Saturday, October 31, 2009

Obama: We'll likely see more job losses

In his weekly radio address, on Saturday morning, President Barack Obama says economic numbers reported during the past week show the economy has improved. While not a cause for celebration, it appears -- according to the President -- that the country is "moving in the right direction."

Obama used his address to say "there is much more to be done, but cites the recent turnaround in GDP as a sign of better things to come", and noted the Recovery Act has now created or saved more than a million jobs."

'Democrats' bill a government takeover'

House Republican John Boehner used his time, on Saturday to lay out the Republican plan for health care reform. He said the Democrats' proposal to overhaul health care is far too complicated, intrusive and expensive.

Meanwhile, the President and his family will be having a little fun on Halloween night.

For the first time in years, school-aged children are living in the White House. After dark, the Obama's are hosting a party for military familes from the Washington area. Outside - at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, there's not door bell for "trick or treating," but two thousand local school children have been inited to come, for treats.

Bookmark and Share

Sen. Ortiz y Pino opens campaign headquarters

Ortiz y Pino makes it official - he wants to be the state's next lieutenant governor.

On Friday evening, at Winrock Mall, State Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino (D-Albuquerque) officially announced his candidacy for Lieutenant Governor on the Democratic ticket.

“New Mexicans want a clear choice of honest, ethical, productive, and progressive leadership that my campaign represents," Ortiz y Pino said. "Our recent special session and the upcoming budget struggles show clearly that without such progressive leadership, hard-working families and other New Mexicans most in need unfairly take the brunt of cuts they can least afford. I stand today not just as a Democratic Party candidate for Lt. Governor, but as the leader of all New Mexicans no matter how they vote, how they live, how they work, or how they love.”

He enters a crowded field including, former Democratic Party of New Mexico Chairman Brian Colón, Lawrence Rael, State Rep. Jose Campos, Sheriff Greg Solano, and State Sen. Linda Lopez.
On Friday evening, at Winrock Mall, State Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino (D-Albuquerque) officially announced his candidacy for Lieutenant Governor on the Democratic ticket.

Ortiz y Pino, a progressive Democrat told the crowd he wants to be the voice that says, "we can do better."

"We must match the people's courage and bring about reforms," Ortiz y Pino said.

The senator said he wants to reform ethics rules for public servants, promote environmental stewardship, help improve statewide education results, provide quality healthcare for every citizen and focus on economic strategies for the state.

To qualify for the June 2010 primary ballot the candidates will have to get 20 percent of the pre-primary convention vote, or collect enough qualifying signatures.

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Chuck Jones’ Pepé Le Pew and hot air balloons featured on NM's Rose Bowl Parade float design

Despite 7.6% state budgets cuts across the board, the NM Tourism Department is moving forward with it's plans to participate in the 2010 Tournament of Roses Parade float.

Earlier this month Tourism Secretary Micheal Cerletti announced the float's theme, and tonight at the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum, the group unveiled the floats design.

Academy-Award®-winning Pepé Le Pew and Penelope Pussycat, entertainers of the young and the young at heart for more than 60 years, will take to the southern California skies aboard one of the Land of Enchantment’s most iconic images when New Mexico’s float – “Enchantment is in the Air” - travels Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena, California January 1 in the 2010 Tournament of Roses® Parade.

Pepé Le Pew and Penelope Pussycat were created by the late cartoonist Chuck Jones. Even with his passing, Chuck’s ties to New Mexico remain strong - one of the three Chuck Jones Galleries is located near the Santa Fe Plaza.

The 2010 parade will be the fourth time in the past five years that New Mexico will be represented by a float in the Tournament of Roses® Parade, and it follows on the heels of last year’s float, “Hats Off To New Mexico – Beep Beep,” starring Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner, which won the Bob Hope Humor (“most comical and amusing”). The 2008 float, featuring Roswell aliens and Spaceport America, was also honored, as winner of the as Grand Marshal’s Trophy “for excellence in creative concept and design.” It is one of the top three awards given each year.

“The response the state has received from our appearances in the previous Tournament of Roses® Parades and the media efforts we sponsored primarily targeting the Southern California travel market have been tremendous,” Secretary Cerletti said. “This is an incredibly effective way to reach potential visitors to New Mexico from all around the country and all over the world.”

Nearly 40 million Americans in 16.5 million households tuned in to watch the parade on nine national and international television networks each year. The Parade is also broadcast live in 150 countries and territories worldwide. Other media-oriented events promoting New Mexico in Southern California are also being planned.

“During these tough economic times, it is important to remember that the mission of the New Mexico Tourism Department is to attract domestic and international visitors to New Mexico,” Secretary Cerletti said. “It is vital that we do everything we can to take advantage of unique opportunities to reach potential visitors. The Tournament of Roses® Parade is just one such effort. What it means - ultimately – is more tourism dollars to the state’s economy, benefiting all New Mexicans.”

Once again, the New Mexico float is designed by award-winning float designer Raul Rodriguez and built by Fiesta Parade Floats of Pasadena, Calif. under contract with the Tourism Department.

Nothing says “A Cut Above the Rest” (the theme of the 2010 Tournament of Roses Parade) like New Mexico’s hot air balloons. “It can be a huge undertaking or something quite simple,” Secretary Cerletti said of the challenge to create a float that can represent New Mexico’s diverse entertainment offering in a colorful, eye-catching design.

“Fanciful balloons - marvelous, mysterious, colorful balloons - evoke all of the wonder and fun of childhood’s simplest joys,” Cerletti added. “Those children, now adults, can relive those magical days of youth in New Mexico. Whether traveling a winding mountain road or floating high above over cities, villages or the wide open plains in a hot-air balloon, visitors to New Mexico are ‘A Cut Above the Rest’.”

The love-struck French skunk Pepé Le Pew is seeking “l’amour” as he yet again is in romantic pursuit to seduce Penelope Pussycat with amorous gifts of red roses and a heart-shaped box of chocolates. In her attempt to escape the ever-persistent Pepé, Penelope dangles precariously from the gondola of a swaying hot-air balloon. Pepé turns from side-to-side as he offers tokens of his affections.

The picturesque landscapes of New Mexico are comically depicted in animation art form from the snow-capped trees of the majestic mountains, through the teetering rock formations on down to the colorful desert floor bursting alive with blooming yuccas.

Pepé and Penelope will be artistically crafted in layers of velvety black onion seed and crisp white coconut flakes. The colorful hot air balloons are created in a rainbow of materials including yellow and gold strawflower petals, green split peas, blue, hot pink and purple sinuata statice, dehydrated carrot and red bell peppers, safflower spice, sweet rice and coconut flakes. The gondola baskets are woven in cornhusk and kiwi vines. Fiesta Parade Floats worked closely with Warner Bros. to insure the figures of Pepé Le Pew and Penelope Pussycat were reproduced to their exact specifications.

The colorful landscape of New Mexico comes vividly alive in over 50,000 roses. The unique rock formations are created in butterscotch and bronze chrysanthemums with striations of roses including brown Leonodis, Café Ole, Coffee Break and tan Caramel and Sahara roses. The desert floor comes vibrantly alive in orange rose shades of Saturno, Star 2000, Mercedes, Tropical Amazon and Verano. Fluffy clouds of white coconut flakes float above the landscape floor. Yucca blossoms have been created in over 10,000 white dendrobium orchid florets individually glued onto small welded rods.

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Flying Tacos refuel during Boss Lift mission to Washington

This is video of one of New Mexico's Flying Tacos (a F-16 Fighting Falcon) refueling with a KC-135 Air Tanker. Watch it until the end to see the pilot separate from the fuel boom.

To read more about this week's Employer Support of the National Guard and Reserve (ESGR) boss lift to Washington, D.C. read my earlier post here.

Bookmark and Share

'Boss Lift' flight heads to nation's capitol

An Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon gets refueled by a KC-135 Air Tanker

I'm on a mission for the next three days. As a radio reporter I've always hoped that one day I'd be embedded on a military mission. Today, I am - sort of.

After being escorted by military police to our rendezvous location at Kirtland Air Force Base, 45 local business leaders and service-disabled veteran owners of small businesses in New Mexico, along with this reporter, boarded an Air National Guard KC-135 Air Tanker after receiving a briefing just before sunrise.

The group, I'm with, has joined up with New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services Cabinet Secretary John Garcia and members of the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) for a special “Boss Lift” flight. Now, our Air Force crew is taking us to Andrew's Air Force Base and the nation's capitol for face-to-face meetings with federal agencies.

The flight itself is a chance of a lifetime, and sometime, on today's mission we'll experience an actual “real world” refueling by both F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots, from Kirtland's 150th Fighter Wing (known as the Flying Tacos in the NM National Guard), and by F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft pilots from Holloman Air Force Bases.

Of course, this trip is special because the F-16's are being phased out by the Air Force and the Flying Tacos have been assigned a new mission.

“The flight itself will surely be one that these business owners will never forget,” said Secretary Garcia. “But the real purpose for getting on this plane is two-fold: For the non-veteran business owners, it’s a chance to learn more about the National Guard. And for the service-disabled veterans, it’s a chance to meet federal procurement officials and sell their companies.”

The ESGR Boss Lift program is designed to educate and familiarize employers, who hire reservists and guard members, by letting them see, up close, what their employees do while on temporarily leave from their civilian jobs.

Typical Boss Lift flights also include the chance for employers to watch military training exercises, tour bases installations, and learn about the military and its mission.

While in Washington, our New Mexico group will also get a tour of the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, and will take part in a first-ever ESGR wreath-laying ceremony at the Arlington National Cemetery honoring the service of all New Mexico veterans and soldiers.

I'll be taking videos and pictures, and recording audio interviews for reports here and on 770KKOB. Stay tuned.

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Northern New Mexico ski areas getting ready

Snowmaking guns spray the hills at Taos Ski Valley

While most of us are still trying to decide if we want to be pirates, ghosts or witches for Halloween, ski resorts in Northern New Mexico, like Taos Ski Valley, are thinking about the next big holiday -- Thanksgiving. That's when many are planning to open for the 2009-2010 season.

Seth Bullington shot this picture our way. He tells us that daytime temperatures are dropping and the snow guns in Taos are operating 24 hours a day.

The crews will make snow on 100% of TSV’s beginner and intermediate terrain, giving Taos Ski Valley the largest snowmaking coverage area in the region.

“The key ingredients in snowmaking are air, water, and air temperatures below 28 degrees which we have had for the last couple of days,” Mountain Manager Bill Etchemendy said.

Time to think about heating up some wax and dusting off the boards.

Snowmaking continues until the middle of January. For mountain ski info check out And, check out Ski New Mexico to get the latest on all of New Mexico's ski areas.

Bookmark and Share

Monday, October 26, 2009

Locksley returns to Lobo football team after suspension

The University of New Mexico's head footbal coach is headed back to the practice field after a 10-day suspension.

Coach Mike Locksley, who was also fined $29,000 for an altercation with wide receiver's coach Jonathon "JB" Gerald after a game with the Air Force Falcons on September 20th, spent part of his time off working with the NM Boys and Girls Club.

Locksley told the ABQ Journal's Greg Archuleta he's "excited to be back."

During a news conference on Sunday, Locksley said he missed being on the sidelines during UNM's Homecoming game against UNLV on Saturday Night. The struggling team lost 34-17.

"It was difficult--obviously not being able to be there and be a part of the process of trying to help us win. It was tough," Locksley said.

The coach, who did not appeal his punishment, said he's putting the altercation and subsequent media storm, behind him.

"I have my work cut out for me trying to regain the confidence of the Lobo family, which I'm looking forward to doing. Obviously I've been given a second chance, a second opportunity," Locksley said.

The 0-7 Lobos will travel to California this weekend. They face San Diego State on Saturday.

You can hear the game on the home for Lobo Sports - 770KKOB.

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Thousands turn out for International Climate Action Day

Check out how the Town of Taos commemorated International Climate Action Day on Saturday.

Click on the picture and you'll see the number 350 laid out with pumpkins. Thanks to my friend, photographer Geraint Smith for the picture. (Click on the picture to see the pumpkins up close)

New Mexicans joined more than 2,000 communities in 181 countries as part of a global day of action coordinated by to urge world leaders to take bold and immediate steps to address climate change and reduce carbon emissions.

To see how 500+ people in Santa Fe got involved in "350 Day" read Barbara Wold's post on Democracy for New Mexico here.

Bookmark and Share