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Morning Word: Spaceport Director Resigns

July 20, 2016, 7:30 am
Spaceport Director Announces Resignation
Christine Anderson says she's leaving her job as head of Spaceport America in southern New Mexico to pursue other opportunities.
Anderson took over as executive director five years ago as the tax-payer financed spaceport was just getting off the ground.

She has lauded successes in building a multimillion-dollar launch site and bringing infrastructure to a remote stretch of desert, but delays by anchor tenant Virgin Galactic left the spaceport scrambling for revenue in recent years and some lawmakers have criticized the venture.
New Planets Discovered
While Virgin Galactic works on getting space tourists off the ground, NASA confirmed yesterday that its Kepler telescope has verified 1,284 new planets. “This gives us hope that somewhere out there, around a star much like ours, we can eventually discover another Earth," says Ellen Stofan, chief scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC.

Santa Fe Schools Installing Solar Panels
With an eye on reducing its electric, natural gas and water use, Santa Fe Public Schools are going green as 11 schools are installing solar panels. The district hopes the move will eventually reduce utility bills and free up more money for the classroom.

Treatment Options Explored in Santa Fe
SFR’s Steven Hsieh reports that mobile crisis response teams are looking at new ways to connect Santa Fe's mentally ill patients with treatment options.

Albuquerque School Board Member Accused of Fraud
Albuquerque School Board member Analee Maestas could be facing criminal charges after allegedly altering a receipt in order to collect reimbursement for cleaning she said was done at her charter school, but actually was done at her home. Maestas has claimed she spent the money to pay a vendor for cleaning carpets at a charter school she founded, but a report released by State Auditor Tim Keller says that claim is fraudulent.

Adolescents Smoking and Drinking Less
Teens are smoking and drinking less in New Mexico, according to a health department report. In fact, the rate for binge drinking has been cut in half over the past decade. Teen smoking is down from 25.7 percent in 2005 to 11.4 percent in 2015.

Uranium Mine Cleanup Settlement Reached
The federal government has agreed to spend millions to continue to clean up 16 abandoned uranium around the Navajo Nation at the same time it evaluates another 30 sites.

Fracking May Increase Asthma Attacks
If you suffer from asthma you are 1.5 to 4 times more likely to have an attack if you live near a fracking well site, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine earlier this week.

Trump Officially Nominated
New Mexico’s delegation to the Republican National Convention cast all 24 of their votes for Donald J Trump, who officially won the party’s presidential nomination Tuesday in Cleveland. Meanwhile, Sandra Fish, over at New Mexico In Depth, reports that Trump only collected $32,000 for a VIP reception during his visit to Albuquerque in May

Super Bowl of Politics Lures Johnson
Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson says the general election debates this fall are like “the Super Bowl of politics” and he needs to be included in the national broadcasts in order to have a chance to win. Ryan Lizza has an interesting profile on the former governor of New Mexico in this week’s issue of the The New Yorker.
Johnson has many flaws as a candidate, but being unlikable is not one of them. If he is allowed to debate Trump and Clinton, the two most unpopular presumed nominees in decades, then the most unpredictable election in modern times could get even weirder.
APD Delays Release of Shooting Videos
Shannon Kennedy, a civil rights attorney who has represented families of people killed by Albuquerque Police officers, claims the department’s practice of delaying the release of body camera videos after officer involved shootings is aimed at limiting lawsuits against the department.


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