In today's features after local news headlines: LANL spokesman Fred DeSousa details the damages known thus far to the Lab's properties after historic rainfall there caused flooding. We also speak with Land Commissioner Ray Power about a new wind energy project for New Mexico, a portion of which will be built on state lands. Those items and more plus 60 Seconds with Christopher Hagen.
A special Santa Fe City Council meeting takes place this evening to discuss three resolutions concerning the Santa Fe Municipal Charter amendments. Those amendments could become ballot items for voter approval in a proposed special election that would be held in conjunction with our regular municipal election on March 4th, 2014. Among changes put forth is making the mayoral post a full-time position with higher pay and barring additional employment.
Due to today's technical difficulties, our AT NOON podcast is abbreviated, limited to today's top local news headlines at mid-day and 60 Seconds with Christopher Hagen. We are expecting our OTA signal to be restored shortly.
The federal government has authorized $2 million in “quick release” emergency funds for New Mexico roadways & bridges damaged by our recent bout of heavy rains. According to the U.S. DOT, repairs from the September storms are so far estimated to be at least $9 million. That number is expected to rise with future damage assessments.
Among today's features: We hear from New Mexico Voices For Children on the persistence of poverty levels in our state. We also speak with the director of the Interstate Stream Commission as--for the first time in years -- the Pecos River does not require augmentation of its water flows. And KSFR News reporter Marion Cox wraps up her conversation with Santa Fe County Commissioner Kathy Holian; today they talk about the new animal control ordinance being prepared. Those items and more plus 60 Seconds with Christopher Hagen.
New Mexico’s three house members have voted along party lines on cuts to food stamps. Ben Ray Luján voted against the republican sponsored bill that would cut $39 billion from SNAP, the supplemental nutritional assistance program. The national program helps 179,000 households here in New Mexico. Congressman Luján took to the floor of the House to speak against the cuts. *** District One’s Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham also voted against the cuts. Congressman Steve Pearce joined fellow republicans in support of the cuts, which passed on a 217-210 vote.
In feature stories after our local news report: A conversation with the NM Environment Department about the hazards to drinking water wells in areas hit with flooding and how to decontaminate them. We also speak with the Human Services Department as New Mexico receives relatively good marks for delivering Medicaid services to a high percentage of our state's eligible children. Those items and more plus 60 seconds with Christopher Hagen.
In Rio Arriba County, the Chama River has spilled into the town of Hernandez after heavy rains. A dozen or more homes were partially submerged by rising waters. The flooding began late yesterday about 10 miles north of Española near the junction of US 84 and 285. The Red Cross has established a shelter for all those displaced. County officials say the heavy rains of last week caused channels to become clogged with debris, sending the Chama over its banks with Wednesday's downpours.
Among today's features after our local news: ABQ City Councilor Ken Sanchez tells KSFR he wants strict enforcement of the Duke City's minimum wage law. We also speak with Deborah Bussmeyer at the Con Alma Foundation and its quest to find worthy "healthcare heroes." Those items and more--plus 60 Seconds with Christopher Hagen.
Mounting frustration with the Human Services Department cut-off of Medicaid payments to in-state providers of behavioral health services now has seen the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government file a lawsuit. The organization, dedicated to transparency in government, wants release of the audit which set the cut-offs in motion, saying the report is too important to the citizens of New Mexico to be kept from public view. HSD has refused to release its data, saying it would jeopardize the active investigation by the Attorney General’s Office.
Among today's features: A conversation with a county representative about that questionnaire survey going out to some 3000 Santa Fe households. We also hear from Senator Tom Udall in Wash., DC on a number of topics. And County Commissioner Kathy Holian provides an updated view of the county's Sustainable Land Development Code. Those items and more -- plus 60 Seconds with Christopher Hagen.
The field of candidates for mayor of Santa Fe has dropped by one with the withdrawal of District 3 city councilor Chris Rivera. Rivera says his decision comes after discussion with family, friends and close supporters. The freshmen councilor is half way into his first term and serves on several committees including Public Works, Public Safety, and Business and Quality of Life. Rivera says he learned a lot while considering a mayoral run and plans now to continue to serve his district constituents.
Some $750,000 in disaster aid funds were included in an emergency order issued by the governor back on Friday due to flood damages across New Mexico. It's expected that more money will be allocated shortly as weekend rains caused additional flood impacts. The money will go toward rebuilding roads and other infrastructure and is made available to the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to assist local communities in recovery efforts.
In today's features, we speak with New Mexico Voices for Children spotlighting a study saying NM ranks 5th in the nation for its cuts to K-thru-12 education in recent years. We also hear from the state department of Aging & Long Term Services on a Senior Celebration and Awareness Day coming up at the State Fair that will address future needs of our state's seniors. Those items and more plus 60 Seconds with Christopher Hagen.
Competing radio ads are airing in New Mexico regarding the Human Services Department cut-off of Medicaid payments to in-state providers of mental health and substance-abuse services pending an investigation of fraud. One by non-profit group, New Mexico Competes, lauds the Martinez administration for cracking down on Medicaid abuses. The other, by non-profit Resources for Change Policy Works, criticizes Martinez for creating unnecessary havoc for the state's recipients of behavioral healthcare without having strong evidence of wrong-doing by providers.