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8:27 am
Mon December 3, 2012

Feds: NM's Graduation Rate One of Nation's Lowest

The U.S. Department of Education says New Mexico has one of the worst four-year high school graduation rates in the nation.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports (http://bit.ly/SpzOdY) that new federal numbers from2010-2011 preliminary data showed that New Mexico also falls at the bottom of the pack when analyzing rates across nearly every demographic.

Nevada had the lowest graduation rate, with 62 percent graduation, just ahead of New Mexico's 63 percent rate.

Iowa had the nation's highest with about 88 percent of students graduating.

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Local News
8:21 am
Fri November 30, 2012

New Mexico Governor Meets with Chihuahua Officials

Governor Susana Martinez is in Mexico to attend a meeting with officials from New Mexico and the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

The two day meeting of the New Mexico-Chihuahua Commission concludes on Friday.

The governor's office said Chihuahua Governor Cesar Duarte attended meetings that started Thursday.

The commission is to talk about border crossings, trade, tourism, water as well as education and public safety.

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Local News
8:19 am
Fri November 30, 2012

NMSU to Host Ecuadorean Teachers Learning English

New Mexico State University is set to host more than 50 Ecuadorean teachers who are seeking to learn English.

NMSU announced Thursday that the Ecuadorean teachers are scheduled to take part is a two-semester English language program funded by the Ecuadorean government. The "Go Teacher" program is aimed at improving English education in that country's schools.

School officials say the first group of teachers will study at NMSU between Jan. 15 and Aug. 15, and will likely to be followed by additional groups in later semesters.

Local News
8:13 am
Fri November 30, 2012

NM Gets Nearly $1 Million for Highway Safety

The U.S. Department of Transportation is awarding New Mexico nearly $1 million to reduce deaths and injuries on the state's highways.

The annual grant funding was made available through the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act.

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall says states can use the money for initiatives to increase seatbelt use, for anti-drunken driving campaigns and other programs aimed at making the roads safer.

Local News
8:12 am
Fri November 30, 2012

WNMU Nursing Program Earns Accreditation

Credit Western New Mexico University

Officials at Western New Mexico University say the school's nursing program has earned accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education for 10 years.

The commission found that the program met all accreditation standards. The commission's review included a visit to the Silver City campus and interviews with university officials, program faculty, students and others.

The nursing program began in the fall of 2005. It was developed so that licensed nurses could earn a bachelor of science degree in nursing.

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Local News
8:08 am
Fri November 30, 2012

NM Starts Whooping Cough Awareness Campaign

Credit CDC

New Mexico is launching a public awareness campaign to curb the growing number of whooping cough cases in the state.

The Health Department says more than 700 cases have been reported so far this year. That's up from 277 the year before.

Two children — a 2-month-old girl from San Miguel County and a 4-year-old boy from Bernalillo County — have died this year as a result of whooping cough.

Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a highly contagious bacterial illness that attacks the respiratory system.

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Local News
8:04 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Ex-Controller of NMFA Pleads Guilty to Fake Audit

A former top official of the New Mexico Finance Authority has pleaded guilty to forgery and securities fraud charges for falsifying an agency financial audit that was distributed to bond investors earlier this year.

Under an agreement with prosecutors, ex-controller Greg Campbell had faced up to six years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to two counts of forgery and one count of securities fraud.

State District Judge Stephen Pfeffer placed Campbell on probation for five years.

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Local News
8:03 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Mystery Bird Spotted At NM National Refuge

Wildlife managers at one of the nation's premiere bird-watching spots have a mystery on their hands.

A strange looking bird with dark plumage showed up at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in central New Mexico earlier this month. No one seems to know exactly what it is.

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Local News
8:02 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Fast and Furious Link to NM Border Town Smugglers

Records show a gun smuggling operation run by former town officials in Columbus, N.M., had a direct link to targets of the bungled "Fast and Furious" operation run by federal officials in Arizona.

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Local News
7:57 am
Thu November 29, 2012

NM Lieutenant Governor Traveling to Iowa

Credit Steve Terrell

Lt. Gov. John Sanchez travels to Iowa next week to attend a meeting of the executive committee of the National Lieutenant Governors Association.

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Local News
7:54 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Rail Line Opens After Southern NM Train Derailment

Authorities say a southern New Mexico rail line is back open following a train derailment.

Television station KOB-TV reports (http://bit.ly/Tu6164) the derailment happened Tuesday night north of Las Cruces. It involved a freight train headed from Belen to El Paso, Texas.

No injuries were reported, and authorities say there were no spills of hazardous material.

A heavy equipment company was able to put the cars back on the track and the line was opened.

The cause of the derailment has not been determined.

Local News
7:53 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Workers Laid Off At New Mexico Peanut Butter Plant

A peanut butter plant along the New Mexico-Texas border has laid off a third of its 150 workers after federal authorities shuttered the plant.

A salmonella outbreak traced to the peanut butter has sickened 41 people in 20 states.

Millions of pounds of the regions prized sweet Valencia peanuts sit in barns at the Sunland peanut butter plant.

Farmers are worried about getting paid. And residents wonder what toll the shutdown will have on the region's economy.

Local News
8:42 am
Wed November 28, 2012

NM, Navajo Nation Complete Land Exchange

New Mexico Land Commissioner Ray Powell and Navajo President Ben Shelly have signed off on a land exchange that officials say will benefit both governments.

The signing ceremony was Tuesday in Santa Fe.

The exchange involves a block of state trust land adjacent to the reservation near the Arizona-New Mexico border and a few acres in Silver City that have commercial development potential.

The Land Office says prior to the exchange, the Navajo Nation had leased more than 85 acres of state trust land for a new Navajo Department of Transportation Center.

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Local News
8:41 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Bernalillo County to End Inmate Methadone Program

New Mexico's largest county jail has announced that it will no longer provide methadone treatment to inmates.

Metropolitan Detention Center officials said Tuesday that all inmates who are currently incarcerated and receiving methadone will undergo a "discontinuation process" during the next several weeks.

Official say the move was made out of health concern for inmates.

The methadone program was initiated at the MDC by the New Mexico Department of Health in 2006.

Officials say pregnant women will continue to receive methadone through their pregnancies.

Local News
8:37 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Metro Court Vacancies Attract 25 Applicants

Credit Bernalillo Metro Court Website

A judicial nominating commission meets next week to consider more than two dozen applicants for vacancies on the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court.

The bipartisan commission will recommend candidates to Republican Gov. Susana Martinez for possible appointment to the court. The panel meets Dec. 6 and the next day in Albuquerque.

Three vacancies will occur because Metro Court judges were elected to the district court in Bernalillo County — Judges Christina Argyres, Benjamin Chavez and Briana Zamora.

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Local News
8:34 am
Wed November 28, 2012

SF County to Require Cat Licenses, Higher Pet Fees

A proposed overhaul of Santa Fe County's pet licensing rules would require cat owners to license their pets and people who feed feral cats to get permits.

The draft proposal approved by the county commission on Tuesday also would significantly increase almost all fees and fines associated with owning pets.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the cost of licensing spayed or neutered dogs and cats would increase to $8 from $3 per year, while the cost of licensing an unaltered dog or cat would increase from $10 to $100.

Local News
9:59 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Bratton Picked As Minority Leader of NM House

Credit The New Mexico Legislature Website

Republican state Rep. Donald Bratton of Hobbs was picked as minority leader of the New Mexico House of Representatives.

The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/UZuJHx) that Bratton will replace Tom Taylor of Farmington as the top-ranking Republican in the Democratic-controlled House.

House Republicans also elected several members of the party's younger guard to top-ranking positions.

Rep. Nate Gentry of Albuquerque will serve as the new House GOP whip, while Rep. Alonzo Baldonado will be the Republican caucus chairman.

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Local News
9:56 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Audit Reveals Procurement Violations in NM County

An independent special audit shows McKinley County made about $240,000 in questionable payments to a business owned by the county commission chairman.

State Auditor Hector Balderas released the finding of the audit Monday. His office says the county violated the state procurement code and its own purchasing policies.

Balderas' office also says there are potential violations of the Governmental Conduct Act related to the county's contracts for plumbing, heating, air conditioning and other services with Dallago Corp. The company is owned by Chairman David Dallago.

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Local News
9:55 am
Tue November 27, 2012

FDA Suspends Operations At Peanut Butter Plant

Credit PiccoloNamek

The Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on a New Mexico peanut butter plant that had repeated food safety violations over several years, using a new authority to halt operations at facilities that may be producing unsafe food.

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Local News
9:52 am
Tue November 27, 2012

ABQ Zoo Names Baby Rhino Chopper

Credit Jonathunder

The Albuquerque Zoo has announced the name of its new baby rhino -- Chopper.

Zoo officials say the name was the overwhelming favorite of Facebook fans. The name was suggested in remembrance of Jimmy "Chopper" Abalos, a softball and little league leader in the community who died in 2010. Abalos sponsored multiple little league teams called the "Rhinos." He was inducted in the United States Specialty Sports Association Hall of Fame in 2003, and his adult softball team, also the Rhinos, was inducted in 2009.

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Local News
8:53 am
Mon November 26, 2012

Bernalillo to Consider Expanding Release Program

Credit Bernalillo County Website

Bernalillo County officials are considering a major expansion of a program that has some offenders released in the community under supervision instead of being housed in jail.

KRQE-TV (http://bit.ly/Tp4NJa ) reports that the County Commission on Tuesday will consider a proposal to provide funding for 500 offenders. That's an increase from the nearly 200 budgeted now.

Under the Community Custody Program, inmates deemed to be low risk are fitted with ankle bracelets and required to submit to drug and alcohol testing.

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Local News
8:40 am
Mon November 26, 2012

NM Female Legislators Steady Despite Senate Drop

Credit JHarrelson

The overall number of female lawmakers in New Mexico is staying about the same but that's despite a significant drop in the number of female senators.

The Albuquerque Journal (http://bit.ly/UnwOAS ) reports that the number of women in the 42-member Senate will drop to six in 2013, down from 11 this year. The peak was 13 in 2001.

The drop-off next year is due to a combination of retirements and election defeats.

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Local News
8:39 am
Mon November 26, 2012

NM Assessors Want More Property Sales Disclosure

County officials are asking the Legislature to require the disclosure of more property sales prices to help with tax assessments in New Mexico.

Currently, assessors are provided prices of residential property that's sold. They want to expand the disclosure requirement to vacant land as well as commercial property and agricultural land. The information would go to assessors but not be publicly disclosed.

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Local News
8:37 am
Mon November 26, 2012

5 LANL Security Force Employees Fired

Five members of the Los Alamos National Laboratory security force have been fired for an improper use of a live fire shooting range.

Los Alamos Monitor reports (http://bit.ly/UPMx7N) that the five employees of the lab security force, known as Securing Our Country, were fired last week for "inappropriate behavior" at Technical Area 72.

The lab said in a statement that the firings came after a preliminary inquiry.

However, lab officials declined to discuss the nature of the behavior that resulted in the firings.

Local News
8:36 am
Mon November 26, 2012

Railroad Group Named as Preservation Stewards

Credit Carvinrocks2

A nonprofit group that supports a historic narrow-gauge rail line that runs between New Mexico and Colorado has been designated as one of the nation's newest preservation stewards.

Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad received its designation letter last week.

The Preserve America Steward designation is awarded to volunteer programs that have been successful in preserving the nation's historic places. There are now 38 Preserve America Stewards in the U.S.

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Local News
7:52 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Study: Mountain Home Boom Adds to NM Plague Cases

A new study finds rustic home sites in the mountains east of Albuquerque and in rural Santa Fe County are adding to the number of people infected with plague.

The study co-authored by state public health veterinarian Paul Ettestad blames a trend that has seen affluent families building homes in areas rodents once had to themselves for changing the distribution of plague in New Mexico since the 1980s. The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/Tfka3I) the disease was previously most common in low-income communities in the northwestern part of the state.

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Local News
7:45 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Health Officials: Whooping Cough on the Rise in NM

Health officials are warning that whooping cough is on the rise in New Mexico.

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Local News
7:44 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Water Losses Prompt NM Town to Lock Hydrants

Credit Ben Schumin

All of the fire hydrants in one rural New Mexico community will soon have locks on them.

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Local News
7:42 am
Fri November 23, 2012

NM, March of Dimes Work to Reduce Preterm Births

The New Mexico Health Department says it's partnering with the March of Dimes to reduce the number of preterm births in the state.

New Mexico has earned a C on the March of Dimes latest report card. The grade is based on comparing each state's rate with the organization's goal of 9.6 percent by 2020.

New Mexico's preterm birth rate dropped to 11.8 percent in 2011.

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Local News
8:12 am
Thu November 22, 2012

NMSU Professor Developing Watering App for Farmers

An engineering professor at New Mexico State University is working on a digital application that could help farmers determine when and how often they should water their crops.

Farmers will be able to use Zohrab Samani's iFarm app — short for Intelligence Farm — on their cellphones and computers.

The app aims to help farmers set up more efficient irrigation schedules by taking into consideration multiple factors, such as wind and humidity levels.

Software developer Vien Tran says the challenge is extending the calculations to incorporate real-time climate data.

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