Newsbreak New Mexico 5pm Webcast 11/9/12

Newsbreak New Mexico 5pm Newscast with Vanessa Dabovich

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Stolen police rifle recovered
First Gentleman gets a job
AG's office to hold special meeting in Las Cruces
UNM hospital workers picket for raises 


NM First Gentleman goes back to work

Chuck Franco

First Gentleman Chuck Franco, who turned in his sheriff’s badge when his wife was elected governor of New Mexico, has gone back to work. 
Franco, former Doña County undersheriff and husband of Gov. Susana Martinez, started a new job last week as a security officer at the U.S. Courthouse in downtown Santa Fe. He is working roughly 20 to 25 hours a week for a private security company that is under contract with the U.S. Marshals Service to provide courthouse security. 
Franco left his job as Doña Ana County undersheriff after Martinez was elected in 2010. His career previously included work as a police officer and game warden, among other jobs.


Newsbreak New Mexico 12pm Webcast 11/9/12

Newsbreak New Mexico 12pm Newscast with Vanessa Dabovich

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AG's office to hold meeting in Las Cruces
LANL broken security system to cost $41 million
Court of Appeals Judge Celia Foy Castillo retires
Wrong person receiving coyote hunt protest calls


NM Lt. Governor's recent trip lays groundwork for trade with Germany

Audio story here:

John Sanchez
Lt. Gov. John Sanchez recently went on a trade mission to Germany.

Sanchez  joined the lieutenant governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Iowa and the U.S. Virgin Islands on the trip in late September. The delegation included both Democratic and Republican lieutenant governors that visited several German cities during the trip.
Sanchez says he laid the groundwork for more German companies to come to New Mexico.
Sanchez- “It was a good opportunity for us to go out there and let them know NM is open for business. We were very pleased with the contacts and relationship we are starting to develop in Germany. They know of NM. They see NM with its rich energy resources as something that they can look to because they are facing energy challenges as well.”
Sanchez also says he thinks Germany is very short sighted in there energy efforts. He says America’s energy position is something they are keeping track of.
Sanchez- “After what happen in Japan with the earthquake they are trying to wean themselves off nuclear power. I think when it’s all said and done they are going to have to go back to the traditional means of power generation like coal and natural gas. They refer to it as shale gas and believe that if America takes advantage of natural resources it will strengthen our economy.”
According to Sanchez’s office the trip was paid for by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and the National Lieutenant Governors Association,
For Newsbreak New Mexico, I’m Vanessa Dabovich. 


UNM Hospital workers picket for raises

University of New Mexico Hospital workers who want raises picketed the hospital on Thursday in an attempt to get the administration’s attention. 
Union director Bill Browne says Members of the local chapter of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, which represents about 4,000 employees, have asked UNMH to give them a 2.7 percent raise this year and for the two years after that.  The union represents most hospital employees, with the exception of physicians.
 About 30 employees stood on the north side of Lomas in front of the hospital Thursday morning in what Browne called an informational picket. Browne says the union does not have plans to walk out or go on strike. But workers do want hospital administrators to take note of their discontent. 
UNM Health Sciences Center spokesman Billy Sparks said the hospital is hopeful it will come to an agreement with the union. Browne said employees last year got a 2.5 percent raise, but that raises have not been on par with inflation.


Newsbreak New Mexico 8am Webcast 11/9/12

Newsbreak New Mexico 8am Newscast with Vanessa Dabovich

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Court of Appeals Judge Celia Foy Castillo retires
Wrong person receives coyote hunt protest calls
Close election race between Ferrary and McMillan
Voter turnout down in NM 


LANL broken security system to cost $41 million

The cost of fixing a new Los Alamos National Laboratory security system that doesn’t work could be twice as much as estimated just two weeks ago, with the price jumping to $41 million.  
Problems with the $213 million project designed to improve security for the building where lab workers sometimes make plutonium nuclear weapon parts have “damaged the laboratory’s credibility,” the lab’s director said in a memo to staff this week.
  The system was nearly completed when lab officials discovered earlier this year that it did not work.  Two weeks ago, Los Alamos officials estimated the cost of fixing the problems at $21 million to $25 million, according to an internal National Nuclear Security Administration report obtained by the Journal.  But in his memo to Los Alamos staff Wednesday, lab director Charles McMillan said the lab now estimates the cost at $41 million.
 Needed work could take six months and is not likely to begin until March. In the meantime, additional guards will be needed to protect the building while the security system is inoperable. 


Court of Appeals Judge retires

Celia Foy Castillo
Gov. Susana Martinez, whose appointee to the Court of Appeals lost his seat in Tuesday's election, will get another shot at putting a Republican on the bench.
 Court of Appeals Judge Celia Foy Castillo is retiring in December. 
A bipartisan commission will consider applications for the position and then forward a list of candidates to the governor. Judges then run in a partisan election if they want to keep their job. 
If they win, they face periodic nonpartisan retention elections. Martinez has made numerous appointments to the state's courts since taking office. However, only two of her nine appointees running in contested races on Tuesday kept their seats.


Wrong person receives coyote killing protest calls

The controversial Coyote Hunt hasn't happened yet - but there's already a victim.

 If you're at Elizabeth Rael's house in Los Lunas and the phone rings, don't answer - unless you want an earful about the coyote-killing contest. 
Rael got a new phone number about three months ago, but it's the old phone number of the Gun Hawk gun store in Los Lunas, sponsor of the coyote hunting contest.
 Rael says a lot of the calls are from people angry about the coyote hunt. She says if she gets on the line and tries to tell them it's the wrong number, they'll argue about that too. 
Her answering message tells callers it's not the gun store, but Rael says they ignore that and start ranting.


One vote separates NM House candidates

It is one of the closest election races in the state and counting is still underway in the New Mexico state House of Representatives race between Democrat Joanne Ferrary and incumbent Republican Terry McMillan. 

As of late Thursday— two days after Election Day — Ferrary leads McMillan by one vote. 

Originally, Ferrary clung to a 12-vote lead late Tuesday night but counting absentee votes has reduced her lead to one. Today, the county clerk’s office will conduct a canvass of the provisional votes in the county and count the number of votes that apply to the McMillan-Ferrary race. But that won’t end the process. 

In New Mexico, should the margin of victory be less than one-tenth of one percent of the total votes cast, an automatic recount is ordered. Once the canvass is done, the county clerk sends the results to the Secretary of State’s Office and then the State Canvassing Board will meet on Nov. 27 to issue a recount order. From there, the Doña Ana County Clerk has 10 days from the time it receives the order to conduct the recount. 

We won’t get an official winner until early December.


Voter turnout down in NM

Voter turnout dropped in New Mexico and unofficial returns indicate about 62 percent of registered voters cast ballots in this year's presidential race.  

That's down from nearly 70 percent in 2008, and it's the lowest turnout rate since the 2000 presidential election when 61 percent of eligible voters participated. 
About 772,000 votes were cast in the presidential race.
Albuquerque pollster Brian Sanderoff attributes the drop in voter turnout to less enthusiasm among voters about this year's presidential contest.