The U.S. Department of Energy says new air testing in the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico shows no detectable radioactive contamination from a leak last month. However, federal officials say four more employees have tested positive for low levels of contamination, adding to the 13 tested immediately after the leak. Authorities say none should suffer health effects. WIPP officials say they may send personnel into the mine this week for the first time since the February 14th radiation leak.
Santa Fe voters elected Former New Mexico Democratic Party chair Javier Gonzales to be the City Different's next mayor on Tuesday. Gonzales easily out-distanced City Councilors Patti Bushee and Bill Dimas, taking more than 43-percent of the vote.
Winners in the four city council races were Sig Lindell in District One, Joseph Maestas in District Two, while third-district Councilor Carmichael Dominguez and the fourth district's Ron Trujillo, who ran unopposed, were re-elected.
Today is Santa Fe's municipal Election Day, as voters will choose its next mayor, city councilors and several proposed charter amendments. And word from City Clerk Yolanda Vigil is that the City Different has set a new mark for early-voting. ******030414-Vigil-2 :32*****Vigil asks that voters call the Clerk's office or check the New Mexican for their polling place, which may differ than county-run primary or general elections.
Test results reveal that 13 employees of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant were exposed to radiation the day a radiation leak was detected at the southeastern New Mexico nuclear waste repository. The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports the workers tested positive for americium-241, one of the radiation particles emitted from the transuranic waste deposited at the facility. Elevated radiation levels have also been detected in the air around the plant, but officials say there is no public health threat.
State Lawmakers have adjourned the 2014 30-day legislative session after agreeing on a plan to try to head off cutbacks in the New Mexico lottery college scholarship program. In the final hours before the Legislature adjourned on Thursday, the House and Senate agreed to a proposal that shore up the scholarship program temporarily with liquor tax money. Cutbacks in scholarships have been looming because the program is running short of cash. Lottery proceeds aren't keeping pace with college tuition increases.
The New Mexico Legislature adjourns at noon today, and the House of Representatives completed the primary task for the 30-day session, approving a more-than six-billion dollar state budget bill Wednesday. The House okayed the proposed spending plan on a 58-8 vote. The measure now goes to Governor Susana Martinez. The legislature's budget represents a five-percent increase from last year.
Using authority extended by the state, the Santa Fe school board voted 3-2 on Tuesday to impose a property tax increase to generate up to 55-million dollars without asking voters. The tax hike will cover costs of the school district's digital learning plan, which upgrades technology at all 32 of the district's schools. State law gives school districts the authority to increase property taxes for technological upgrades without putting the question to voters.