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Morning Word: Griego Arraignment Set

July 15, 2016, 7:30 am
Griego Arraignment Scheduled
Former state Sen. Phil Griego, who is accused of using his political influence to earn a real estate commission on the sale of a state-owned historic building, will be arraigned July 22. Griego has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Police Tactics Revealed
Jeff Proctor, who is spending a year writing about criminal justice and policing for New Mexico In Depth, discovered that APD narcotics officers stormed a legally operated state-run needle exchange program in Albuquerque at the end of June. The incident “highlights the complicated push and pull between the sacred duty of the police to enforce the law and another sacred duty: protecting the health of the public, particularly its most vulnerable segments.” Proctor also reports that eyewitness accounts paint a different picture than the one described by officers in their official reports.

Study: Charter Schools Have Funding Advantage
A new study prepared by the Legislative Education Study Committee reveals that funding formulas give charter schools about $15 more per student than public schools. “In Albuquerque, for example, traditional public schools receive about $7,400 for each student while that city’s charter schools get about $8,700 per student,” Robert Nott reports.
The reasons include statutory language that allows charter schools to take advantage of the state’s small-school funding formula — designed to give rural school districts adequate money to operate — and a law that let’s charter schools begin new programs with funding that doesn’t require legislative approval.
Lawmakers on the committee also heard that low pay rates continue to stifle teacher recruitment.

Graduation Rates Up but Initiative’s Goal Unmet
College graduation rates are on the rise in New Mexico, but the rate of increase is less than "Mission: Graduate’s" goal to produce an additional 60,000 new college graduates in Bernalillo, Sandoval, Valencia and Torrance counties by 2020.

NMSU Cuts Degree Program to Save Money
As New Mexico State University colleges and divisions look for ways to cut their operating budgets up to 6.2 percent, Heath Haussamen reports NMSU is eliminating the school’s surveying engineering degree program and the women’s equestrian team, while outsourcing employee health services to a private clinic. The University’s athletic department has also agreed to return $454,300 to the general fund.

Wildfire Update
Three forest fires in Otero County have burned 30 structures and consumed hundreds of acres, according to the Ruidoso News, which has local coverage and pictures.

Pearce Amendment Concerns Wolf Advocates
Wildlife advocates are expressing concerns about an amendment Rep. Steve Pearce added to a spending measure passed Thursday by the US House of Representatives. The plan could transfer management control of the federal Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program to state officials, a change activists contend would ensure the animals’ extinction. Read Rebecca Moss’ story at the Santa Fe New Mexican.

NYT Poll: Trump and Clinton Tied
Donald Trump plans to announce Friday that he’s picked Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to be his running mate. Before they head to Cleveland for the National Republican Convention, a new poll from The New York Times shows Trump is in a dead heat with Hillary Clinton. Her numbers appear to have slipped after the US Department of Justice announced she wouldn’t face criminal charges for storing US State Department emails on a personal computer server.

Messages Matter
An Italian restaurant in Albuquerque is in hot water with some people for writing “Black Olives Matter” on a sign to promote its evening dinner special. A picture of the sign was posted on social media and some people have criticized if for being insensitive to the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Deep Water Extends Rafting Season
The peak river rafting season is over in New Mexico, but KOAT reports the river waters are deeper this time of year than they have been in prior years. So, if you’re looking to dip your toes in some cool water this weekend, check out this video, and head north for a cool splash this weekend.

 

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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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