Oct. 17th First News: Back to work for NM federal workers as government shutdown ends (Listen)

  Furlough plans at-the-ready for thousands of employees at our state’s Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories can now be set aside as the U-S government re-opens. That after both the Senate and House approved funding through January 15th and lifted the debt ceiling until February 7th. Thousands of federal civilian employees at our state’s military installations will now be among those returning to work. All four democrats from New Mexico’s congressional delegation voted to end the stalemate in Washington. Republican congressman Steve Pearce voted against the measure as did the majority of his fellow GOP representatives. 

Local labor union leader Jon Hendry is withdrawing from an active role in the Santa Fe mayoral campaign of Javier Gonzales. Until recently, Hendry had been the chairman and treasurer of Progressive Santa Fe, a political action committee supporting Gonzales, the former chair of the New Mexico Democratic Party. Progressive Santa Fe has been criticized for hiring a firm to perform background research on mayoral candidates, an action Hendry initially said he had no knowledge of. Today's New Mexican reports that mayoral candidate Roman Abeyta is asking the executive council of the AFL-CIO to investigate Hendry's actions which Abeyta says have been misleading.

The Santa Fe School Board this week approved a partnership between the district and the United Way of Santa Fe County to establish the Santa Fe Early Learning Center. The Center, to be located at the old Agua Fria Elementary School campus, will provide early childhood services in Santa Fe- County. Its mission is to prepare pre-school children for successful entry into elementary school. The school district says that 60-percent of New Mexico’s children begin kindergarten between 12 and 18-months educationally behind their peers in other states. Many do not catch up, negatively impacting individual student success and high school graduation rates.

A 375-thousand dollar grant from the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange will fund an effort to make college students aware of their health insurance options under the Affordable Care Act. Representatives from the UNM Health Sciences Center will be engaging students and their communities in an awareness campaign.  It's estimated some 75-percent of students have no health insurance while some 80-percent of folks eligible to participate are either unaware they qualify or don't know where to obtain information.

Santa Fe ranks second among popular U-S tourism destinations according to the 2013 annual Conde Nast Traveler’s Reader’s Choice Awards. The magazine says, quoting: “Our readers found Santa Fe to be ‘pure magic,’ a heaven where souls vacation.” Charleston, South Carolina was tops in the reader’s poll.  The survey also recognized several City Different resorts and hotels. Santa Fe had been the fourth top magazine reader destination last year.

USA TODAY has named Santa Fe one of America’s top mountain biking towns. The newspaper credits the city for its mountain views and history, along with its more than 50-miles of bicycling trails at venues including the Dale Ball and La Tierra Trail systems.  City Councilor Patti Bushee, who chairs the city's bicycle trails advisory committee, says, quote:  “I am thrilled to see all our hard work has paid off. Santa Fe is recognized and on the map as having some of the best mountain biking trails in the world.”

Weather for Santa Fe – Sunny skies today and right through the weekend.  Look for daytime highs in the upper 50s and overnight lows in the upper 20s-to-low 30s. Current Santa Fe temperature is ____.