Interesting stuff from our partners at the Santa Fe Reporter -- a site redesign. Which you likely know since you are reading it here.
The site has a cleaner look -- and the Morning Word gets its own tab in the new blog area. The Weekly Word, the weekly podcast that will be up later today on both websites, is available below that.
I guess I could continue to describe the site -- or you can just keep exploring the new-look webiste.
Always fun to see a new look to a website -- especially when you look at around 35 every night.
On to the Word:
- Allegations of "threats, reprisals and retaliation" at the Disability Determination Services. The Santa Fe Reporter:
Rodriguez is suing DDS, a state agency funded completely by the federal government, for discrimination, retaliation and violation of the Whistleblower Protection Act. She claims her employers discriminated against her with “threats, reprisals and retaliation” for her own disability, major depression disorder.
“I’d go to work and get beat up,” Rodriguez says. “They made me feel horrible. They made me feel like I was just incompetent.”
- There were school board and school board funding elections across the state. A brief overview. An Albuquerque school board seat is separated by just two votes, the Albuquerque Journal reports. Two incumbents and Breaking Bad actor Steven Michael Quezada won election. The school bond in Santa Fe easily passed. The Santa Fe Reporter has the results of two school board elections as well. In Las Cruces the incumbents kept their school board seats. Aztec voter rejected a property tax used to pay for school improvements, while Bloomfield passed a similar proposal, the Farmington Daily-Times reports. The Daily-Times also reports that the incumbents won and the property tax extension passed for the Central Consolidated School District. In Rio Rancho, the school board President will be joined by two new members. Alamogordo voters passed a mill levy for the schools. New board members means a potential power shift in Las Vegas according to the Las Vegas Optic. And the Ruidoso Municipal School Distirct Board could also be seeing a power shift, the Ruidoso News says. The Deming Public Schools Board will have two new faces, reports the Deming Headlight. The Taos News has the results for Taos, Questa and Peñasco's school board elections which includes one Questa school board member going down -- significant because of that board's troubles that led to a suspension of the entire board by the state education department.
- A bill to allow 17-year olds to vote in primaries, provided they would be 18 by the general election, cleared a House panel, New Mexico Capitol Report says.
- Capitol Report New Mexico says there has been plenty of talk but no real movement on pension reform fixes. Look for a discussion on this in the Weekly Word podcast that will be up before noon.
- The Associated Press finds that a legislator with the most per diem received nearly $21,000 in 2012. New Mexico legislators are "citizen" legislators which means that they are not paid -- but they get per diem and mileage for legislative hearings.
- It is perfectly legal to carry your gun at the Roundhouse.
- A bill to end "golden parachutes" failed to clear a House committee today, with legislators saying it would Amie New Mexico less competitive.
- A report from a Washington D.C.-based transportation group finds that New Mexico's infrastructure is in dire need of upgrades. Albuquerque Business First reports on the findings:
According to the TRIP report:
21 percent of New Mexico’s major roads are in either poor or mediocre condition
44 percent of roads in the Albuquerque metro area are in poor or mediocre condition
23 percent of Santa Fe’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition
Driving on rough roads costs the average New Mexico motorist $236 annually and $322 million in vehicle operating costs
The average Albuquerque driver loses $392 each year due to deteriorated roads; $310 for the average Santa Fe driver
- Meanwhile, a bill that would provide money for unfinished road projects is in the legislature. KUNM has the report.
This year HB 410 is aimed at taking one-quarter of the four-percent excise tax paid on every car purchase and putting it in a highway project fund. Over time the state transportation commission would issue bonds and repay them from the fund. Representative Lundstrom says the initial $50-million from excise taxes would be used to complete languishing road projects in all parts of the state:
- There are no plans for layoffs or furloughs at Sandia National Labs.
- A report finds that non-profit funds don't go to the low income schools.
The study, prepared for the Santa Fe Community Foundation with information culled from the district’s database, found that seven local funders — including the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation and Dollars4Schools — donate the majority of the district’s funding from nonprofits and other private donors — about $1.9 million annually. Funders prefer to invest in nonprofits rather than give directly to the school district, the report found.
- Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall want funding for cleaning up Los Alamos National Labs.
- Farmington city councilors will face challenges in approving a city budget.
A presentation on the city's finances delivered during a Tuesday morning work session revealed little promise for a recovery. The city's gross receipts tax revenue is $898,000, or 3.6 percent, below budget for the current fiscal, according to the financial report.
Gross receipts taxes — similar to a sales tax but charged on businesses or other service providers — provide the city with 67.5 percent of its general fund revenue.
- The Las Cruces Sun-News reports on the annual chile conference in Las Cruces. There was a slight increase (100 acres) in land where chile was grown.
And while that may be seen by some as a positive, the problems that caused the New Mexico pepper industry's decline are still there, experts said. Among them are higher labor costs than in competitor countries, a crop that's vulnerable to plant-killing diseases and an irrigation water shortage locally.
- A Santa Fe pastor refuses to give out marriage certificates unless
- KUNM reports on Bernalillo County's upcoming gun buyback event.
- Will a big box liquor store force out local liquor stores? KOB says that Kelly's Liquors, at least, is worried.