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Costco To Dump 25 Tons Of Penut Butter In A Clovis, NM Landfill

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From NPR “Cases Of Edible Peanut Butter Dumped After Bankruptcy Dispute

So instead of selling or donating the peanut butter, with a value estimated at $2.6 million, the estate is paying about $60,000 to haul the 950,000 jars of nut butter — or about 25 tons — to the Curry County landfill in Clovis, where public works director Clint Bunch says it “will go in with our regular waste and covered with dirt.”

The last of 58 truckloads was expected Friday, he said.

Sunland made peanut butter under a number of different labels for retailers like Costco, Kroger and Trader Joe’s, along with products under its own name. But the plant was shut down in September 2012 after its products were linked to 41 salmonella cases in 20 states.

Throwing this peanut butter into a landfill was really the best idea?

Trade Adjustment Assistance Available For Laid Off New Mexico Intel Workers

TAA was approved for laid off Intel Rio Rancho, New Mexico employees on March 7th. Details can be viewed from the TAA website (use the Search for Trade Adjustment Assistance Cases webisite, type “Intel Corp” in the Search For Company Name box and look for TAW number 85006).

According to Wikipedia Trade Adjustment Assistance is:

Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) is a federal program of the United States government to act as a way to reduce the damaging impact of imports felt by certain sectors of the U.S. economy. The current structure features four components of Trade Adjustment Assistance: for Workers, Firms, Farmers, and Communities. Each Cabinet level Department was tasked with a different sector of the overall Trade Adjustment Assistance program. The program for workers is the largest, and administered by the U.S. Department of Labor. The program for Farmers is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Firms and Communities programs are administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

TAA was designed to help workers who lost their job due to foreign competition find jobs in new industry with job training. In my case that is exactly what I’m doing, learning new skills in a new industry. I’m hopeful that TAA will help assist me. However some of the better benefits of TAA including lost wage assistance and help paying for heath insurance expired at the end of 2013. I’m not sure exactly what benefits will be available but it appears it will be limited to paying for school.

Also according the the Wikipedia article it does not look like TAA has been very effective and won’t be renewed in 2015. Hopefully it will be replaced with a more effective program.

I contacted the TAA representative in the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions and was informed that the state is working out the details with the federal government. I should be receiving a letter in the mail sometime in the future which will explain what I need to do next. I was not given any indication of when that letter will arrive.

Cutting Wine & Cheese Could Save Colorado’s Southwest Chief

According to the Denver Post, “Cuts in luxuries may save Colorado Southwest Chief stops, Amtrak says“.

Garcia said he was heartened that Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman promised to help rescue the line by cost-cutting measures, including eliminating complimentary wine and cheese, as well as pillow chocolates, flowers and vases, and newspapers on three of its routes.

The move comes as the railroad moves to answer congressional criticisms and stop the losses from its food and beverage service alone that totaled $72 million in fiscal 2012, according to the news website Politico Pro.

To keep the Southwest Chief on its current route, Amtrak has proposed that New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas share the costs of the track maintenance and upgrades with Amtrak and BNSF. The plan calls for the states to each provide $4 million annually for a decade.

It would be really great if we had a good quality train system alternative to flying in the US. I hate flying.

Don’t Say Green Chile Unless Your In New Mexico

From The Denver Post “Denver mayor sparks Super Bowl chile battle

A friendly Super Bowl bet between the mayors of Seattle and Denver is causing a stir in New Mexico.
If the Seahawks win Sunday, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has wagered a few things he says are indicative of his city. Among them: handmade skis, a hoodie and a sampling of Denver’s “amazing green chile.”

Chile from the Mile High City?

The question has fired up New Mexicans, resulting in a flurry of social media posts on New Mexico’s long history with the hot peppers.

Chile is the state vegetable and the basis of the official state question—”Red or green?” A state law even has been passed to protect the spicy reputation of New Mexico peppers by targeting impostors everywhere from roadside stands to grocery stores.

Sometimes I come across chile that has a good taste besides heat, most of the time its just heat and ruins the dish. So I am not a fan.

Filmed In New Mexico: A Million Ways to Die in the West

It’s a comedy. And graphic.

From the wikipedia plot description of “A Million Ways To Die In The West“.

Albert (Seth MacFarlane) is a sheep farmer who lacks courage, loses his beloved girlfriend (Amanda Seyfried) as a result of his withdrawal from a duel. He soon meets another lady (Charlize Theron), and discovers his bravery and confidence. The herder soon realizes his true potential when the lady’s spouse (Liam Neeson), an infamous criminal, demands payback.

Intel To Cut About 5000 Jobs Company Wide

From reuters “Intel to reduce global workforce by five percent in 2014

Intel Corp plans to reduce its global workforce of 107,000 by about 5 percent this year as the chipmaker, struggling with falling personal-computer sales, shifts focus to faster-growing areas, a company spokesman said on Friday.

The announcement, equivalent to over 5,000 positions, comes a day after Intel posted a fourth-quarter earnings report that did little to dispel concerns about a slowing PC industry.

“This is part of aligning our human resources to meet business needs,” spokesman Chris Kraeuter told Reuters on Friday.

The job reductions may include early retirement, attrition and other options, Kraeuter added. He declined to say whether details of the changes had been announced internally.

I predict more layoffs and not just in New Mexico and it sounds like they will be in the first quarter of 2014.

In its report on Thursday, Intel forecast March-quarter restructuring charges of $200 million, a portion of which could be earmarked for severance pay.

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I Was Laid Off From Intel

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On 11/12/13 I reported to a conference room on the 3rd floor of the RR5 building at the Intel Rio Rancho, New Mexico site. All technicians were to report at their designated time to find out their employment status. My manager stated he had to read from the script and the only part I remember from that script was that “my skills were found to be less than my peers”, or something to that effect. I was notified by my manager that I was “redeployed”, Intel’s term for people that are being laid off. I was told that I would still be employed until 1/15/2014 but that I did not need to come in unless I wanted to.

Intel had announced a few months before that this layoff was going to happen. While I had been mentally preparing myself for it and thinking about what would happen if I did get laid off I wasn’t really expecting to be let go. I had talked to my manger the day before and he didn’t indicate that he was expecting me to be let go. Of course he wouldn’t have any way to know for sure. He wasn’t involved in the decision making process other than to fill out a “skills matrix” of some kind on me. I don’t have any reason to believe that he wrote something like “this guy has no skillz!”. In fact my performance review for the previous year was quite good and my manager was discussing a promotion for me in the next year or two. He was also encouraging me to go to school to finish my degree. Things seemed pretty positive from my point of view.

If I was missing some sort of skills or I was supposed to know something, at least as far as my manger and I was concerned, I think I would have known. My performance reviews haven’t always been good. Whether I thought they were fair or not, I have had a few bad performance reviews over the last 18 years. Bad enough that I think it may have had an impact. This layoff wasn’t supposed to have anything to do with performance. It was supposed to be all skills based. It’s mystery to my exactly what caused me to be on HR’s shit list, but I’m not believing that this layoff was completely skills based.

Intel did a number of things to make this process go easy on the employees. I effectively got a 2 month paid vacation, they waited until the beginning of the year before I was terminated allowing me to get bonuses and other benefits and I get a severance. They could have given no notice and just terminated my employment immediately.

I have moved on and accepted what has happen. It wasn’t easy especially with 18 years at Intel, it hurt. Feelings of rejection and “why me” had a much bigger impact on me than I expected and its hard not to hold a little resentment over how it all went down. But I was better prepared for this layoff financially than the last one in 2006. I am already taking classes to start a career in another industry. Hopefully New Mexico provides jobs in that industry or I may be moving out of state.

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Intel Still Not Opening Fab 42 In Chandler

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According to azcentral.com “Intel says factory to stay shut for now

Intel has confirmed it is leaving vacant a massive new multibillion-dollar computer-chip factory in Chandler that President Barack Obama once touted as a symbol of the future of U.S. manufacturing.

No employees are working in the facility, known as Fab 42, which was completed late last year and was to bring 1,000 jobs and a $5.2 billion company investment.

Don’t worry, the Intel Spokesperson puts a positive spin on the news.

“It doesn’t matter which building they work in; we’ve already increased the workforce by more than 1,000 people at that work site,” Mulloy said.

There’s an interesting note from PC Mag “Intel Scraps Plans to Open Cutting-Edge Arizona Chip Plant

The chip giant received $3.3 million in state tax credits from Arizona for creating about 1,000 new permanent jobs with Fab 42, the Arizona Republic noted in a report breaking the news that the facility has been put on permanent hiatus.
Intel has in fact kept its end of that deal, adding more than 1,000 new workers to its payroll in the state—they just work at other Intel manufacturing facilities in the area, according to Mulloy.
Intel is painting its decision not to open Fab 42 as a simple matter of finding a more efficient means of getting to 14nm production at existing facilities. But it’s hard not to see the impact of a slumping PC market on this development—Gartner recently characterized the double-digit drop in PC shipments in 2013 as the “worst decline in PC market history.”

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New Mexico Has No Jobs

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From the Wall Street Journal “New Mexico Looks to Diversify Employer Mix

Bordered by states with rapidly expanding economies, New Mexico remains unable to improve much on an anemic recovery and officials trace it to one root cause: an overreliance on government jobs.

New Mexico posted nonfarm job growth of 0.2% from October 2012 to October 2013, compared with 2.4% in Texas, 1.9% in Colorado, and 1.7% in Arizona, according to a December report by the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions. New Mexico is still down about 40,000 nonfarm jobs compared with late 2007.

The article goes on to give some examples on how the state government is trying to bring in business such as tax cuts. It seems to be too little too late and I’m afraid the worse is to come for New Mexico.

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New Mexico Means New Navel of the Moon

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From “Infographic: The Literal Meaning Of Every State Name In The U.S.

The New Navel of the Moon. It’s so poetic, isn’t it? (And sure, maybe a bit anatomically confusing.) That’s the real meaning behind the state name New Mexico, and it’s one of many etymological gems uncovered by cartographers Stephan Hormes and Silke Peust while they were creating this U.S. map depicting the original, literal meanings behind the states and cities we know today.