KUNM News Update
Wed December 4, 2013
Wednesday News Roundup: Governor Seeks $2.5M For Medical Provider Training
Former Nuke Lab Scientist May Change Plea - Associated Press
A defense lawyer says a former Los Alamos National Laboratory nuclear physicist who admitted communicating classified nuclear weapons data may try to withdraw his guilty plea.
Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni and his wife, Marjorie Roxby Mascheroni, were accused of offering to help develop a nuclear weapon for Venezuela through dealings with an undercover FBI agent posing as a representative of the Venezuelan government.
The couple pleaded guilty in June in federal court in Albuquerque but a recent court filing by a federal public defender says Pedro Mascheroni may withdraw his plea.
The filing was made in connection with Mascheroni's pending request to obtain new court-appointed lawyers.
Mascheroni worked in Los Alamos' nuclear weapons design division from 1979 to 1988. His wife, a technical writer, worked there between 1981 and 2010.
Governor Seeks $2.5M For Medical Provider Training - Associated Press
Gov. Susana Martinez plans to ask the Legislature to provide nearly $2.5 million next year to train more family practice physicians and nurse practitioners.
To address a shortage of health care providers, Martinez proposed Tuesday to allow 24 additional nurse practitioners to be educated through a University of New Mexico program. Currently, 16 are admitted to the program annually. The funding also would provide for seven additional family practice residency positions. There currently are 27 residency slots.
Nurse practitioners don't have to work under the supervision of a physician and can operate their own clinics.
The governor has recently announced several health care proposals, including streamlining the licensing system for nurses who move to New Mexico from more than two dozen states that aren't part of compact for multistate licensure.
NM Guard Unit Gets Special Operations Designation - Associated Press
A New Mexico Air National Guard unit has a new name that reflects its current mission as a special operations unit.
The Air Guard says the 150th Fighter Wing on Sunday became the 150th Special Operations Wing.
According to the Air Guard, the change reflects the wing's new mission of training mission-ready aircrews in special operations and personnel recovery.
The wing will continue to perform other missions, including providing targeting and intelligence and making civil engineering heavy repairs.
According to the Air Guard, the change is made as part of a three-year reorganization of the 58th Special Operations Wing located at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque.
Court Grants Stay In Fight Over UNMH Flu Policy - Associated Press
A state district court judge has granted a temporary stay in the fight over UNM Hospital's flu shot policy for its workers.
Union officials had sought the stay, arguing that employees shouldn't be disciplined for refusing to get a flu shot before their complaints can be heard by the University of New Mexico's Labor Management Relations Board.
The union contends the hospital refused to resolve the dispute over the new policy through negotiation.
The union says its members aren't opposed to flu shots. They object to being told vaccination is mandatory, and they want to know who pays if an employee has an adverse reaction.
The hospital has said the policy was adopted to promote patient protection and safety, and employees can seek an exemption for religious or medical reasons.
More Than 50 Seek To Be Farmington Police Chief - Associated Press and The Farmington Daily Times
More than 50 people have applied to be Farmington's next chief of police.
The Farmington Daily Times reports that city records show among the applicants are current chiefs of smaller police departments across the country and high-ranking officers from larger police departments such as Chicago and Denver.
Also applying were federal agents, National Security Agency and military personnel, and employees of businesses that have contracted for national security work overseas.
Farmington Assistant City Manager Bob Campbell said the consulting firm Colin Baenziger and Associates was hired to recruit for the chief position.
Police Chief Kyle Westall recently announced he will retire at the end of the year after 25 years with the department.