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Morning Word: Food Stamp Problems 'More Egregious' than Perceived

July 7, 2016, 8:00 am
Independent Oversight Proposed
An inspector at the New Mexico Human Services Department told a federal judge that he hasn’t completed his investigation into allegations that state employees forged food aid applications, but he added that “potential wrongdoing” may be more egregious than anyone perceived

Lawyers representing people impacted by the department’s mismanagement of federal food and medical benefits have proposed an independent manager provide outside oversight on the way those programs are administered, but journalist Justin Horwath reports HSD Secretary Brent Earnest believes a “less extreme” plan is needed to help the department comply with a consent decree in the decadesold class action lawsuit.
[Earnest] wants the court to order the appointment of a consultant with expertise in the welfare programs who can train employees in field offices across the state and update the court on the department’s progress in complying with federal law.”
Griego Broker Feels Cheated
During the second day of a preliminary hearing in Albuquerque, a former speaker of the state House and a cabinet secretary testified that Phil Griego pushed hard to enable the sale of a historic state building in Santa Fe in 2014. A qualifying real estate broker also testified that he felt cheated by Griego after he received a smaller fee than the men had previously agreed would be paid.

Albuquerque Crime Rates Up
The number of violent and property crimes reached a 10-year high in Albuquerque in 2015, bucking a national trend that shows a slight decrease in crimes. 
Violent crime, which includes homicide, rape, aggravated assault and robbery, jumped by 9.6 percent while property crime, such as burglary, auto theft larceny and arson, was up 11.7 percent. 
Cannabis Group Sponsors Pow Wow
A medical marijuana producer will be the title sponsor at the next Gathering of Nations Pow Wow in Albuquerque. Ultra Health, a state licensed cannabis producer, was rejected when it applied to sponsor the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta last fall.

Another Solitary Confinement Lawsuit
The family of a 15-year-old boy has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Curry County Juvenile Detention Center officials they claim aggravated their son’s autism when they isolated him in solitary confinement for nearly a year.

Holm Ranked Top State Athlete
MSN Sports ranks UFC fighter Holly Holm the top athlete in New Mexico this year. The former world champ is back in the ring on July 23. She’s scheduled to fight Valentina Shevchenko in Chicago.

Jones Faces Doping Allegation
Meanwhile, another Albuquerque fighter, Jon Jones, has been dropped from his upcoming UFC fight after an “apparent doping violation.”

Correction: Santa Fe Public Schools Superintendent Joel Boyd has accepted a job with a California-based firm, but he tells SFR he's not necessarily "leaving for California," as Morning Word reported yesterday. Boyd's work will have him traveling, he says, and he might just keep his home base in Santa Fe. (And we also goofed on his first name. Sorry, Joel.)

 

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Morning Word: Death Penalty Reinstatement Would Cost State Millions

Morning Word At the same time New Mexico lawmakers are trying to shore up the state’s budget, the New Mexico Public Defender's Office is questioning the costs associated with reinstating the death penalty.  ... More

Sept. 22, 2016 by Peter St. Cyr

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