Apr. 6 First News: Dispute Arises Over Espanola College's Name Change (Listen)
A name change is at the center of a dispute involving a northern New Mexico school already entangled in accusations of budget mismanagement and poor leadership. A vote to change Northern New Mexico College's name to Northern New Mexico University is irking several lawmakers and even some school officials. The New Mexican reports that the school's Board of Regents approved the change in January. However, newly confirmed regent Damian Martinez said Saturday that the school should stop referring to itself as a university because the Legislature never approved the change. Legislation proposing the name change died last month. Senator Carlos Cisneros, who sponsored the bill, says he decided the legislation warranted further review. Some say regents did not have the authority to vote on a title change.
Thousands of visitors converged Saturday on the New Mexico site where the first nuclear bomb was detonated nearly 70 years ago. The Alamogordo Daily News reports White Sands Missile Range officials say more than 55-hundred people attended the first of two tours being offered at the Trinity Site this year. Visitors came from all over the U.S. and included several documentary crews. Many attendees posed for pictures near an obelisk marking the exact location where the bomb went off. In July 1945, Los Alamos scientists successfully exploded the first atomic bomb at the Trinity Site, located near Alamogordo. Meanwhile, protesters held signs in Tularosa as tourists caught a caravan heading to the site. Demonstrators say families living near the test site went on to suffer health problems.
Three Albuquerque city councilors are proposing to dissolve Albuquerque's open space trust fund. City Councilors Don Harris, Dan Lewis and Ken Sanchez say the idea would be to use the $11 million in the fund to purchase more open space. Since 1982, proceeds from city land sales have gone into the fund, with interest going toward open space operation and maintenance. Under current market conditions, the fund generates about $65,000 a year. And with the price of land and the need to protect more natural areas, the councilors say it would be best to dissolve the fund and use the money to buy more open space. City officials have identified nearly 13,000 acres they would like to acquire as open space. That land is valued at more than $95 million.
State regulators meet in Roswell today to consider revamping rules that govern how the New Mexico dairy industry deals with waste water. The state, dairy farmers and environmentalists have been wrangling for years over how to best manage waste produced by the industry while protecting New Mexico's limited groundwater supplies
Republican Governor Susana Martinez has reappointed Democrat Jamie Koch to a seat on the University of New Mexico Board of Regents. Martinez's office announced the appointment Friday. She also named Marron Lee, a former federal prosecutor, to another seat on the board.
Koch's reappointment was confirmed by the Senate during the legislative session, but he sent a resignation letter to Martinez in March. He disagreed with a Senate committee's rationale for refusing to confirm another regent because of political activity. Martinez says she understood Koch's frustration. Koch tells the Albuquerque Journal the decision to rejoin the board didn't come easily but the university is facing budgetary matters that must be dealt with. Koch fills a four-year position on the board. Lee's post is for six years.
Governor Martinez on Friday selected a Republican to fill a New Mexico Senate seat left vacant by the resignation of Democrat Phil Griego. Martinez's office announced her pick of Ted Barela yesterday. Barela is the former mayor of Estancia. Griego held the seat for more than 18 years but submitted his resignation last month because of an ethics issue that stemmed from his role in the sale of a state-owned building in Santa Fe.
Santa Fe Weather: Sunny skies today and tomorrow with highs in the mid-60s and becoming windy tomorrow afternoon. Tonight: Mostly clear and breezy with the overnight low, 40.