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July 7, 2014

"New Mexico leads nation in alcohol-related deaths" – Santa Fe New Mexican

A study released June 26 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, titled “Contribution of Excessive Alcohol Consumption to Death and Years of Potential Life Lost in the United States,” paints a grim national picture in which New Mexico stands out as a state in unparalleled crisis.  “New Mexico has very much struggled with alcohol,” said Laura Tomedi, an alcohol epidemiologist for the New Mexico Department of Health.  “We’ve led the nation since 1997.  We have the highest alcohol-related death rate, and we lead the pack by a pretty fair margin.” – 7/6/2014


July 3, 2014

"New Mexico residents angry over housing immigrants" – Santa Fe New Mexican

A federal facility in Artesia that is currently housing immigrant families from Central America who are in the United States illegally is causing controversy in the area.  Residents crowded a town hall meeting Tuesday to express anger at the opening of the temporary detention center.  The federal facility was chosen by the Department of Homeland Security because it is “a more appropriate environment for the care and custody of adults with children and is cost-effective.” – 7/2/2014

June 30, 2014

"New Mexico texting while driving law goes into effect Tuesday" – Las Cruces Sun News

New Mexico drivers will be prohibited from using cellphones to send or view text messages while driving when a new law to prevent distracted driving goes into effect on Tuesday.  In March, Gov. Susana Martinez signed Senate Bill 19, which penalizes drivers for texting while their vehicles are in motion.  The bill becomes law on Tuesday.


"Las Cruces sales tax to rise Tuesday" – Las Cruces Sun News

Expect to pay more for that green enchilada plate – or just about anything else you buy in the city.  Starting Tuesday, the gross receipts tax – often called sales tax – is going up in Las Cruces according to City Manager Robert Garza.  That means residents are going to have to pay more — about 37.5 cents on a $100 purchase – for most products and services inside the city.  Though the tax is assessed to businesses, they often pass it on to customers. – 6/30/2014

July 1, 2014

"Diego Fire grows in Santa Fe National Forest" – Santa Fe New Mexican

A lighting-caused fire in the Santa Fe National Forest’s Coyote Ranger District grew to over 1,000 acres as of Monday afternoon.  The Diego Fire was first detected on June 25.  Donna Nemeth, public information officer for the Santa Fe National Forest, said the fire covered an area of about 100 acres before a 30-acre spot fire sprung up Sunday morning. The latter burned its way into the main fire, expanding the conflagration.


"Sheriff's deputies enforcing 100 Days and Nights of Summer" – Las Cruces Sun News

Doña Ana County sheriff's deputies will join 65 other agencies throughout New Mexico in the annual 100 Days and Nights of Summer public safety campaign beginning Tuesday.  The initiative, grant-funded by the New Mexico Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Division, provides overtime pay for saturation patrols, checkpoints and added enforcement during a 100-day period from July through September. – 6/30/2014

June 27, 2014

"New Mexico court restricts high-interest loans" – Santa Fe New Mexican

The state Supreme Court ruled Thursday that “signature loans” that have interest rates ranging from 1,147.14 to 1,500 percent violate New Mexico law.  The case involved an appeal by Attorney General Gary King against two former payday lending companies, B&B Investment Group Inc. and American Cash Loans.  In its 19-page opinion, the court unanimously found that the companies took advantage of borrowers’ lack of knowledge and directed their employees to describe the loan cost in terms of a “misleading daily rate.” – 6/26/2014


"Ruling Grants Patients Direct Access to Lab Results" – Cure

According to a ruling passed in February by the US Department of Health and Human Services, patients no longer have to go through the doctor who ordered clinical tests to learn the results.  Instead they can get the results directly from the lab.  “Information like lab results can empower the patients to track their health progress, make decisions with their healthcare professionals an adhere to important treatment plans,” former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a press release.  The federal rule revises the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) of 1988 to allow labs to provide complete test results to a patient or a patient’s designated representative upon request.  The rule also removes an exception under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 that protected health information at CLIA certified or CLIA exempt laboratories.  Patients can continue to receive lab results from their physicians, but this new ruling provides patients another option for access.  The final rule is available for review at the Federal Register.