Oct. 9 First News: 18-thousand New Mexico National Lab employees bracing for furlough. (Listen)

  Officials at Sandia Labs have announced that they will be forced to begin to shut down and furlough much of the lab’s workforce by Oct. 21 if the federal budget impasse is not resolved. LANL officials, too, have told their employees that the lab has a limited ability to stay open during the government shutdown.  The two labs employ some 18-thousand New Mexicans. New Mexico’s congressional delegation has called on the U-S Department of Energy Secretary to offer Lab workers assurances they will be compensated if furloughed.

A water main break in Santa Fe Tuesday afternoon left some 50 homes at Camino Sierra Vista and Onate Place without water through much of last night while crews made repairs. The rupture of a 12 inch water main also required PNM to turn off power to some 160 surrounding customers for a short time to assess the structural integrity of a nearby electric pole.  The break caused a six-foot sinkhole in the roadway, expected to be addressed this morning.

Santa Fe City Hall tonight considers establishing creation of an operations team to provide oversight for the Lead Pilot Program. That’s the Law Enforcement-Assisted Diversion plan designed to divert some drug offenders into treatment starting in 2014 that would break the standard cycle of arrest and addiction. The City agreed to try the approach back in July, inspired by the success experienced with similar efforts in Seattle, Washington. 

In a related item, city council will explore having staff collaborate with an organization called Families and Friends Against Drugs to create an on-going community dialogue on heroin and opiate addiction in Santa Fe.  KSFR will carry the meeting live beginning at 5PM.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry buried his opposition in a landslide election Tuesday. Berry, the Republican incumbent in the non-partisan race, coasted to re-election, taking 68-percent of the vote over 29-percent for former Deputy-City Attorney Pete Dinelli and retired police sergeant Paul Heh took three-percent. Duke City votes also approved all ten bond issues on the ballot.  In races for Albuquerque City Council, it appears the District Seven seat will spark a run-off as Janice Arnold Jones has just less than 50-percent of the vote while Diane Gibson had 34-percent. Run-offs occur when no candidate receives 50-percent. That special election is set for November 19th.

Santa Fe County Commissioners took no action Tuesday on a District 50 nominee to replace the late State Representative Stephen Easley, who died in August. The Journal North reports Commissioners heard from nine applicants for the recommendation. The three other counties that make up the legislative district: Bernalillo, Torrance and Valencia, will also make recommendations that will be forwarded to Governor Susana Martinez for her to consider. Santa Fe County has until October 15th to make its selection.

Santa Fe Weather: Today Mostly sunny, with a high near 71. For tonight: Mostly cloudy with a low around 44. For tomorrow, expect a 40-percent of showers in the afternoon and drop in temperatures as Thursday's high will be near 64. It will also be windy tomorrow, with afternoon gusts as high as 45 miles an hour.