Court Asked To Safeguard NM Mental Health Audit - Associated Press
The attorney general's office says an agreement has been reached for State Auditor Hector Balderas to have access to an audit that identified potential overbillings and fraud by behavioral health providers.
Chief Deputy Attorney General Al Lama said Thursday a state district judge in Santa Fe has been asked to issue an order making clear the audit report will be protected from public disclosure once it's provided to Balderas.
New Mexico Gets $12M Federal Education Grant- Associated Press
Gov. Susana Martinez says New Mexico will receive an additional $12.5 million in federal money over four years to improve early childhood education. The money is on top of $25 million the U.S. Department of Education awarded the state last year through the national "Race to the Top" competitive grant program. Martinez said the money will be used to help improve early reading skills of students and ensure children are ready to learn when they enter elementary school.
NM Attorney General Not Defending Gay Marriage Ban- The Associated Press
New Mexico Attorney General Gary King says a state prohibition on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
King told the state Supreme Court on Monday in written arguments that it should invalidate the gay marriage ban if the justices agree to consider a lawsuit filed by two Santa Fe men who were denied a marriage license.
Santa Fe National Forest Lifts Fire Restrictions- The Associated Press
A northern New Mexico national forest that experienced several major wildfires in June is lifting fire restrictions that have been in effect for much this summer.
The Santa Fe National Forest's announcement of its lifting of the restrictions effective Friday morning says increased moisture from monsoon rain in the past several weeks has dramatically the danger of wildfires.
NM To Auction Unclaimed Property- The Associated Press
A gold bar and coins are among the valuables and other objects that the state of New Mexico plans to auction.
Gov. Susana Martinez on Thursday announced that the state Taxation and Revenue Department will hold an unclaimed property auction July 27 in Albuquerque.
That auction will feature nearly 800 lots of items, including a 7-pound gold bar, more than 220 U.S. and foreign gold coins, nearly 1,900 U.S. silver dollars and a number of pieces of American Indian art.
Cibola Lifts Fire Restrictions In Sandia District- The Associated Press
Thanks to much-needed rain over the past few weeks, forest officials are reopening popular hiking areas in the Sandia Mountains east of Albuquerque. And the city is reopening most of the Rio Grande bosque.
Forest Supervisor Elaine Kohrman says moisture levels in vegetation have increased to the point to be able to limit the spread of wildfires.
Kohrman also says the long-range weather forecast predicts cooler weather and more rain for the area.
Taos Pueblo To Honor Nixon's 100th Birthday - Associated Press
A northern New Mexico American Indian tribe is scheduled to honor the late President Richard Nixon for what would have been his 100th birthday.
The Taos Pueblo is set to pay tribute to the California-born Republican on Friday with a special honor at a pow wow.
Nixon is highly regarded among the Taos Pueblo and other American Indians for agreeing to return to some lands to tribes. In 1970, for example, he returned around 48,000 acres of sacred lands to the Taos Pueblo.
Feds Propose Protections For 2 rare Snakes - Associated Press
Federal wildlife officials are proposing to add a pair of rare snakes found in the American Southwest to the list of threatened species.
The northern Mexican gartersnake and the narrow-headed gartersnake are found in Arizona and New Mexico. Their populations have declined thanks to predators such as nonnative bullfrogs as well as threats to their streamside habitat.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will accept comments on the proposal through Sept. 9.
Crews Contain Blaze In Valles Caldera Preserve - Associated Press
It has taken firefighters a month to corral a wildfire that has burned through the heart of northern New Mexico's Jemez Mountains.
Fire managers declared the Thompson Ridge Fire 100 percent contained on Monday.
The blaze burned more than 37 square miles in the Valles Caldera National Preserve after being sparked May 31 by a downed power line. At one point, it threatened historic cabins and barns at the preserve but crews were able to save the structures.
The injury occurred on the job. A bull mounted a cow, and the worker was pinned against the stall. That led to a bloody and severe shoulder injury, surgery, and an inability to work.
“I went almost one month without work, and then after that, they called me back, but I was in no condition to work,” says this worker. He’s asked us not to use his name because it could jeopardize his ability to find future work in the small, New Mexico town of Portales. “I would bleed at work, and that’s how they had me working at the dairy.”
You wake up at three in the morning. In El Paso. You board a bus, and spend the rest of your day herding livestock, picking chilies, or milking cows. Then, at the end of the day, you’re handed cash for your work, but it may not be enough.
NM 11th Graders Improve In Reading Proficiency-The Associated Press
Gov. Susana Martinez's administration says New Mexico high school students made significant improvements in their reading proficiency on standardized tests this year but there were declines for fourth, fifth and sixth grade students.
The governor on Friday announced the results of math and reading tests taken by 195,000 students in grades 3-8 and 10-11.
NM Mental Health System Audit, Fix Could Hit $21M - Associated Press and The Albuquerque Journal
State officials say the potential price tag for fixing problems within New Mexico's behavioral health system could reach nearly $21 million.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that an audit of 15 providers cost around $3 million to produce. That audit alleged potential fraud and resulted this week in the halting of Medicaid payments and other funding to the 15 nonprofits.