July 22 First News: 'Kids Count' No Longer Ranks N.M. Dead Last In Child Welfare (Listen)

Jul 22, 2014

The Kids Count Data Book is out, and it finds that New Mexico no longer holds the dubious distinction of ranking last among states in child welfare. New Mexico, which last year booted Mississippi from last place, moved back up to 49th in this year's report from the Annie E-Casey Foundation. It cites a slight drop in child poverty, improvements in high school graduation rates and a drop in the teen birth-rate for the improvement. Mississippi is back at number 50.

Governor Susana Martinez's administration says New Mexico isn't sending National Guard troops to the border to deal with an influx of Central American children and families trying to enter the country illegally. Martinez spokesman Enrique Knell says there's no immediate plan to deploy the National Guard to the border on a state mission. His comments came after Texas Governor Rick Perry announced up to one-thousand troops would be sent to the Texas-Mexico border. Knell said Martinez does believe there's a role for the National Guard in protecting the border. He said the governor disagreed with federal decisions in 2008 and 2012 to stop funding programs that had National Guard troops supporting the Border Patrol with surveillance and other non-law enforcement duties to help deal with border violence….This comes as officials say more immigrants detained briefly in New Mexico have been deported. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said one plane Friday took the immigrants from Artesia to Honduras and another flight sent the women and children to Guatemala and El Salvador. ICE officials say more of the 600 or so women and children temporarily housed in Artesia are scheduled to return to be deported soon.

The Santa Fe National Forest reports two small fires burning this morning, both less than an acre in size as of last night. Meantime, a new guide has been developed to help those impacted by wildfire in New Mexico start on the path to recovery. The “After Wildfire” guide is available at the website: after-the-fire-n-m-dot-org. Eliza Katzman is with the New Mexico Forestry Department, which took the lead developing the guide. *****072214-Katzman-2 :33***** The guide is funded in part by the U-S Forest Service.

Albuquerque police are investigating whether three teenagers suspected of beating two homeless men to death are responsible for dozens of other attacks on transients in recent months. A criminal complaint said one of the teens told police that they had attacked more than 50 people in recent months. All three teens are being held on five- million bonds.

Unionized nurses and medical technicians at Santa Fe’s lone hospital have overwhelmingly voted to reject a contract offer. The New Mexican reports the hospital's administration called the contract its best and last offer. A union leader says they will seek a return to the bargaining table.

A new CEO of New Mexico's health insurance exchange will take over running the online marketplace in late August. The exchange announced Monday that Amy Dowd had accepted its offer to become the exchange's top administrator. The exchange's board of directors voted earlier this month to select Dowd, who has been executive director of Idaho's insurance exchange. Interim CEO Mike Nunez has been running New Mexico's exchange since it was created last year.

Thinking about logging onto your bank account in your favorite café? Think again. Identity theft is on the rise, KSFR’s Shannon Latham has more. *****

A second case of plague has been reported in New Mexico this year. The Department of Health says testing has confirmed that a hospitalized 43-year-old woman from Rio Arriba County had plague. An environmental investigation will take place at the woman's home to look for ongoing risk to others in the area.

Santa Fe Weather: Partly sunny, with a high near 90 and a 50-percent chance for showers and thunderstorms this afternoon. Tonight: Mostly cloudy with a low down to 62 and a 50-percent probability for showers and thunderstorms. Tomorrow: Mostly sunny with scattered showers and thunderstorms early with a high of 88.