Oct. 3 First News:New DOE audit faults LANL for inefficiencies. (listen)

A just-released federal audit of the Los Alamos Laboratory faults its radioactive waste treatment operation for cost overruns and missed deadlines. Back in 2004, the facility was to be rebuilt over a five year period. The report cites that though some 56 million-dollars has already been spent in preparation, no actual work has begun.  It's now thought that the project is unlikely to be finished until 2020 at well more than double the initial cost estimates. The Department of Energy says the project is just one example among many indicating management inefficiencies at LANL.

Former New Mexico Finance Authority CEO Rick May has filed suit in a Santa Fe state district court charging Governor Martinez and a cabinet secretary with failure to release requested public documents. May lost his job last year after it was discovered a NMFA 2011 audit was falsified by controller Greg Campbell. May says he’s been waiting too long a time for records of communications between the Governor’s office and the Department of Finance and Administration, both before and after the discovery of the fake audit.  May’s suit is seeking damages in the matter. Back in December, a report by the State Auditor found May not directly involved in the bogus audit.

The City of Santa Fe is crowing about receiving the highest credit quality bond rating of “triple A” from Fitch Ratings. The rating outlook is stable for the city’s outstanding bonds. Fitch describes Santa Fe as having had a strong historical financial performance with a very good debt coverage ratio.  That benchmark is a measurement of an entity’s ability to produce enough cash to cover its debt payments. If that ratio remains strong, Fitch, in its five-year forecast, says Santa Fe will likely retain its high credit rating for the foreseeable future.

Santa Fe is soon to consider new restrictions on buskers--musicians who perform for donations in the downtown area--as City Councilor Chris Calvert is proposing prohibiting buskers from the Plaza and surrounding streets. The proposal says oftentimes the buskers are an aesthetic nuisance. Today's Journal North reports it would limit to five the number of sites where they could play with only one performer at each. Currently, street musicians must pay the city 35-dollars for an annual license to perform. The matter will come before the Public Safety Committee on October 15th.

Santa Fe Community College will next week host a public forum titled ‘Local Response to Climate Change’. The event will feature world-acclaimed speaker and honored environmentalist Soren Hermansen of Denmark. Hermansen is the head of the Danish government’s Samsoe renewable energy island project that has successfully demonstrated the feasibility of a sustainable community based entirely on renewable energy. The event is set for 3PM next Tuesday, October 8th in the SFCC Board Room.

Weather for Santa Fe – Sunny today with highs near 70. A very strong cold front expected to cross over us tonight, bringing strong winds and much colder temperatures. Winds could gust to 50 miles per hour and strong crosswinds are expected Friday morning along the I-25 and other north-south roads. Friday’s highs in the upper 50s while overnight lows will make their first dip of the season into the upper 20s.