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Report: Bill Richardson Cleared in Corruption Probe

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AP: Bill Richardson Cleared in Fed’s Probe
Associated Press

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former high-ranking members of his administration won’t be criminally charged in a yearlong federal investigation into pay-to-play allegations involving one of the Democratic governor’s large political donors, someone familiar with the case said.

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Rocket Racing League Needs State Money to Build NM Aerospace Research Park

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City approves aerospace park
Las Cruces Sun-News


The Las Cruces City Council has unanimously adopted a resolution identifying 182 acres of undeveloped land just south of Las Cruces International Airport for a commercial aerospace business and research park.

Initially, most of the land was projected to be used for aerospace research and development. In October 2006, Rocket Racing League announced intentions to build an aerospace park on 171.35 acres just south of Las Cruces International Airport. But the deadline to formally acquire the land passed on Sunday.

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Deal Near with Virgin Galactic on Spaceport America

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Virgin Galactic ready to sign spaceport deal
Las Cruces Sun News

“The state’s spaceport agency is on the verge of signing a formal development agreement with Virgin Galactic, the British firm with plans to base its space tourism operations at Spaceport America.

“The agreement has been finalized and could be signed as early as today, New Mexico Spaceport Authority Executive Director Steve Landeene said Tuesday.

“Landeene said the only delay to signing is Virgin Galactic designating who will act as the firm’s signator.”

Richardson Promotes New Mexico Spaceport Tax

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Governor lends voice to Spaceport support
Alamogordo Daily News

“Visiting Alamogordo, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson spoke with community members at the Alamo Senior Center Monday in support of Spaceport America. He encouraged Otero County residents to vote in favor of the 1/8 of 1 percent spaceport gross receipts tax on the Nov. 4 ballot.

“‘This is one of the most significant economic development projects ever in New Mexico,’ Richardson said. ‘And 25 percent of the money raised (by the GRT) goes to schools and kids….

‘It is one more step in securing hundreds and hundreds of jobs,” he said. “It will create jobs, and it will put us on the map. By voting yes we are saying yes to higher paying jobs.’”

Move Over New Mexico; Scotland to Become Base for Virgin Galactic Flights

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Virgin Galactic CEO Will Whitehorn tells The Daily Record that his company will begin flying suborbital tourism flights from one of three locations in Scotland beginning in 2013.

“Scotland will definitely be our main base in the UK for space tourism flights and we would be aiming to take off from there within about five years,” he told the newspaper. “There are three great locations within Scotland, with the best being Lossiemouth. Failing that, Kinloss and Machrihanish in the Mull of Kintyre would also be suitable for this kind of flight.”

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Spaceport America Begins Infrastructure Work

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SPACEPORT AMERICA PRESS RELEASE

Following a successful bid process, the New Mexico Spaceport Authority
(NMSA) and the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) broke ground on road improvements for Spaceport America on Thursday, September 18.

After a successful bid award on August 1, 2008, construction will begin by the Reiman Corporation, a construction company with over 15 years of experience in New Mexico. Once completed, the improved road will provide better access and allow the construction process at Spaceport America to continue on schedule.

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New Mexico Update: Otera Residents to Vote on Tax Levy in November

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Spaceport tax question will appear on Otero County ballot
Alamogordo Daily News

“The Otero County Commission heard a presentation and some citizen discussion prior to adopting a resolution to place a County Spaceport Regional Gross Receipts tax on the November ballot Thursday night.

“If approved, tax collections in Otero County would be combined with those already approved for collection in Doña Ana and Sierra counties to help fund construction of a launch site for commercial space vehicles in southern Sierra County. Construction for the $198 million project is to be completed in late 2010.

New Mexico Sportsmen Question Impact of Spaceport America on Wildlife

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Sportsmen dispute results of spaceport impact study
Las Cruces Sun-News

“Sportsmen in Doña Ana County said Thursday a draft environmental study for a proposed spaceport is problematic because it fails to adequately consider impacts to wildlife.

“Members of four sportsmen and wildlife groups spoke up at public hearing hosted by the Federal Aviation Administration. The session was meant to solicit feedback on a draft environmental study completed last month by the agency.

“‘The big disagreement is they find there’s no significant impact,’ said Angel Montoya, representing the Doña Ana County Associated Sportsmen.’”

Greetings from New Mexico: Spaceport Project Moves Ahead

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Las Crucen to guide spaceport
Las Cruces Sun-News

Las Cruces native Daniela Glick has been appointed chairwoman of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, Gov. Bill Richardson’s office announced Thursday. Glick now serves as the deputy cabinet secretary of the Economic Development Department. Kelly O’Donnell, who formerly served as spaceport authority chairwoman, will now focus on her job as superintendent of the state’s Regulation and Licensing Department, according to Richardson spokesman, Gilbert Gallegos.

Bidding process begins for spaceport road improvements
Las Cruces Sun-News

The New Mexico Department of Transportation has begun the bid process for Spaceport America road improvements. On June 21, NMDOT began accepting bids for improving County Road AO13 from Engle in Sierra County, south the intersection of AO13 and AO39, which is the entrance to the spaceport.

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Richardson’s presidential campaign donated to help get spaceport tax passed
Jose L. Medina
Las Cruces Sun-News

Gov. Bill Richardson’s unsuccessful presidential campaign was the largest contributor to a political action committee that pushed for passage of a spaceport tax referendum in Sierra County last April…The Richardson for President campaign gave $10,000 to People for Aerospace of Sierra County on April 8, two weeks before the April 22 vote in which Sierra residents overwhelmingly approved the tax, clearing the way for a spaceport taxation district.

April Schmidlapp, who worked to defeat Sierra’s tax, said she feels the vote was bought. She said a loosely organized group of tax opponents at most spent “a couple thousand dollars.”

“It’s all part of a group in (Truth or Consequences) that just bullies its way through decision-making and gets what they want done,” she said.

What Spaceport doesn’t mean
Saturn Noriega
Alamogordo Daily News

Steve Landeene, executive director of the N.M. Spaceport Authority, says the port will create 2,500 jobs generating more than $1 billion in economic growth. If each job represents a new family (Mom/Dad/Child) you get 7,500 new people. Add some 3,500 more to supply that growth with services and consumables, and the total jumps to 11,000 (all estimates, of course).

I do not feel one-third of those jobs will come to Otero. Maybe not even one will, unless it’s a local who is lucky enough to land a SP job and is willing to drive over the St. Augustin Pass then 50 miles north of Las Cruces on a four-hour daily trek, rather than move nearer the SP.