August 6 KSFR First News: SFCC Tightens Belt Following Discovery of $5 Million Shortfall (Listen)

Aug 6, 2014

Less than three weeks before the start of the fall semester, and Santa Fe Community College finds itself in a five million dollar budget shortfall. On Tuesday, SFCC Interim President Randy Grissom put forth a plan—approved unanimously by the College Board—to close the sprawling financial gap. Among its deep and sudden provisions: salary reductions, a two-and-a-half percent reduction in force, tuition hikes, and cuts across the board. Grissom blames inaccurate projections and miscalculations last year—and decisions based on them—made by the administration led by ousted SFCC President Ana “Cha” Guzman—for the surprise shortfall. He’s now calling for a one-year sacrifice on the part of college faculty and staff: *****080614-Grissom-3 :28***** One of the College’s external fund sources Grissom refers to there is a hoped-for and short-term bailout—not yet approved— from the State Board of Finance. The loan would provide one-half million dollars. It’s one of the many measures adopted to help SFCC through its unexpected financial dire straits.

A state proposal to build a new multimillion-dollar office complex near the State Capitol could come at the expense of some historic Santa Fe buildings. The New Mexican reports that officials presented the state Capitol Buildings Planning Commission with a proposal this week for the 25- million-dollar government office building. City officials, however, say the plan calls for the demolition of four 80-year-old "casitas." The small houses, located across the street from the Roundhouse, are owned by the State. They’re also considered significant to the neighborhood's architecture. Commission chairman Ed Burckle says the panel will meet with city officials to discuss the impact of the project. The New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration would move into the new building.

Three teenagers arrested for the brutal slayings of two homeless men in Albuquerque have been indicted on first-degree murder, aggravated assault and numerous other charges. The indictments were returned Tuesday by a Bernalillo County grand jury. Arraignments for the three teens have yet to be scheduled. Because the 15- and 16-year-old suspects were charged as serious youthful offenders and indicted on first-degree murder charges, they will be tried alongside 18-year-old Alex Rios in adult court. Rios and the two younger suspects are charged with attacking three homeless men as they slept in a vacant lot. The two men who were killed were Native American. But police said there's no indication the teens sought out their victims based on race, so hate-crime charges were not presented to the grand jury.

Traffic of women and children crossing the US-Mexico border in Southern New Mexico is down, a fact reflected in the closing of one popular shelter.  KSFR's Dave Marash has details

Text: The Cathedral of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Las Cruces is shutting down its shelter for border-crossing unaccompanied minors and families.  Church officials tell The Las Cruces Sun-News that after sheltering more than 200 immigrants last month, they found far fewer customers in recent days.  Federal authorities agree, border-crossing traffic has dropped as word has gotten out about the new tougher American immigration policies. The Catholic diocese says most people stayed in the shelter for just 2 days before finding family connections in the US.  The Cathedral's offer of a cot, a shower, clean clothes, hot meals and health checks may be reactivated, if necessary, during hurricane season.  For KSFR News, I'm Dave Marash.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz's trip to New Mexico next week will include a visit to the federal government's underground nuclear waste repository near Carlsbad. The Energy Department announced Tuesday that Moniz will be in Santa Fe for a meeting Monday morning. He will then travel to Carlsbad for a town hall focused on cleanup efforts and other activities at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. Moniz will visit the plant Tuesday. It will be his first visit to the site since a Feb. 14 reaction sent radioactive particles into the air above the repository and contaminated 22 workers with low levels of radiation. Shipments to WIPP have been on hold for months now. It's the nation's only permanent repository for plutonium-contaminated gloves, tools and clothing from the federal government's nuclear facilities.

Santa Fe Weather:  Sunny today, with a high near 84. Tonight: Mostly clear with the overnight low, 57. Tomorrow: Mostly sunny with a high of 83 and a 20-percent chance for showers and thunderstorms.