ABQ Partners With Nonprofit For Business Loans— Associated Press
The city of Albuquerque has partnered with a nonprofit to introduce a financial assistance program for small and local businesses along Central Avenue.
The program is called Central Loan Fund and it currently has $700,000 in donations. The fund will give low-interest loans of up to $15,000 for businesses who qualify.
If recipients of the loans meet certain conditions, their loans could be forgiven.
The city says the program hopes to meet the growing needs of Central Avenue's most vulnerable businesses impacted by the construction of a public transit project.
Business owners who get the loans can use them to pay for basic expenses, payroll, inventory, rent, utilities, taxes, marketing and insurance.
USPS To Hold New Mexico Fairs For Fast Passport Access— Associated Press
The U.S. Postal Service is hosting passport fairs around New Mexico over the next two weekends to speed up the process for customers looking to get them.
USPS says it'll hold two fairs at Albuquerque's main post office on Broadway Boulevard NE and at the Roswell post office on Pennsylvania Avenue on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Another two fairs will be at the Aztec post office and at the Farmington one on April 28 and 29 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The postal service says the fairs make the passport process fast and convenient for customers who can't make appointments.
A passport book for adults costs $135 while one for children under age 16 costs $105.
MDC Looking For Permanent Jail Administrator In Albuquerque— Associated Press
Bernalillo County is looking for a permanent jail chief to run the Metropolitan Detention Center in Albuquerque.
The man hired for the job last summer backed out at the last minute and the Metropolitan Detention Center has been under the temporary leadership of Tom Ruiz.
Bernalillo County says it has successfully reduced inmate population and is improving medical care, overhauling mental health services and increasing staff and inmate safety.
MDC has had issues with jail conditions that led to a settlement after a years-long federal lawsuit. The Bernalillo County Correction's Officer Association recently announced a no-confidence vote in Ruiz, saying officers had no faith in his leadership. The county has defended Ruiz and credited him with many jail improvements.
State Warns About Dust Storms In Southern New Mexico— Associated Press
State officials are warning that residents of Las Cruces, Deming and others in those counties should be prepared for dust storms.
Weather conditions and human activity can lead to high levels of dust, making it unsafe for with asthma, allergies or chronic breathing and lunch problems.
The New Mexico Environment Department said on Friday that the elderly, pregnancy women and people who suffer from respiratory conditions should avoid going outside.
Dust storms in parts of western New Mexico have shut down Interstate 10 on several occasions this year because of low visibility.
Secretary Of State Announces Native American Voting Group— Associated Press
New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver announced Friday that she's creating a taskforce focused on increasing voter registration and turnout in tribal communities.
Toulouse Oliver says the Native American Voting Taskforce will include members from the Navajo Nation, Jicarilla Apache Nation, Mescalero Apache tribe and Fort Sill Apache tribe, among others.
It will be tasked with analyzing tribal community needs and ways that Native Americans can be better informed about elections. The goal is to increase voter education and turnout in Native communities.
Toulouse Oliver says Native precincts have the lowest voter turnout. In the 2016 general election, only 56 percent of voters cast a ballot. That figure was 62 percent for overall turnout in New Mexico.
Santa Fe Police Step Up Efforts To Curb Drunken Driving— Associated Press
The Santa Fe Police Chief has announced the department will step up efforts to curb drunken driving.
The Santa Fe Mexican reported Thursday that the number of alcohol-related crashes in Santa Fe continues to climb, while the number of arrests for drunken driving continues to decrease.
In response, officers will be keeping a closer eye on the number of arrests.
Police say the department had 99 alcohol-related crashes in the city in 2016, which was more than double the number of crashes in 2013. Meanwhile, officers made 363 alcohol-related arrests in 2016, which was the least since 2013.