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October 6, 2014

"NM health officials urge Ebola vigilance" -- Albuquerque Journal

The first Ebola case diagnosed in the United States is a “sentinel event” that has prompted health officials in New Mexico and nationally to re-examine U.S. readiness for the rare but deadly illness, a state Department of Health official said.

Chances are remote that someone with the Ebola virus will turn up at a New Mexico clinic, but state and hospital officials are alerting staff to remain vigilant with guidance from federal authorities. -- 10/4/2014

See also: CDC Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Ebola (Ebola Virus Disease) website.


"WIPP Recovery Plan briefed to stakeholders" -- WIPP Update

The Department of Energy (DOE) released the WIPP Recovery Plan on 9/30/2014 and spent the rest of the week briefing congressional leaders, national news media, regulators and stakeholders on the plan details. Mark Whitney, Acting Assistant Secretary for the DOE Office of Environmental Management, began the briefings on Tuesday with meetings on the Hill with the New Mexico congressional delegation. Additional calls were made to the New Mexico governor’s office and the New Mexico Environment Department. Whitney ended the day Tuesday by holding a national press call to answer questions about the plan.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) Recovery Plan outlines the necessary steps to resume limited waste disposal operations in the first quarter of calendar year 2016. The plan includes the projected schedule and costs associated with resumption of waste emplacement at WIPP. -- 10/3/2014


"A Competition for the Integrated Photonics Manufacturing Institute" -- White House Fact Sheet

The Department of Defense is launching a competition to award more than $100 million in federal investment matched by $100 million or more in private investment to the winning consortia to build a new Institute for Manufacturing Innovation (IMI) focused on Integrated Photonics.  This Institute will focus on developing an end-to-end photonics ‘ecosystem’ in the U.S., including domestic foundry access, integrated design tools, automated packaging, assembly and test, and workforce development. -- 10/3/2014

New Mexico’s congressional delegation said they were very pleased with the announcement. The delegation had lobbied for an Intergrated Photonics manufacturing hub to be located in the U.S. It is hoped that New Mexico will enter the competition. (See White House announcement raises hopes for New Mexico, Albuquerque Business First Morning Edition, 10/6/2014)


October 3, 2014

"Work Planned At Bandelier National Monument" - KUNM News Roundup / The Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican.

Federal officials are soliciting public comment on a plan for $1 million of repairs and improvements to Bandelier National Monument, with much of the work aimed at responding to flood-related access problems. -- 10/3//2014


"Yellow-bill cuckoo named a threatened species" -- Albuquerque Journal

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Thursday announced that the western population of the yellow-billed cuckoo has been listed as a threatened species and will be protected under the Endangered Species Act. The bird resides in 12 western states, and in Mexico and Canada, including about 280 miles of habitat along rivers in New Mexico. -- 10/3/2014

September 26, 2014

"In Record Settlement, U.S. To Pay $554 Million To Navajo Nation" – NPR News All Things Considered

The Navajo Nation is about to get the largest settlement the U.S. has ever agreed to pay to a single Native American tribe - $554 million. It will settle a lawsuit that claims the federal government mismanaged funds and natural resources on the Navajo reservation. – 9/25/2014

Note: The agreement will be signed Friday 9/26/2014 and we will post links to the full-text of the agreement when available.


"Health officials check 250 babies in El Paso and New Mexico, 36 are negative for TB" – El Paso Times

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is going over a plan submitted by Providence Memorial Hospital on how the hospital proposes to correct the alleged violations that threatened its federal funding and may have led to the massive exposure of infants to tuberculosis. "It was another busy day at the City of El Paso Department of Public Health as workers continued investigating the tuberculosis exposure that occurred at a local hospital," the city health department said in a statement. -- 9-26-14


Ranch family takes water fight to NM Supreme Court -- KRQE News

Despite recent rains drenching much of the state, New Mexico is still in a drought and as usual water is precious. That’s especially true for ranchers in rural New Mexico. They rely on rain and well water to sustain their crops, but now a company owned by a group of people who live in Italy could change all that.

The New Mexico Environmental Law Center has posted details and a chronology of the case.

October 2, 2014

Federal report: LANL violated environmental requirements -- Santa Fe New Mexican

A blistering new federal report says Los Alamos National Laboratory failed to follow its own safety procedures and ignored internal reports warning against mixing potentially volatile chemicals in the handling and packaging of nuclear waste — a series of missteps that may have led directly to a radiation leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad. -- 10/1/2014


New Mexico hopes ‘singing road’ curbs speeding -- Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico transportation officials are hoping an experiment along historic Route 66 will curb speeding.

Tigress Productions is creating a ‘singing road’ between Albuquerque and the mountain community of Tijeras for a new National Geographic Channel series dubbed Crowd Control. The show will debut in November.

The road uses a series of rumble strips to create music. The driver will hear the tune as long as the speed limit is obeyed. -- 10/1/2014

September 25, 2014

"Border agency swears in new El Paso field director" -- Las Cruces Sun News

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection formally swore in its new director of field operations for El Paso during a Tuesday change-of-command ceremony at Fort Bliss. Hector A. Mancha Jr., who began his career with the agency in 1991, assumed his new role as director of field operations early Tuesday after reciting the oath of office. Mancha replaces David P. Higgerson. -- 9-25-14


"Report faults New Mexico on mental-health services" Las Cruces Sun News

New Mexico has done a poor job of providing mental-health and substance-abuse services for needy New Mexicans despite repeatedly overhauling government programs during the past two decades, according to a legislative report released Wednesday. The state has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on behavioral health services, but it continues to have among the nation's highest rates of suicide as well as deaths from alcohol and drug overdoses, the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee report said. -- 9-25-14


"Doña Ana County launches drug discount card program" – Las Cruces Sun News

Doña Ana County officials launched a new prescription drug discount program Tuesday they say will save county residents money. To get a discount, which ranges up to 75 percent on some drugs, residents have to pick up a free prescription discount card, soon to be available at several pharmacies, hospitals and local government offices around the county. -- 9-24-14