Friday, March 27, 2009

Albuquerque Chamber Lobbies Governor Richardson.

From a news release

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – On Friday, March 27, in an effort to follow up on legislation that passed during the recent 2009 legislative session, the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce sent a series of letters electronically to Governor Bill Richardson requesting that he sign or veto some seventeen bills.

Included in the Chamber's letters to the Governor was a request that he veto Senate Bill 649, which allows for the expungement of all misdemeanor criminal records as well as other crimes specifically identified in the legislation.

"Members of the business community should always have the ability to access information on a prospective employee as to whether or not they have a criminal record especially in an area related to the position for which the employee is being considered. This does not mean businesses will not hire individuals with a previous criminal record, but they have a right to know when they are making that decision," said Chamber Chairman Don Chalmers.

Other bills on which the Chamber has expressed their position to the Governor include asking him to sign House Bill 31 which moves auto theft from the traffic code to the criminal code, Senate Bill 467 to provide TIDD financing authorization for the Winrock/Quorum project, Senate Bill 116 to limit campaign contributions and House Bill 393 to open legislative conference committees to the public.

Terri L. Cole, Chamber President & CEO said, "The job of representing our members does not end after the sixty day legislative session. It began long before the session started and continues as we follow up with the Governor on those bills that passed and ask for his consideration as he decides whether to sign or veto the legislation that has reached his desk."

Virgin Galatic's MotherShip Completes Third Successful Flight

White Knight Two, the space launch vehicle being developed for Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, completed its third successful test flight - the longest and fastest to date with a duration of over two and half hours, maximum speed of 140 knots and an altitude of over 18,000 ft.

In all, another seven tests were successfully completed including in flight engine restarts, engine thrust asymmetry assessment and continued expansion of WK2's operating envelope and evaluation of WK2's handling qualities.

In addition to launching SS2, the WK2 also has a range of science payload and training applications including the potential to launch an unmanned rocket capable of putting a satellite into low Earth orbit.

Test pilot Peter Siebold who also piloted the first two missions said:

"This is a truly remarkable aviation vehicle and, although it might look unique from the ground it is not strange to fly in any way and is in fact a great piloting experience. Now the stratosphere is the limit as we will continually test Eve (WK2) for the next few months up to her ceiling of above 50,000 ft."

Christened "EVE" in honor of Sir Richard Branson's mother, WK2 is both visually remarkable and represents ground-breaking aerospace technology. It is the world's largest all carbon composite aircraft and many of its component parts have been built using composite materials for the very first time. At 140 ft, the wing spar is, we believe, the longest single carbon composite aviation structural component ever manufactured.

Driven by a demanding performance specification set by Virgin Galactic, WK2 has a unique heavy lift, high altitude capability and an open architecture driven design which provides for maximum versatility in the weight, mass and volume of its payload potential. It has the power, strength and manoeuvrability to provide for pre space-flight, positive G force and zero G astronaut training as well as a lift capability which is over 30% greater than that represented by a fully crewed SpaceShipTwo. The vehicle has a maximum altitude over 50,000 ft and its U.S. coast-to-coast range will allow the spaceship to be ferried on long duration flights.

An all carbon composite vehicle of this size represents a giant leap for a material technology that has already been identified as a key contributor to the increasingly urgent requirement by the commercial aviation sector for dramatically more fuel efficient aircraft. Powered by four Pratt and Whitney PW308A engines, which are amongst the most powerful, economic and efficient available, WK2 is a mold breaker in carbon efficiency and the epitome of 21st century aerospace design and technology.

The twin fuselage and central payload area configuration allow for easy access to WK2 and to the spaceship for passengers and crew; the design also aids operational efficiencies and turnaround times. WK2 will be able to support up to four daily space flights, is able to carry out both day and night time operations and is equipped with a package of highly advanced avionics.

Commenting on the flights, Burt Rutan, Founder of Scaled Composites said:

"WhiteKnightTwo really is an impressive vehicle and it represents the apogee of the application of carbon composites to aerospace, all of us at Scaled are tremendously excited by its capabilities. I believe the vehicle will be developed and sold for a variety of launch applications beyond the initial requirements of Virgin Galactic."

Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Galactic added:

"As usual, Burt and the team have created a beauty that also flies really well and this is a very proud day for us all! These first flights of WK2 take the Virgin Galactic vision up another level and continue to provide tangible evidence that this most ambitious of projects is not only for real but is making tremendous progress towards our goal of safe commercial operation. I am looking forward to flying myself in Eve in the next few weeks before we attach SpaceShipTwo later in the year and begin test flights to space shortly afterward.

Virgin Galactic is central to our ambition at Virgin to become the world's leading group in the operation of energy and environmentally efficient transportation, in the air, on the ground and in space."

Check it all out here:

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lt. Governor Proposes New Amber Alert System to Track Missing Women.

Lt. Governor Denish will meet with community organizations, women community leaders, law enforcement and media representatives to discuss community responses to the recently discovered mass grave site in Albuquerque. The private meeting agenda will include the Lt. Governor’s concept of a new AMBER Alert for missing adults and a searchable database of missing persons.

The meeting, at Denish's Albuquerque office is private and multiple groups have been invited. We'll talk to Denish after the meeting and have a blog update Friday afternoon.

Individuals invited to participate in the meeting include:

Senator Bernadette Sanchez

Senator Sander Rue

Ray Schultz, Chief of the Albuquerque Police Department

Major Robert W. Shilling, New Mexico State Police

Sonya Carrasco Trujillo, New Mexico Department of Public Safety

Mary Lynn Roper, Station Manager, KOAT TV

Arcie Chapa, KUNM

Susan Loubet, Women’s Focus

Jane Wisher, the Southwest Women’s Law Center

Mary Molina Mescall, the Commission on the Status of Women

Kyla Thompson, Women Who Care

Diana Montoya, Las Mujeras de LULAC

Adriann Barboba, Young Women United

Andrea Garza, Young Women United

Bill Jordan, New Mexico Voices for Children

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Astoraga's Attorney Says Repeal Covers Current Capitol Cases

Michael Paul Astorga is charged with killing a Bernalillo County Sheriff's Deputy on March 21, 2006. His trial has been delayed after a motion to toss the death penalty was denied by District Judge Neil Candelaria.

Last week, Governor Bill Richardson signed a law repealing executions in New Mexico, but the law doesn't take effect until July 1, 2009. So, Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg has said she'd likely pursue a death penalty case against Astorga.

His lawyer Gary Mitchell told KRQE TV that the repeal should apply to his client.

The New Mexico Supreme Court ultimately may have to decide the issue.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Taos News Reports: Body Parts found Near Horseshoe Rest Area.

Breaking News - from the Taos News:

Three travelers got a big surprise Saturday evening (March 21) when they tipped over a roadside garbage can south of the Horseshoe, a rest area south of Taos and north of Espanola, and found a human leg.

The Taos County Sheriff's Office reported Monday (March 23) that authorities have recovered more body parts from the trash can and they were turned over to the Office of the Medical Investigators for examination. Undersheriff Ed Romero said that the body parts are definitely female, but that her identity is unclear.

"At this time, the age is not determined," Romero said. "We have no reason to believe that a homicide happened at the Horseshoe. She was likely dropped off."

The only distinguishing aspects of the remains at the moment are a tattoo on a leg found at the scene, which depicts some sort of plant, the number 13 and the names Frankie (or possibly Francis, Romero said) and Gladys.

If you have any information about this case, please contact the Taos County Sheriff's Office at 737-6480 or call Taos Central Dispatch at 758-2216.

Go to for updates.

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