Ski Apache making additions

From - Ski Apache in Southeastern New Mexico is currently installing several new additions to improve conditions for skiers. They are adding three new lifts – Capitan Chair 4, Lincoln Chair 2 and an improved gondola. “The gondola is a high speed detachable so it’ll run twice as fast as the previous gondola, you can get up to the top in about eight minutes, they’re eight passengers instead of four, and it’ll be a much nicer ride,” Ski Apache Director of Operations Justin Rowland said. “Probably the nicest ride in New Mexico!”
Ski Apache was originally supposed to open Thanksgiving weekend, but because of a lack of snow and conditions appropriate for producing snow, they were forced to move the start date to December 7 and now, again, to December 14. But they said they’re using the extra time to work more on these projects and put them in as quickly as possible.
They hope the increased gondola speeds will make a big difference for skiers. “If you're a skier, and it's an eight minute ride, more time on the snow versus more time in the air or on the'll be on the top, ready to ski,” Rowland said. “And it hopefully alleviates some of the lift lines, because that'll go so fast, you'll be able to spend more time out like you want to versus waiting in the air.” Read more

Pencils Down? French Plan Would End Homework

NewsNM: Swickard - What is the purpose of homework? To move short-term learning that day into long-term learning. Most homework is given to prove that schools and teachers are being tough and has nothing to do with the only reason to do homework - moving short-term learning from that day to long-term learning and then consolidating it with sleep which is the brain's mechanism. Using a political solution for a non-political problem is wrong. From - In the name of equality, the French government has proposed doing away with homework in elementary and junior high school. French President Francois Hollande argues that homework penalizes children with difficult home situations, but even the people whom the proposal is supposed to help disagree.
"Poor people want homework because they know that school is very important, and the only chance the only possibility they have to give their children a better life is if their children succeed at school," says Emmanuel Davidenkoff, editor-in-chief of L'Etudiant, a magazine and website devoted to French school and education. He says the Socialist government doesn't seem to understand the concerns of the working and middle class and in the name of equality, got it all wrong.
Cutting homework is just part of an effort aimed at making primary and secondary school a happier, more relaxed place for children. The school week will be lengthened — currently, French children have Wednesdays off — but the school day will be shortened. Kids get out so late here there's no time for extracurricular activities. Basically, French school is a grind, says Peter Gumbel, author of a scathing book on the education system in France. Read more

AutoZone employee fired for protecting manager's life

NewsNM: Swickard -- let me understand, the employee thought he was saving someone from being murdered and he violates a zero-tolerance policy and got fired. Does AutoZone have armed guards at their corporate headquarters? From News3 - York County, Va. – The man dubbed the “fake-beard bandit” has hit more than 30 businesses on the Peninsula. Each time, the MO is the same: He walks in, flashes a gun and takes off with the cash. But this time, an AutoZone employee decided he was going to take action!
“I was in fear of my life as soon as he walked through the door and I see the gun. Your heart just starts pounding,” says Devin McClean, a former Auto Zone employee. “I waited for him to go up toward the front, I ran out of the restroom, ran out to my truck where I keep my own personal weapon, grabbed my weapon, came back into the store and confronted the guy,” says McClean.
“When I yelled “freeze” and I said “Stop, drop the weapon,” he threw his hands up with his gun still in his hand he started running,” says McClean. “I felt like it was my responsibility to step in.” Devin’s manager is grateful.
“He was like “Thank you Devin, you really saved my life,” says McClean. Two days later, he was fired.
“It’s pretty much getting slapped in the face doing something that you feel was right everybody else around you feels you were right,” says McClean. NewsChannel 3 spoke to a representative at AutoZone’s corporate office, and he says that the company has a zero tolerance policy for employees having weapons inside the store.
“If I can save somebody’s life, I put that way above a store policy,” says McClean.  Read more

Change on veterans’ gun rights lights fire

From the Washington Times - A major defense-spending bill hit an unexpected bump on its journey through the U.S. Senate over an amendment on veterans’ gun rights, which devolved into a heated floor debate and foreshadows a potential battle over Democrats’ vows to tweak the filibuster rules in the clubby, traditionally collegial body. Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, wants veterans who have been deemed “mentally incompetent” to have their cases adjudicated by a judge rather than the Department of Veterans Affairs, as happens currently and argued that veterans who simply cannot support themselves financially are needlessly given the label and, as such, cannot buy or possess firearms.
“We’re not asking for anything big,” Mr. Coburn said Thursday evening on the Senate floor. “We’re just saying that if you’re going to take away the Second Amendment rights … they ought to have it adjudicated, rather than mandated by someone who’s unqualified to state that they should lose their rights.”
The 1993 Brady Bill established a five-day waiting period for handgun purchases, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ enforcement regulations declared that those deemed mentally defective could not purchase or possess a firearm.
The Department of Veterans Affairs forwards the names of those labeled mentally incompetent to the FBI for inclusion in a national federal database, barring them from purchasing or carrying firearms. Read more

Newsbreak New Mexico 5pm Webcast 12/4/12

Newsbreak New Mexico 5pm Newscast with Vanessa Dabovich

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ABQ council bans barbed wire 
MDC giving out methadone during audit

Real ID Act deadline approaches
NM surgeon license revoked after DWI



Real ID Act deadline approaches

The nation's Real ID Act is scheduled to take affect January 15th and New Mexico is still not in compliance with the federal law.  

So far, the Department of Homeland Security has not said anything about extending the deadline again. It's a deadline that's been pushed back further and further since the act was passed in 2005, but the Department of Homeland Security said earlier this year the law can't wait any longer. 

Governor Martinez has been trying to repeal the state law that grants drivers licenses to illegal immigrants since she was elected. She says that's the biggest reason why the state will not be in compliance with the federal Real ID Act when it takes effect next month. 

As it stands right now, New Mexicans would have to use their passports to board planes or get into federal facilities like Sandia National Labs. 


Newsbreak New Mexico 12pm Webcast 12/4/12

Newsbreak New Mexico 12pm Newscast with Vanessa Dabovich

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Real ID Act deadline approaches
D.E.A: Largest ABQ meth bust in years
125 ballots found in Bernalillo County don't affect results
LANL security investigation continues



Santa Fe surgeon gets license revoked after fatal DWI

Deborah Aaron
The New Mexico Medical Board has suspended the medical license of a Santa Fe surgeon who pleaded no contest to DWI in a fatal car accident that killed a 4-year-old girl. 

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the board last week reprimanded Deborah Aaron for allegedly lying about an addiction and failing to enroll in a treatment program after she pleaded no contest in August. 
Aaron and the board entered an agreement in July that she could keep her medical license if she enrolled in a monitored treatment plan and remained under board supervision. But the board concluded last month that Aaron has failed to seek treatment.


D.E.A: Largest ABQ meth bust in years

D.E.A. agents say it was the largest single meth bust in Albuquerque in years. 
Agents arrested 44-year-old Charles Padilla, who worked at the Sunport in maintenance for 13 years before being terminated in February.  They say last Friday, acting on a tip, agents searched a house on Del Monte Trail in Southwest Albuquerque.  Inside a hidden compartment in one of the bedrooms was 18 pounds of meth with a street value of $3.5 million. 
 Agents say another tip led them to another home on Spotted Pony in Southwest Albuquerque. There they found Padilla and they also found another pound of meth and 19 guns in a safe. Another gun and a bulletproof vest was found in his car. 
Padilla’s home is in a neighborhood with kids and puppies and agents say, one of the city’s biggest suspected drug dealers.  Agents believe Padilla may have been working with cartels in Mexico
 He made his first appearance in court Monday and is due back in court Tuesday.


Uncounted ballots in Bernalillo County don't affect results

It was a scramble to count 125 absentee ballots found unopened in the election warehouse Friday evening. 

Bureau of Elections Director Bobbi Shearer says the uncounted ballots, misplaced with opened envelopes, were not significant enough to impact any of the close races. 
Of the 125 ballots, in the race for President, 42 votes went to Barack Obama, 77 went to Mitt Romney and five for Gary Johnson. For U.S. Senate, 41 votes went to Martin Heinrich, 69 for Heather Wilson and three for Jon Barrie. 
Deputy County Clerk Ramon Montoya says he will be meeting with the internal absentee board to try and figure out how 125 ballots were forgotten and never counted in this year's election.


Newsbreak New Mexico 8am Webcast 12/4/12

Newsbreak New Mexico 8am Newscast with Vanessa Dabovich

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NM revenue forecast
NMFA fraud report
LANL security investigation



LANL security investigation continues

The Los Alamos National Laboratory is expected to conclude its probe into former employees who allowed visitors to operate weapons at the lab's shooting range. 

The Los Alamos Monitor reports that the law says four unauthorized visitors were given access the range and were allowed to "operate a variety of firearms." The lab says participants also took photos of their time on the range and posted them on Facebook. Those photos have since been taken down. 
Five employees of the lab security force, known as Securing Our Country, were fired last month for "inappropriate behavior" at Technical Area 72.
 Officials say the investigation could wrap up as early as this week.


New NMFA report sights 'complacency' for fraud

New Mexico's securities regulator says in a new report the New Mexico Finance Authority's former controller was able to forge a financial audit because of management and oversight failures at the agency.

 The Securities Division said Monday those problems were aggravated by a "culture of complacency" at the authority that played down the importance of the audit to investors and placed too much of an emphasis on obtaining high credit ratings for agency bonds. 
Former authority CEO Rick May disputed the report's conclusions. Ex-controller Greg Campbell pleaded guilty last week to forgery and securities fraud for faking the authority's financial statements to make it appear they had been audited by an independent accounting firm.


NM revenue forecast shows increase

The Legislature and Gov. Susana Martinez will have slightly more than $280 million to cover budget increases and tax cuts next year under a new revenue forecast outlined to lawmakers.  

The revenue estimates released Monday will serve as the financial backdrop for lawmakers when they convene next month for a 60-day legislative session. 
Administration and legislative economists say the state should collect about $5.9 billion in tax revenues in the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2013. 
That provides a pool of so-called new revenues of about $283 million. That's enough for about a 5 percent increase in spending.