August 2 First News: Railyard movie complex gets green light. (listen)

The Santa Fe Railyard’s proposed new movie complex took a step forward as the city’s Planning Commissioners have greenlighted the builder’s blueprints. Austin-based Violet Crown can now proceed with their plans for a 25,000 square foot facility housing ten screening rooms and an adjacent restaurant. The company has previously stated it would like to be built out and open by the end of 2014.

The Planning Commission also rejected a developer’s plans for converting the old Manderfield school on Canyon Road into a mixed-use property. Santa Fe Public Schools agreed to sell the long-vacant property to Clare and Michael Marist who had earlier stated the deal was contingent on re-zoning. Many nearby residents opposed the plans presented to the Planning Commission Thursday night saying they differed from what was presented to them in prior neighborhood meetings. The Marists want to use the old school for multiple residences as well as studio & commercial space.

Senator Tom Udall is in the City Different today where he'll tour the Santa Fe veterans’ community-based outpatient clinic. He'll be talking with veterans about space limitations and other issues affecting quality of care. Udall will be accompanied by city councilor Chris Calvert, an Air Force veteran who has spoken out about the need to improve conditions at the clinic.

Meanwhile, before he left DC on Thursday, Udall joined several colleagues to unveil two bills  addressing largely-unchecked data harvesting of US citizens by FISA courts. Udall said he wants to see a  proper balance of the need to protect national security with constitutional and statutory requirements to safeguard individual rights to privacy and liberty. *****clip

Roswell's Valley Meat Company today faces its last legal hurdle before beginning horse-slaughtering for export of meat. Opponents including state officials and animal welfare groups contend that the USDA-approved facility requires environmental impact reviews. The issue will be heard in federal court today. The company is poised to begin operations Monday, though a suspicious fire this week may delay that by some days. Valley Meat could become the 1st operational horse slaughterhouse in the nation since a 2007 cessation of such enterprises.

Underway now through Sunday is New Mexico’s annual back-to-school tax holiday. Among items exempt from state sales tax are clothing and shoe purchases under $100, computers costing less than $1000 and individual school supplies below $15.

Weather for Santa Fe – partly sunny days with highs in the low 80s are forecast for today and the weekend. There’s a 40% chance for thundershowers this afternoon and evening.  That falls off to 20-to-30% both Saturday and Sunday. Overnight lows throughout the period near 60 degrees.