Saturday, December 12, 2009

Feeling energized, Campos opens campaign headquarters

He's been Mayor of Santa Rosa for 12 years and was elected a state representative for the eastern part of the state in 2003, now Joe Campos wants to be lieutenant governor.

Campos says his campaign isn't about politics, "it's about our children and their future, and creating jobs for New Mexicans."

On Saturday, he opened his 2010 state campaign headquarters in downtown Albuquerque.

Without a doubt, Campos said the biggest issue in the campaign will be the economy.

He believes renewable energy jobs are a good place to start.

"The state can do much more in a the way of tax and other incentives to both support existing businesses and recruit new companies," Campos said. "Agricultural jobs also remain a vital part of our future and clearly, making progress on our water issues is a priority."

He says he wants to develop the state's energy resources, and focus on renewable energy and natural gas, because it will "create economic opportunities, like high paying jobs" while reducing the country's dependence on foreign oil.

If elected, Campos says he'll also work to improve the state education with an emphasis on math and science, "so our children can fill the jobs of tomorrow."

He'd also like to use the office, to support Diane Denish, and promote a high quality health care system "that is affordable and accessible to all New Mexicans."

Campos told about 60 people, eating posole, tamales, and munching on biscochitos that he believes the state is facing a number of challenges.

"We have to have more ways to diversify our economy and build a large base of good-paying jobs for the long term," Campos said. "To do this, we'll have to harness the tremendous potential of our people and our state."

Campos and his family own and operate a restaurant in Santa Rosa.

Compos is just one of six people vying for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. He faces Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano, state Sens. Linda Lopez and Gerald Ortiz y Pino of Albuquerque, retiring Mid-Region Council of Governments Executive Director Lawrence Rael and former Democrat Party of NM Chairman Brian Colón.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

NM considers new conditions for medical marijuana

A medical advisory board will hold a public hearing Friday in Santa Fe to consider petitions for adding new health conditions to the New Mexico Department of Health's medical marijuana program.

The board will review five petitions and make recommendations to the department secretary, who will then make a final decision.

If a condition is approved, anyone with that medical condition can apply to the program.

The conditions under consideration are Hepatitis C undergoing non-antiviral treatment; cluster headaches; bipolar disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder; Ankylosing Spondylitis, a chronic, inflammatory arthritis and auto-immune disease; and Blepharospasm, a neurological movement disorder that causes a twitch of the eyelid.

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American Indian Vets reach settlement with Tax and Rev

American Indian veterans should begin receiving long-overdue reimbursements of tax dollars unlawfully withheld from their military paychecks.

An estimated 9,000 American Indian veterans live in New Mexico, and those who can prove state income tax was unjustly withheld from their military paychecks can collect a piece of a settlement fund.

New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department Secretary Rick Homans told veterans in Shiprock Thursday that checks should begin showing up in mail boxes early next year.

State legislators dropped $1 million into a fund created last year to reimburse veterans whose primary addresses were on tribal land during their military service and whose military income was unjustly taxed by the state.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Virgin Galactic unveils SpaceShip II

SpaceShip II will be lifted into a launch altitude by Virgin's White Knight

Virgin Founder, Sir Richard Branson and SpaceshipOne (SS1) designer, Burt Rutan, just unveiled SpaceShip II (SS2). This is the space craft that will haul thousands of private tourists into space, from Spaceport America in Southern New Mexico, after testing and licensing is completed.

The unveiling represents another major milestone in Virgin Galactic’s quest to develop the World’s first commercial space line providing private sector access to space using an environmentally benign launch system for people, payload and science.

Here's an animation by Virgin Galactic showing what flying into space on board SS2 will be like.

The spaceship draws on the experience developed during the successful flights of SS1 in 2004, which won the Ansari X-Prize for completing the world’s first manned private space flights. The SS2 design will be refined and completed during an extensive test flying program to commence shortly, and it will be an entirely new vehicle capable of carrying up to 6 passenger astronauts and up to 2 pilot astronauts into space on a sub-orbital flight.

It is likely that commercial flights will begin 2010 from the Spaceport America in New Mexico. Current ticket price is around $200,000.

In the near future White Knight will carry SS2 to above 50,000 feet (16 kilometres) before the spaceship is dropped and fires her rocket motor to launch into space from that altitude. In honour of a long tradition of using the word Enterprise in the naming of Royal Navy, US Navy, NASA vehicles and even science fiction spacecraft, Governor Schwarzenegger of California and Governor Richardson of New Mexico will today christen SS2 with the name Virgin Space Ship (VSS) ENTERPRISE. This represents not only an acknowledgment to that name’s honorable past but also looks to the future of the role of private enterprise in the development of the exploration, industrialization and human habitation of space.

The emergence of new commercial space companies like Virgin Galactic will be an engine for employment, growth and the creation of a new technology and science base in the United States. Recent research has indicated that 12,500 jobs have already been created by the new space companies; the Virgin Galactic project alone is creating significant opportunities for employment in both the company itself and with suppliers in both California and New Mexico. Approximately 600 people are now working on activities relating to the project and it is estimated that this figure will rise to over 1,100 jobs during the peak of the construction phase at the space port and through the introduction of the commercial space vehicles into regular astronaut service.

Both WK2 and SS2 represent state of the art environmentally sensitive industrial development in their use of carbon composite materials technology, which has now been identified as a key future contributor to the increasingly urgent requirement by the commercial aviation sector for dramatically more fuel efficient aircraft. WK2 is powered by four Pratt and Whitney PW308A engines, which are amongst the most powerful. economic and efficient commercial jet engines available making it a mould breaker in carbon efficiency. SS2 will be powered by a unique hybrid rocket motor, which is currently under development.

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. The mothership has now also completed a year of rigorous and successful first phase flight testing prior to today’s attachment of SS2.

“This is truly a momentous day. The team has created not only a world first but also a work of art," Branson said. "The unveil of SS2 takes the Virgin Galactic vision to the next level and continues to provide tangible evidence that this ambitious project is not only moving rapidly, but also making tremendous progress towards our goal of safe commercial operation."

“All of us at Scaled are tremendously excited by the capabilities of both the mothership and SS2," Rutan said. "Today is the culmination of a dream that began many decades ago, was stimulated by Paul Allen’s funding of our X-Prize winning SS1 and then moved forward to commercial reality by Sir Richard and Virgin’s visionary investment in a new future for space transportation."

SpaceShipTwo will be unveiled after darkness has fallen over the Mojave Desert to the sound of a space-themed anthem from Britain’s biggest DJs, Above & Beyond. Fittingly titled “Buzz” the track will sample Buzz Aldrin’s original moon landing dialogue. Following the naming by Governors Richardson and Schwarzenegger, the DJs will also perform an exclusive set at the celebration cocktail party which will follow and feature the first ever IceBar in the desert hosted by Absolut and the world famous Swedish IceHotel. All the guests will be protected from the desert cold by designer space jackets supplied by PUMA. Finally, to close off the celebrations, all the guests will have the opportunity to view the stunning night skies using specialist telescopes supplied by Ron Dantowitz of the Clay Observatory whose unique tracking cameras followed SS1 into space during the epic flights of 2004.

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Richardson helps protect wildlife migration corridors

Great news for hunters and wildlife lovers. On Friday, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter joined New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson in announcing a new initiative to identify and protect key wildlife travel and migration corridors between the two states.

The two governors have finalized a Memorandum of Understanding pledging to work collaboratively to protect key habitat connectivity, travel and migration corridors used by elk, deer, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep and other key species of wildlife that migrate across the shared border between the State of Colorado and the State of New Mexico.

“A rich wildlife heritage is one of the great treasures our states share and it must be protected,” Richardson said. “Roaming bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer and pronghorn antelope are part of what it means to live in the great open space of the West. I am proud to play a part in continuing these great traditions.”

In addition to the role wildlife plays as a cultural touchstone, the economies of both Colorado and New Mexico benefit significantly from the hunting, fishing and tourism that the region’s wildlife supports. According to the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, hunters, anglers and wildlife watchers spent $3 billion inColorado and $823 million in New Mexico that year.

“Wildlife is one of the most important resources in the West,” Ritter said. “It is part of our heritage, and its protection should be part of our legacy. I’m delighted we will be working with Gov. Richardson and New Mexico to make certain that the wildlife we share is able to move freely back and forth across our borders.”

The MOU formalizes cooperation and planning for wildlife corridors. It calls for using the best scientific geospatial mapping systems available to inform land use planning and development in key habitats and migration areas.

Tribal consultation will be done with the Jicarilla Apache Tribe, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and the Ute Mountain Tribe.

The Western Governors’ Association has also identified protection of viable wildlife corridors as an important regional objective. In June, the WGA signed a MOU with the U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Energy, which agreed to help provide states with the best information possible on wildlife populations, wildlife corridors and crucial habitat across various political jurisdictions.

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