Tuesday News Roundup: Ex-New Mexico Gov. Johnson Named Pot Company CEO

Jul 1, 2014

Ex-New Mexico Gov. Johnson Named Pot Company CEO - Russell Contreras, The Associated Press

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson has been named the CEO of a Nevada-based company that hopes to make medical and recreational marijuana products.

Johnson said Tuesday he was recently named CEO and president of Cannabis Sativa, Inc., and intends to work out of New Mexico to help develop products that are legal in states like Colorado and Washington.

The former Libertarian presidential candidate says the company will make marijuana-based oils aimed at helping children with epilepsy. He also says it will make cough drop-like products for recreational use.

In addition, of Cannabis Sativa announced Tuesday it has acquired marijuana research company Kush and named that company's founder, Steve Kubby, as its chairman.

Kubby was the 1998 Libertarian Party nominee for California governor.

Lawmakers Question Hefty Payments To Arizona ProvidersThe Santa Fe New Mexican

Some New Mexico lawmakers want a review of how Arizona behavioral health companies spent millions after documents obtained by the Santa Fe New Mexican show wide-open billing practices that were approved by the NM Human Services Department.

In one example, invoices submitted to the state for reimbursement show that the executive and management team of Open Skies Healthcare routinely billed the state $250 to $300 an hour for wait times at airports and extremely long workdays.

The New Mexican obtained invoices for another replacement provider, La Frontera Center, that revealed that managers and executives charged the state hourly rates of $200 to $300 for tasks such as “making staff IDs” and “janitorial and grounds” services.

One time card submitted to the state by Open Skies Healthcare claimed a manager logged 37 consecutive hours of work at a rate of $250 an hour. The state approved the invoice and paid more than $25-thousand dollars for the manager’s work that week.  

Journalist Patrick Malone obtained the documents through an Inspection of Public Records Act.  The story is in the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Teachers' Evaluations Could Affect PaychecksThe Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico's new teacher evaluation system could have consequences for the paychecks of teachers who receive poor ratings.

Public Education Secretary Hannah Skandera tells the Albuquerque Journal that teachers who get the two lowest ratings could face delays in moving up in the state's licensing system's three tiers.

Those tiers have progressively higher minimum pay.

However, Skandera says the system has flexibility because teachers with low ratings in the evaluation system can still move forward if their school principals say the teachers have improved since their last evaluations.

Otherwise, the teachers have to wait for the next annual evaluation.

Northern New Mexico Fire Grows To 3 Square Miles - The Associated Press

A wildfire in the Santa Fe National Forest has grown to an estimated 3 square miles plus as it sends smoke as far away as Albuquerque, about 75 miles to the south.

The lightning-sparked Diego Fire located nine miles southwest of Coyote is burning in mixed conifer forest with many dead or downed trees, and officials say groups of trees catch fire at a time.

Yesterday the fire made a run to the southeast, resulting in officers going door to door to ask residents of the sparsely populated area to leave their homes.

At last report it was unknown how many families were affected by the evacuations in the community of Jarosa and the surrounding area.

Forest Officials Restrict Hours At Catwalk Area - The Associated Press

Forest officials have decided to limit visiting hours at the Catwalk National Recreation Area in southwestern New Mexico during the summer monsoon season.

The reason is afternoon thunderstorms and heavy rain could contribute to flooding along NM Highway 174. Officials say there's also a risk of not being able to alert visitors in a timely manner if flooding is forecast for the area.

Starting Wednesday, the area will be open from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. daily. The limited hours are expected to stay in place through the end of the monsoon season.

Glenwood District Ranger Debbie Cress says the restrictions are aimed at ensuring public safety. She says flooding and high water flows are still likely from the burn scar left behind by the 2012 Whitewater-Baldy Fire.

Albuquerque To Host World Cup Viewing Party - The Associated Press

The city of Albuquerque is inviting soccer fans to watch the United States take on Belgium in the knockout round of the World Cup.

A city-sponsored watch party will be held this afternoon at the KiMo Theatre in downtown Albuquerque.

The party starts at 1 o’clock, an hour before the game, which will be broadcast on the KiMo's new, state of the art silver screen.

Admission is free and a light concession stand will be open.

New Mexico To Sell Elk Licenses To Young Hunters - The Associated Press

Young New Mexicans have a chance starting next week to obtain a license to hunt elk this season.

The Game and Fish Department is offering for sale more than 2,000 youth licenses for hunting antlerless elk.

The online sale starts July 9 and the licenses are for hunters who will be under age 18 on the opening day of the hunt.

The licenses are sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

Starting July 23, young out-of-state hunters are eligible to buy a license if they didn't previously draw an elk permit in the lottery.

The department said the sale is intended to encourage hunting by young sportsmen.