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July 20, 2016

Governor names NM Finance Department's secretaryLas Cruces Sun News

The acting secretary of the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration has been named the new head of the department. The appointment of Dorothy "Duffy" Rodriguez was announced Monday by Gov. Susana Martinez's office. Rodriguez had been the department's acting secretary since the end of May upon the retirement of the previous secretary, Tom Clifford. - - 7/20/16

Report: Binge drinking, cigarette smoking down among NM teens– Las Cruces Sun News

The New Mexico Department of Health announced Tuesday that binge drinking and cigarette smoking is down among New Mexico high school students. Binge drinking, defined as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks on a single occasion in the past 30 days, has fallen by half in the last 10 years, from 28.6 percent in 2005 to 14.6 percent in 2015. Current cigarette smoking, or smoking cigarettes on at least one of the past 30 days, dropped to 11.4 percent in 2015 from 25.7 percent in 2005, according to an NMDoH news release. - - 7/20/16

Albuquerque-area man is NM's 2nd plague case in 2016Las Cruces Sun News

State health officials say New Mexico has a second confirmed human case of plague this year. The Department of Health Services' announcement Tuesday says the latest case involves a 77-year-old man in the Albuquerque area. The new human case follows one involving a 16-year-old Rio Arriba County boy who has since recovered. - - 7/20/16

Feds remove the lesser prairie chicken from protection listLas Cruces Sun News

Facing an uphill court fight, the U.S. government announced Tuesday it was formally removing the lesser prairie chicken from a federal protection list under the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the move follows recent court rulings in Texas that stripped the lesser prairie chicken of federal protection. However, federal officials say the removal didn't mean authorities had concluded the lesser prairie chicken didn't warrant federal protection for biological reasons. - - 7/20/16

Feds reach deal with Navajos over uranium mine cleanupLas Cruces Sun News

The federal government has reached another settlement with the Navajo Nation that will clear the way for cleanup work to continue at abandoned uranium mines across the largest American Indian reservation in the U.S. The target includes 46 sites that have been identified as priorities due to radiation levels, their proximity to people and the threat of contamination spreading. Cleanup is supposed to be done at 16 abandoned mines while evaluations are planned for another 30 sites and studies will be done at two more to see if water supplies have been compromised. The agreement announced by the U.S. Justice Department settles the tribe’s claims over the costs of engineering evaluations and cleanups at the mines. - - 7/20/16

July 1, 2016

NM Supreme Court: Doctors can’t help patients end lives – Las Cruces Sun News

The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled Thursday that terminally ill patients cannot end their lives with help from doctors, ending what right-to-die advocates thought would be a successful legal fight.

In a 5-0 opinion, the high court overturned a previous district court decision that doctors could not be prosecuted under the state’s assisted suicide law, which classifies helping with suicide as a fourth-degree felony. - - 7/1/16


Fourth hantavirus death reported in New Mexico– Las Cruces Sun News

State health officials say a 20-year-old woman from Torrance County in central New Mexico has died of Hantavirus.

The Health Department said Thursday it marks the state’s sixth case of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome this year. Four of the cases have been fatal. - - 7/1/16

June 29, 2016

NM DOH: Celebrate Independence Day safelyLas Cruces Sun News

The Fourth of July holiday weekend is traditionally the time for parties, barbecues and fireworks, but for emergency rooms in New Mexico, it can be more than that. It’s a day where the hospital staff knows to expect to see patients suffering burns, bruises, cuts and more. Fireworks are synonymous with our celebration of Independence Day, yet the day can also bring pain, even death. In 2014, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission conducted a nationwide study of fireworks injuries from June 20 through July 20. -- 6/29/2016


Federal lawsuit targets cougar trapping in NMLas Cruces Sun News

Environmentalists are suing the New Mexico Game Commission in federal court, arguing that expanded cougar trapping threatens endangered Mexican gray wolves and jaguars.

The lawsuit was filed Monday by The Humane Society of the United States, Animal Protection New Mexico and residents Peter and Jean Ossorio. -- 6/29/2016

June 28, 2016

Gov. Martinez unveils new anti-DWI adsLas Cruces Sun News

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has unveiled a new set of commercials targeting drunken driving and texting while driving. The advertisements released Monday feature New Mexico State Police and dramatized scenes from fatal traffic crashes. The ads are part of a push by the governor’s office to combat drunken driving and come before the start of the July 4th holiday weekend. -- 6/28/2016

June 24, 2016

Western wildfires still rage but some progress being madeLas Cruces Sun News

Damage assessments of active wildfire’s that's charred 28 square miles in central New Mexico are expected to start in the coming days. One of the focuses will be an area near the community of Chilili, where 24 homes and numerous other structures were destroyed. Cloud cover, high humidity and some rain have lessened fire activity in recent days. The blaze was nearly 70 percent contained. - - 6/24/2016

NMSU community continues to keep an eye on hawksLas Cruces Sun News

A pair of hawks protected by federal laws continue to draw attention at New Mexico State University. The Swainson’s hawks have built a nest in a tree near Rentfrow Gym, and some campus birdwatchers believe they may have recently welcomed some hatchlings. The birds are protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.  The Swainson's hawk is listed as a species of concern by five states including New Mexico. - - 6/24/2016

June 23, 2016

New Mexico sues Colorado over mine spill -- Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico is suing its upstream neighbor, contending Colorado was too lax in its oversight of groundwater contaminated by decades of mining and should be held responsible for the fallout of last year’s Gold King Mine spill.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Supreme Court this week by Attorney General Hector Balderas and outside attorneys hired by the state Environment Department, seeks reimbursement for all costs – including “stigma” damages – connected to the mine spill, in which more than 3 million gallons of toxic waste was spewed into a tributary of the Animas River and flowed into New Mexico. -- 6/23/2016


Federal Judge Strikes Down Obama Administration's Fracking Rules -- NPR

A federal judge in Wyoming has struck down the Obama administration's regulations on hydraulic fracturing, ruling that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management doesn't have the authority to establish rules over fracking on federal and Indian lands.

In the ruling on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl said Congress had not granted the BLM that power, and had instead chosen to specifically exclude fracking from federal oversight. -- 6/22/2016

June 22, 2016

NM DOH: We don’t have to take unnecessary risks with our livesLas Cruces Sun News

It’s National Safety Month. Each June, the National Safety Council, the New Mexico Department of Health and partners around the country work to raise awareness on preventing the leading causes of injury and death at work, on the roads and in our homes and communities.

That’s a lot of ground to cover, and in a way, you can say it covers a lifetime of risk. The NTC reports preventable injuries are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, right after heart disease, cancer and respiratory diseases. Let’s check out the top risks by age in the country. - - 6/22/2016