Wednesday News Roundup: Nuclear Labs In New Mexico Prepare For Shutdown

Oct 9, 2013

Nuclear Labs In New Mexico Prepare For Shutdown - Associated Press, The Albuquerque Journal, and The Los Alamos Monitor

Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories are preparing to shut down by Oct. 21 and furlough of most of their 18,000 workers if Congress does not reach a deal to end the federal government's partial shutdown. 

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the preparations result from a directive of the National Nuclear Security Administration. The administration is part of the U.S. Department of Energy and it oversees work at both national labs in New Mexico.

In another development, Los Alamos is suspending its shipments of low-level radioactive waste to a special repository in Carlsbad.

However, the Los Alamos Monitor also reports that four shipments already loaded will be delivered to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad.

Bernalillo County Approves Home Picketing Ban - Associated Press

Bernalillo County commissioners have approved a ban on picketing outside private residences in unincorporated areas of the county that includes Albuquerque.

The measure approved Tuesday night on a 4-1 vote by the County Commission is an outgrowth of anti-abortion picketing at a home in the county.

The measure is similar to a law already on the books in Albuquerque.


Martinez Used State Helicopter On Trip To Aid GOP - Associated Press and The Albuquerque Journal

Gov. Susana Martinez, a critic of her predecessor's use of state airplanes for travel, used a state police helicopter to ferry her from Santa Fe to the Albuquerque airport so she wouldn't miss her commercial flight to Republican fundraising events in Texas.

According to Martinez spokesman Enrique Knell, it was in public interest for Martinez to use the state helicopter because it enabled her to attend a November 2011 state Board of Finance meeting that ran late.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that Martinez was at the finance board meeting much of the day and that she left about 20 minutes before it ended.

Martinez during her 2010 campaign criticized the administration of then-Gov. Bill Richardson for its purchase and use of a $5.5 million state jet.

Albuquerque Food Bank Helps Furloughed Workers - Associated Press and KOB-TV

An Albuquerque food bank is helping federal employees in need because of the government's partial shutdown.

KOB-TV reports that Roadrunner Food Bank sent a truckload of food Tuesday to Kirtland Air Force Base.

Roadrunner's Sonya Warwick says that the delivery for 75 furloughed employees at the base will provide free food for their families.

He says the furloughed federal workers include some who donate to the food bank.

Panel Selects New Mexico's Top Public Defender - Associated Press

The managing attorney for a legal aid office in Albuquerque has been selected to run a newly independent state agency that provides legal representation to criminal defendants who can't afford a lawyer.

Jorge Alvarado was unanimously appointed chief public defender on Tuesday by an 11-member commission.

Commission chairman Michael Stout said Alvarado will assume the job next month of running the Public Defender Department.

Alvarado is managing attorney for New Mexico Legal Aid, Inc. in Albuquerque since 2009. He received a law degree in 1982 from Drake University in Iowa, and worked in California in a variety of legal positions for more than 25 years.

Voters approved a constitutional amendment last year that made the department an independent agency rather than having it under the control of the governor