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 V.17 No.52 | December 25 - 31, 2008 

Answer Me This

How many calls is the unemployment office getting every day? What do you have to do to get tasered around here? Why was a Guadalupe County sheriff arrested? Problems plague the first few days of Rail Runner service to Santa Fe.

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Construction workers dig deep to bring the Drinking Water Project online.
Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority

Environment

Pour Me a River

Albuquerque drinks from the Rio Grande

Two roiling basins of water press against each other, divided by a two-story-high concrete wall. One side is a gurgling brown mess of chemical dust—it looks like mud soup. But the other side glistens, clear as glass, tempting a dip of the hand.

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Council Watch

Bean Counting

Most of the Dec. 15 City Council meeting was deferred due to icy roads and snow. The councilors still managed to get a couple things out of the way. The most interesting items—sweeping water conservation measures, sector plan approvals and what to do with all those water-hog city toilets—will be heard sometime in the new year.

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Odds & Ends

Dateline: China—London’s Telegraph reports a Chinese man was struck and killed by a wayward weather rocket—a fact that was not discovered until the man’s body exploded while being cremated. The body of Wang Diange, from the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia, was found in the wreckage of a house where he had been overseeing the wake of a recently deceased family member. As it was raining and thundering at the time, family members concluded Wang had been struck by lightning. Several days later, after his own funeral, Mr. Wang’s body blew up as it was being fed into the cremation chamber, blasting the metal doors from their hinges. When the fire had been put out, the only clue left was a small, twisted piece of metal, which seemed to be the glowing remnant of a screw. A military serial number was found on the metal and a lengthy investigation traced it back to the local weather bureau. The day that Mr. Wang died, the weather bureau had been firing shells into the atmosphere to break up hail in a bid to protect the local tobacco crop. Inside the shells was silver iodide, a chemical that helps break hail into rain. The weather bureau’s own investigation concluded that one shell must have failed to explode, hit the house in which the wake was being held and lodged inside Mr. Wang’s body. As a result of the investigation, the weather bureau paid out a 80,000 yuan (about $15,000) settlement to the Wang family.

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Letters

The readers write.

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