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Last updated 8:29AM ET
September 20, 2018
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First News: Watchdog group wants report on lab (Listen)
(KSFR) -
A nuclear watchdog group is asking the courts to make the Los Alamos national lab to turn over the performance evaluation reports it gets from the federal government. Nuclear Watch New Mexico says it wants to know why the lab is cutting its work force as it management fee rises. For most of its history the lab was run by the University of California. In its last year, the university got a an award of $8 million for its work. The group says the private corporation in charge now gets 10 times that amount.

A state court has ruled in favor of a state law that allows taxes on a home to go up when the home changes hands. The issue called Tax Lightning had been challenged by homeowners who said it was unfair to buy a house and have the taxes set at a rate higher than their neighbors were paying. The court of appeals ruling is likely to affect property tax-evaluation notices mailed out next year at this time.

Santa Fe's police chief and the head of the police officers union disagree over the success of the department's new work hours. The chief says in a report the new 8-hour days are working better than the previous 10-hour schedule. Chief Rael reports the city has saved more than $100,000 in overtime pay because of the change. But the head of the union says police response time to incidents has gone down since the change was made.

The police union in Albuquerque says it's going to end its practice of giving hundreds of dollars to officers who have been involved in a shooting incident. Their move comes as citizen protests have intensified over the number of police shootings of suspects in the Duke City. The union says the money was meant to help officers find personal ways to decompress after an incident.

New Mexico' Spaceport America is set to get a longer runway. The board has approved an extension to the facility's runway to make sure the spacecraft have enough room to take off during summer months. That's when hot weather creates air that's less dense, requiring a longer take-off run for the spacecraft. The existing 10,000-foot-long runway will be extended by another 2,000 feet. Spaceport board chairman Rick Holdridge says the facility will be ready by 2013 and if Virgin Galactic is also ready, mid-to-late next year will see the first suborbital flight from southern New Mexico.

In the face of mounting financial losses, the retailer Best Buy says it plans to close 50 of its big-box stores nationwide. No word if any of New Mexico's five stores will be closed. Santa Fe has one Best Buy location, Albuquerque has two.

Weather: Sunny and dry today and through the weekend. Highs in the 70s.

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