Year in review: Abengoa comes, goes again

Abengoa comes, goes again

Abengoa Bioenergy USA restarted its Portales bioethanol plant on Jan. 12 after two years of inactivity. Then in December, it announced plans to close again.

“There’s some really depressed market conditions right now, so we just made the decision to temporarily stop production and begin an extensive maintenance plan, so we’ll be ready to be up and running when conditions improve,” Abengoa Executive Vice President Chris Standlee said.

The plant uses dryland sorghum to manufacture bioethanol.

Sunday alcohol sales approved

Portales voters on Dec. 13 said yes to Sunday alcohol sales in restaurants — at least 53 percent of them did, which was enough for passage.

Fewer than 10 percent of the city’s 6,000 registered voters turned out for the election, which divided many.

“We need to honor the Lord’s day,” Eva Green said in explaining her opposition.

“If you don’t want to drink then don’t go buy the beer,” said supporter Dina Ortega.

Beauty Health and Science Innovations, a beauty supply manufacturing company, announced plans to open in Clovis in April 2012.

Officials said they hope to offer 350 jobs in the next five years, with an average annual wage of $31,624.

City commissioners approved a $3 million interest-free forgivable loan to entice the company.

Chase Gentry, executive director of Clovis’ economic development corporation, said BH&SI hopes to renovate an existing Clovis facility. The site for the facility had still not been announced by year’s end.

New rules for dairies

After months of negotiations, the state Environment Department, dairy industry and environmental groups reached an agreement on dairy environmental regulations.

“These agreed rule amendments will benefit dairy operators, the public and the state of New Mexico through the issuance of dairy discharge permits that will protect New Mexico’s groundwater resources in an efficient and business-friendly manner,” Environment Department Secretary David Martin said.

Walter Bradley. spokesman for the Dairy Farmers of America, said the new rules go into effect with the new year. Monitoring wells and the liners of wastewater lagoons were the major issues; Bradley said farmers mostly wanted clear parameters so they could comply with regulations.

Bars close

Clovis’ only two bars shut down. Clovis City Limits closed June 14, less than a month before Webb’s Watering Hole announced its closing.

They were the city’s only businesses dedicated solely to serving alcohol, though multiple other establishments offer a mix of dining and alcohol services.

Small-town clinic opens

Melrose opened a health clinic on July 18, giving the Curry County community of about 650 and its rural residents an option to traveling to Clovis or Portales.

The clinic was built with a $500,000 state grant and provides a full spectrum of family medical care.