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October 7, 2016

 
...The special legislative session originally intended to resolve the state’s budget deficit came to be dominated by partisan politics. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez added the death penalty and two other crime-and-punishment bills to the session's agenda. Martinez then scheduled the session to start just weeks before the general election in which control of the Legislature is at stake.
 
Infighting followed. Democrats said Republican House members introduced the crime bills in the middle of a financial crisis simply to try to get an edge in campaign ads for coming weeks. The session ended Thursday afternoon on an anticlimactic note with approval of a solvency package to save the budget, stopping nearly a week of political maneuvering and bickering. -- 10/7/2016
 

Authorities: 20 drug overdose deaths in New Mexico this yearLas Cruces Sun News

The New Mexico Department of Health and the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator are investigating 20 drug overdose deaths in New Mexico this year that were likely caused by illicitly manufactured fentanyl. The overdose victims ranged in age from 17 to 63 and 85 percent were male. - - 10/7/2016

September 27, 2016

U.S. Government To Pay $492 Million To 17 American Indian Tribes -- NPR The Two-Way

The U.S. government has agreed to pay a total of $492 million to 17 American Indian tribes for mismanaging natural resources and other tribal assets, according to an attorney who filed most of the suits.

In a joint press release by the Departments of Interior and Justice, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel said, "Settling these long-standing disputes reflects the Obama Administration's continued commitment to reconciliation and empowerment for Indian Country."

The settlements mark the end of a push by the Obama administration to resolve what the U.S. says is more than 100 lawsuits totaling more than $3.3 billion brought by American Indian individuals and tribal governments against the federal government. The policy of reaching settlements on the disputes, some of which date back more than a century, is part of a campaign promise the president made to American Indians before he took office. -- 9/27/2016

September 21, 2016

Game and Fish warn hunters about fatal disease -- KRQE

Game and Fish is warning hunters to be careful what animals they harvest. “Chronic Wasting Disease” has been found in the McGregor Range in southern New Mexico.

It’s recommended that hunters avoid eating meat from animals that appear sick even though there’s no proof the disease can be harmful to humans. -- 9/21/2016

September 23, 2016

Rudolfo Anaya honored for ‘pioneering stories’ -- Albuquerque Journal

In bestowing the National Humanities Medal to New Mexico’s Rudolfo Anaya, President Obama lauded the famed author for his “pioneering stories of the American Southwest.”
 
“His works of fiction and poetry celebrate the Chicano experience and reveal universal truths about the human condition,” Obama said. “And as an educator, he has spread a love of literature to new generations.”
 
Anaya, a native of New Mexico whose Southwestern-themed fiction and poetry dazzled the literary world, received the heavy bronze medal from Obama at an upbeat ceremony Thursday in the White House. -- 9/23/2016
 
 
 
A Hermosa Middle School sixth-grade science teacher has been awarded a presidential award for her effort to champion science education beyond the classroom. Cindy Colomb was one of 213 math and science teachers nationwide selected as recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, according to a White House press release. The teachers will receive their awards at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 8.
 
Colomb recently completed a project in May called Trout in the Classroom in which 170 Hermosa students traveled to the Cottonwood Campground at Navajo Dam to release 100 triploid rainbow trout into the San Juan River. The students spent five months raising the fish from eggs before they were released in the wild. The program provided students an opportunity to learn how to raise the fish, monitor the water quality in the tank, and study the growth and development of the trout. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, and the San Juan Fly Fishing Federation sponsored the program.

September 20, 2016

Self-Driving Cars Gain Powerful Ally: The Government -- New York Times

Federal auto safety regulators on Monday made it official: They are betting the nation’s highways will be safer with more cars driven by machines and not people.

In long-awaited guidelines for the booming industry of automated vehicles, the Obama administration promised strong safety oversight, but sent a clear signal to automakers that the door was wide open for driverless cars.

“We envision in the future, you can take your hands off the wheel, and your commute becomes restful or productive instead of frustrating and exhausting,” said Jeffrey Zients, director of the National Economic Council, adding that highly automated vehicles “will save time, money and lives.” -- 9/19/2016