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NM Space Museum Gets Final Face Lift, US Air Force Awards Local Nurse

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Theater Dome To Be Replaced At New Mexico Space Museum Associated Press

The final phase of renovations at the New Mexico Museum of Space History's theater and planetarium call for a full dome replacement.

The Alamogordo Daily News reports that the work will begin Jan. 2. The construction will close the theater through March 9.

The new dome is being installed by Spitz Inc., the same company that installed the new laser planetarium projection system in the theater in 2016.

The company will use a special process that effectively eliminates seams in the dome by handcrafting each individual panel to be flush with its neighbor, making the entire projection surface uniform.

The new dome will consist of 154 custom-cut panels with reflectivity much greater than the one that was installed in 1980.

Grant funding is helping pay for the renovations.

New Mexico Base Is Home To US Air Force's Top Nurse For 2017 – Associated Press

The U.S. Air Force has named its top nurse for 2017 and the award goes to a nurse practitioner stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico.

Maj. Cindy Callisto is assigned to the 377th Medical Group. She says the honor comes as a shock.

Callisto says she enjoys her patients and staff and feels like she owes it to them to do her best. She credits her team with helping her through an undermanned summer at Kirtland, where staffing levels fell to 50 percent during one of the most critical times of the year.

Originally from Worcester, Massachusetts, Callisto joined the Air Force in 2000.

Callisto says she has aspirations of being a chief nurse someday and mentoring other nurses with an aim toward retaining more young airmen.

Arizona Man Pleads Guilty To Intimidating Flight Crew – Associated Press

An Arizona man whose behavior aboard a flight earlier this year forced an emergency landing in New Mexico has pleaded guilty to charges that he assaulted and intimidated crew members and flight attendants.

Federal prosecutors say 55-year-old Robert Tomblin of Phoenix entered his plea during a hearing Friday in Albuquerque. Sentencing has yet to be scheduled.

The charges stem from an August flight between Roswell, New Mexico, and Phoenix.

According to court documents, a flight attendant reported to the captain that Tomblin, who was seated in an emergency exit row, appeared to be intoxicated and was acting belligerent.

Attendants asked him to move to another seat due to safety concerns but he refused.

Tomblin was accused of head-butting two police officers before being carried off the plane after the flight was diverted to Albuquerque.

Experts Try To Save Georgia O'Keeffe Paintings – Associated Press

Chemical reactions are threatening to discolor and deform the surface of Georgia O'Keeffe's famously vibrant paintings, and experts are hoping new digital imaging tools can help them slow the damage.

Art conservationists in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Chicago area on Thursday announced a federally funded project to develop new 3-D imaging tools to detect destructive buildup in paintings by O'Keeffe and potentially other artists in museum collections around the world.

Dale Kronkright, art conservationist at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, says the project builds on trial efforts that started in 2011 to monitor the preservation of O'Keeffe paintings without disturbing or damaging the works.

The buildup on her art is soap. It emerges when fats in the original oil paints combine with alkaline materials contained in pigments or through drying agents.

This story corrects the spelling of Georgia O'Keeffe's name in paragraph 3.

Some Complaints Against Natural Cigarette Maker To Proceed – Associated Press

A federal judge in New Mexico has dismissed more than two dozen complaints but is allowing others to proceed against the company behind a line of cigarettes touted as natural.

Scores of plaintiffs sued the maker of American Spirit cigarettes — Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co., and its parent company, Reynolds American Inc. — after the federal Food and Drug Administration in 2015 found consumers were misled regarding risks associated with the products.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that U.S. District Judge James Browning in a Dec. 21 ruling cited various state laws as he weeded out some complaints.

Some rejected claims were premised on the theory that by labeling cigarettes as "additive-free" and "natural," the company tried to suggest its products were less processed than other cigarettes.

Oscar-Winning Film Editor Thomas Stanford Dies at 93 – Associated Press

Thomas Stanford, who was known for his award-winning editing work on "West Side Story," has died. He was 93.

His family says in a newspaper announcement published Friday that Stanford died Dec. 23. They did not provide any details about the cause of death, saying only that he had a "long and happy life."

Born in Germany and educated in Switzerland and England, he moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1987 following a decades-long career as a film editor in Hollywood.

He earned credits for more than two dozen films and television movies. He received an Oscar in 1962 for his work on "West Side Story."

He is survived by his partner Sherry Bendickson; daughter Nina Mullan and her husband Brendt and their children; and son Adam Stanford and his wife Lyn.

University Of New Mexico Plans New Purpose For Building – Associated Press

The University of New Mexico is planning to transform a vacant biology annex building to house an interdisciplinary teaching and learning center for sciences and the museum sciences program.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the university previously planned to use the 8,000-square-foot (743-square-meter) building as art studio space for graduate students.

Art students and faculty members railed against that plan, which the board of regents had approved. The board later scrapped it after finding it too costly.

Official say that under the new plan, the building will feature labs, teaching spaces and storage areas to house the university's collection of thousands of fossils.

Regents have approved the new recommendation, but the board still must approve a detailed design and reallocate the funding.

New Mexico Lawmaker Cited For Minor Spending Violations – Associated Press

New Mexico campaign finance regulators say a Democratic state lawmaker violated campaign finance disclosure rules in several instances.

The New Mexico Secretary of State's Office on Friday directed state Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero of Albuquerque to make numerous revisions to campaign finance reports dating back to 2012 and personally repay a $50 campaign-account donation to a political group that is not registered with the state.

The agency rejected objections by a private investigator to campaign-account spending by Roybal Caballero on trips to out-of-state legislative conferences, the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and a $48 retirement gift to a leader of the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

Albuquerque-based private investigator Carlos McMahon is seeking strong sanctions against Roybal Caballero. McMahon represents the ex-wife of Roybal Caballero's husband in a child-support dispute.