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.
Windy weather has sidelined launches this morning at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Wednesday saw the first significant accident of the 42nd annual event. A balloon hit power lines in Rio Rancho and caught fire. The two men aboard suffered burns and were taken to UNM Hospital. One has been released; the other had to have an arm amputated and is said to be in critical condition.
New Mexico’s attorney general says the City of Albuquerque’s proposal to ban late-term abortions is unenforceable. Gary King replied to a City Councilor’s request for an opinion on the matter. A news release from King says while only state officials can seek a formal A-G’s opinion, he added, quote, “voters have the right to know and decide whether they want to bear the protracted expense of litigation over a measure that is unconstitutional and unenforceable." Albuquerque voters are to decide the matter November 19th.
Santa Fe Mayor David Coss has announced his final “State of the City” address. It’s set for October 22nd at the downtown Community Convention Center. Coss was first elected mayor back in 2006 and announced in May he would not seek a 3rd term in the March 2014 municipal election. The official invitation to the mayor’s speech is billed as “Celebrating Our City.” It’ll be followed by a reception celebrating city workers hosted by Progress Now New Mexico and IATSE (eye-aught-see) Local 48, the union for film industry workers.
United Blood Services New Mexico says the federal government shutdown continues to impact the state’s blood supply. It fears a blood drive scheduled for today and Friday in Los Alamos will be poorly attended as there are people who won’t be in the area due to furloughs. The company says that the need for donors, especially type O negative, is becoming critical. Type O-negative blood is considered universal as it can be administered to anyone.
The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions is alerting unemployment recipients of Monday’s Columbus Day observance and the closure of offices. As October 14th is a federal holiday, some banking institutions will be closed along with the U-S Postal Service. Payments received by mail will be delayed along with U-I debit cards and direct deposit transactions for those benefit recipients qualifying on Sunday.
Sunland Peanuts of Portales has shuttered operations and filed for bankruptcy. The business was rocked last year by a salmonella outbreak that sickened consumers of peanut products across 20 states. After a forced shutdown and product recalls, the plant re-opened but was not able to recover lost financial ground. Sunland was the nation's largest organic processor of peanut butter and an important contributor to the economy in Portales.
Santa Fe Weather: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 60. Scattered showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 1pm with a 40-percent chance of precipitation. It will be windy, with gusts increasing to as high as 40-miles an hour. Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 35. Windy with scattered showers and thunderstorms before 7pm. Tomorrow: Sunny, with a high near 55.