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April 27, 2015

New Mexico leaders push for high-level nuclear wasteSanta Fe New Mexican

Since 2012, the city of Carlsbad has spent about $260,000 on lobbyists to try to persuade members of Congress to consider the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance’s parcel as a waste storage site, according to analysis of lobbyist records by the Center for Responsive Politics.

At first glance, the barren stretch of desert between Carlsbad and Hobbs in southeastern New Mexico seems unfit for any kind of industry. But this rugged, nondescript patch of land is poised to be the focus of the next national conversation about how to dispose of the country’s most dangerous nuclear waste.

The state took a crucial step this month toward accepting such waste, which other Western states have shunned, when Gov. Susana Martinez quietly signaled to the Obama administration that New Mexico would welcome it. – 4/25/2015


New Report: Preparing the Workforce for Digital Curation -- National Academies Press

The massive increase in digital information in the last decade has created new requirements for institutional and technological structures and workforce skills. Preparing the Workforce for Digital Curation focuses on education and training needs to meet the demands for access to and meaningful use of digital information, now and in the future. This study identifies the various practices and spectrum of skill sets that comprise digital curation, looking in particular at human versus automated tasks. Additionally, the report examines the possible career path demands and options for professionals working in digital curation activities, and analyzes the economic benefits and societal importance of digital curation for competitiveness, innovation, and scientific advancement. Preparing the Workforce for Digital Curation considers the evolving roles and models of digital curation functions in research organizations, and their effects on employment opportunities and requirements. The recommendations of this report will help to advance digital curation and meet the demand for a trained workforce. Authors include: Committee on Future Career Opportunities and Educational Requirements for Digital Curation; Board on Research Data and Information; Policy and Global Affairs; National Research Council. -- 4/26/2015

April 24, 2015

New Mexico to spend record $2.75B on public education– Las Cruces Sun News

Spending on early childhood programs and public schools in New Mexico will top $2.75 billion in the coming budget year. That's the largest amount in state history. It will include funding to implement several new initiatives by the state Public Education Department.

According to the Executive Budget Recommendation of the State of New Mexico, the majority of the budget, $2.5 billion, goes to the schools based on a formula that takes into account student body size, school size and special education needs. The rest of the budget is allocated for specific initiatives. -- 4/23/15


Authorities rescue missing hiker in NM, arrest wanted criminal– Las Cruces Sun News

After a multi-agency search, a missing hiker was rescued Tuesday near the Continental Divide in Hidalgo County, according to a news release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

A coordinator for the Continental Divide Trail reported the missing hiker to U.S. Border Patrol agents at the Deming station. The release says the hiker was lost in the Boot heel of New Mexico. – 4/24/15

April 23, 2015

U.S. Maps Areas of Increased Earthquakes From Human Activity -- The New York Times


In its first comprehensive assessment of earthquakes believed to be caused by human activity, the United States Geological Survey released a map on Thursday identifying 17 regions with significant levels of seismic movement triggered mostly from oil and gas operations.

By far the hardest-hit state, the report says, is Oklahoma, where earthquakes are hundreds of times more common than they were until a few years ago.

“Oklahoma used to experience one or two earthquakes per year of magnitude 3 or greater, and now they’re experiencing one or two a day,” Mark Petersen, chief author of the report, said. “Oklahoma now has more earthquakes of that magnitude than California.” – 4/23/2015


PRC votes in new rules and regs for Lyft, Uber -- Albuquerque Business First

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission voted Wednesday to issue new rules that regulate companies like Uber and Lyft. The PRC has struggled for more than a year to figure out how to regulate Uber and Lyft.

The implications of the new rules, which have not been posted yet on the PRC site, are unclear. The commissioners at the hearing "red lined" copies of the rules. Though they have not been posted, the transportation act can require that motor carriers set minimum prices and issue other tariffs. -- 4/22/2015



April 22, 2015

State’s job growth sees signs of slowdown amid lower gas prices -- Santa Fe New Mexican

The headwinds have officially started to blow against New Mexico’s economic growth.

Though the state is still seeing a surge in job growth over the past year, that is now muted by a slowdown during the most recent months in oil-patch-related sectors, according to data released Tuesday by the New Mexico Department of Worforce Solutions.



Border Patrol agents intercept smugglers in El Paso region– Las Cruces Sun News

The U.S. Border Patrol arrested two men and seized 121 pounds of marijuana after stopping a smuggling attempt Sunday in Fabens, officials said.

When agents arrived, two of the men escaped back into Mexico, officials said. Agents found the other men hiding with the marijuana in a dry canal. The men arrested were identified as Jorge Vera Luke, 29, and Adrian Moreno Garcia, 22, both of Mexico.

In separate cases, a convicted sex offender was among seven undocumented Mexican immigrants arrested Saturday by Border Patrol agents on horseback near Deming. Officials said that Andres Reyes Granados, 47, had been convicted in California of lewd or lascivious acts with a child. -- 4/22/2015


Las Crucens cope with Blue Bell ice cream recall– Las Cruces Sun News

Las Crucen Patti Dean was already planning to clean out her family's refrigerator and freezer. It became a bigger priority for Dean when she learned Tuesday that Blue Bell brand products — primarily ice cream and other frozen snacks — had been recalled.

As of Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed 10 people, in four states, have shown symptoms related to listeria and Blue Bell products. Kenny Vigil, spokesman for the New Mexico Department of Health, said Tuesday no cases linked to listeria had been reported so far in New Mexico. -- 4/22/2015

April 21, 2015

Feds: LANL waste drums appear stable after signs of reactions -- Santa Fe New Mexican

Dozens of drums of radioactive waste at one of the nation’s premier weapons laboratories are stable after some showed signs of chemical reactions over the past year, according to federal officials.

The drums are being closely monitored after a chemical reaction inside a container with similar contents caused a breach in February 2014, resulting in a radiation release and the indefinite closure of the country’s only underground nuclear waste dump.

Investigators with the U.S. Energy Department confirmed during a recent town hall that there have been chemical reactions in the containers stored at Los Alamos National Laboratory, but the gases building up inside have decreased over the past several months. -- 4/21/2015


Patients Rank N.M. Hospitals Low -- KUNM's Public Health New Mexico

This is the first time the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has turned patient polls into star ratings so future health care consumers can make quick comparisons. Most New Mexico hospitals get two and three stars, with a few fours peppered in. Only four states and Washington, D.C., have a lower average star rating than New Mexico. -- 4/20/2015


Hospital Lookup

Star Ratings By State

Numerical Ratings By State

More Explanation Of The Ratings

Interior Department, Navajo Nation Partner to Implement Land Buy-Back Program -- U.S. Department of the Interior Press Release

Interior Deputy Secretary Michael Connor announced today that the Department has entered a cooperative agreement with the Navajo Nation to further implement the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program). The agreement outlines the strategy and resources to be provided to the tribe’s leadership to facilitate education about the Buy-Back Program and reach out to owners with fractionated interests in reservation land that can be consolidated for the benefit of the tribal community. -- 4/20/2015

April 20, 2015

Wild horse advocates disagree on contraceptives for mustangs– Las Cruces Sun News

United in their belief wild horses should remain free to roam public rangeland across the West, groups including the BLM are working to protect the mustangs and are increasingly at odds over whether contraception should play a role in the decades-old dispute over efforts to reign in the natural size of the herds.

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign - made up of more than 60 groups, including the Humane Society of the United States, Animal Welfare Institute and In Defense of Animals - has been willing to accept treating mares with the anti-fertility drug PZP as a more humane alternative to gathering and shipping mustangs to costly holding facilities. -- 4/20/2015


DOE report on WIPP: Los Alamos radiation release could have been preventedLas Cruces Sun News

A radiation leak that forced the indefinite closure of the federal government's only underground nuclear waste repository could have been prevented, a team of investigators said Thursday.

A combination of poor management, lapses in safety and a lack of proper procedures were outlined in a final report released by the U.S. Department of Energy's Accident Investigation Board. Officials planned to review the findings Thursday night during a community meeting in Carlsbad.

The investigators spent more than a year looking into the cause of the radiation release at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico. – 4/17/2015


1,000 pounds of marijuana found in metal spools in El Paso, CBP officials sayLas Cruces Sun News

It took El Paso U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers 12 hours to remove more than 600 packages of marijuana from an elaborate smuggling attempt Tuesday at the Bridge of the Americas in El Paso, officials said Thursday.

CBP officials said that 1,365 pounds of marijuana were found during the inspection of a flatbed trailer arriving from Mexico with a cargo of metal cables. Officers had to remove the cable from the large metal spools and cut open metal containers hidden in the middle of the spools to reach the marijuana, officials said. – 4/17/2015

April 16, 2015

Post-Election spending by PACs drops in New Mexico- Las Cruces Sun News

Some political action committees continued to spend and raise money in New Mexico after the November election. But the latest financial disclosures filed with the secretary of state's office show it wasn't nearly as much as before voters went to the polls.

Spending by the New Mexico House Majority Fund and the Keep New Mexico House Majority PAC dwindled to virtually zero following the election that saw the GOP take control of the House for the first time in decades. The filings for the Oct. 7 to April 6 reporting period were due Monday for all PACs and elected officials.

ActBlue, a committee that contributed to Democratic campaigns, raised and spent about $93,000. The Realtors Association of New Mexico PAC raised about $74,000 and spent $30,000, including $5,000 for Gov. Susana Martinez's inaugural. -- 4/15/2015


Martinez signs gambling compacts with 5 New Mexico tribesLas Cruces Sun News

Five New Mexico tribes have new 22-year gambling compacts with the state. Gov. Susana Martinez signed agreements with the Acoma and Jemez pueblos, the Jicarilla Apache Nation, the Mescalero Apache Tribe and the Navajo Nation. Martinez signed the agreements Monday during a ceremony at the governor's office with tribal leaders in attendance.

The signings followed several years of negotiations and legislative consideration capped by passage of a gambling compact bill during this year's session. Tribal officials also have signed the agreements, which now go to the federal Department of the Interior for its approval. -- 4/14/15