July 8 First News: State Penitentiary complex to move today to SF County water supply. (listen)

Today sees a ribbon-cutting ceremony as Santa Fe County begins to provide water to the State Penitentiary complex on Highway 14. For years, the facility, which includes the New Mexico Corrections Training Academy, has relied on the same well water system as residents of La Cienega and surrounding areas. All tolled, New Mexico Corrections Department has monthly water usage between 2.6 and 6 million gallons.  It’s expected that NMCD will pay some $200,000 annually for its use of county water.

The Bureau of Land management has given its final approvals for 234 miles of new pipeline across New Mexico to transport liquid natural gas products.  The Western Expansion Pipeline III Project will follow an already existing pipeline corridor with six new segments to run parallel and be joined by valves. Work on the line, to span from Farmington to Hobbs, could begin before the end of summer and take six months to complete, says builder Enterprise Mid-American Pipeline. The estimated cost is $320 million.

Barring re-development of severe fire weather, the nearby Jaroso Fire is expected to burn itself out over time without aid of a large ground crew.  Recent rains have halted further growth beyond its 11,100 acres and areas of burning have retreated from their outward edge.  Meanwhile, our state’s largest currently active blaze, the Silver Fire near Kingston in the Gila Nat’l Forest is now at 80% containment.  That lightning sparked blaze began back on June 7th and has consumed almost 140,000 acres

Albuquerque's Route 66 corridor, considered the longest urban stretch remaining of that iconic highway, could soon become a bold swath of neon signs. That comes after city councilors there approved a number of proposals encouraging use of new and bigger neon signage.  Today's Albuquerque Journal says its intended to spruce up 15 miles of Central Avenue. Permit fees for the bigger, bolder signs are to be waived if they meet guidelines.   Duke City Mayor Richard Berry, whose administration itself first proposed the idea, is expected to give approval shortly.

At tonight’s meeting of the Public Works Committee, they’ll consider recommending the creation of a Gun Safety Promotional Campaign for Santa Fe to be featured on city busses and benches.  The measure met with approval from the Finance Committee last week and is scheduled for full City Council on Wednesday.  It’s championed by Mayor David Coss and city councilor Patti Bushee along with Police Chief Ray Rael.

On Wednesday, city council could decide to create a new but small city park. To be named Cerletti Park, in honor of former Tourism Secretary Mike Cerletti who died last year, it would comprise some 240 square feet adjacent to downtown's Water Street parking lot.  That area has for some time attracted vagrants and has been the scene of harassment complaints. The creation of a park is seen as a move to improve public safety and beautification, with new landscaping and maintenance.

Weather for Santa Fe – mostly sunny days this week with high temperatures from the mid-to-upper 80s.  Each day brings a slight chance for isolated afternoon and evening thundershowers.