April 15 First News: City parks drinking more water

Apr 15, 2013

Santa Fe has increased the number of city parks but the parks division is using more water and spending more money to pay for it.  The New Mexican reports that city hall pays the same rate for water as homeowners do. But they are beginning to talk about giving the parks division a break in what they pay.  The division is using 35 percent more water at present and paying 48 percent more in water bills. 

The former head of Santa Fe’s recreation center is going to court to challenge being fired from his job. Martin Lujan’s court filing says he was retaliated against for raising questions about possible improprieties by the city manager.  The Journal North says a hearing officer had ruled Lujan’s firing was appropriate, based on charges that he had conspired to embezzle city funds.  Lujan is asking the court to give him his old job and have the city pay him for double the amount of lost wages and benefits. 

A new federal report shows that New Mexico has one of the highest rates in the nation for child deaths resulting from abuse and neglect. The U.S. Department of Health and Human services says the state ranks 8th in the nation. It says there were 15 deaths resulting from child abuse last year. The year before that there were 19.

Another national study puts New Mexico dead last among the states for the percentage of residents who get health insurance through their employers. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says just 48 percent of New Mexicans got their health insurance from work, down from 54 percent the year before that.  The number is also declining nationally. The percentage of private firms offering health insurance dropped to 52 percent from 59 percent the year before.   

Virgin Galactic says it has reached another milestone in space as it prepares to launch its first tourism flight into suborbital space, perhaps as early as next year. The anchor tenant at New Mexico’s Spaceport American says it has tested for the first time a substance that allows rocket combustion to take place outside of Earth’s atmosphere.  They call it a major development in advance of their spaceship’s eventual tourist flight. 

Weather: Windy conditions continuing today with highs in the mid 60s. Expect low 70s tomorrow before temperatures plummet to the mid to upper 50s by Wednesday.