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Last updated 5:00AM ET
September 22, 2018
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First News: The state's largest wildfire ever now exceeds 172,000 acres and continues to spread. (listen)
(KSFR) - New Mexico's largest fire in state history, the Whitewater Baldy Complex Fire burning near the Gila Wilderness is now said to be 5% contained. New acreage figures will be out later this morning but as of last night, more than 172,000 acres had been burned. Officials say atmospheric conditions are still hot, dry and unstable and have allowed the fire to spread in all directions. More than 1200 personnel are on scene.

Santa Fe City Council has approved a 2% pay raise for all union city employees effective July 1st, the start of the new fiscal year. The raises come from better-than-previously expected gross receipts taxes in the city treasury. As the city approved a 2013 budget of some $200 million, both the police and fire departments have been approved to add eight employees each. Additionally, almost $2 million has been allocated to multiple youth and human services programs serving Santa Fe.

A high-tech think tank in Santa Fe is closing its doors. The head of the Santa Fe Complex says it became impossible for the nonprofit organization to pay its bills, in part because of diminishing support from the city for its contract. The complex was created four years ago to develop new technologies that would lead to more high-paying jobs in Santa Fe. They say their work has already provided a direct economic impact of $1 million to the city.

Santa Fe's School for Advanced Research is looking to expand by buying more than 7 acres of land adjacent to its present location on Garcia Street. The plan would double its size. But the New Mexican reports the purchase is contingent on approval by the city under a new ordinance that allows museums in areas otherwise designated as residential. The school was founded more than a century ago.

An investigation by KOB-TV shows that five of New Mexico's legislators have taken political donations only from corporate interests and none from small donors. Four of the five are Republicans and most of them are from the southern part of the state. The news report says the companies that have made contributions to the senators and representatives include such big names as Anheuser Busch and Conoco Phillips.

New Mexico's Spaceport America is congratulating its anchor tenant, Virgin Galactic, as the company has been granted an experimental launch permit by the Federal Aviation Administration. That clears the way for Virgin to pursue rocket-powered, supersonic test flights of its suborbital spacecraft, SpaceshipTwo, and its carrier aircraft, WhiteKnightTwo ahead of beginning space tourism flights for paying customers. Those tests are expected to begin toward the end of this year.

Weather for Santa Fe - mostly sunny today with highs in the upper 70s. A slight chance for precipitation arrives tonight; just a 10% chance of an isolated shower or thunderstorm through Friday night.
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