City replacing traffic circle at cost of over $100,000

NewsNM:Swickard - KOB, my old television station from when I worked there in the 1970s is hinting that there is some influence. Could be. From - By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4 - The city of Albuquerque has demolished a traffic circle out in front of the Albuquerque Country Club, and now plans to replace it with (trumpet fanfare please) a new improved traffic circle!
     Most neighbors will tell you that the traffic circle was there for six months, maybe eight months. But city officials say nope, make it two years. At any rate it was never intended to be permanent, just a cheap asphalt pin-down job to see how people liked the traffic circle concept, and it seems they did.Price tag? About $16,000. “It’s materials we can save and use at another location, so it’s not a waste of money,” said city Municipal Development chief Michael Riordan. “Then there is some pavement striping, some temporary striping. That will be a lost cost, but most of that $16,000 we’ll be able to use somewhere else in the city.”
     The new traffic circle will be made of stouter stuff – concrete, curb-and-gutter, nice landscaping – with a price tag of about $150,000. “It seems a bit much to me,” said neighbor Gordon Wohlert. “These are difficult times. $150,000? Well, that’s more than I have in my pocket!”
     City officials plan to meet with neighbors next month to get their ideas about landscaping and design. We feel compelled to point out that the Albuquerque Country Club is a well-known hub of affluence and influence. And the surrounding neighborhood is far from shabby! We’re just saying. More

Valley Meat Co. denied wastewater permit

The New Mexico Environment Department on Monday dealt a new blow to a Roswell company's hard-fought attempts to begin slaughtering horses next month, declining a request to renew Valley Meat Co.'s wastewater discharge permit. 
The denial came the same day that actor Robert Redford and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson joined the divisive debate, announcing formation of an animal protection foundation to fight a return to domestic horse slaughter. 
The NMED says it won't renew the permit without a public hearing, noting it has received more than 450 comments against letting the former cattle slaughterhouse open as a horse slaughter plant. 
Valley Meat Co. attorney Blair Dunn cried foul, saying the agency was unfairly targeting a small family-owned business. He says the plant can still open, but would have to haul its waste.


State Auditor takes legal action over audit findings

Hector Balderas
The New Mexico State Auditor is taking legal action against Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration after being denied the ability to review an audit commissioned by the NM Dept. of Health and Human Services. 
The audit claims mental health providers around the state defrauded Medicaid by overcharging to the tune of $36 million.  NM State Auditor Hector Balderas asked to review the findings, but Cabinet Secretary Sidonie Squier, NM Dept. of Human Services, denied Balderas. 
Eyewitness News 4 asked Gov. Martinez why the administration refuses to provide the audit to the State Auditor.  She replied "the state auditor himself doesn't do audits." 
Santa Fe District Court judge Sarah Singleton signed off on a court order filed by Balderas’ office to force Squier to release the documents by Monday morning at 10 a.m.  
Squier didn’t comply with the court order.  


AG gives two answers to same sex marriage in NM

New Mexico Attorney General Gary King says a state prohibition on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. 
King told the state Supreme Court on Monday in written arguments that it should invalidate the gay marriage ban if the justices agree to consider a lawsuit filed by two Santa Fe men who were denied a marriage license. 
However, King also said the lawsuit isn't properly before the high court and the justices should deny the men's request to order the Santa Fe County clerk to issue them a marriage license. 
King said New Mexico law effectively doesn't allow gay marriages although there's no statutory provision that specifically prohibits or authorizes gay couples to be married. But he also said the prohibition on gay marriage violates the state constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law.