Airport solar system still doesn't work

From - by Dean Staley - ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - After three years and nearly $500,000, an ambitious project to try and use solar power to heat and cool a building at the Albuquerque Sunport still isn’t operational, according to an airport official. “(It’s) a system we’re still trying to get to work,” said Jim Hinde, aviation director for the city of Albuquerque.
Evidence of the project can be found atop the roof of the airport’s rental car facility. There you’ll find a dazzling array of mirrors, which are designed to focus the sun’s rays on a single water-filled pipe. Hot water from that pipe is supposed to heat the building in winter and power a chiller to cool it in summer.
It was the largest system of its type ever installed in the United States. The project was a joint venture by the state of New Mexico, the Sunport, New Mexico State University, the Department of Energy and a private company based in London called Heliodynamics. The state’s Energy, Mining and Natural Resources Department contributed $199,132 to the project, while the city contributed about $278,000, according to officials.
But from the beginning in 2009, it was something of an experiment, or a demonstration project, designed to test whether the idea could work on a large scale. However, the major setback came after Heliodynamics went out of business in 2010, leaving the project in limbo. In the interim years, Sunport officials scrounged enough parts to complete the system. They now hope to have it up and running early next year.
“(The department’s) Energy Conservation and Management Division funded this project with the belief that solar cooling was a worthwhile technology to pursue given the issues with cooling and electricity usage in the Southwest,” according to a statement issued to News 13. Officials declined to comment further. Hinde said the city took a chance on the project because it believes in alternative energy.
And while the project to heat and cool the rental car facility has been a struggle, the Sunport has made other investments in alternate technologies that have paid off in big ways.
For example, in 2009, the airport installed photovoltaic panels on top of parking structures. Those panels produce a full megawatt of power, which is enough to power 1,000 homes, and cut the electric bill for lights in the parking areas from $260,000 a year to $60,000 a year. Read more

Susana OK’s health care exchanges for NM

From Capitol Report New Mexico - New Mexico will take part in health insurance exchanges, a key part of the Affordable Care Act — also known as “Obamacare.” Barry Massey of Associated Press has the scoop: Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration is moving ahead to establish a state-run clearinghouse to help small businesses and tens of thousands of individuals find affordable health insurance they currently lack.
… “Overall, we never really wavered from the idea that it needs to be a state exchange,” Human Services Secretary Sidonie Squier said in an interview Tuesday.
Under a 2010 law championed by President Barack Obama to expand health care coverage, states can run an exchange, leave that task to the federal government or partner with federal health officials. “We wanted to build something that we think is unique to New Mexico and works for New Mexico,” said Squier.
While some left-leaning states such as California quickly embraced the exchanges once the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, more conservative states have held back, with some state governors waiting to see how the election between Obama and Mitt Romney would turn out.
But this coming Friday (Nov. 16), states have a deadline to notify the US Department of Health and Human Services whether they’ll sign up. States may operate and administer their exchanges themselves or in partnership with the HHS. Another deadline is coming on Dec. 14 in which states must provide details for how they plan to set up their exchanges. And that could lead to a fight here in New Mexico.
According to today’s AP story, rather establishing a new state government agency for the exchange, Gov. Martinez wants it operated by the New Mexico Health Insurance Alliance, a nonprofit public corporation that provides access to insurance for small businesses and some individuals. The alliance is funded by an assessment on insurance companies. Read more

MILLER: Guns blazing since election

From the Washington Times - by Emily Miller - President Obama’s re-election has sent Americans running to the gun stores. Sales of firearms and ammunition are way up in reaction to Mr. Obama saying during the debates he wants to ban everything from “cheap handguns” to common hunting rifles with scary-looking features.
Gun sales at H & H Shooting Sports Complex in Oklahoma City, Okla., have risen 105 percent in the past week, with handguns outselling long guns 3 to 1. The new guns are being put to use. Miles Hall, founder of the 32-year-old company, said he finds his 55-position shooting range is now at capacity 30 minutes after the 9 a.m. opening bell. Industry insiders expect gun sales to continue to rise based on recent patterns leading up to the election. According to a report by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), imports in arms and ammunition increased 59 percent in September compared to a year earlier. NSSF also reported gun-related background checks, adjusted by the organization to give a more accurate reflection of firearms sales, showed an 18 percent increase in October over the same month in 2011.
“The increase in firearms and ammunition sales as a result of election reflects the ongoing concern among law-abiding gun owners that this administration will pursue anti-gun policies during its second term,” said NSSF general counsel Lawrence Keane. “If past is prologue, when we see a push for gun control often comes during a second term. For example, the Clinton administration in its second term orchestrated a coordinated attack on the firearms industry and the fundamental civil liberties of law-abiding Americans protected by the Second Amendment.”
Mr. Obama has four years in which he is likely to appoint Supreme Court justices and use the regulatory apparatus at his disposal to fulfill his mission to restrict firearms, even if Congress doesn’t go along. Americans are smart to stock up now. Read full column

Newsbreak New Mexico 5pm Webcast 11/14/12

Newsbreak New Mexico 5pm Newscast with Vanessa Dabovich

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Dona Ana County works on Museum of Lawmen
NM Health Dept. working on vaccinating seniors
Mexico boy in NM for medical treatment 
NM judges ask for more funding from the state 



Dona Ana County sheriff's dept. working on Museum of Lawmen

Pat Garrett

Volunteers are raising money to help with planned improvements for Dona Ana County Sheriff's Department's Historical Museum of Lawmen. 
The Special Deputy Sheriff Commission has launched a fundraising campaign, including a raffle for a Remington rifle.
 Since the acquisition of "Pat Garrett's Last Ride," the hearse said to have taken Garrett to his grave after his murder in 1908, the sheriff's department has seen a significant spike in the number of visitors to the museum. Garrett is known as the sheriff who killed Billy the Kid. 
The museum is operated by a retired Dona Ana County Sheriff's deputy.


Newsbreak New Mexico 12pm Webcast 11/14/12

Newsbreak New Mexico 12pm Newscast with Vanessa Dabovich

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Mexico boy in NM for medical treatment
ATI in ABQ closes
Christmas tree cutting season begins in the Gila
Sunland Inc. still closed


NM judges say courts need more funds

New Mexico judges are on a mission to get the state's overloaded court system some help. 
That means money, and that's what brought some top judges to the state capitol Tuesday. They came from all over the state to testify before the Legislative Finance Committee. 
When tax dollars dried up in the recession, the courts saw their budgets shrink like everybody else's. The courts are looking for an increase of about three percent.
 At about $141 million, the state's estimated budget is $5.5 billion.


NM Health Department working to vaccinate seniors

Nearly 2,400 vaccinations were given to senior citizens in two northern New Mexico counties as part of an effort by the state Health Department to protect against flu and pneumonia.

State health officials say the number of vaccinations given during the recent clinic was more than double the number given the previous year. 
The department's Office of Health Equity is concerned that a high rate of Hispanics aren't getting vaccinations. In fact, only one-third of New Mexicans over 65 get pneumonia vaccines. 

The department received a federal grant to address the problem.


Gila Forest Christmas tree cutting season to begin

Permits for cutting Christmas trees on the Gila National Forest will again be available at all Ranger District offices starting Monday, November 19. 

For this year’s Christmas tree cutting period, the public can start purchasing the permits four days earlier than normal. By providing the additional service to Christmas tree harvesters, families can obtain their permit and cut the family Christmas tree during the Thanksgiving holiday along with any visiting family or friends and avoid the after Thanksgiving Day rush.  
Permits sell for $5.00 each with a limit of one permit per household; free permits are also available for the fragrant piƱon trees. 


NM peanut plant still closed after salmonella outbreak

The New Mexico peanut butter plant linked to a salmonella outbreak remains idle as officials wait for federal approval to reopen. 

Sunland Inc. spokeswoman Katalin Coburn declined Monday to estimate when operations at the country's largest organic peanut processing plant may resume, saying only that officials are awaiting a response from the Food and Drug Administration. 
Sunland shuttered its operations in Portales and began a top-to-bottom scrubbing in late September after salmonella was found in peanut butter it made for Trader Joe's. The company then issued a voluntary recall of hundreds of products. 
Forty-one illnesses in 20 states have been linked to the peanut butter.


NM business bankruptcy filings down

New Mexico's business-related bankruptcies dropped to a six-year low during the 12 months ending with September. 

The Albuquerque Journal reports that petitions were filed for 185 bankruptcies in which the majority of the debt was from business activities. That's a 19 percent drop from 229 petitions with mostly business debt over the same federal fiscal year period in 2010-11.
 Business-related bankruptcies across the country dropped about 16 percent over the same period. 
The 185 filings statewide was the lowest number of business-related bankruptcies since 127 were filed in the 2006-07 fiscal year.


State could potentially lost hundreds of police officers

Hundreds of law enforcement officers across the state could soon have to retire because of a change in their benefits.

The move could potentially cripple public safety across New Mexico. Law enforcement agencies, including the Albuquerque Police Department, could lose officers to retirement due to changes in their benefits. 
APD could potentially lose as many as 200 officers and residents aren't happy. The issue could apparently affect departments large and small.
 An emergency meeting has been scheduled for 120 law enforcement leaders across the state. Officials will meet in December to discuss how to handle the problems.


Newsbreak New Mexico 8am Webcast 11/14/12

Newsbreak New Mexico 8am Newscast with Vanessa Dabovich

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State facing potential police retirement
NM bankruptcy filings down
Sundland Inc. still closed 
Christmas tree cutting in Gila