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Morning Word: Winter Storm Blasts New Mexico

December 23, 2016, 12:00 am
Holiday Flights Delayed
Some parts of New Mexico will have a white Christmas after a winter storm blasted into the state, dumping snow and heavy rain in central and northern New Mexico on Thursday. This morning, KRQE reports that flights from the International Sunport in Albuquerque were delayed by fog.

Santa Fe Restaurant Cited
“After 70 state workers reported symptoms of food poisoning following a holiday luncheon, New Mexico Environment Department inspectors slapped Bad Ass Sandwich Co., recently renamed Kick Ass Sandwich Shop, with a notice of violation for not having a catering permit,” according to The Santa Fe New Mexican.

WIPP One Step Closer to Reopening
State regulators have approved the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant to re-open, “but watchdog groups questioned whether the state's decision was predetermined given the push by the US Energy Department to reopen the site before year's end.”

French Re-appointed to Bench
Stephen French, who lost his 2016 New Mexico Court of Appeals campaign, is going to keep wearing the black robe after all. Gov. Susana Martinez re-appointed him to the bench to to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Michael D Bustamante.

Martinez Wants New Healthcare System
Gov. Susana Martinez, like other Republicans, wants Obamacare repealed and an aide denies she penned a letter published on Politico urging Congress to be cautious about replacing portions of the Affordable Care Act.
The letter was drafted by officials with the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange and claimed Martinez favored a cautious approach on repealing federally mandated health insurance.
The exchange, known as beWellnm.com, is an independent agency that helps residents get insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Linda Wedeen, interim chief executive of the exchange, said her staff was trying to pull together ideas so the state could respond to Republicans in Congress. The letter had circulated among her staff but was still in draft form.
“It was not meant to be seen by anybody other than people working on it.
Unfortunately, it got out and the exchange regrets it was misconstrued by anyone that it was official,” she said. 
Sanchez said the governor never saw the letter before Politico posted it.
Another Arizona Health Care Provider Leaving New Mexico
Justin Horwath, meanwhile, reports that a fourth Arizona healthcare provider is preparing to exit. Valle Del Sol has been providing substance abuse and other mental health services to low-income New Mexicans.
Valle del Sol and the four other Arizona nonprofits began contracting with the Human Services Department in the summer of 2013 to provide treatment services for Medicaid patients after the department accused 15 New Mexico-based behavioral health contractors of fraudulent billing practices. The state froze Medicaid reimbursements to most of those organizations, and many were forced to shut down amid investigations and legal battles that continue, even after the state attorney general cleared all 15 of criminal wrongdoing.
That’s it for this week. Enjoy your holiday weekend. We’re taking Monday morning off and we’ll be back Tuesday.

 

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