--2 Morning Word: Las Cruces election results
Sept. 24, 2017
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Morning Word: Las Cruces election results

Questions on Medicaid repayment and more NM news...

November 6, 2013, 8:00 am
By Matthew Reichbach
  • Incumbents had a good night in the Las Cruces city council races. The Las Cruces Sun-News has the full unofficial results from the municipal elections.
  • New Mexico In Depth won't be done any time soon, the AG's office told legislators on Tuesday.
  • Remember when I said Martinez's trip to New Jersey to campaign for Chris Christie (who won reelection easily) would spark Martinez for VP rumors? KOB jumps on the train.
  • The AP looks at a father who says the behavioral health shakeup was the cause of his two autistic sons being unable to get some services.
    Hashem Faidi, a state Department of Transportation engineer, told a legislative panel that his two autistic sons no longer receive behavioral management services after school and during holidays.

    “Hopefully with your help, we can get back these services. It’s really essential for kids,” Faidi said.
  • A Navajo Nation district court judge accused of bribery denies any wrongdoing.
    The prosecutor's office alleges that Tso tried to bribe Ruby Benally, a prosecutor with the Shiprock Office of the Prosecutor, to dismiss criminal charges against his sister and niece. Tso said neither his sister nor his niece have been charged in the case.
  • Another area where teachers are not happy with the new teacher evaluation plans? Taos. The Taos News has the report.
    Some teachers complain the evaluation system relies too heavily on student test scores, forcing teachers to spend what they say is an unacceptable amount of time teaching to the tests. Many teachers in the Taos area echo this sentiment.

    Rod Weston, superintendent of The Taos Municipal School District, told The Taos News that Jennifer Dray, a teacher at Enos García Elementary School, calculated that 80 days of instruction are interrupted because of testing. Dray could not be reached for comment.
  • The Center for Civic Policy has a billboard pressuring Sen. Sapien on tapping the state Land Grant Permanent Fund for early childhood education. Milan Simonich isn't a fan of the billboard and calls it a cheap attack on Sapien, the chairman of the Senate Education Committee.
  • Margaret Wright writes about the troubles of trying to get public information officers to get back to her.
    After interviewing demonstrators at Public Education rally one night, I called PED’s spokesperson Behrens the next morning for comment. It was two hours before my deadline. He replied that it’s courteous to allow spokespeople more time to formulate comments. I sent a few questions to him via email. As the hours slipped by with no response, my editor Marisa Demarco decided to post the story without the department’s responses, saying we could publish Behrens’ answers as a separate piece. He sent his replies in the next morning.

    Sadly, he still hasn’t replied to my request to reschedule an interview with Skandera.
  • The Doña Ana County commission named Julia Brown as the new county manager.
  • Mid-Heights Messenger looks at the last of Albuquerque Public Schools' town hall meetings.
  • The Albuquerque Journal reports on the cost of implementing the Affordable Care Act to the city of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.
    The ACA imposes a $5.42 monthly fee on each of the 22,700 members of the health insurance pool, which is purchased from Presbyterian Health Plan by the city and county, along with Sandoval County, the city of Belen, the towns of Bernalillo, Edgewood and Mountainair, several villages – Tijeras, Cuba, Corrales and Bosque Farms among them – and agencies such as the city/county Water Authority.

    The law requires $5.25 per member per month be collected through 2016 to help states fund high-risk pools for individuals who purchase insurance.
    In short, the Affordable Care Act says those who were unable to get health care before and need treatment will take advantage of the new chance to get health care. So this fee is designed to help pay for that treatment.
  • About 118,000 New Mexicans will qualify for health insurance subsidies through the Affordable Care Act. In all, nearly 200,000 will be able to shop for insurance on the exchange.
  • Two estimates on what will happen to the cost of health care are wildly divergent. The Manhattan Institute, a libertarian think tank, looked at just the lowest paying plans.
  • An audit found the New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs spent some money in eyebrow raising ways.
  • The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that e-signatures cannot be used on campaign forms in Santa Fe municipal races.
    That opinion says “candidates must turn in copies of the qualifying contribution form signed by the contributor,” and “the plain language of the Code talks about signing the form.” Shandler cited a 2009 appellate ruling that said when the state Legislature “used the terms 'signature’ and 'sign,’ it contemplated that a handwritten name would satisfy the requirement.”

    Several products on the market, such as Echo Sign, allow someone to make an electronic donation. After they type their name, Echo Sign uses “a cursive type font that makes it look like a signature,” Shandler wrote. But he said if there were an accusation of a fraudulent signature, “it would be largely fruitless for election officials to compare the electronic signature against a voter’s signature on the voter registration card.”
  • U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says teacher evaluations are not a federal issue.
  • State Sen. Linda Lopez, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, says education reform is not what it seems.
    The growing list of situations teachers are forced to deal with beyond the classroom is unfortunately becoming the norm of the profession. But what has not been the norm are the adversarial conditions being forced upon them by a tyrannical Governor Susana Martinez administration that has proven itself oblivious to their concerns, their situations and -- most of all -- their dignity. Our teachers have become trapped between an unscrupulous, education-privatization movement that veils itself behind a “reform” mantra, and a rapidly expanding population of poor-performing students who are not getting the support at home, or society, to succeed.
  • Despite a promise by Navajo Nation President Ben Shelley, roundups of feral horses on the Navajo Nation continue.
    According to Erny Zah, Shelly's spokesman, the reservation-wide roundups endorsed by the Navajo Nation Council and Shelly over the summer, will continue to occur until an official memorandum of understanding is executed between Shelly and Richardson and the Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife occurs.

    In an interview with the Navajo Times on Tuesday, Zah told the Navajo Times that the MOA Shelly and Richardson agreed to approximately two weeks ago is only one "in principle."
  • Supporters of a ban on oil and gas extraction in Las Vegas defended the ban Monday night.
  • The Alamogordo school board wants to increase public participation at meetings. Currently, the public can only comment on items on the school board's agenda.
  • The percentage of prisoners in New Mexico that are in solitary confinement is above the national average.
  • The woman who handed out anti-abortion flyers to children on Halloween stands by her decision to do so.
    She said she plans to do it again next year and eventually put up more signs.

    Residents have said it wasn’t the material, but rather the timing and manner in which the messages were handed out.
  • State Fair officials were happy with attendance numbers at the State Fair. Even though they were low, officials said it was due to bad weather and that they were glad it did as well as it did.
  • Ruidoso village councilors are uncertain about how to deal with water rate increases.
    The hang-up on the residential side hinged on whether the amount of water included in a base rate should be 2,000 gallons or 3,000 per month. Both figures are less than the current 4,000 gallons allowed. Councilors agreed to eliminate summer seasonal surcharges, but Councilor Gloria Sayers insisted that commodity fees should cover the actual cost of producing the water consumed, which is $5.74 per thousand gallons.

    On the commercial side of the operation, representing about 550 customers, councilors wrestled with whether to go with a flat commodity rate of $7 per thousand gallons, how to handle residential projects that mix condominiums, time-share and rentals, and how to avoid penalizing the "economic engine" of commercial businesses that generate gross receipts taxes, the village's main economic fuel.
  • The city council in Portales passed an ordinance against the sale of synthetic marijuana. If a smoke shop is caught selling synthetic marijuana three times, it will strip the business of its license.
  • A group wants the Clovis City Commission to address synthetic marijuana as well.
  • New Mexico Mercury writes about the local microbrewery scene in New Mexico -- and how there are some damn fine beers brewed in the state, with six breweries medaling at the prestigious Great American Beer Festival in Denver.
    Mark Matheson, brew master at Rio Rancho’s Turtle Mountain Brewing Co., sees craft beer’s popularity dovetailing with the “locavore” or farm-to-table movement. In short, the more people want locally sourced foods, the more they thirst for locally sourced drinks. Likewise, for Nico Ortiz—Turtle Mountain owner and founder—the experience of drinking at a local brew pub is a lot like dining at Los Poblanos. He says, “You can see the gardens out back. You know that what you’re eating traveled from that garden to the kitchen to your plate.”
    As loyal Morning Word readers know, a great way to get in the Word is by writing about microbrews.
  • Sad brewery news as the Marble Brewery in Santa Fe lost its lease and needs to find a new location. The owners of Marble say they think the owner will be putting his own tap room in the area.
  • Tip for teachers: Don't post that you want to kill one of your students on Facebook.
  • Taos Ski Area got 14 inches of snow from the recent storm. Not a bad start for the best ski area in the state.


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