Saturday, March 14, 2009

State GOP Communications Director Resigns.

Still more changes inside the New Mexico Republican Party.

Whitney Cheshire
Long-time strategist, Whitney Cheshire, a weekly panelist on KNME's community program "New Mexico In Focus" and "The Line," is resigning her post as the GOP's communication's director.

We got the word on Saturday morning directly from Cheshire:
It was always my intention to serve during the transition of administrations and I feel confident that Chairman [Harvey E.] Yates is now well down the road of implementing his own vision for the Party, rebuilding from our losses, raising money for future candidates, and securing the professional staff that he will have to have in place to be successful in 2009 and 2010. I wish him and the new slate of Party officers the best of luck as they work toward Republican victories in the coming cycle.
Perhaps Cheshire is planning to join another campaign staff! Does her resignation signal that Heather Wilson is one-step closer to jumping into the 2010 gubernatorial race?

Photo: MG Bralley

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Jamie Koch Steps Aside as UNM Regent President.

On Tuesday, Governor Bill Richardson met with about a 12 member's of UNM's faculty. Afterward, he told reporter's he believed their concerns were legit. He even told reporter's that he would consider appointing one of them to the Board of Regents, giving them a voice at the table.

"I will also recommend that the Board of Regents consider more faculty input into regent committee assignments, particularly the committee on finance and facilities. Additionally, I will attempt to facilitate a request by the faculty to the State Auditor to audit issues related to university financial priorities."

Today, Richardson announced that he continues to support UNM Regent Jamie Koch's reappointment to the board, but revealed that Koch is stepping aside as President. The governor is recommending former NM Speaker of the House Raymond Sanchez become the president.

Last month an overwhelming majority of UNM's faculty voted for a no confidence resolution on UNM President David Schmidly, Executive Vice President David Harris, and Regent Koch. They also demanded State Auditor Hector Balderas conduct an audit on spending at the university. Professors are upset with the amount of administrative spending and payroll.

Here's the full statement released by the Governor:

I recently completed a series of discussions with UNM administrators, members of the Board of Regents and faculty representatives regarding recent conflicts at the university. As governor, I do not think it is appropriate to interfere with the governance and internal decisions at the university. However, I decided to intervene on a one-time basis, given my responsibility to appoint regents and make funding decisions for higher education.

I will be recommending to the Board of Regents that they elect Regent Raymond Sanchez, the distinguished former Speaker of the House of Representatives, as the next President of the Board.

Regent Jamie Koch has graciously agreed to step aside as President to avoid being a distraction. I will continue to support his nomination for another six-year term on the board. Jamie Koch has done an invaluable service to the university. I am eternally grateful for his outstanding leadership during the past six years, and I look forward to his continued involvement on the regents.

I will also recommend that the Board of Regents consider more faculty input into regent committee assignments, particularly the committee on finance and facilities. Additionally, I will attempt to facilitate a request by the faculty to the State Auditor to audit issues related to university financial priorities.

It is my view that future issues of governance should be decided by the university community. Accordingly, I will let these issues be handled by the interested parties.

President David Schmidly, Vice President David Harris and the regents, including Jamie Koch, have my full support to continue with the mission of the university. It is important that the university community, including the faculty and students, work with the regents and the administration to restore trust and establish a productive working relationship.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Concierge Caters to Celebrities and Film Industry!

How exciting is this? More and more local businesses are catering to the growing film industry in New Mexico. And, just in time.

Today, Governor Bill Richardson and the NM Film office announced producers of the MGM/Sci Fi Channel will shoot a portion of an episode for Stargate: Universe in Alamogordo.

The production will film in and around Alamogordo late April through early May and plans to hire at least 75 local crew members. Several fans of Stargate have already called me. They want to be extra's in the production.

Now, Ivan Wiener, a former Washington, D.C. based concierge and Hyatt Hotels Sales Executive, has opened Reel Solutions New Mexico.

The company will be a full-service firm and plans to offer a seamless connection between filmmakers and the resources and services needed in New Mexico.

The growth of the film industry in New Mexico has been fueled for several years by incentives and rebates, beautiful locations and a very talented workforce. Over the last 6 years, more than 100 movies and television projects have been filmed, entirely or in part, in the Land of Enchantment.

Wiener said,
Concierge and consulting services, however, have not expanded quickly enough to keep up with the demand. Reel Solutions is now here to fill this void.
He plans to offer meet & greet at the airport for executives and talent, luxury transportation, accommodations that include private homes and hotels, 24/7 reservations for restaurants, events and travel, licensed and bonded security, personal assistants, location management, printing services, crew services, housekeeping services, fly fishing, golfing, art and winery tours, hot air ballooning and team building activities.

Wiener said he has brought together an experienced team of former hotel concierge and service industry employees who anticipate needs and go above and beyond the call of duty with every request.

Reel Solutions' goal is to exceed client expectations by optimizing resources, shortening production time and reducing overall costs while filming in New Mexico.

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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Deputy McGrane's "End of Watch" Marked with New Highway Sign.

For nearly three years a white cross has marked the spot along highway 337 where Bernalillo County Sheriff's Deputy James McGrane was senselessly murdered during a routine traffic stop three years ago.

Now, a large green highway sign will remind driver's of McGrane's "end of watch" patrol on March 22, 2006.

On Friday, Governor Bill Richardson, Sheriff Darren White, McGrane's mother, father, sister, and nieces, the mayor of Tijeras, and others, honored the fallen deputy and dedicated the rural road to McGrane.

Wearing his full dress uniform and white gloves, Sheriff Darren White told the crowd how much McGrane, an 11 year law enforcement vet, loved his job, even calling him a "hero."

McGrane's dad, who drives a school bus said he asked his young riders to pray for good weather for the dedication ceremony, instead the wind and cold reminded the needless and chilling loss of his son.

McGrane said the new memorial would be a reminder of how his son lived...not died.

He also recalled how his son was afraid of the dark as a child, but loved patrolling the dark streets in the East Mountains as an adult. His mother said her last phone call with her son was 12 hours before his death. She told the crowd of nearly 150 people that McGrane told her he'd been invited to join the S.W.A.T., but was uncertain, because he loved community policing and his East Mountain Assignment. Mrs. McGrane said she's certain her son would be delighted with the crowd turnout, and that he's watching over deputies and police officers from heaven.

The McGrane's Foundation has been responsible for raising money for several advance street survival training classes and workshops for law enforcement officer's statewide.

Governor Richardson praised the family and Deputy McGrane.
Deputy McGrane sacrificed his life protecting the citizens of Bernalillo County and the citizens of this great state. He paid the ultimate price in the name of duty and public service. The naming of this Memorial Highway in honor of Deputy McGrane is a way for us to thank him for his service and remember what he and other fellow law enforcement officers do for us on a daily basis-putting their lives on the line in order to keep our communities safe.

State Transportation Commissioner Jackson Gibson said:
Naming this highway after Deputy McGrane is a fitting tribute to a man who gave his life in the line of duty. We hope this Memorial Highway will serve as a lasting reminder of Deputy McGrane's legacy.

The dedication officially designates 29.3 miles of N.M. 337 from N.M. 333 to N.M. 55 between Tijeras and Mountainair.

McGrane's accused killer Michael Paul Astoraga is facing the death penalty. But prosecutors are waiting to see if the ultimate penalty is repealed by lawmakers in Santa Fe, or if the court tosses the death penalty, before proceeding to trial.

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