Tue July 2, 2013
July 2 First News: Flags are at half staff across New Mexico to honor fallen firefighters. (listen)
More local expressions of grief and condolences are being expressed by state and local officials regarding the deaths of 19 members of Arizona's Granite Mountain Hotshots, killed as they battled a wildfire north of Phoenix. That team had worked with the City of Santa Fe's Fire Department and had also been deployed to the Thompson Ridge Fire in the Jemez last month. Governor Martinez has ordered flags to be flown at half staff today through Friday in the team's honor.
Electric utility PNM has announced plans to increase the solar photovoltaic arrays it owns by 30 percent next year as well as increasing the wind power on its system by 50 percent in 2015. Three new solar centers will likely be constructed near the greater Albuquerque metro area. The new solar projects will bring PNM to an output of 67 megawatts of power derived from the sun. When combined with wind output and a 10 megawatt geothermal facility coming online next year, PNM’s green energy alternatives will be producing enough power for 132,000 homes.
Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center has filed a lawsuit against its emergency room doctors group. Today's New Mexican says its an attempt to protect against future lawsuits leveled at the hospital's emergency services. The services are contracted through an entity called Healthfront which was formerly known as Northern New Mexico Emergency Medical Services. The suit has been filed in anticipation of a possible civil complaint of malpractice stemming from a 2010 emergency room visit by the wife of a former state attorney.
Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham will today be joining members of the New Mexico Alliance for Retired Americans to create a human chain in front of the Social Security Administrative offices in Albuquerque to protest the chained Consumer Price Index cuts. Those cuts are estimated to cause annual benefits to be some $1,000 lower by the time a beneficiary reaches age 85. Critics say the cuts do not accurately account for large health care cost increases faced by seniors and people with disabilities. Today’s Duke City rally mirrors similar events taking place in other states across the nation.
New Mexico’s agricultural workers labor in difficult, dangerous and abusive working conditions, all while being paid devastatingly low wages. Those are the conclusions of a new report by the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty. They performed a study of New Mexican field and dairy workers finding that they are often victims of wage theft such as minimum wage violations, illegal deductions, working off the clock, or not being paid at all. The Center advocates that state laws be amended to include agricultural workers among those protected by labor laws.
The Santa Fe County DWI Program holds a press conference at the county fairgrounds this morning to announce the details of this holiday weekend’s anti-drunk driving crackdown. Sobriety checkpoints will be operated throughout the weekend across the county with extra officers deployed. Additionally, anti-DWI radio ads will be aired stressing consequences such as vehicle forfeiture and jail time.
New Mexico's new "Silver Alert" program has been made effective as of Monday. From now on, the New Mexico Department of Public Safety can issue Silver Alerts to law enforcement, the media, and the public when seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia go missing. The law was modeled on the community notifications in Amber Alerts used for missing or possibly abducted children.
An exploratory hat has been thrown into Santa Fe's next mayoral election ring by former Santa Fe County Manager, Roman Abeyta. Currently serving as the executive director for the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Fe, Abeyta is putting together an exploratory committee to canvass citizen sentiment toward his possible run. Santa Fe Mayor David Coss said some weeks ago he would not seek a third term.
Weather for Santa Fe – partly sunny today through Thursday with a 40-to-50% chance for afternoon and evening thundershowers. Highs in the upper 70s and overnight lows in the upper 50s.