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Morning Word: Shutdown coming to an end?

And the rest of New Mexico's news

October 15, 2013, 8:00 am
By Matthew Reichbach
  • New Mexico Senators are optimistic about a compromise plan to end the government shutdown and, more importantly, avert breaking the debt limit.
  • The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government considered giving open government awards to Gov. Susana Martinez and Attorney General Gary King.
    FOG’s executive board chairwoman, Terri Cole, who also is executive director of the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, denied Monday that the open-government organization leans conservative. “It is a very well-balanced board,” she said.

    Cole said she saw no irony in nominating Martinez and King for a William S. Dixon Award — despite the fact that the governor has been the defendant in public-records suits and King was found by a judge to be in violation of the state Inspection of Public Records Act.
  • Gov. Susana Martinez says evidence backs allegations of abuse at a youth ranch that has been in the news for the past few days. The ranch owners are suing the Children, Youth and Families Department over the investigation.
  • Student loan default rates are up around New Mexico.
    All of New Mexico's six main universities except for New Mexico Tech saw rates rise this year for students who enrolled in fall 2010, following national patterns.

    The so called "fiscal year 2010 three-year cohort" includes students who have begun to repay their loans or have defaulted by failing to do so.
  • The Albuquerque Journal writes that the most recent municipal results cast doubts on public financing as a viable option for candidates.
  • The state will pay 55 furloughed National Guard workers for a week.
  • Rep. Michelle Lujan-Grisham looked at local banks and businesses that are aiding furloughed federal workers.
  • NBC made their way to Los Alamos to talk to local businesses about the impact of the shutdown.
  • San Juan County is not on board with the Medicaid funding plan by the state.
    The human services department is proposing to re-direct a gross receipts tax that funds counties' "Indigent Health Care Programs" to pay for the cost of the Medicaid expansion.

    San Juan County Executive Officer Kim Carpenter said that proposal will lead to closures at local agencies that receive funding from the county's indigent program, or the county would have to find another revenue source to keep the programs operating.
  • A website by an environmental group is looking at Martinez's environmental record.
  • The state lottery fund is still in danger of running out of money and no solutions are forthcoming.
  • Eddy County volunteer fire chiefs walked off the job.
    A majority of Eddy County's volunteer fire department officials apparently went on an immediate leave of absence Monday night during a meeting of the Eddy County Fire Board. The volunteer fire chiefs walked out of the meeting in protest after a speech by Malaga Volunteer Fire Department's assistant fire chief Roy Burkham.
  • Two names were added back to Las Cruces municipal election ballot after a judge's order.
  • New Mexico is aiming at attracting more "culinary tourism."
  • A $13 million second part of the renovation of the Albuquerque Convention Center is starting.
  • Alamogordo is seeking $1.5 million for a mobile desalinization facility.
    Dubbed the "Snake Tank" project, the city wants to pipe water from brackish well fields north of Tularosa and remove accumulated solids so it can be used as drinking water.

    The city completed the first and second phases of the planned desalination plant earlier this year.
  • Four NMSU students are part of a documentary on rural New Mexican students.
    "Our Time is Now" follows the students as they navigate through numerous difficulties facing rural students: Waylon Castillo (Torreon) is Navajo and lives without running water or electricity and helps provide the basic needs for his family; Jimmy McFarland (Farmington) faces the challenges of poverty and lives with a family torn apart by addiction; Juan Mendez (Portales) balances his English-speaking school and his Spanish-speaking home; Mitch Estevan (Acoma) stays rooted in her Pueblo traditions as she works hard to be the school's valedictorian; Vicky Garza (Deming) lost her mother and must hold down a fast food job to help support her family; and Tiqua Speir (Deming) must separate from the stability of her fifth-generation farm family.
  • The Shiprock chapter of the Navajo Nation got rid of a resolution opposing the purchase of a coal mine.
    On Monday, chapter members voted to delete the item from their meeting agenda because Diné CARE did not return with a revised resolution calling for the chapter to oppose the tribe's purchase of the mine.

    Chapter members tabled the resolution Sept. 22 because there was concern over the resolution's language.
  • A Dona Ana Community College professor is suing New Mexico State University over allegedly losing part-time work after telling students about problems with DACC's nursing program.
    "He strived to give students full and fair information about the loss of accreditation ... and because some of that was explicitly or implicitly critical of the administration, he was terminated," said attorney Peter Goodman, who is prosecuting the case with attorney Ben Furth. Goodman is an occasional Sun-News guest columnist.

    NMSU, which oversees DACC, did not respond to questions on the lawsuit.
  • Richard Berry's Innovate Albuquerque will get some funds from the recently passed general obligation bonds passed by Albuquerque voters.
  • A Rio Arriba County sheriff's deputy is running for Taos County Sheriff.
  • The village of Ruidoso is questioning its planning and inspection role in the county.
    "We've been discussing this department with (New Mexico Superintendent of Regulation and Licensing J. Dee Dennis, who oversees the state Construction Industry Division) and (Lincoln County Manager) Nita Taylor and there a lot of questions still out there. With the article in the newspaper about (Lincoln County Commissioner) Mark Doth saying the county possibly should be getting a piece of the pie. I'm very concerned budget wise," Dean said. "I think it would be a good idea to meet and discuss where we see the department going in the future. I understood this department was making money to support itself, but then Mr. Doth said in the paper we might be subsidizing it $150,000 to $200,000. Before we just start steam rolling forward, I think we should as a council meet and really decide what we need,. Because if we are spending that much money in that department, we might want to look at the state taking over some of these inspections and it doesn't cost us a thing. I just think it's something as a council we need to discuss."
  • Meatless Mondays are coming to Albuquerque Public Schools according to Public News Service.
  • Taos Municipal Schools are having a tough time recruiting math and science teachers.

 

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