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NM State Takes On UL Lafayette For Homecoming

The NM State football team will return to Aggie Memorial Stadium. The Aggies are 1-3 on the season and 0-1 in league play after falling to Troy last Saturday night in Veterans Memorial Stadium. The squad amassed 539 yards of total offense with 445 yards in the air. NM State had two fourth down conversions on its first drive of the game and finished the contest 3-of-4 on fourth down conversions.Head Coach Doug Martin(pictured) offers a preview now in the You Tube link at the bottom of the page.

Marita Noon Podcast Returns

When New York`s Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo gushed over SolarCity`s new solar panel factory in Buffalo, New York, the audience, likely, didn`t grasp the recently-revealed meaning of his words: `It is such a metaphor--a symbol of everything we`re doing.` The 1.2 million square foot building, being built by the state of New York on the site of a former steel plant, is looking more and more like another political promise of help for one of the poorest cities in the state that ends up enriching cronies without ever achieving any potential for the people. Yes, it is a symbol of everything they`re doing. Previously, during her first senatorial bid, Hillary Clinton also promised jobs to the economically depressed region of the state of New York--200,000 to be exact. Citing a report from the Washington Post, CBSNews states: `Jobs data show that job growth stagnated in Upstate New York during her eight years in office, the report said, and manufacturing jobs dropped by nearly a quarter.` The Post`s extensive story reveals that jobs never materialized--despite `initial glowing headlines.` It claims: `Clinton`s self-styled role as economic promoter` actually `involved loyal campaign contributors who also supported the Clinton Foundation.` Through federal grants and legislation, she helped steer money to programs, companies, and initiatives that benefitted the donors but failed to reverse the economic decline of the region. Now, new corruption charges reveal the same pay-to-play model linked to Cuomo`s upstate `Buffalo Billion` economic revitalization plan--and the promised jobs, also, look they will never materialize. Back on January 5, 2012, Cuomo announced a $1 billion five-year economic development pledge for Buffalo. It was to be the governor`s banner economic initiative with the SolarCity factory as the cornerstone and a pledge of 1,460 direct factory jobs. Other companies, including IBM and a Japanese clean-energy company were also lined up. With the state-of-the-art solar panel factory ready for equipment to be installed, the wisdom of the entire program is being scrutinized--and is coming up short. First, on September 22, two of Cuomo`s closest aides--along with several others--were charged in corruption and fraud cases involving state contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Addressing the press at his Manhattan office, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara asserted: `that `pervasive corruption and fraud` infested one of the governor`s signature economic development programs. Companies got rich, and the public got bamboozled,` reports The Observer. Bharara described the bid-rigging and bribery arrangement: `Behind the scenes they were cynically rigging the whole process so that the contracts would go to handpicked `friends of the administration`--`friends` being a euphemism for large donors. Through rigged bids, state contracts worth billions of dollars in public development monies, meant to revitalize and renew upstate New York, were instead just another way to corruptly award cronies who were willing to pay to play.` The 79-page criminal complaint notes that campaign contributions to Cuomo poured in from people connected to the bribe-paying companies as soon as those businesses began pursuing state projects. One of the companies that received the lucrative contracts was LPCiminelli-run by `Cuomo mega-donor` Louis Ciminelli. He allegedly offered bribes to Cuomo confidante Todd Howe--who has admitted to pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars from developers to rig bids on multimillion-dollar state contracts linked to Buffalo Billion projects. Ciminelli received the $750 million contract to build the SolarCity plant. The Buffalo News cites Bharara as saying: `the state`s bidding process for the factory being built for SolarCity at RiverBend in South Buffalo turned into a `criminal` enterprise that favored LPCiminelli, where company executives were given inside information about how the deal was to be awarded.` Part of Cuomo`s deal with SolarCity--in which the state owns the building and equipment with SolarCity leasing it under a 10-year deal-requires the company to meet a timetable of job-creation quotas or pay hefty penalties. Even before the building was complete, however, the company slashed its job commitment from 1460 to 500. According to the Investigative Post, SolarCity claims it will still employ the original number, but due to automation, the majority of them will not be at the Buffalo plant. With the state`s $750 million investment, that works out to $1.5 million per manufacturing job. In a press release, Cuomo promised 1460 `direct manufacturing jobs at the new facility.` Even the 500 jobs will only materialize if the plant actually starts production--currently slated for June 2017. SolarCity`s future is, as Crain`s New York Business puts it: `uncertain.` Amid the company`s myriad problems are the facts that it has never been profitable, nor does it have manufacturing experience. In February 2014, SolarCity`s stock price peaked at about $85 a share. Today, a share is less than $20. Microaxis gives it a probability of bankruptcy score of 48 percent. Crains reports that it posted a $251 million loss in Q1 2016 and a loss of $230 million in Q2. To `stop the bleeding,` Elon Musk (a donor to both the Obama and Clinton campaigns and the Clinton Foundation), who owns more than 20 percent of the company, announced that Tesla (of which he also owns more than 20 Percent) would purchase SolarCity--this after as many as 15 other potential buyers and investors looked at the company and decided to pass. SolarCity even considered selling the solar panel manufacturing business. Both SolarCity and Tesla are, according to the Buffalo News, facing a `cash bind`--this despite receiving billions in federal and state grants and tax credits as I`ve previously addressed. Tesla is described as `cash-eating electric vehicle and battery making businesses.` For SolarCity, its model--which finances its solar panel installations, in order to make a profit on a lease that can be as long as 30 years, while it collects the lucrative government incentives worth billions (a practice for which Solar City is currently under Congressional investigation)--requires constantly raising new money from investors. Once the Tesla deal was announced, SolarCity`s lenders started to pull back. The Buffalo News reports: `Stock in trades for $4 a share less, or 19 percent less, than what Tesla is offering--a gap indicating that investors are uncertain the deal will be completed.` Additionally, the deal is being challenged by four separate lawsuits--which could delay the deal. Addressing the merger, one analyst said: `We see a lot more that can go wrong than can go right.` Then there is the manufacturing angle. Originally, the Buffalo plant was going to manufacture high-efficacy solar panel modules developed by Silevo--a company SolarCity bought in 2014. Crain`s reports that it will instead produce complete solar roofs. Something it says `Dow Chemical recently abandoned after five years because it could not find a way to make a profit on the technology.` But then, the Buffalo News says: `The initial production in Buffalo is expected to include photovoltaic cells that SolarCity purchases from suppliers and are used in the products that will be assembled in the South Park Avenue factory.` Whatever the plant builds or manufactures, getting it operating will be expensive--even with the New York taxpayers owning the building and equipment--and will drain scarce cash from SolarCity at a time when its financing costs have increased. Buffalo residents wonder if they`ll be stuck with the world`s largest empty warehouse and without the promised jobs. No wonder the entire project is in doubt. Because of the Cuomo administration corruption allegations, other proposed job-creators, including IBM, have pulled out until the probe is completed. For now, Cuomo is not a part of the criminal complaint--though his name is mentioned many times--and he claims he knew nothing about it, nor does he think he`s a target of the ongoing federal probe. `It is almost inconceivable the governor didn`t know what was going on,` Doug Muzzio, a professor of public affairs at Baruch College, said. `And if he didn`t know what was going on, you can argue he should have known.` Bharara has suggested that the better name for the program would be: `The Buffalo Billion Fraud and Bribery Scheme.` Yep, the Buffalo Billion project is a `symbol` of the political promises and crony corruption--`everything we`re doing`--that takes taxpayers dollars to reward political donors and then walks away when the jobs don`t materialize.

ENMU-Roswell Student Receives First Morgan And Joyce Nelson Endowed Scholarship

ENMU-Roswell student, Chris Neal, is the first recipient of the Morgan and Joyce Nelson Endowed Scholarship administered by the ENMU-Roswell Foundation. Neal, 46, is enrolled in the Human Services program and will graduate next May with an Associate of Arts degree in Human Services and Certificates of Employability in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Studies and Helping Relationship Skills. He said the $1000 scholarship will be used to pay for his tuition and books expenses as he completes his associate degree requirements. He plans to continue his education at ENMU in Portales taking online classes in career and technical education or human services. “Receiving this scholarship is awesome,” he said. “Students need to make an effort to apply for these scholarships because the help is out there.” Neal said his financial aid has run out, so he also works at several part-time jobs. He thanks Financial Aid Assistant, Kimberly Andazola, for her support and he also appreciates his parents, Butch and Karen Neal, for their assistance as he reaches his higher education goals. In 2014, ENMU-Roswell Foundation Board member, Morgan Nelson, created the scholarship to honor his late wife of 58 years, Joyce. Nelson is credited with establishing Roswell Community College, now ENMU-Roswell, through his work in the New Mexico House of Representatives. He served in the legislature from 1942 to 1962 (with the exception of 1952-1954) and was instrumental in the passage of the 1957 Branch Community College Act. He also used his contacts and influence to lobby for the passage of the Junior College Act in 1963, which authorized junior and community colleges to form districts for taxing purposes. When government officials announced that Walker Air Force Base would be closing on June 30, 1967, Nelson was part of the Executive Committee which oversaw the planning and development of the proposal to move Roswell Community College to the base facilities. Nelson is a founding member of the ENMU-Roswell Foundation and has served on the board since 1969. He received the President’s Distinguished Award from the Foundation in 2003.

Woods Houghton Podcast Returns

This week Mike Jaxson visits with the Eddy County Extension Agent at his office in Carlsbad and they recap last week’s Stockmen meeting in Artesia, the ENMSF, fall fertilization of pecans and mosquitoes.

Panhandle Import Reduction Initiative Holds Rally In Carlsbad

Dr. Daniel Fine is the Associate Director of the New Mexico Center For Energy Policy and he says Tuesday’s rally and meeting of the PIRI has put OPEC on notice.

Additional West Nile Virus Cases In New Mexico In 2016

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) announced three additional cases of West Nile Virus. During the past month, a 53-year-old Bernalillo County man, a 57-year-old Doña Ana County man, and a 40-year-old McKinley County man have been diagnosed with West Nile virus. All three individuals developed neuroinvasive disease and were hospitalized. These are the third, fourth, and fifth human cases of West Nile virus infection identified in New Mexico this year. Previous cases were reported in Rio Arriba and Valencia counties. “West Nile virus may still be circulating in New Mexico until mosquito activity ceases after the first hard frost,” said NMDOH Cabinet Secretary Designate Lynn Gallagher. “New Mexicans should continue to take precautions against mosquito bites whenever mosquitoes are active.” “West Nile virus causes illness in both people and horses throughout the state,” said Dr. Paul Ettestad, the Department’s public health veterinarian. “New Mexico typically sees most of its West Nile virus cases in August and September, but because of late season rains this year can potentially see cases through October.” Symptoms of the milder form of illness, West Nile fever, can include headache, fever, muscle and joint aches, nausea and fatigue. People with West Nile fever typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for weeks to months. Symptoms of West Nile neuroinvasive disease can include those of West Nile fever plus neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis. There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent West Nile virus infection. People over 50 years old and those with other health issues are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill or dying when they become infected with the virus. If people have symptoms and suspect West Nile virus infection, they should contact a healthcare provider for evaluation and potential laboratory testing. In 2015, the NMDOH identified 14 cases of West Nile Virus infection in people, 12 with neuroinvasive disease, none of which were fatal. Three horses were diagnosed with West Nile virus infection last year. To further protect yourself against West Nile virus, you can minimize the risk for both human and horse cases by eliminating water-holding containers where mosquitoes lay their eggs, such as old tires, as well as regularly changing the water in birdbaths, wading pools, and pets’ water bowls. Make sure rain barrels are tightly screened.

Governor Susana Martinez Announces 135 Arrests In Child Support Roundup

Governor Susana Martinez announced that law enforcement arrested 135 parents who failed to pay child support during an annual sting. In addition, through the amnesty period allowing parents to come forward and pay child support debt – and the subsequent roundup – the Human Services Department collected $64,310. “This program ensures that we hold parents accountable when they fail to do their duty and support their children,” Governor Susana Martinez said. “We’re working to make New Mexico the best place to be a kid, and the roundup sends a clear message to irresponsible parents: If you fail to pay child support, law enforcement will find you, arrest you and make you pay up.” Following the August amnesty period, 15 law enforcement agencies, led by the New Mexico State Police, sought out those who had not taken care of their child support bench warrant through the amnesty period. “Parents don’t get to decide whether they should pay their child support. It’s not an option – it’s the law,” State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said. “I can guarantee you that if you stop paying your child support, it’s only a matter of time before we find you and throw you in a jail. Be a responsible parent and take care of your children.” During Fiscal Year 2016, the New Mexico Human Services Department’s Child Support Enforcement Division set yet another record in child support collections with a total of $140.8 million. Each of the past four fiscal years, New Mexico has broken state records for child support collections, collecting $140.1 million in FY 2015, $137.1 million in FY 2014, $132.2 million in FY 2013 and $129.6 million in FY 2012. Thanks to programs like the bench warrant roundup, New Mexico was recognized by the National Child Support Enforcement Association in 2012 as the nation’s most improved. In conjunction with the bench warrant amnesty and round up period, Governor Martinez proclaimed August 2016 to be Child Support Awareness Month to recognize New Mexico parents who support their children, and encourage all parents to take responsibility for improving the economic and social well-being of their children.

Udall, Heinrich: NM Is Ideal Location To Expand Defense Innovation Hub

U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced that they have asked Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to consider opening a “Defense Innovation Unit Experimental` (DIUx) office in New Mexico as part of the military`s mission to widen the technology gap between the United States and its adversaries. DIUx offices have been opened in regions with a strong high-tech presence to help improve ties between government and private industry and to seek out new technologies for the Department of Defense. In a letter to Carter, the senators wrote that New Mexico, with its national laboratories, military and university research labs, and high tech business community, would be valuable in advancing future military capabilities and developing cutting-edge technologies. `We encourage you to consider New Mexico a resource for DIUx missions because innovation is at the heart of our state,` the senators wrote in the letter sent Sept. 22. `Through its four military installations, two national labs, three research universities, and numerous private sector businesses, New Mexico can provide essential resources and expertise to advance the DIUx mission.` Secretary Carter has announced that he will visit New Mexico today and tomorrow. The DIUx initiative, part of the Department`s “Third Offset` strategy, started in August 2015 at Moffett Federal Airfield in California and has since expanded to locations in Silicon Valley, Boston, and Austin, Texas. Staffed by a combination of civilian, active duty, reserve, and contractor personnel, the initiative involves technologists, investors and business executives. In their letter to Carter, the senators wrote that New Mexico is at the center of a number of projects important to the next generation of defense technology -- including the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Directed Energy Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base; Remotely Piloted Aircraft training at Holloman Air Force Base; Special Forces at Cannon Air Force Base; Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) at White Sands Missile Range; the growing high-tech business community supported by the Sandia Science & Technology Park; and the expert scientists at Los Alamos and Sandia national labs, and the small businesses that support them. They added: `New Mexico also can provide DIUx the brain power needed to accomplish its mission. New Mexico boasts one of the highest concentrations of PhDs per capita in the nation, supported by its robust and renowned university system, many of which already have a long-standing working relationship with the regional military bases. New Mexico universities are consistently recognized as top research institutions in the nation, and have supported our national security initiatives since World War II, supporting development of explosive and rocket testing, as well as the tracking of national assets in space.` `A successful DIUx mission in New Mexico will serve as a hub, connecting the DOD to the robust Southwest tech industry, similar to what Silicon Valley and Boston have done for Northern California and the Northeast,` the senators concluded. `We invite you or the DIUx team to tour New Mexico and see firsthand how it can bolster the DIUx mission.`

Budget Special Session Possibilities

© 2016 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez will call a special legislative session because of lower oil and gas revenues than projected. If there are budget cuts, will some government workers get fired? Or will there be a tax increase a month before the November election? Both solutions may cost votes for legislators in close races. Cutting the budget usually means someone loses their government job because much of the state’s budget is used to hire people. Often the way those people in charge respond to budget cuts is to fire the most crucially important people first because the citizen outcry may protect their budget. Organizations often target doctors, EMTs, fire and police along with in-classroom educators. That always gets lots of citizen outcry and media attention. Years ago in Albuquerque there was a budget crunch in the police department so they fired the street policemen in the worse section of town. Did they touch administrative people? No, because the citizens of Albuquerque wouldn’t care if those employees were fired. The citizens of Albuquerque capitulated and added more tax revenue to the budget rather than lose critical police protection. Some politicians claim that everyone employed by the State of New Mexico is essential to the state. They proclaim loudly to the media that taking any money away from existing programs will result in catastrophic damage to our state. The talking point: there are no workers on the state’s payroll who are not completely essential. Further, we citizens will be told we must consider that state employees are just like us with bills to pay and kids to raise so being fired is featured in the media reports letting us citizens know that firing state workers will destroy lives. Another option being discussed is to increase taxes. That way no one is fired. But in the middle of an election voters can express displeasure quickly. Increasing taxes is unlikely this time. One thing not being discussed much is that they can raid the New Mexico Permanent Funds. Some people call them “Rainy day funds.” The quick way is to confiscate needed financial resources from the New Mexico Tobacco or other small funds. The two funds with plenty of money are the New Mexico Land-Grant Fund created in 1912 and the 1973 created New Mexico Severance Tax Fund. It is dangerous to take money from these funds because these two funds are set to provide about one seventh of the entire New Mexico budget next year. It is not easy to raid these funds because legislators in the past realized the glimmering pot of money would be quite attractive to politicians who only thought short-term. States like California had vast financial resources which were taken in a short-term political frenzy years ago. Now California is close to bankruptcy. New Mexico’s budget increased more than fifty percent under former Governor Bill Richardson from 2003 to 2010. It went from about four billion dollars to almost seven billion dollars a year. The long-term solution is to increase the economy and the budget will be corrected as long as New Mexico doesn’t elect another free spender like Richardson. There is never enough money for free spenders. New Mexico revenues are down because the oil and gas industry is cyclically at a low point. It is a cycle but the government increase is linear. There are always difficulties when the energy resources go down. Roy Blunt wrote, “The shortest path to more American jobs is more American energy and more jobs that relate to American energy.” That is what New Mexico needs however the problem for New Mexico politicians is that the environmental lobby has lots of power and does not want New Mexico to increase energy jobs. So the source of money from the energy sector may not be politically available to some legislators. There are no other easily increased revenue sources. Raising taxes usually results in people and businesses leaving the state thereby actually lowering collected revenues. New Mexico’s government is still far larger than just a few years ago with the same number of citizens. Ultimately New Mexico’s state government is about creating jobs and political power. Tough decisions cannot be avoided at this time. Email: - Swickard’s new novel, Hideaway Hills, is available at

NMMI Broncos Back In Action

After having an off week the New Mexico Military Institute Broncos hit the road again this weekend with a contest at Trinity Valley. Head Coach Joe Forchtner offers more information.

Petition Going Around For Grand Jury Investigation

Eddy County resident Ronnie Barron says the petition needs around 600 signatures of registered voters in the county to have a grand jury investigate County Manager Rick Rudometkin.

Paul Gessing Podcast Returns

This week the Head of the Albuquerque based Rio Grande Foundation talks about time being short for a Special Session of the NM Legislature, unemployment rate in NM, the road to nowhere and a tax credit dud.

NMMI To Host Baseball Camp

Head Coach Chris Cook (pictured) says it will take place Sunday on the NMMI Campus in Roswell. The camp is for kids ages 7-13.

ACI Boss Visits Region

The head of the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry spent part of his Friday in Artesia. Jason Espinoza(pictured) met with leaders at the Artesia Chamber of Commerce.

Valerie Gohlke Talks About November Concert

Carlsbad Caverns National Park and the New Mexico Philharmonic Orchestra are teaming up to celebrate the 100th birthday of the National Park Service in a musical tradition of years past. On Friday, November 4, a string quartet from the Philharmonic will present a concert in one of the world’s most unique and breathtaking auditoriums—the Big Room of Carlsbad Cavern. Music is not new to Carlsbad Cavern. Eighty-three years ago, visitors to the park were treated to a subterranean oratorio performance as an entire symphony orchestra, accompanied by 175 singers, presented Josef Haydn’s The Creation. And, for almost twenty years, from 1928 through 1944, Caverns visitors were mesmerized by the annual “Rock of Ages” program which culminated with a solo rendition of the hymn of the same name. Musicians and listeners alike have been transported by the magical sound created by the marvelous acoustics of this World Heritage Site. The upcoming concert will recreate that unforgettable experience. Gohlke is the Public Affairs Specialist at Carlsbad Caverns.