Despite the lack of progress in Washington, there will be no furlough of 55 civilian state workers for the New Mexico National Guard. Governor Susana Martinez's administration is halting any such furlough by using state dollars to cover their salaries this week while the federal government shutdown goes on. A National Guard spokesman says the state will pay more than 53-thousand dollars to cover the federal share of salaries. Should the shutdown continue into next week, funding sources will be reviewed.
Santa Fe City Council holds a special meeting tomorrow to review proposed city charter amendments. Such changes are likely to be the focus of a special election held concurrently with the March 2014 municipal election. Among changes being considered is an expansion of mayoral power along with designating the post a fulltime position with higher pay and barring other employment. Another meeting at the end of the month will seek to codify the final charter amendment questions to be put before voters.
10/13/13 — Audio Saucepan: “The Moon Holes Episode” includes the poems “The Signature Mark of Autumn” by Gary Young (from The Place That Inhabits Us, Sixteen Rivers Press); “Guan Yin’s Treatise on Compassion” by Afaa Michael Weaver (from The Government of Nature, University of Pittsburgh Press); and “Field of Diamonds in the Sky” by Noah Blaustein (from Flirt, University of New Mexico Press)
Western Refining Company of Gallup is now saying batches of contaminated gasoline were delivered to Giant stations in Santa Fe, Gallup, Farmington, Kirtland, Jamestown as well as Albuquerque. Originally, the refiner said it sent water-contaminated fuel to two gas stations in Albuquerque, but later conceded the number was 11. It says at least 100-motorists complained of serious mechanical issues after filling up with the tainted gasoline. Western Refining says it will reimburse anyone with a legitimate claim.
The Los Alamos National Laboratory will begin full shut down preparations one week from tomorrow if there is no further progress on the budget stalemate in Washington. Lab Director Charles McMillan notified LANL's 10-thousand employees of the closure in a Wednesday memo. A small number of workers would be retained to keep nuclear materials secure. The budget impasse has already sidelined the Lab's shipments of nuclear waste to southern New Mexico's WIPP site. Sandia Labs has previously stated their eight-thousand employees will be furloughed as of October 21st.
Officials at Sandia Labs have announced that they will be forced to begin to shut down and furlough much of the lab’s workforce by Oct. 21 if the federal budget impasse is not resolved. LANL officials, too, have told their employees that the lab has a limited ability to stay open during the government shutdown. The two labs employ some 18-thousand New Mexicans. New Mexico’s congressional delegation has called on the U-S Department of Energy Secretary to offer Lab workers assurances they will be compensated if furloughed.
Voters in Albuquerque are going to the polls today to elect a mayor and city council members as well as weighing in on ten bond issues. Incumbent Mayor Richard Berry is facing two challengers. If no candidate pulls 50-percent of the total vote, the top two placeholders will square off in a November 19th run-off election. That date is also set for a special Duke City election on an ordinance that would ban abortions after 20 weeks. If there is no mayoral run-off, however, the abortion matter will be decided by a mail-in ballot only.
New Mexico's federal employees sidelined by the government shutdown have been assured they will receive any back pay owed them. Such an assurance can only be made by an act of Congress and New Mexico representative Michele Lujan Grisham co-sponsored such legislation that passed the House unanimously Saturday. Congressman Ben Ray Lujan also sent a letter to the Department of Energy Secretary that stresses that retroactive pay is intended for all federally-contracted workers at both the state’s two National Laboratories.
Audio Saucepan: “The No Potatoes Episode” includes the poems “Clown in the Moon” by Dylan Thomas (read by Carole Shelley, from In My Craft or Sullen Art, GPR Records); “For Anna Mae Pictou Aquash…” by Joy Harjo (with Poetic Justice, off the album Letter From the End of the Twentieth Century, Silver Wave Records); and “Prayer After Eating” by Wendell Berry (read by the author, from In Song and Shade: Celebrating Wendell Berry in Music, Yalecrest)
In today's feature items, we speak with PNM about the energy resources they're putting forward as replacements once they de-commission two of the San Juan Generating Station's four coal-fired units. The Santa Fe's energy specialist joins us to talk about next week's climate change presentation at Santa Fe Community College. Those items and more plus 60 Seconds with Christopher Hagen.