BP Touts Productive Well In New Mexico, Opioid Funding Goes To Treatment

Aug 7, 2017

Major Gas Producer BP Touts Productive Well In New MexicoThe Associated Press

International producer BP is pointing to northwestern New Mexico as a possible significant new source of natural gas for the United States.

The company announced Monday that it brought online one of the most productive wells in the Mancos Shale that the San Juan Basin has seen in more than a decade. The basin spans New Mexico and southern Colorado.

BP says an average of nearly 13 million cubic feet of gas a day was pumped during an initial 30-day period.

Company officials say the recent test suggests the region could become one of the nation's leading shale plays. Some industry analysts want to see if new wells post similar results.

BP acquired thousands of acres in the region in 2015 in hopes of tapping the shale and expanding its position in the basin.

Opioid Funding Goes To Treatment, Overdose Reversal DrugsThe Associated Press & The Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico has secured $9.5 million in federal funding to help in the fight against opioid and heroin abuse.

The Albuquerque Journal reports most of this year's funding will be used to buy more than 13,300 doses of overdose reversal drugs and to begin training for community workers and medical providers so more addicts get treatment.

The money is being funneled to New Mexico through the federal government's Opioid State Targeting Response Grant program.

Julie Salvador at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center is reaching out to clinics and addiction treatment centers around the state to set them up as hubs that will serve as training and resource sites for their communities.

Funding will be released to the hubs as they meet goals or complete certain training.

Behavioral Health Programs Being Implemented SlowlyThe Associated Press & The Albuquerque Journal

Bernalillo County is slowly providing childhood programs funded with revenue from a measure that took effect more than two years ago.

The Albuquerque Journal reports eight organizations are sharing $3 million a year for two years to combat adverse childhood experiences, such as abuse, neglect and other trauma. The funding is coming from Bernalillo County's behavioral health tax, which went into effect in July 2015.

From those efforts to help at-risk children to mobile crisis teams that will soon respond to individuals experiencing nonviolent behavioral health crises, the county over the last year has started its quest to fill the gaps of New Mexico's fragmented behavioral health system.

But the launch of services has been slow, with few programs up and running.

Bernalillo County Deputies Involved In Another ShootingAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A man is recovering from gunshot wounds after at least one Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office deputy opened fire while responding to a domestic violence call near Albuquerque.

Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales said a man in his early 20s was shot Sunday and transported to University of New Mexico Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.

Authorities say deputies were called to a home in the East Mountains after receiving a domestic violence call involving someone armed with a shotgun.

Gonzales says it is not clear how many deputies fired their weapons. He says four or five deputies could be placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

The Albuquerque Journal reports this is fifth time since July 4 that deputies with the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office have been involved in a shooting.

New Mexico Regulators To Begin Talks Over PNM Rate IncreasesSanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

State regulators are slated to begin deliberations over whether New Mexico's largest electric utility can raise its rates by 9.2 percent over the next two years.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the state Public Regulation Commission will begin to hear testimony Monday from expert witnesses and attorneys both supporting and opposing the proposal.

The Public Service Company of New Mexico is seeking $62.3 million from customers to compensate for capital investment costs. Those expenses include maintenance to coal and nuclear power plants, and revenue losses from more energy-efficient appliances and consumer behaviors.

The New Mexico Attorney General's Office, Western Resource Advocates, and other groups have signed on to PNM's rate proposal.

But New Energy Economy, a climate advocacy group, is expected to speak against the rate increase.

Critics Attack University Of New Mexico Hospital PolicyAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Community health advocates say the University of New Mexico Hospital has changed its policy and is requiring uninsured, low-income patients to pay 50 percent in advance for non-emergency surgery.

University of New Mexico Hospital officials contend no one is denied medically needed, non-emergency surgery. The hospital defers the 50 percent downpayment if doctors deem the surgery "medically urgent" under a policy that has remained unchanged for years.

The Albuquerque Journal reported about 20 advocates in late June urged members of the hospital's Board of Trustees to rescind what they described as an abrupt policy change and allow uninsured patients to obtain needed surgeries without delay.

Trustees responded by asking administrators to review the hospital's billing process and report their recommendations at the board's meeting later this month.

Key Eastern New Mexico Water Plan Set To Be ReleasedEastern New Mexico News, Associated Press

A key task force in eastern New Mexico is set to unveil its plan to conserve water from a massive groundwater supply that underlies parts of New Mexico, Texas and several other states.

The Eastern New Mexico News reports the Water Policy Advisory Committee in Curry County is expected to release Tuesday its 40-year plan for water management in connection with the Ogallala aquifer.

Committee Chair Chris Bryant says the plan includes reducing groundwater usage by the city of Clovis from the aquifer by 37 percent and building a delivery system for groundwater.

The plan comes as the U.S. government is funneling another $5 million to a pipeline project designed to one day bring billions of gallons of drinking water a year to parts of eastern New Mexico where supplies are rapidly declining.

Faith Leaders From Across US Join New Mexico Border TourLas Cruces Sun-News, Associated Press

Faith leaders from across the country have participated in a border immersion initiative in New Mexico aimed at drawing attention to immigrants fighting deportation.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports the advocacy group new Mexico Communities in Action and Faith hosted the 30 faith leaders to tour the U.S.-Mexico border in New Mexico last week.

The tour began at the federal courthouse in Las Cruces, where participants observed mass court proceedings for defendants arrested on suspicion of illegally crossing into the U.S.

Half of the group then traveled to Sunland Park, New Mexico, and visited the towering border fence that divides the U.S. and Mexico.

New Mexico Communities in Action and Executive Director Sarah Silva said clergy across the U.S. care deeply about what's happening on the border.

Navajo Head Start Superintendent Removed Amid ProbeDaily Times, Associated Press

The superintendent for Navajo Head Start has been removed amid an investigation into allegations of misconduct and misuse of funding.

The Daily Times of Farmington reports the Navajo Nation announced this week that Sharon Singer was fired from the position on July 28.

Tommy Lewis Jr., superintendent for the Department of Diné Education, says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General's Office ordered an investigation after allegations of misuse and abuse of funds were filed against Singer.

Lewis says investigators found that Singer has violated tribal policies.

Singer's attorney, David Jordan, says his client will file a grievance with the Navajo Nation Department of Personnel Management.

Navajo Head Start operates 96 centers across the reservation, the largest in the United States.

New Mexico Board Suspends Cancer Doctor's LicenseLas Cruces Sun-News, Associated Press

A state licensing board has suspended the medical license of a Las Cruces cancer physician over allegations of subpar care and not maintaining required records.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports the New Mexico Medical Board last month issued an immediate suspension of the license of Bishnu Rauth — an oncologist who operated New Hope Cancer Center.

The suspension comes after several patients complained about poor care they received under Rauth. Records show he's also currently facing two malpractice lawsuits.

The state medical board says Rauth failed to provide "patient treatment protocol within the standard of care" and maintain accurate medical records.

Attorney Paul Kennedy, who was representing Rauth in connection to the medical board actions, declined to comment.

Former Officer Says He Looked At Nude Photos For ResearchAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A New Mexico law enforcement officer admits he looked at pictures of naked women on the internet while on duty, but says he was doing so as part of his job.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that former Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Mark Kmatz filed a complaint for employment retaliation last week against the Bernalillo County Commission.

Kmatz says he was looking at the naked pictures to research "a specific group of individuals with distinct tattoos and piercings."

Kmatz wrote in the lawsuit that he was forced to resign or be terminated and that the nudes weren't on pornographic sites.

Donald Gilpin, Kmatz's attorney, did not return calls for comment.

Felicia Romero, a Sheriff's Office spokeswoman, declined to comment on the case.

Kmatz had been with the Sheriff's Office since 1997.

Portales Man In Cockfighting Case Says It Was 'Poultry Show'Eastern New Mexico News, Associated Press

A New Mexico man facing charges in connection with a break up of an alleged cockfighting ring in West Texas says the busted event was just a private "poultry show."

The Eastern New Mexico News reports Kenny Grubbs of Portales, New Mexico, says Hockley County Sheriff's deputies got it wrong when they raided a house near Levelland, Texas.

Grubbs says attendees were there for a harmless poultry show and not fighting roosters or gambling.

But Hockley County Sheriff Ray Scifres says evidence and statements made by witnesses on scene refute those claims.

Authorities arrested Grubbs and another man last week after deputies raided the home in connection with a suspected illegal cockfighting ring.

Officers seized 107 birds, plus sharp blades that can be attached to the legs of roosters.