trader Joe’s in Albuquerque and one in Santa Fe...


Caught in open meetings act violations, Grisham-Lujan ducks Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce debate

Janice Arnold-Jones
In one of her final acts as a Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham was caught in a recent violation of the Open Meetings Act. The subsequent negative publicity she received, particularly in a recent expose in the Albququerque Journal has turned Lujan-Grisham cautious about question and answer sessions regarding her behavior. Yesterday, Janice Arnold-Jones, Lujan-Grisham's opponent in the race for New Mexico's First Congressional District seat, again called on Lujan-Grisham to reconsider a debate opportunity sponsored by the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber debate would have focused on the top priority for CD-1 voters this year: creating jobs and building our economy but Lujan-Grisham has refused to participate.
“I’m disappointed Michelle Lujan Grisham has refused an opportunity to specifically discuss our different visions for how to put people back to work,” said Arnold-Jones. “Voters in CD-1 have a right to know where we stand on the most important issue of this race,” she added.

Sunport gets third solar grant

Albuquerque's Sunport is getting a third federal grant to expand its solar efforts. 

U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman and Mayor Richard Berry say the international airport is getting a $3.3 million grant from the FAA to install more photovoltaic solar arrays and canopies over the long-term parking lot.

When the project is complete next year, Sunport's multiple solar arrays will be able to produce nearly two megawatts of power, which will save the city nearly $400,000 in annual electricity costs.

Sunport already has 11 solar arrays that were installed thanks to two previous grants worth $4.2 million.

NM Land Office lease sale brings in $4.89 million

The New Mexico State Land Office says this month's sale of oil and natural gas leases brought in nearly $5 million.
The September sales included 29 tracts of land that covered more than 8,000 acres in three counties in southeastern New Mexico. Officials say the September 2011 sale had brought in more than $9.9 million for 8,140 acres.
Revenues from the sales go toward public schools, universities and hospitals.
The State Land Office says the highest bid this month of $1.9 million was made by Energen Resources Corp. for 640 acres in Lea County.
The next lease sale will be Oct. 16.


ABQ fire chief fires back at study

Albuquerque’s fire chief is firing back at a new study that says his department isn't responding to calls fast enough.
"Within this study there are several statements that are misleading and they're inaccurate and they make for some pretty sensational headlines,” said Albuquerque Fire Department Chief James Breen.
Chief Breen disputes the findings of an 89-page report by the International Association of Firefighters, or IAFF.
The report was commissioned by the local firefighters’ union, IAFF Local 244.
The study says “AFD is not in full compliance with performance objectives stated in NFPA 1710 standard.”
Breen said that’s simply not true.
"As a public servant I have an obligation to tell the truth, to ensure that the public receives accurate information regarding community risk, and is aware of AFD's actual performance measures," said Chief Breen.
The report said AFD staffs its ladder companies with three on-duty firefighters, rather than the minimum of four. And that AFD is unable to respond with an engine company to 90 percent of roads in the jurisdiction within the four minute response time as stated in NFPA 1710.
Equally, the report said AFD is also unable to respond with the apparatus and staff to any full first alarm dispatch on 90 percent of the roads in the jurisdiction within the 8 minute response time as stated in NFPA 1710.


Buddhist statue removed from park

It's a Tibetan stupa, a shrine containing Buddhist relics, but it's on national park land.
National groups questioned it's legality over the separation of church and state.
Buddhists feared it would be torn down, but the National Park Service has now decided it belongs in the hands of the Buddhists.

The shrine was built in 1989 by the former owner of the land where Albuquerque's Petroglyph National Monument now stands. The land was sold one year later to the Federal Government.

Tourists travel to the site, not for the stupa, but to see the 700-year-old Native American rock carvings.

The National Park Service bought the property and everything on it. Recently, it appeared the Park Service was going to remove the stupa and that had Buddhists up in arms.

Then national groups like Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility jumped in and questioned the legality of the stupa on federal land.

Washington D.C. representatives told the Park Service to find it a new home; somewhere away from the park, because the land shouldn't have affiliation with any religion.

"The Buddhists are actually paying for it to be moved to the other side of town," said Diane Souder of the National Park Service.

The Park Service says a group of private donors are taking the shrine to their property in Tijeras Canyon...


Disturbance at Las Cruces jail

Authorities say they quelled a disturbance that broke out inside the Dona Ana County Detention Center over electric clippers used to cut inmates' hair.

No injuries were reported in Sunday's disturbance.

The Dona Ana Sheriff's Department says about a dozen inmates who were in one pod of the jail and were given the clippers to cut their hair had refused to give back the shears and became disruptive.

Inmates in nearby pod also became disruptive and used a broom handle and piece of metal broken off a desk to break several windows.

Another inmate started a fire in a trash can and lit a few mattresses on fire using a lighter he had in his possession.

A sprinkler system inside the pod put out the fire.