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Udall, Heinrich: New Leadership Needed at N.M. VA Medical Center

on July 23, 2014 - 6:49am

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall

U.S. SENATE News:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 21, as the acting Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary visits New Mexico, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich urged the VA to move quickly to hire a qualified permanent director for New Mexico's VA hospital to help it immediately begin the work to regain the trust of veterans and address serious problems with scheduling, emergency response, care for rural veterans and other challenges.

Numerous vacancies at the VA, including the New Mexico VA Medical Center (VAMC) director, have made it extremely difficult to make

WIPP to Reduce Transportation Contract Drivers

on July 23, 2014 - 6:44am

WIPP News:

Visionary Solutions, a carrier contracted to transport waste to WIPP, will reduce its driver teams as a result of the February events that suspended waste disposal operations at the facility.

In anticipation of the decline in shipments, the Carlsbad Field Office asked Visionary Solutions to propose cost estimates that reflect the reduced need for transportation services. Visionary Solutions has now reduced its qualified two-person driving teams from 11 to three. The number of dedicated tractors or trucks also will be reduced to three.

WIPP will maintain its transportation

Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee Meets at UNM-LA July 23

on July 22, 2014 - 7:00am

STATE News:

The New Mexico Legislature’s Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee meets 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 23 at the UNM-LA Student Center Lecture Hall (Room 230), 4000 University Dr.

Committee members will discuss Los Alamos National Laboratory's Waste Drum Characterization Process and LANL's Legacy Waste Cleanup Status.

They also will speak with Ryan C. Flynn, N.M. Secretary of Environment and receive the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Report from Joe Franco, manager of the DOE Carlsbad Field Office. Chromium Contamination Mitigation also is on the agenda.

Committee Chair Sen.

New Mexico Moves From 50 to 49 in Child Well-being

on July 22, 2014 - 6:50am

Courtesy/ACF

STATE News:

New Mexico moved up from the bottom ranking of 50 in the 2013 national KIDS COUNT rankings to 49 in child well-being this year in the 2014 KIDS COUNT Data Book.

While improvement was made from the 2013 to 2014 editions of the report in some child well-being indicators—such as child poverty (dropped from 31 percent to 29 percent), high school graduation rates (rose from 67 percent in 2010 to 74 percent in 2012) and our teen birth rate (dropped from 53 births per 1,000 female teens to 47 per 1,000)—others declined.

Key child well-being indicators that declined from

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AWF Conducts Ecological Restoration at Valles Caldera July 25-27

on July 21, 2014 - 11:52am

AWF News:

Albuquerque Wildlife Federation (AWF) and Amigos de Valles Caldera are hosting a weekend-long volunteer project and group campout in the National Preserve.

Volunteers from both groups will be coordinating with ecological restoration specialists to improve integrity of streams and wetlands in the preserve via rock structures, fencing, and planting of native species.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information on the project or Albuquerque Wildlife Federation’s activities and mission, contact Phil Carter at 505.463.0125 or philcrater@gmail.com, or visit

SF National Cemetery Hosts Veterans Burial Benefits Workshops Wednesday

on July 21, 2014 - 11:05am

SFNC News:

SANTA FE – Santa Fe National Cemetery Director James P. Sanders will host Veterans Burial Benefits Workshops 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., July 23.

The hour-long workshops will provide an overview of the National Cemetery Administration, highlighting the Santa Fe National Cemetery, burial benefits provided by the National Cemetery Administration and how to make burial arrangements.

The Veteran Burial Benefit Workshops are at the Bataan Memorial Building, second floor, room 238 (the Old Senate Chambers).

The times are set-up on the hour/every hour as follows:

  • 8 a.m.
  • 9 a.m.
  • 10 a.m.
  • 11 a.m.

Noon

Luján Introduces Legislation to Promote Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

on July 20, 2014 - 9:12am

U.S.Rep. Ben Ray Luján

U.S. CONGRESSIONAL News:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico's Third District introduced legislation recently that will promote energy savings through increased efficiency standards and increased investments in renewable energy, such as wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, and biomass. 

The American Renewable Energy and Efficiency Act, introduced by Luján and Rep.

UPDATE: Michelle Lujan Grisham Will NOT Appear On Meet The Press Sunday

on July 19, 2014 - 9:49am

NOTE: U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham will no longer be a guest on Meet the Press this Sunday, July 20 as originally announced.

U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham

STATE News:

WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, N.M.-01 will appear on Meet the Press this Sunday, July 20.

Rep. Lujan Grisham and other guests will discuss numerous issues facing Congress and the country, including immigration reform, foreign affairs, and the upcoming elections.

Meet the Press airs at 9 a.m. on KOB-TV Ch. 4.

ESGR Honors Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez

on July 19, 2014 - 7:45am

Sen. Michael Sanchez

ESGR News:

Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez received the Seven Seals Award by the New Mexico Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) July 11.

New Mexico ESGR Chair Ray Battaglini said Sanchez was presented with the award for his continuing support of members of the National Guard and Reserve as well as his support of their employers.

Sanchez was given the award and honored at a luncheon held at the Belen National Guard Armory, which was sponsored by ESGR.

Heinrich Addresses Central American Refugee Crisis

on July 19, 2014 - 7:26am

Sen. Martin Heinrich

U.S. SENATE News:

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., delivered a speech on the Senate floor July 16 on the current Central American refugee crisis. 

Last week, he joined U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on a tour of the temporary facility for undocumented parents and their children at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center campus in Artesia.

 Heinrich has long been a strong advocate for comprehensive immigration reform, and is a proponent of the president's emergency supplemental request to address the increase in child and adult

Udall Addresses Troubled N.M. VA Hospital

on July 18, 2014 - 11:28am
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall meets with Veterans Affairs Secretary nominee Robert McDonald. Courtesy photo
 
U.S. SENATE News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., met with the nominee to replace former Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, who resigned in May in the wake of the veterans' scheduling scandal that has impacted the Albuquerque VA. Nominee Robert McDonald, a West Point graduate, is the former Procter & Gamble CEO.
 
Udall issued the following statement after their meeting:
 
"New Mexico's VA is experiencing a crisis of confidence.

Heinrich Video Addresses Wildfire Funding Reform

on July 18, 2014 - 10:14am

Sen. Martin Heinrich

U.S. SENATE News:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - During a U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing July 15, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., continued to push to reform federal wildfire policy by funding major wildfires the same way as other natural disasters, while freeing up funding to prevent future fires.

The committee considered the Administration's wildfire preparedness and forest service 2015 fiscal year budget proposal, which includes a plan based on a bill Heinrich is co-sponsoring, which would treat the largest fires -- roughly 1 percent of annual

Storytelling Highlights Valles Caldera Birthday

on July 18, 2014 - 8:24am

Courtesy/VCNP

VCNP News:

The Valles Caldera National Preserve will host the Jemez Mountains Storytelling Jamboree 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., July 26 at the Valle Grande staging area located just inside the Preserve’s main entrance.

There is no admission charge to attend the jamboree, so bring your family and friends for a day of fun and entertainment by some of the area’s most talented storytellers.

The jamboree is the highlight of the 2014 Birthday Celebration that commemorates the creation of the Preserve.

FBI: Former MDC Corrections Officer Faces Federal Drug Trafficking Charge

on July 18, 2014 - 7:56am

Lucas Segura

FBI News:

ALBUQUERQUE—Lucas Segura, 22, of Los Lunas made his initial appearance in federal court in Albuquerque Thursday morning on an indictment charging him with a heroin trafficking offense. Segura remains in custody pending a detention hearing scheduled for today.

The indictment alleges that Segura unlawfully possessed heroin with intent to distribute in Bernalillo County April 1. At the time of the offense charged, Segura was a corrections officer at the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC).

According to state court filings, Segura was arrested April 1, on

Luján Joins Effort to Limit Money in Politics

on July 17, 2014 - 8:57am

Rep. Ben Ray Luján

U.S. CONGRESSIONAL News:

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico's Third District announced July 15 that he has joined in an effort to limit money in politics by introducing an amendment to the United States Constitution.

The constitutional amendment would overturn Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United vs. FEC and McCutcheon vs. FEC in an effort to reduce the growing influence of money in the political system. The constitutional amendment is the companion to the amendment introduced in the Senate by Sen.

Heinrich on Confirmation of Norman Bay to FERC

on July 17, 2014 - 7:48am

U.S. SENATE News:

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, released the following statement after voting to confirm Norman C. Bay to be a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Bay was confirmed by a vote of 52 to 45. The president is expected to designate him to be chairman of FERC next year.

Heinrich spoke on the Senate floor in support of Bay's nomination:

"Norman Bay is an outstanding public servant with extensive experience to address our energy challenges in New Mexico and around the nation.

Expansion of WIC Reimbursements to Include Farm Food Stands

on July 17, 2014 - 7:28am

Gov. Susana Martinez

WIC News:

Gov. Susana Martinez announced New Mexico’s successful expansion of Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits to include reimbursement for any authorized farmer food roadside stand selling fresh, local produce.
 
WIC is the Special Supplemental Food Program for women, infants, and children, which helps more kids and families get the nutritious food they need to eat and live healthier. The program also includes Senior Dollars, a supplemental food program for low-income seniors.

“Our New Mexico farmers grow some of the highest-quality produce in the
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Camp Corazones Issues Urgent Call For Lifeguards

on July 15, 2014 - 8:36am

CAMP CORAZONES News:

Camp Corazones, an annual three-day summer camp for children and families infrected or impacted by HIV/AIDS, is in urgent need of certified lifeguards to volunteer and supervise pool time Thursday and Friday, July 17 and 18.

Camp Corazones is an all-volunteer, grassroots, community based organization. The planning, organizing and funding for the annual camp is guided by a core of dedicated volunteers who support the relevance of Camp Corazones and how important this summer camp is to the children and their families.

This is the highlight of their summer vacation to

Darren White Launches PI & Security Firm

on July 15, 2014 - 8:21am

Darren White

BUSINESS News:

Former Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White has started a private investigations and security company. 

White, who is nationally known as a public safety expert, served as secretary of the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, Bernalillo County sheriff and director of Public Safety for the City of Albuquerque. White also runs Buzzsaw Strategies, a government relations company.

White is partnering with David Linthicum, former chief deputy for the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department.

New Mexico State Police Investigate Vehicular Homicide in Rio Arriba County

on July 15, 2014 - 7:28am

NMSP News:

State Police responded to the Espanola hospital Friday regarding a deceased 28-year-old female, later identified as Lisa Espinoza.

Espinoza had suffered blunt force trauma to her head and upper body and was brought to the hospital by Richard Trujillo, 42, Espinoza’s boyfriend.

Through the course of the investigation, it was learned Espinoza and Trujillo were consuming alcohol earlier in the day. They were drinking at their cabin and at the El Cuerno Bar in Cebolla. Later in the evening, they left the bar in Trujillo’s flatbed truck.

State DOTs Honored for Innovation and Cost Savings

on July 15, 2014 - 7:01am

DOT News:

Department of Transportation (DOT) projects that are improving safety on all travel modes, expanding mobility for communities, reducing congestion on roadways and providing additional transportation options while saving taxpayer dollars, were named recipients of top honors in the Western Regional America's Transportation Awards competition at the Western Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ 2014 conference.

"The America's Transportation Awards competition showcases the exceptional, innovative and diverse range of transportation projects by state

Los Alamos Citizens Advocate For Continuing Historic Rail Route of Southwest Chief

on July 14, 2014 - 8:11am
Six Los Alamos residents joined other supporters of maintaining the existing route of the Southwest Chief in Lamy to welcome Amtrack CEO Joe Boardman to the state. Courtesy photo

STATE News:

More than 50 people gathered at Lamy Station Saturday to welcome Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman on his special train from Washington, D.C. to visit stations along the route of the Southwest Chief.

Six people from Los Alamos, along with others, many from Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Trail Association, waited till 9 p.m.

Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard Goes To Washington

on July 13, 2014 - 11:03am

State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard speaks with U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján at his office in Washington, D.C. Courtesy photo

STATE News:

Dist. 43 Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard traveled to Washington, D.C. last week to meet with New Mexico's federal delegation and discuss LANL Funding and NNSA procurement policies.

State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard and U.S. Sen. Tom Udall in Washington, D.C. Courtesy photo

In her meetings with Senators Tom Udall and Martin Henrich and Representatives Ben Ray Luján, Michelle Lujan Grisham and Steve Pierce, Garcia Richard stressed the region’s concerns that the NNSA

It’s Baby Season at The Wildlife Center!

on July 13, 2014 - 10:41am
Bobcat kitten residing at The Wildlife Center near Espanola. The Center works to conserve and restore native wildlife and their habitats through action-oriented education, promotion of public awareness, strategic partnerships and responsible wildlife rehabilitation. Each year, The Wildlife Center takes in up to 1,000 orphaned, ill and injured animals from across the state. These animals include mountain lions, porcupines, pelicans, owls, eagles, hummingbirds and ravens. The Center rehabilitates large mammals, such as bobcats and elk, endangered species and the bald eagle. The Center's success

Udall: Campaign Finance Reform Momentum Builds With Panel Vote on Constitutional Amendment

on July 13, 2014 - 7:54am

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall

U.S. SENATE News:

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., welcomed the Senate Judiciary Committee's approval of his proposed constitutional amendment to restore power to regulate campaign finance to the people.

Udall’s amendment would clarify in the Constitution that money does not equal speech, effectively reversing U.S. Supreme Court decisions, which have unraveled campaign finance regulations and handed undue influence over elections to corporations and wealthy donors.

Following the July 10 committee vote, Udall's amendment is expected to be considered by the full Senate later this

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