Friday News Roundup: Intel To Trim Workforce At Plant In Rio Rancho And More...

Sep 13, 2013

Intel To Trim Workforce At Plant In Rio Rancho - The Albuquerque Journal 

Intel Corporation says it is reducing the workforce at its chip-making plant in Rio Rancho, a suburb of Albuquerque.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that Intel plans to "redeploy" 400 of the Rio Rancho plant's 3,300 workers due to a changing market.

The announcement didn't provide details about what will happen with the workers, but it says the company is offering various options to the affected workers. Those include transfers to other Intel sites and voluntary retirement and separation packages.

Intel says the Rio Rancho site remains a vital part of its manufacturing network and will continue production.

The company on Thursday announced it will close its only manufacturing facility in Massachusetts, a move expected to shed about 700 jobs.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel is the world's largest chip maker.

Police Focus Of Albuquerque Mayoral Election - Associated Press

The largest city in New Mexico is set to hold its mayoral election and its police department has become a central issue amid a U.S. Department of Justice investigation.

First-term incumbent Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry holds a comfortable lead, according to a recent Albuquerque Journal poll, and says he proud of his record at making changes to the police force. Berry says crime in some categories is at 30-year lows.

His opponents say, however, much more is needed. Former Deputy City Attorney Pete Dinelli says Albuquerque must recruit new officers and strengthen morale. Retired police sergeant Paul Heh says the city needs to do more to fight drug addiction.

The election is Oct. 8. Any candidate who gets more than 50 percent of the vote avoids a runoff election.

Nearly 9,000 NM Homes To Gain Broadband Access - Associated Press

Nearly 9,000 New Mexico households will be able to access broadband services thanks to more than $5 million in federal funding.

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall announced the funding. It comes from the Federal Communications Commission's Connect America Fund.

The New Mexico Democrat had been urging the FCC to free up unused funds that would help close the digital divide between urban areas that have access to high-speed Internet and rural areas that do not.

Udall says reliable high-speed Internet is critical to leveling the playing field between rural and urban communities.

Udall's office says the funding is being awarded to broadband providers Windstream, CenturyLink and Frontier. They will expand service to 8,782 unserved and underserved New Mexico households, reaching about 22,800 people.

Ex-Cabinet Secretary Joins NM Advocacy Group - Associated Press

A former top official in Gov. Bill Richardson's administration has joined a nonprofit group that advocates policies to aid children and working families in New Mexico.

James Jimenez said Thursday he's serving as director of policy, research, and advocacy integration for New Mexico Voices for Children.

Jimenez left state government in 2008 to become Rio Rancho city manager, a position he held until last year. He was Richardson's chief of staff in 2006 to 2008, and Department of Finance and Administration cabinet secretary from 2003 to 2006. Jimenez was the department's deputy secretary in 1995 during former Republican Gov. Gary Johnson's administration, and worked for the Legislative Finance Committee from 1989 to 1994.

Former Public Education Secretary Veronica Garcia has served as the nonprofit's executive director since last year.

Nation's Bloated Nuclear Spending Comes Under Fire - Associated Press

At Los Alamos National Laboratory, a seven-year, $213 million upgrade to the security system that protects the lab's most sensitive nuclear bomb-making facilities doesn't work.

In Tennessee, the price tag for a new uranium processing facility has grown nearly sevenfold in eight years to upward of $6 billion because of problems that include a redesign to raise the roof so equipment can fit inside.

Virtually every major project under the National Nuclear Security Administration's oversight is behind schedule and over budget — the result, watchdogs and government auditors say, of years of lax accountability and nearly automatic budget increases for nuclear contractors.

It's a problem that's far from new but is drawing renewed scrutiny as a panel appointed by Congress recently has begun reviewing whether the NNSA should be overhauled.

Record Rainfall Soaks New Mexico, Prompts Rescues - Associated Press

The New Mexico National Guard and other rescue crews evacuated dozens of campers and residents who were stranded by floodwaters along the Pecos River as New Mexico was drenched Thursday by another round of record rainfall.

While the welcomed moisture is helping the state out of an unprecedented drought, the runoff was threatening an RV park near Brantley Lake and had pooled up around the community of Lakewood. Crews were using boats and helicopters to bring about 70 people to dry land, where they were checked by medical personnel and bused to a shelter in Carlsbad.

The National Weather Service say it's likely some areas could see 6 to 10 inches of rain by the weekend. In one spot in the Guadalupe Mountains of southern New Mexico, more than 11 inches fell in a 24-hour period.