Saturday, June 4, 2005

Santa Fe New Mexican

Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico

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New Mexican (Newspaper) - June 4, 2005, Santa Fe, New Mexico COMING SUNDAY I REAL ESTATE GUIDE Neighborhoods series focuses on jacona Jaconita and El Rancho a gardening column debuts THE SANTA FE Locally owned and independent Serving New Mexico SATURDAY JUNE 4 2005 FIFTY CENTS Mayor councilor judge report top travel costs City officials debate value of trips funded by taxpayers By TOM SHARPE The New Mexican Mayor Larry Delgado Councilor Carol Robertson Lopez and Municipal Judge Frances Gallegos lead all other Santa Fe municipal elected officials in travel expenses over the last two years Delgado who has not said if hell seek a third fouryear term next year has been reimbursed for in travel expenses since July 1 2003 During the same period Lopez the mayor pro tern had travel expenses of and Gallegos who is looking at running for mayor in 2006 had The city budget earmarks a year in travel for the mayor to the municipal court and about per councilor But Lopez who exceeded her amount said expenses are appropriated as a lump sum for the entire council Its not like theres a bank account sitting there that says Matthew Ortiz travel she said People talk about it like its their own personal and its not Its to cover our travel It assumes some people mighthave more some might have Washington has been the most popular destination for elected officials in recent years Mayor Delgado for exam Larry Delgado Mayor spent since July 1 2003 Carol Robertson Lopez Councilor spent Frances Gallegos Municipal judge spent pie spent more than half of his total over the last two years on three trips to the nations capital Delgado whose mayoral salary is a year said his trips to Wash ington help keep elected officials there aware of Santa Fes needs particularly for money to improve its water system Lopez who is paid as a coun cilor said many of her trips were to take care of her responsibilities as president of the New Mexico Municipal League She said the Department of Justice should have reimbursed the city for her costs for the trip to Washington for the Americans with Disabilities event last summer Her trip to Toronto to the International Womens Forum in October 2003 Lopez said helped bring about 300 women to Santa Please see TRAVEL Page A3 INSIDE Complete list of elected city officials travel costs since July 2003 Mayor and one councilors expenses dont include a bondrating trip to Big Apple Page A3 Rain runoff dont dampen fire threats By TOM GARDNER The Associated Press RENO Nev Winter storms and spring rains across the West have eased drought concerns for the first time this century experts say but have not doused this summers wildland fire threat just delayed it Its taken a little bit of the edge off the fire season but were still pretty early in said Kelly Redmond regional climatologist for the Western Regional Climate Center at the Desert Research Institute It happens to be pointed in a positive direction right he said Officials at the National Inter agency Fire Center in Boise Idaho are hoping a forecast of more storms this month will pan out The dark side of intermittent storms means that we have heavy grass crops in the lower eleva tions and the grass and brush is expected to cure by midto late NIFC spokeswoman Rose Davis said We still have a normal to above normal potential in the Northwest because of their drought condi tions Clearly you cant undo those irra The latest Drought Moni tor prepared by the University of Nebraska shows California and all but a small sliver of Nevada droughtfree for the first time in at least three years Most of the Southwest rangesfrom abnor mally dry to moderate drought The Pacific Northwest the North ern Rockies and parts of the High Plains still show severe and extreme drought in many areas While grass and brush will slowly dry to tinder in the sum mertime heat this years moisture will temper the early vulnerability of forests Please see RRE Page A4 Associated Press file ptioto Cyclist Chris Stewart pedals through the flooded Chapel Straight area In Yosemite National Park Calif Warm weather and an unusually large melting snowpack caused heavy flooding in the park While winter storms have eased drought concerns in the West experts warn those conditions have delayed but not diluted this summers wildlandfire threat Lush flora raises risk in some areas of state By HENRY M LOPEZ The New Mexican New Mexico is a mixed bag of possibilities when it comes to predicting the chance of a major wildfire this year The wet winter has resulted in an abundance of vegetation around the state That has meant an increase in the risk of fires in some parts of the state and a decrease in others The emergence of yasttracts of grass this spring which becomes fire fuel when it dies has raised concerns statewide said Chuck Maxwell head of the predictive group for the Southwest Coordination Center in Albuquerque The center tracks the potential for wildfires in Arizona New Mexico and West Texas Right now were seeing grass in elevations we havent seen for years because its been so danged Maxwell said He added that North ern New Mexico also faces risks from grass fires In elevations above feet in Northern New Mexico the center has predicted the chance of fire to be below most years because this years Please see FLORA Page A4 leaders strike deal on uranium waste plant By BEN NEARY The New Mexican State leaders have hammered out an agreement with the private company that proposes to build a uraniumenrich ment plant near Hobbs to limit the stor age of radioactive waste there The Nuclear Regulatory Commis sion has stymied the states efforts to raise concerns about vvastestorage and disposal issues in the plants ongoing federal permitting process The commis sion has disallowed several contentions that both the New Mexico Environment Department and the state attorney gen erals office had sought to raise Gov Bill Richardson said Friday that the agreement with Louisiana Energy Services the private company pushing to open the plant gives the state assurances its been unable to secure otherwise We have been shut out on every issue storage and disposal at the NRC licensing Richardson said And I believe that this agreement is a strong assurance on these two important Under the agreement LES would pledge not to store more than about canisters of radioactive waste at the plant site about eight to 10 years production The company would also pledge not to allow any single canister to remain on the site longer than 15 years If LES ever violated those restrictions it would have to shut down operations at the enrichment plant which is intended to make fuel for nuclear reactors The state could enforce its agreement with the com pany in either state or federal court If the NRC agrees to incorporate the agreement between the state and LES into the companys federal permit the state will drop out from further participation in the federal permitting process That would leave only two citizens groups the Nuclear Information and Resource Service and Public Citizen to press concerns about the plant in the federal permitting process Weve gotten some substantial assur ances that I believe satisfy my conditions on storage and safety and Richardson said So I believe that we have an environmentally sustainable agreement Please see PLANT Page A6 Airlines must begin reporting pet casualties By LESLIE MILLER The Associated Press WASHINGTON Plenty of vacation guides list camps that allow dogs or rank petfriendly but until now theres been no way to know which aiiv lines are safest for fourlegged travelers Thats about to ing June 15 airlines must report how many pets are killed lost or injured on their flights The government estimates 2 million animals fly commer cially every year Many airlines allow small pets to travel in por table kennels under seats where the owners are responsible for theirsafety Larger pets travel in cargo holds where they can be exposed to extreme heat or cold and loud noises from plane engines Nobody knows how many pets are killed or injured Lisa Weis berg spokeswoman for the Amer ican Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals suggested 1 percent which would mean animals per year The airlines say thats far too high Please see PET Page A3 Pet care in the air If you plan to travel with a pet on a plane follow these tips to make the flight safer and more pleasant for both of you Go to the vet with your pet Get a health certificate from your vet within 10 days of departure Book direct flfehtand confirm pet travel Travel kennel Use a USDA approved shipping crate label with your address phone number animals name andfeeding instructions label destination and Live Animal on crate You can also include a photo of your pet Pet prep Dont feed pet 46 hours before trip make sure pet has a collar ID tag and destination info Food and water should be accessible Have leash wifl travel Carry a leash and current photo of your pet fust in case SOURCES Deparlmenl of Agriculture American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals The Associated Press INSIDE TODAY MailDoi DS Lotteries Business C5 Movies Cars 4 Trucks El MutualS Horoscope D5 Sports Local news Bl Stocks The Wests Oldest Newspaper Five sections 36 pages TV Book 56 pages 156th year Issue No 155 Publication No 596440 B2 B2 C5 Classifieds E2 OpinionAS Comics IX Religion D3 Crossword D5 Scoreboard C2 Cl Late paper Classified ads News tips Main office 9840363 9863000 9863035 9833303 Todays forecast Partly cloudy isolated showers High 75 low 42 Page B2 Todays obituaries Consuelo E Salazar 84 Espanola May 31 Jessica C Hines 18 May 30 Richard Rodriguez 53 La Puebla June 2 Page B2