Wednesday News Roundup: NM Allocates $15M To Improve Early Reading
Nearly 300 NM Towns Face Water Crisis- Associated Press and The Albuquerque Journal
A state review says around 300 New Mexico community water systems are vulnerable to drought, dropping water tables and aging infrastructure.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that a state task force review to be made public Wednesday says towns or villages often depends on a single water source making them unguarded to drought and contamination.
Officials say a state program will help with engineering work to identify backup water sources and the task force will begin contacting at-risk communities this week.
The move comes as a handful of New Mexico communities have faced recent water supply crisis.
Last month, for example, the state Drinking Water Bureau lifted an order that called for Magdalena residents to boil their water following a major outage of the village's water system.
NM Issues Grants For Early College High Schools- Associated Press
Gov. Susana Martinez's administration has awarded grants for three New Mexico schools to establish programs allowing students to obtain a college associate degree while attending high schools.
The governor on Wednesday announced $100,000 for University High School in Roswell to operate an "early college high school" offering college credit in science and technology.
A grant of $137,000 was awarded for a program at Mesa Vista High School in the northern New Mexico community of Ojo Caliente, and $120,000 went for an early college program at San Andres High School in Las Cruces.
New Mexico has received $525,000 from the Denver-based philanthropic Daniels Foundation to supplement state money to expand the programs, which are partnerships with public schools, colleges and businesses to help students prepare for jobs and college.
NM Couple Plead Guilty In Federal Funds Case- Associated Press
A former Taos County Housing Authority executive and her husband face possible prison time after pleading guilty to conspiracy under plea bargains in a case involving theft of federal housing funds.
Prosecution and defense attorneys say 42-year-old Carmella Martinez and 44-year-old Paul G. Martinez could be sentenced to up to five years in prison and fined up to $250,000.
The Arroyo Seco residents pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Albuquerque.
A December 49-count indictment charged the couple with conspiracy, theft from programs receiving federal funds and theft of government property.
Lawyers say Carmella Martinez's admitted stealing nearly $790,000 in federal funds over an eight-year period.
The plea agreements require the couple to repay the money.
NM Allocates $15M To Improve Early Reading - Associated Press
New Mexico is allocating $15 million for programs to help students improve their reading through the third grade.
The Public Education Department said each of the state's 89 school districts will receive at least $50,000 through the "New Mexico Reads to Lead" initiative and two-fifths of the districts are in line for larger amounts.
The largest grant is to Albuquerque Public Schools for almost $1.1 million, with Las Cruces and Rio Rancho school districts each receiving $260,000.
Farmington, Gallup, Gadsden and Santa Fe school districts each were awarded $195,000.
Alamogordo, Hobbs, Roswell, Carlsbad, Deming and Central school districts will receive $162,500.
The money will pay for reading coaches, professional development of teachers and to help identify students needing help with their reading abilities.
Team Finishes Rehab Work On Tres Lagunas Fire - Associated Press
Federal officials say they have finished with emergency rehabilitation work on hundreds of acres charred by the Tres Lagunas Fire.
About 518 tons of straw were dropped by helicopter on part of the burn scar in the Santa Fe National Forest. The work spanned more than four days and took nearly 30 hours of flight time.
Mulch was dropped near Davis Creek, above Tres Lagunas and at the head of Soldier Creek. These areas had the highest burn severity.
The mulch will help reduce runoff and aid in seed sprouting.
Rocks, mud and other debris have also been removed from Holy Ghost Canyon.
In southern New Mexico, officials on Friday will opening the Gila and Aldo Leopold Wilderness areas that were temporarily closed due to wildfires and post-fire effects.
TV Series 'The Night Shift' To Shoot In NM - Associated Press
A new television series will begin shooting in Albuquerque this month.
Officials with the New Mexico Film Office say work on NBC's "The Night Shift" is set to continue through mid-November. More than 100 New Mexico crew members are expected to be working on the production each week.
Gov. Susana Martinez says it will be nice to welcome another TV series to New Mexico. She made the comment after referring to the success of the AMC hit television series "Breaking Bad."
The new series will follow a group of ex-Army doctors who work the night shift at a hospital in San Antonio, Texas, and do whatever it takes to help their patients.
The stars include Eoin Macken, Jill Flint, Daniella Alonso and Brendan Fehr.