Swickard: Roping Roy, The Wonderful Western Mascot

© 2014 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. - Sometimes things matter little in the grand scheme of things but matter much to me. Historical truth is one of those things. Last week Oklahoma State University and New Mexico State University got officially crossways over their mutual mascot Pistol Pete.
      Truth be known I know the story better than most since it is my article from the 1980s that touched this dispute off. You might wonder: why it took twenty-five years to come to lawyers? That is not what bothers me. For me the problem is: when NMSU was made aware they decided to lie their way out rather than be a stand-up institution.
      As to Pistol Pete, I thought years ago NMSU would say, "Whoops," and pick a better mascot such as my suggestion "Roping Roy, the Wonderful Western Mascot." Best I can tell the name is still open if NMSU can muster a "Whoops" about Pistol Pete.
      Pistol Pete is one of five historical issues I have had with NMSU over the years. One was NMSU celebrating its centennial on the wrong year. Seriously. Worse, they were two years off. The way I discovered it was that I was hired to write an article about how NMSU celebrated in the then year of 1988, along with 1938 and 1913. I was supposed to document how institutional celebrating changed over the years.
      To my surprise in the 1930s and the 1950s NMSU (known then by a different name) quietly moved their start date back a year each time. The undisputed fact is NMSU was started by Hiram Hadley, the first university president. And, he was in charge of the 25th year celebration which he held in 1915.
      That is a fact. He knew when the university started because he was there. And the 40th anniversary celebration was held in 1930. Nothing but facts. Both stolen years were done for a "Good reason" much like stealing Pistol Pete along with stealing "Crimson Pride" from the Crimson Tide. Not that it really matters. It just looks stupid.
       Another controversy involved the NMSU yearbook, The Swastika. In 1983 the "Flan hit the fan" about NMSU having a yearbook named The Swastika. I was the head photographer of the 1969 Swastika so I thought I knew all about it.
      The Albuquerque Journal's Impact Magazine hired me to cover the controversy. Seems the first yearbook in 1907 had no Swastikas in it, rather, the name was a Sanskrit word meaning "An auspicious beginning." Along the way Swastika symbols were added and when Hitler ruined the name most organizations quietly cast it off. Not NMSU. The made up a new history: it was a Navajo word meaning "Peace and harmony for all people."
      The Navajo Language Dictionary says it is a symbol with no meaning. The core issue is that no one thought of NMSU when they saw the Swastika. But there was a brisk battle between the people thinking they were supporting the Native Americans and people wanting to support the protesting Jewish community. After my story came out NMSU changed the name of the yearbook to the Phoenix, and killed the yearbook shortly thereafter.
      About that same time I noticed that the NMSU's War Memorial had one name that should not be there and was missing a very important name. It had the name of a graduate who was killed in the Pancho Villa Raid, but was not in the military so that name should not be there. And little Eugene Casey from the Class of 1898, who died in the Spanish American War was entirely left out. I was told it was too expensive to correct it.
      Finally, there is a Kent Hall on campus named for Harry Kent, a beloved president who had a credential problem that showed up his 14th year as president. The powers that be let him leave quietly and named a building for him.
      Each of these historical issues are not particularly egregious, but they do tarnish the reputation of a research university. Worse, in each case the NMSU leaders have known the truth but decided to lie rather than just say "Whoops" and then correct the issue.
      I like Roping Roy, the Wonderful Western Mascot.
Dr. Michael Swickard is co-host of radio talk show News New Mexico 6 to 9 a.m. Monday - Friday on a number of New Mexico radio stations and through streaming. Email: michael@swickard.com

APS considers asking state to reevaluate testing, evaluations

From KOAT-TV.com - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Standardized testing and teacher evaluations in New Mexico schools have been at the core of controversy this year, and Albuquerque Public Schools may be joining other districts in holding off on both.
      Santa Fe and Rio Rancho public schools have both gone to the state asking for a delay in implementing new testing and evaluations. APS wants to find out if all of the testing is needed.
      “I think parents and teachers feel like there is too much testing going on,” said APS board member Marty Esquivel. “So what we really need to do is get to the bottom of what tests can we can pull back on that we have the authority to pull back on.”
      To do that, the school board will soon decide of having a resolution that delays data for the teacher evaluations for two years and holds of on some of the testing. The district will use the delay time to ask the state to reevaluate all of the testing.
      The APS board will consider asking for a delay next Wednesday. More

Army communications tested in New Mexico desert training

From the El Paso Times - by David Burge - DO√ĎA ANA RANGE COMPLEX, N.M. >> Tanks, Bradleys and other armored vehicles rumble through the desert north of the Fort Bliss Garrison.
      Soldiers hurry about, doing their daily duties while immersed in round-the-clock operations designed to replicate realistic combat conditions as closely as possible.
      It is all part of the twice-a-year Network Integration Evaluation which turns the vast Fort Bliss training area into a giant testing ground for the latest Army equipment used mostly for its communications and data networks.
      About 3,800 soldiers from Fort Bliss' 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division are participating in the exercise this month. The idea is to test network and communications equipment under austere conditions using real soldiers in the field, said Col. Jim Crider, deputy commander of the Brigade Modernization Command, which plans and manages the NIE, as it is more commonly called.
      Another 1,200 soldiers and Department of Defense civilian employees from around the Army also came out to support the exercise as data collectors and observer-controllers. New equipment is placed in Army vehicles and is used by soldiers. It is also jostled around as soldiers go about their combat missions during the exercise. More


Marita Noon: EU climate compromise ~ I will if you will

Commentary by Marita Noon - After the 2009 Copenhagen global climate conference failed to produce a legally-binding global treaty to replace the lapsing Kyoto Protocol, climate campaigners are eager to put some kind of win on the board. Therefore, despite threats to veto the deal and discussions that ran into the wee hours, the European Union’s agreement on a new set of climate and energy goals is being heralded as “a new global standard”—though it is really more “I will, if you will.”
      On Thursday October 23, 28 European leaders met at a summit in Brussels to reach a climate deal that would build on previous targets of a 20 percent cut in greenhouse gases, a 20 percent boost in the use of renewable sources, and a 20 percent increase in energy efficiency, from the benchmark year of 1990, by 2020.
      Prior to the meeting, countries such as Poland (which wanted to protect its coal industry) and Portugal (which has excess renewable energy that it cannot, currently, export to the rest of Europe) threatened to block the deal. Poorer states in Eastern Europe feared new cuts in carbon output would hurt them economically by slowing business growth. Industrialists complained that the new regulations would discourage business and investment in the bloc, at a time when its faltering economy can ill afford to lose it.
      In an interview with Reuters before the summit, Connie Hedegaard, European Climate Commissioner, declared: “There should not be problems that could not be overcome.” As predicated, a deal was struck—though the current team of commissioners steps aside in days and the new commission will have to finesse the implementation. Read full column

Ebola: NM not implementing mandatory quarantines

From KOAT-TV.com - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Controversy is swirling around the East Coast after New York and New Jersey both implemented mandatory quarantine orders for anyone returning from Ebola stricken areas in Africa.
     Initially those orders included mandatory 21-day quarantines. They came after a doctor tested positive for Ebola in Brooklyn last week. Minnesota, Illinois, Florida, Maine, Maryland and Virginia have since implemented similar orders.
      New Mexico is not implementing mandatory quarantines for such travelers or health care workers however.
      Scrutiny surrounded them after Kaci Hickox was placed under mandatory quarantine. She arrived in New Jersey during the weekend after spending time in Africa. She’s since been released after threatening to sue New Jersey for infringing upon her freedoms. More

Kirk, Bairstow and Snell make the cut

From KRQE-TV.com - ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Three former Lobos have made the final cut, and are now imprinted onto the 2014-15 fifteen-man roster. Alex Kirk is now a Cleveland Cavalier. Kirk had a good showing in his pre-season debut. He appeared in four games and averaged 5.5 points, 3 rebounds, and a block.
     The Chicago Bulls now have not one but two former Lobos on their roster for the upcoming season. Tony Snell made the squad last year and even saw a good amount of playing time. This year the Bulls took on the 6’9″ center Cameron Bairstow. Bairstow was named to the All-MWC first team just a year ago. We will see how he fairs in the NBA
      Another former Lobo NBA hopeful, Drew Gordon, was unfortunately cut from the 76ers’ roster Saturday. More

Tribe's high court orders candidate off ballot

From KOAT-TV.com - FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. —A candidate for president of the Navajo Nation has lost another round in a language fluency dispute, all but ending his bid for office.
The tribe's high court on Wednesday upheld a ruling from a lower court that said Chris Deschene is not qualified to seek the top elected post because he doesn't speak fluent Navajo.
      But the high court didn't rule on the merits of the case. Instead, the justices dismissed it over lack of jurisdiction because Deschene did not include a copy of his disqualification order with his notice of appeal.
      Deschene has said he's proficient in the language.
       The Supreme Court says election officials must move up the third-place finisher from the primary election. It's unclear whether Navajos will choose a new tribal president on Nov. 4. More

Imus Ranch for sale with $32 M price tag

From Albuquerque Business First, by Gary Gerew Assistant Editor, Albuquerque Business First - Radio personality Don Imus is selling his 2,400-acre ranch east of Santa Fe.
      According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, Imus said he is selling the property because he and his family believe they can support more charitable foundations with funds generated by the sale.
      The ranch was created 16 years ago as a recreational facility for children with cancer.
      The sale is being handled by Craig Huitfeldt of the Bell Tower Keller Williams agency in Santa Fe. The listing price is $32 million.
      According to the listing, the ranch, which is located about 45 miles east of Santa Fe, has more than 29,000 square feet of living quarters in 11 structures and an additional 35,000 square feet of barns, garages, greenhouses and sheds in another 10 different structures. More

Marita Noon: Shouldn't be we fighting a war on terrorism not on fossil fuels?

Commentary by Marita Noon - It's not just a war on coal, the Obama Administration is gunning for oil & gas too - “You are responsible for President Obama’s re-election,” I told 150 folks from the oil and gas industry —most of whom were conservative Republicans. I spoke to them on October 15 in San Angelo, TX. A reporter covering the eventwrote that I “stunned the crowd by telling them they were largely responsible for getting the president re-elected, and asking them if they knew how they had helped.” He continued: “The room was very quiet for several moments as Noon waited to see if anyone would volunteer an answer.”
      We know President Obama has been waging a war on coal—with tens of thousands of jobs lost due to his attacks since he was elected in 2008, but why has the oil and gas industry escaped the harsh regulations that have virtually shut down both coal mining and coal-fueled power plants? After all, we know his environmentalist base—with whom he is philosophically aligned—hates them equally.
      The reporter added: “Finally someone suggested it was job creation that Noon was alluding to.”
      The oil and gas industry has added millions of jobs to the U.S. economy in the past six years and represents the bright spot in the jobs numbers. Imagine where the unemployment numbers would be if the oil and gas industry had been treated as poorly as coal.
      While President Obama hasn't had an outright war on oil and gas, he surely hasn’t helped—and his surrogates have been out fighting on his behalf. Read full column

Dentists told to look out for Ebola symptoms

From KRQE-TV.com - ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The threat of Ebola in New Mexico is getting the attention of a lot of healthcare workers and now dentists. New guidelines have been released as to how dentists should handle patients. With hospitals tightening Ebola protocol, dentists are taking notice as well.
      “We see people all the time that may be sick and may not be sick.” Dr. Robert Gherardi, an Albuquerque dentist, said they’re always looking at a patient’s health. “I think dentistry has always been a little more aware of those things than the typical medical office.”
      Dr. Gherardi also explained that they will be asking more about travel history, if someone shows signs like a fever, coughing and body aches. With flu season fast approaching, anyone with those symptoms will likely be rescheduled.
       An infectious disease consultant for the American Dental Association says the extra measures will be around for a while. “I think people need to be rational, they need to be clinical, they need to be scientific and they need to be careful about unnecessary fear and paranoia,” Dr. John Molinari said. “Our chances of an Ebola patient coming into a dental office in New Mexico is pretty rare. Although, we have to be aware of it.”
      When asking about a patient’s travel history, Dr. Gherardi said his staff will also ask about travel to Dallas. Thomas Duncan, who was visiting Dallas from Liberia, an Ebola-stricken country in West Africa, died of Ebola at a hospital there. Two nurses who treated him are now infected.
       A lot of agencies are making changes to their policies when it comes to Ebola. The Albuquerque Fire Department is asking first responders to be extra cautious when dealing with someone showing signs of a fever. More

Officials: Flu season is here

From KOB-TV.com - By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4 - New Mexico’s Department of Health has been coordinating an Ebola preparedness plan in case an outbreak were to occur, but they say it’s also time to prepare for the flu, which can also be deadly, and which you’re much more likely to catch.
      “The similarities are fever, ebola you can have a very severe headache, body aches, you can also have vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain associated with that,” deputy state epidemiologist Joan Baumbach said.
      That said, the flu can also be serious and even deadly. The NMDOH recommends flu vaccines for everyone, including kids.
      Obesity, heart problems and old age are all risk factors. But young adults can get it too, and more of them died last flu season because they’re lease likely to get vaccinated. More

Mora County to continue drilling ban

From KRQE-TV.com - MORA COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico county has voted to continue a ban on oil and gas drilling – a move that has resulted in lawsuits from the oil industry.
      According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, the Mora County commissioners voted 2-to-1 Tuesday night to continue its ban.
     The vote came as a surprise because on commissioner had talked about changing his vote.
     Originally adopted in April of last year, Mora County became the only county in the nation to ban drilling.
      A practice known as fracking has led to dramatic boosts in production which has triggered worries about damage to local water supplies and damage to the land.
     The oil and gas industry claims there are no environmental issues with fracking. More

NRA Shooting Competition loses money for Albuquerque; city official doesn't want to say why

From KOB-TV.com - By: Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4 - A spokeswoman for Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry told KOB Monday a cursory review of finances reveals the City of Albuquerque loses money by hosting the National Rifle Association Championships each September.
        An internal memo signed by APD Chief Gorden Eden states that one sergeant, 41 field officers and 15 public services aids were reassigned off their beats to provide security and traffic assistance for the competition. The payroll of all of these officers' time comes out to about $80,000.
      A contract between the NRA and City of Albuquerque reveals the city is obligated to provide telephone lines, buildings, air conditioners, communication tools, storage, fax machines, copy machines, tents, picnic tables, restrooms, ambulance crews, maintenance crews, press officers and custodial staff.
       All of these resources are dedicated for an event that is open only to police officers and closed to the public. In fact, during this year’s competition, APD forced KOB’s cameras off the property.
        With all this in mind, our news team had one question: How is this event of any public value to the Albuquerque community? Our team thought the question was simple enough, until we posed it to Mayor Richard Berry’s spokeswoman Breanna Anderson.
        Anderson refused to allow us to ask any city official this question. Instead, she sent a prepared statement from Assistant Director of Parks & Recreation, Garry Wolfe:  Anderson orchestrated all this to avoid answering one simple question: how does our community benefit from the NRA shooting competition? It’s a valid question, considering the Mayor’s Office obligated the city to host the competition until 2017.
      Anderson did say hotels and restaurants around the metro make about $160,000 from the NRA Shooting Competition, but admitted the city government loses money. More

Marita Noon: Regcession—why Americans aren't feeling Obama’s “vigorous recovery”

Commentary by Marita Noon - President Obama is trying, according to CNN, to “convince voters of a vigorous recovery that a majority still doubts.” Describing comments the president made on October 2 at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in Chicago, CNN calls his attempt, the “political problem inherent in having to describe an economic recovery that many Americans still aren’t feeling.”
      The coverage points to polling data that shows the public still sees that the economy is “poor”—with 56 percent disapproving of how Obama has handled the economy.
        Perhaps people are beginning to sense what a new documentary makes clear. We may not officially be in a recession, as some numbers have ticked slightly up, but people, as CNN pointed out, aren't feeling it.
      What are they feeling? Higher electricity rates at home, plant closures, and jobs being sent overseas, while few new jobs are being created at home.
      On a recent radio interview, a caller told me that companies shouldn't be allowed to move their business—and the jobs previously held by Americans—overseas. He wanted laws passed that prevented closing an American plant and reopening in China, hiring the locals. I believe laws can be passed that would slow, what Ross Perot called, the “giant sucking sound”—the sound of jobs and economic growth being sucked from America to Mexico, China, or some other country that makes it easier to do business. Instead of controlling whether or not a company can do what is best for its bottom line, wouldn't it be better to make America the best business environment?
      Current government policy is actually the cause of that “giant sucking sound,” the reason people aren’t feeling a supposed economic recovery. These policies, in the form of regulations—especially those from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are keeping people from living the American dream and are even lowering the standard of living from that of our parents.
      While we may not technically be in a recession, we are in a regcession—an economic decline caused by excessive regulations. The cost of complying with the regulations makes it virtually impossible to meet them and remain competitive or make a profit. The result of these regulations: Americans lose their jobs, as businesses close or move to more hospitable countries. Read full column

Albuquerque woman a victim of 'swatting'

From KOAT-TV.com - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —It’s called swatting. Swatting is when someone calls in a fake threat to get police to go to a person's house. Imagine police showing up at your home, pointing guns at you and you have no idea why. It's real, and it's happening in Albuquerque.
      Police have released video of an incident this past month in which a terrified woman calls 911 and tells the dispatcher she has no idea why officers are pointing rifles at her from outside her home.
      "Oh my God, he's pointing it right at me! I've got my hands up!" said the woman to the dispatcher. "They're asking that you step out with your hands in the air," said the dispatcher. "OK, please don't have them shoot me! I'm really scared!" said the woman.
      Outside, police watched her every move. "Looks like I saw some kind of movement on the south side of the door," said an Albuquerque police officer. Eventually the woman walked outside.
      Once police checked her for weapons, they explained why they were there: "We got a call there was a man inside the residence at your house and that he had killed his wife and was getting ready to kill his children, OK?" The woman had been swatted.
      Albuquerque police said it was the second swatting prank that week. No one was hurt, but they say this is no laughing matter. Investigators think the same person is behind both swatting calls. At this point, no one's been arrested. If someone is caught, Tixier said they'd likely be charged with phone harassment and false reporting, and would spend just a few months behind bars.
      APD said if you find yourself a victim of swatting, call 911 immediately. There have been a number of these pranks around the country in recent years. In some cases, people were seriously hurt. More

Column - Those who use taxes for robbery

© 2014 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. "Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery." President Calvin Coolidge
     There is a general assumption that every nickel, dime and penny collected for taxes is absolutely necessary, is spent properly and the government cannot function otherwise. As anyone who has worked for government knows that assumption is wrong.
     Now do not be a Burro and think I am saying our society should have no taxes at all. Some taxes are necessary. There are things our government does that makes our country a great nation.
     While I am not a TEA (Taxed Enough Already) party member, I could join that group but I am not a joiner of organizations. Me and my TEA party friends are concerned about the attempt to constantly increase taxes, as if taxes must always be increased until they reach 100 percent. Consider: a tax rate of 100 percent will collect no money whatsoever since no one would work in that society.
     Therefore, can we get a constitutional amendment that your combined taxes cannot add up to over half of everything you make? No, we can never set a top percentage. Big tax proponents contend there is always a good reason to raise taxes. And to them cutting taxes is always wrong.
     Several years ago a New Mexico legislator on my radio talk show said emphatically the New Mexico Legislature had cut everything that could be cut, there were no more places to cut. With the downturn of the New Mexican economy in 2009 the legislature had tightened their belt to the last notch.
     Further, he contended, the only thing that would even allow government to continue in a limited way would be to raise taxes, and raise them quite a bit. I protested that between the years 2002 and 2008 the New Mexico budget had doubled while the population stayed constant so there had to be some fat to cut.
     We agreed to disagree on the need of the New Mexico budget for a large increase. But there is a constant push to take more money from people and businesses and give it to government. Always it is for a good reason. Always they say it is just a small amount. If it is small, then cut the fat from the budget.
     What I have never seen is either party show any ability to cut the fat from government. Both the Republican and Democrat leaderships constantly wants more money from the citizens. Yes, the Republicans want less money from the citizens than the Democrats. The rub with both parties is the notion that with just a bit more money everything will be fine.
     The dirty little secret of New Mexico that even the newspapers will not publish is that much of the money given in taxes is used for crony corruption. The leadership of both parties will not cut this fat from the budget, perhaps because they are the recipients of the corruption themselves. Of course no one will ever uncover it because everyone is trying hard to not find it and find it they do not.
     Every few years I propose something dead upon arrival. There is no interest in either political party or in the news media for something. What is it? That very many who gets in New Mexico government arise much more wealthy, even when they occupy a job with no salary. Track the wealth growth year by year of our elected servants from before serving to after service.
     Look at the growth of wealth for these individuals and their relatives in New Mexico government. How do some always seem to gain? We can never know since the news media is intimidated from investigating. If they start looking, really looking at corruption, they will be shunned by politicians.
     Suddenly those news teams will have no access, hence they will have no stories to file each day. And if they file no stories they are moments away from the unemployment line.
     Why are the politicians so vehement that taxes must always be raised? Because without the theft of more and more taxpayer money the embedded crony corruption cannot continue unabated. Taking more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery.

Jamie Estrada, former Gov. Martinez campaign manager, sentenced to 9 months for email scandal

From KOB-TV.com - : Blair Miller, KOB.com - Jamie Estrada, one of Gov. Susana Martinez's former campaign managers, was sentenced to nine months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised probation, in federal court Wednesday.
      U.S. District Judge William P. Johnson also ordered Estrada to perform 100 hours of community service and pay a $10,000 fine.  Estrada pleaded guilty in June to stealing the governor's emails, sending them to her political opponents then lying to the FBI about it.
      According to case files, emails sent from Martinez and her supporters were sent to one of Estrada's computer accounts instead of the people they were meant to be sent to during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign.
      Estrada briefly served as campaign manager in 2009, as Martinez was beginning her bid for governor. According to the June plea agreement, Estrada changed the settings for the domain to direct all incoming email to an email account he controlled so that the emails were routed to him instead of the intended recipients. From July 2011 through June 2012, Estrada intercepted hundreds of email messages intended for recipients at the Domain, including the Governor. The intercepted emails included personal emails, internal political communications and emails from ordinary citizens to the Governor or her staff. In his plea agreement, Estrada admitted sharing the emails he unlawfully intercepted with the Governor’s political opponents to disseminate the emails to news media and other outlets.
      Some of the electronic messages were leaked to Martinez critics, who publicly released them. More

Albuquerque Public Schools at or above capacity

From KOAT-TV.com - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Albuquerque Public Schools remain crowded this year, so much so that some facilities and classrooms are at or above capacity. Among the crowded facilities are Painted Sky and Rudolfo Anaya Elementary schools and Truman Middle School. The district told Action 7 News that in the last six months, it built portable classrooms to accommodate everyone.
        In 2013, there were problems at North Star and Double Eagle Elementary schools. To solve those problems, the district reorganized attendance boundaries and started requiring proof of residency to crack down on who could attend which school.
        APS said it continue to see increasing enrollment in areas where there are still housing opportunities like the southwest. Officials believe their new kindergarten through 8th grade school, near Atrisco Heritage Academy High School, will help alleviate overcrowding in that area. Some students attending Barcelona, Navajo or Rudolfo Anaya or Harrison and Truman Middle Schools will end up going to the new facility when it opens in 2015.
        The district is also shopping for real estate. APS is looking for land to build more schools in the next six to 10 years. He said the district has to jump on vacant lots early Read more

The Lizard of Oz: Texas beats enviornmentalists

From Breitbart.com - Commentary by Marita Noon - On September 30, District of Columbia District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras ruled against the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Defenders of Wildlife. The groups brought litigation in the hopes of requiring the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to reverse its 2012 decision not to list the lizard as endangered.
      The 2012 decision was the first time that community engagement beat back a proposed ESA listing—a stinging defeat to a movement that has historically used lawsuits as an effective weapon.
      In August 2013, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs was granted intervenor status in the case. In October, several regional and national oil and gas associations joined Combs.
      The DSL story represents a new chapter in ESA compliance that allows conservation and productive activity to coexist. Previously, presence of an ESA-listed species would shut down activity with harsh consequences for landowners and communities.
      The spotted owl stands as the posterbird for bad ESA policy. More than 20 years ago, the spotted owl was listed under the ESA. As a result, much of the logging industry in the Pacific Northwest is gone—leaving thousands unemployed and hundreds of communities decimated. Fifty percent of the nation’s forestry jobs lost from 1990 to 2009 were in just two states: Oregon and Washington. Yet, the listing did not stop the decline of the spotted owl. And, as a result of the listing, forest management in the West changed—leaving thousands of acres overgrown and unhealthy, resulting in the devastating wildfires we see today.
      Texas decided to do it differently. Aware that the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard was an ESA target, conservation efforts started in 2008. Private land in the Permian Basin of West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico—an area that produces 15 percent of U.S. oil and 5 percent of natural gas, as well as a prime ranching and farming region—makes up about half of the DSL habitat. The locals were very worried that if the lizard were listed, the regulations would seriously impact their operations and impose substantial costs. Read full column

Lawsuit filed against NM hotel chain

A federal agency is accusing a hotel chain of breaking the law by subjecting minority employees in New Mexico, Texas and South Carolina to a hostile work environment and firing those who complained.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Friday that it had filed suit against four Whitten Inn hotels and is seeking back pay, lost benefits and damages for workers.
Federal officials say employees endured racial slurs and derogatory comments.
Businessman Larry Whiten created a firestorm in 2009 when workers at his Taos hotel say they were forbidden to speak Spanish and told to change their Spanish first names.
A receptionist at the Taos inn said Sunday that Whitten was no longer the owner.
Information from The AP. 


Immigration center drawing criticism

Trailers have been set up for a school at a federal immigration detention center in an isolated New Mexico desert town. A basketball court and a soccer field have been installed. And detainees are pleading their cases over a video link with judges in Denver.
Officials say that the facility could remain open until next summer to house women and children from Central America who were among a wave of immigrants who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally this year.
The detainees at the Artesia Family Residential Center are growing increasingly frustrated that they are being held with no end in sight while earlier border-crossers were released with orders to contact immigration officials later.
The center opened as federal officials realized that the border-crossers had disappeared into the nation's interior.
Information from The AP. 


Martinez and King to spar in Spanish language debate

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez and Democratic challenger Gary King are set to spar off in a Spanish-language debate aimed at the state's Hispanic voters. The pair is scheduled today to meet in a KLUZ-TV Univision-sponsored forum in their second debate. A spokesman for Martinez say the governor will answer her questions in Spanish. King will participate through an interpreter. Political observers say the debate in unique since only one of the candidates in fluent in Spanish. According to the U.S. Census, around 47 percent of the state's population in Latino — the largest percentage of any state. Absentee voting begins Tuesday by mail and at county clerks' offices. Early in-person voting expands to more locations on Oct. 18.
Information from the AP. 


America's Challenge Gas Balloon Race postponed until early next week

From KOB-TV.com - By: Kristen Garcia, KOB.com - Balloon Fiesta officials have postponed America's Challenge Gas Balloon Race until early next week due to high winds.
      Seven balloon teams were supposed to take off at 6 p.m. Saturday evening. The race was then rescheduled to 10 p.m. Saturday night, but officials decided to postpone the event until Monday or Tuesday due to high winds.
      The teams will all race to fly the farthest distance from Albuquerque without landing.
      Four of the seven teams are from the United States including last year's winners Peter Cuneo and Barbara Ficke. The two flew more than 1,400 miles, landing their balloon in Canada last year. More

Brief tornado, storm leaves damage near Chama

From KRQE-TV - (happy 61th birthday October 3rd to the station) By Kayla Ayres - The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado touched down west of Chama on Monday.
      NWS Meteorologist Kerry Jones surveyed the swath of devastation, which included dozens of twisted and sheared off trees and several damaged buildings. Jones said it appears it was an EF-1 tornado that tore through the Lazy Triangle Anchor Ranch. The tornado was spawned by a supercell thunderstorm that caused damage over 30 miles.
      “Had this struck a more populated part of northern New Mexico, the damage would have been far worse,” Jones told News 13.
      The tornado hit in mountainous terrain, at an elevation of about 7,600 feet. Jones said while tornadoes in western New Mexico are rare, there are likely many more that go unreported and undocumented. Jones also said this time of year is prime for severe weather, and the only other documented tornado to have touched down in Rio Arriba County hit on the same day, Sept. 29, sixteen years earlier.
      Jones said this storm will be used to learn more about how tornadoes form over mountainous terrain. More