Sandia Pueblo To Allow Some Balloon Landings, LANL Reports Over 20 Years Needed For Waste Cleanup

Sep 17, 2016

Sandia Pueblo To Allow Some Balloon Landings After AllAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Balloonists at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta will be able to land at Sandia Pueblo after all as the two organizations have reached an agreement.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that according to a statement released Thursday, necessary landings will be allowed on parts of the pueblo, a stark change from the all-out ban previously announced.

Sandia Pueblo is next to Balloon Fiesta Park, where the event is situated.

Earlier this week a declaration that no balloons would be allowed to land on the pueblo was met with public outcry. The backlash included a proposed boycott of Sandia Resort & Casino.

Balloon pilots had been concerned that wind and other factors could make it hard to avoid coming close to pueblo land.

LANL Report Details Scope Of Nuclear Waste Cleanup­—The Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

A new report estimates that it will take more than 20 years and nearly $4 billion to clean up decades-old hazardous waste from nuclear weapons production in Los Alamos.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Los Alamos National Laboratory publicly released the estimate this week. It gives the clearest picture yet of the scope of the work left to remove radioactive waste and environmental contamination from the area.

The report lists 955 potentially contaminated sites and says the lab still has 5,000 cubic meters of legacy waste. That's half the amount of waste present when cleanup began 25 years ago.

The lab, the New Mexico Environment Department and the U.S. Department of Energy entered a new cleanup agreement in June. A previous agreement expired in December with several missed deadlines.

Teachers Union Has No Confidence In EvaluationsAssociated Press

A union in New Mexico that has been critical of the state's teacher evaluation system says it doesn't have much confidence in the latest results.

The executive director of the National Education Association of New Mexico, Charles Bowyer, says tying the evaluations to student achievement based on standardized test scores doesn't reflect the true effect a teacher can have on individual students.

Bowyer's group is among those suing the state over the evaluation system. A hearing in the case is expected later this fall.

The evaluation results show more than 70 percent of public school teachers across the state are effective or better when it comes to their success in the classroom.

There are now more teachers who are considered highly effective and exemplary, but the number of those on the other end of the scale also has grown since 2014.

UNM To Move Forward With On-Campus Residency RequirementAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

The University of New Mexico is moving forward with a plan to require incoming freshmen to live on campus.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that student leaders have criticized the policy, calling it an overstep and saying housing choice is one of the university's selling points.

But the Board of Regents approved the measure with a 5-to-2 vote. Supporters say students who spend their early years on campus are likely to do better academically.

The living requirement is set to take effect in 2018 and would allow several exceptions. Students would be allowed to live with family members within 30 miles of the university, and they could get out of dorm living if it would pose an "undue hardship" -- financial or otherwise.

New Mexico Delegates Push For F-16s To Move To HollomanAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Congressional delegates from New Mexico are pushing for the U.S. Air Force to relocate F-16 squadrons to Holloman Air Force Base.

U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and Representative Steve Pearce met Thursday with Air Force Under Secretary Lisa Disbrow to make their case for expanding the mission of the southern New Mexico base to include F-16 training units.

Their first plea came in a letter sent last month to top military officials.

Pearce said Thursday that Holloman is a premier base for training pilots due to its restricted airspace and favorable weather.

The Air Force plans to move F-16s from Hill Air Force Base in Utah to make room for new F-35s.

The delegation says a decision on where to send the F-16s is expected within months.