--2 Morning Word: Udall talks filibuster reform again
         
Dec. 2, 2016
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Morning Word: Udall talks filibuster reform again

And the rest of New Mexico's news

November 13, 2013, 8:00 am
By Matthew Reichbach
  • Sen. Tom Udall was very unhappy with a Republican filibuster of an Obama judicial nominee and once again spoke about the need for filibuster reform in the Senate.
  • Public Education Department secretary-designate Hanna Skandera defended the teacher evaluation program in Albuquerque against a crowd that wasn't really on her side.
    Skandera consistently defended the “transition in education” the state is going through under the current administration. She and Gov. Susana Martinez have been adamant in making changes in student testing and teacher evaluations to try to raise student growth and achievement. Many teachers, particularly in Albuquerque, but also around the state, dislike the approach the administration has taken.

    The meeting had a few light moments. Just before it began, a woman dressed in a Scantron costume loudly proclaimed that she was Scantron Dera and would happily answer any and all questions. She was politely asked to leave by an apologetic security officer, who told her she could return if she removed the costume and promised not to disrupt the gathering.
  • The Albuquerque Journal is the latest to look at TV commercials on the late term abortion ban.
  • Will the case involving a photo studio that refused to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony reach the U.S. Supreme Court?
    Elaine Huguenin, described in the petition as an artist with a degree in photography, is the speaker – not the customer, the petition says. Huguenin contends that having the state’s public accommodations statute applied to her business amounts to compelled speech in violation of her First Amendment rights.
  • New Mexico Mercury takes a deep dive into desalination efforts in Alamogordo.
  • The Associated Press reports on problems with the Amtrak route from Chicago to Los Angeles that goes through New Mexico. It needs upgrades in New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas. It could cost the state millions to keep the route going.
  • Former KOB anchor Gadi Schwartz, who now works for the NBC affiliate in Los Angeles, is in the Philippines covering the aftermath of the massive typhoon that hit the island nation. Follow him on Twitter.
  • If at first you don't succeed, try, try again? Bernalillo County Treasurer Manny Ortiz again tried to explain his actions. He won't speak to the press, however. "After the board of finance meeting, Ortiz locked himself in his office," KRQE wrote.
  • WIPP could extend its mission by 25 years, the managers of the facility said on Tuesday.
  • The political director is leaving Conservation Voters New Mexico and a search for a new one will start soon.
  • The Mora County oil and gas drilling ban is headed back to court.
    At the heart of the Mora County ban is the commission’s concern that ground water may be impacted in the drilling process.

    Foster says that’s “misfounded.”
  • More job cuts are coming to Intel as jobs head to Arizona, Oregon and overseas.
  • There was a successful launch from Spaceport America on Tuesday.
  • A settlement between the village of Ruidoso and the state Environment Department over alleged falsification of data was postponed by the Ruidoso Village Council. There was no explanation why it was delayed.
  • Meanwhile, Ruidoso officials defended their water rights records.
    "My deal is we are not trying to hide a stinking thing," Mayor Ray Alborn said during a council meeting late last month. "All we want to do is get water to our people and do it the right way, No one is trying to circumvent (rules)."
  • Whooping cough boosters are recommended after an outbreak in Albuquerque.
  • KRQE had an investigative piece into the controversial "virtual brothel" that snared former UNM President F. Chris Garcia. This likely explains why Garcia spoke to KOAT last week.
  • A cemetery developer in Santa Fe plead guilty to federal fraud charges.
  • Rio Arriba won't pay for travel to Netroots Nation any more.
  • The Farmington City Council approved more than $300,000 to crack down on DWIs and increase traffic safety.
    Farmington police Sgt. Dave Monfils said the department has received the first grant since 2008, when it dedicated two full-time officers to DWI arrests. In 2011, the state Department of Transportation increased the grant funding, and the department hired a third full-time DWI officer.

    "(DOT) saw the productivity that we had so they upped (the grant money)," Monfils said.
  • Attorneys General around the country, including New Mexico's Gary King, want cell phone kill switches to make sure stolen cell phones don't work.
  • Only six people showed up to a health care forum in Clovis hosted by a local insurance broker.
  • The Bloomfield School District approved a facility master plan upgrade, the Farmington Daily-Times reported.
    The move comes as oil and gas tax valuation has dropped, affecting the district's finances.

    The board approved a $708,000 plan for the 2013-2014 school year. The plan focuses on managing the district's facilities and infrastructure using the money available from 2 mill capital outlay fund.
  • A screening of a controversial anti-immigration film at UNM drew protests.
    The film, titled “They Came to America: The Cost of Illegal Immigration,” led to the protest because of its title and its depiction of undocumented immigrants. The UNM Conservative Republicans hosted the screening of the film.
  • The Taos schools superintendent could face suspension because the district's special education program has been out of compliance for a few years.
    In a letter from the Public Education Department dated Friday (Nov. 8), the PED claimed Superintendent Rod Weston “either directly, or indirectly through inaction or failure to maintain controls” failed to comply with the corrective action handed down to the Taos school district resulting from the complaint filed against the district's special education program in 2011 and the resulting audit in 2012.
  • Economic development funds in Portales are going towards sprucing up a shopping center.
    Renovations to the shopping center, which sits on the west side of town, included parking lot overlay, facade and lighting improvements, and improved signage, according to Portales City Manager and former economic development director Doug Redmond.
  • A scientist from UNM is studying the meteorite that exploded over Russia earlier this year. For more background on the meteor itself (and how often such impacts happen), I recommend checking out Phil Plait's blog.
  • Fingerprint scanners from an Albuquerque company are helping non-profits in Africa with vaccinations to help save lives.
  • Learn the truth about New Mexico chile.
    The first chile “fact” to forget is that there are only two kinds of chile grown in New Mexico — the smaller, irregular-shaped and some would say sweeter plants of the north, often called Chimayó chile, and the more well-known and commercialized Hatch variety in the south. “There is no such thing as ‘Hatch’ chile,” insisted DeWitt. “Hatch is a little town where some chiles are grown.”
  • The longtime "Voice of the Aggies" passed away at the age of 90 according to the Las Cruces Sun-News.
    While he was a dedicated Aggie fan and sports announcer, Tom Erhard was better known to hundreds of students and faculty as a professor in the English and the Theatre Arts departments, while also familiar to many thousands nationwide as the author of 39 plays for both young people and adult audiences.
  • Ski resorts are preparing to open.
  •  

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