Monday News Roundup: More Tourists Visiting New Mexico

Dec 2, 2013

State Report: More Tourists Visiting New Mexico - Associated Press

Tourism officials in New Mexico say more people are visiting the state.

A report from the state's Tourism Department found that New Mexico saw 2.6 percent more overnight and day visitors in 2012 than in 2011.

There were 32 million overnight and day visitors in 2012. The previous high was in 2008, with 31.4 million visits.

Tourists spent an estimated $5.9 billion in New Mexico last year. In 2011, tourists spent just over $5.5 billion in the state.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that tourism officials believe the higher numbers are an indication that last year's $2 million advertising budget increase for tourism marketing was successful.

The New Mexico Tourism Department is asking for a $2.5 million budget increase for advertising next year.

UNM Regents To Consider Investment In Innovate ABQ - Associated Press

An effort to establish a high-tech research and development center in downtown Albuquerque could get an infusion of some serious cash depending on what the University of New Mexico's Board of Regents decides.

The regents will review proposals to invest $13 million in the Innovate ABQ initiative during a special meeting Friday. This will be their first opportunity to fully vet the project.

A financial breakdown obtained by the Albuquerque Journal shows UNM administrators want to acquire two separate properties as part of the initiative. Those include a downtown church and the Aperture Center at Mesa del Sol south of the city.

To date, UNM has received promises for $6.5 million in outside funding for Innovate ABQ.

NM Train Derailment Kills 3 Railroad Workers - Associated Press

Authorities are investigating the cause of a freight train derailment in southern New Mexico that killed three railroad employees when the train's locomotive plunged 40 feet down a ravine.

Police identified the three as 38-year-old Donald White, 60-year-old Steven Corse and 50-year-old Ann Thompson. White lived in Silver City, N.M., and Corse and Thompson lived in the northern Arizona community of Paulden.

No other people were on the train.

State Police say the cause of the derailment is not known. It occurred Saturday afternoon near the community of Bayard, about 75 miles northwest of Las Cruces.

The eight rail cars being pulled by the locomotive remained either on or near the tracks. None of the iron ore being carried by the train spilled.

The train was operated by Southwest Railroad Inc.

The Federal Railroad Administration is investigating.

Plane Carrying Cadets Makes Safe Emergency Landing - Associated Press

A plane carrying several cadets and officers from the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs made a safe emergency landing in the northern New Mexico city of Las Vegas due to ice build-up on the aircraft.

The Las Vegas Optic reports that the cadets and officers made the unexpected stop Saturday morning as they were making their way to Tucson on a training trip.

The crew expected light ice, but then the ice started to build up more rapidly near Las Vegas.

Eventually, there were two to three inches of ice build-up on the plane.

The group of nine had their trip to Tucson for training postponed for a couple of days as their plane remained grounded due to the blistering cold weather.

Abeyta Withdraws From Santa Fe's Mayoral Race - Associated Press

Former Santa Fe County manager Roman Abeyta has withdrawn from Santa Fe's mayoral race.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Abeyta's announcement on Saturday leaves four mayoral candidates on the March 4 municipal ballot.

Eight people registered for the mayor's race in September.

But over the last two months, neighborhood activist Josina Campos and motel clerk Michael D'Anna were disqualified, and City Councilor Chris Rivera withdrew from the race.

The remaining mayoral candidates consist of former Santa Fe County commissioner Javier Gonzales and City Councilors Patti Bushee, Bill Dimas and Rebecca Wurzburger.

Abeyta serves as director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Fe.