Santa Fe County is reporting fewer alcohol-related auto fatalities. Peter Olson is Santa Fe County’s DWI Prevention Specialist. *****041614-Olson-1 :27 ***** The County has employed a multi-faceted approach combating drunken driving, combining increased law enforcement, early education and public information on an annual budget of close to one-million dollars, funded through liquor excise taxes. Olson also credits the public’s attitudinal shift about DWI over the past decade for the County’s improved statistics.
Google—not Facebook— has closed a deal to buy New Mexico’s Titan Aerospace. Last month, Facebook originally showed interest in the drone-making company, and planned to spend 60- million dollars on the company. KRQE-TV reports the social media giant ended up buying a UK-based drone maker for just one-third of that. Titan officials say they’re passionate believers in the potential for technology—in this case, atmospheric satellites—to improve people’s lives.
Senator Martin Heinrich says he wants to see Edward Snowden returned to the U-S to face charges related to his release of National Security Administration information. Heinrich telling KSFR many of the items Snowden released were un-necessary to the debate on protection of civil liberties. *****041414-Heinrich-4 :20***** The Democrat, commenting while in Santa Fe Friday, says while he’s optimistic about recent federal action on civil protections, Congressional action is needed on the subject due to Presidential administration variability on the issue.
KSFR will broadcast and stream today’s news conference where the U-S Department of Justice releases its report on the troubled Albuquerque Police Department and may mandate reforms costing millions of dollars. Today’s scheduled 10-a-m announcement is the culmination of a more than yearlong investigation into possible civil rights violations and excessive use of force. APD has been criticized for 37 shootings by officers since 2010, more than 20 of them deadly.
A nine member committee representing various Santa Fe groups will assist in the choice of the City Different's new police chief. Mayor Javier Gonzales announcing Tuesday that the panel will review the nearly 50 applications from those seeking to replace retired Chief Ray Rael. The mayor said, quote “The citizen screening committee encompasses the concerns of various interest groups in our community and I would like their voice heard in this thoughtful selection process.” The ultimate decision on the chief will be up to City Manager Brian Snyder.
A problem-plagued 244-million dollar security system at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s most sensitive area is complete. Reports indicate the advanced security upgrade for the LANL’s plutonium complex was supposed to be done almost two years ago. But as it was nearing completion, major problems sprung-up, resulting in cost-over-runs of 41 million to fix it. The system protects LANL’s Technical Area 55, the only place in the country where nuclear weapon triggers can be made.
Governor Susana Martinez has announced a three-step plan to improve the state's troubled Children, Youth and Families Department and keep New Mexico kids safer. Martinez’s plan—announced Wednesday--includes improving communication, taking a proactive approach to families with multiple cases and recruiting and retaining case workers for the under-staffed agency. On that issue, the CYFD will hire a recruiter to work with New Mexico State University and other schools to find new employees. Caseworkers will get a raise with the start of the fiscal year in July.
Albuquerque Police fired tear gas at a crowd of protestors Sunday evening in an effort to end a day-long demonstration against the Department's shooting death of a homeless man in the Sandia Mountains in mid-March. Hundreds took to the streets and marched up Central Avenue, and protestors were toe-to-toe with officers attired in riot gear, getting an earful as a result of the Department's recent record of shooting people, something which is currently under investigation by the U-S Justice Department.
There’s a new development at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant: the Department of Energy says it expects to get underground next week to begin investigating a mysterious radiation leak from the nuclear waste dump. Reports cite WIPP officials saying inspections of the shafts workers will use to access the half-mile deep repository are complete and they’re preparing to send an initial crew into the mine early next week. WIPP's been closed for more than a month following the February leak.