Since she was a child, Antonella Riega was interested in NASA.

However, when she began her studies at Central New Mexico Community College in biology and at the University of New Mexico in Spanish, she never thought she would have the opportunity, especially because she was not majoring in engineering.

That changed this September when she found a flyer at CNM that led her to become a part of a program at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

Albuquerque joined six hundred cities across the globe Saturday by participating in the “A21 Walk for Freedom” to raise awareness about human trafficking.

A21 is an international organization leading the anti-trafficking and anti-slavery campaign, “Walk for Freedom.” The walk intended to inform the public, while encouraging victims of human trafficking to share their stories to prevent modern-day slavery from continuing.

By 10:30 a.m. a line of marchers stretched along the sidewalk of Louisiana Blvd. from Cutler Ave. to Indian School Rd.

University of New Mexico students gathered in the Student Union Building Tuesday to hear motivational speaker coach Ken Carter.

Carter is known across the nation as the man who locked his Richmond High School Oilers basketball team out of the gym and discontinued their season when they were not performing well academically in 1999.

Hundreds of balloons took over the Albuquerque sky this Saturday at Balloon Fiesta Park as part of the 46th International Balloon Fiesta.

Albuquerque’s first Balloon Fiesta took place on April 8, 1972 at the Coronado Center with 13 balloons. Albuquerque native Jim Madden attended the first fiesta and has been enjoying the event ever since.

Over time, he was on chase crews, “riding with some of the wildest people you could imagine, especially one fellow from England, and he decided he could land anywhere he wanted. You weren’t allowed to land on the reservations or go over the zoo. Those places he wanted to do,” Madden said.

New facility aims to support student veterans

On the corner of Central Ave. and University Blvd. stands the new Veterans Support Building. Initiated by UNM at the end of last year, the facility aims to help veteran students in their transition from military to civilian life.

Eliberto Calderón, president of the Student Veterans Association of UNM, said that students are surprised to find out that they have a new facility with different resources to help them in their studies. The office was previously located in the Student Union Building in a small room without the proper environment or resources that they needed.

Local org advocates for a greener campus

Environment New Mexico unveiled their 10-point plan that aims to assist colleges and universities with the transition to using 100 percent renewable energy on Tuesday at a press conference at the University of New Mexico.

“Our message today is clear: colleges and universities across the country are situated to lead the charge in transitioning to a 100 percent clean, renewable energy future,” said Sanders Moore, the state director of Environment New Mexico Research and Policy Center.

The plan, titled “Renewable Energy 101: Ten Tools for Moving your Campus to 100 Percent Clean Energy,” consists of 10 options to help institutions in New Mexico establish a 100 percent clean, renewable energy system.

“UNM has the ability, and the knowledge, to lead by taking bold steps to shift to clean energy and greatly reduce pollution,” Moore said.

Lobo reporter catches a lift for the festival

Once again the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has arrived, painting our city with colorful hot air balloons.

Pilots from across the country and globe gathered on Saturday, Oct. 7 in the grass fields behind the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum to kick off this nine-day event with a Mass Ascension, in which hundreds of balloonists take to the air in two separate waves starting at 7 a.m.

The only thing better than seeing this event up close on the field might be the opportunity to actually ride in one of the balloons. And this reporter got that chance, as part of the passenger group that flew with pilot Pat Harwell of Shreveport, Louisiana — he is a veteran pilot with over 3,000 hours of flight experience.

Brief: Local org encourages anti-militarism action

Anti-militarism activist groups across the world are acknowledging the first annual Global Action Against Military Bases week beginning Saturday, Oct. 7.

The week is meant to show solidarity with activists around the globe who have been resisting occupation, militarism and foreign bases for years, according to a press release by the Albuquerque anti-war group Stop the War Machine.

SWM organizes events to protest and educate the community about the harm of militarism.

“Uniting our resistance into a global action for peace and justice will make our voices louder, our power stronger and more radiant,” the release said.

Local businesses help to fund Balloon Fiesta

As Albuquerque comes together to enjoy the International Balloon Fiesta’s festivities, business owners do their best to contribute to their community.

Griffin & Associates, a business that got its start in Albuquerque, is one of the event sponsors and currently employs multiple Univesity of New Mexico alumni and provides internships to students.

“As a leading communications company, Griffin & Associates is committed to providing the highest level of personalized service to our clients,” said Joanie Griffin, CEO and founder of Griffin & Associates. “We focus on crafting unique marketing approaches to advance the awareness of our clients’ products and services. Griffin & Associates is dedicated to proactive leadership, devising creative media-based solutions to marketing opportunities and consistently assessing the needs and objectives of our clients.”

Brief: Participants scream, “I’m Pickle Rick!” to support hurricane relief

A University of New Mexico student wants to help hurricane relief efforts — the way she did it: screaming, “I’m Pickle Rick!”

On Oct. 5 people from the Albuquerque community gathered in front of the Student Union Building at the University of New Mexico to yell, “I’m Pickle Rick,” a phrase made popular by the animated comedy series Rick and Morty.

Leilani Stallings, a junior at UNM, organized the event through Facebook. She said she got her idea from friends at the University of California, Berkeley, who were hosting events like “run like Naruto in front of the library or scream ‘my leg’ in front of the park,” Stallings said.

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