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