- The Santa Fe New Mexican looks at how New Mexico fared during the 21-day 1995 government shutdown and compares it to now.
In 1995, he added, New Mexico’s economy was much stronger.
The annual employment growth was almost 5 percent leading up to the 1995-96 shutdown. But the state now places last for job growth in the past three years compared with the rest of the country.
- Forest offices near Ruidoso are closed thanks to the shutdown.
- The Clovis News Journal lists the impacts on Cannon Air Force Base from the government shutdown.
- Albuquerque mayoral candidate Pete Dinelli sat down with Insight New Mexico over at New Mexico Mercury.
- Insurers have seen a spike in interest in the first days of health care exchanges opening up.
- New Mexico Mercury has an overview on how to purchase health insurance through the exchange.
- Represenatives of the health exchange went to Farmington on an informational tour to discuss the new exchange.
The presenters explained that while individuals can create NMHIX accounts and apply for insurance through the website — which can be accessed at BeWellNM.com — they will automatically be re-directed to a federal exchange site during the system’s first year. NMHIX hopes to offer plans to individuals directly through the state exchange sometime next year.
- Laid off workers are seeing longer waits on the phone despite a new computer system.
The year-end report cards for the Workforce Solutions Department showed that the average wait time to connect to the agency’s unemployment call center was 36 minutes during the budget year that ended in June – more than double the 15-minute average wait time in the previous year.
In addition, only 64 percent of eligible unemployment claims were processed within 21 days of filing, compared with 72 percent in the earlier budget year.
- The debate over fracking continues with a report on pollution from the practice.
“For public health and our environment, we need to put a stop to fracking,” said Sanders Moore, director of Environment New Mexico, which is affiliated with the national organization that authored the study.
Soon after the report was made public, an oil industry spokesman and a politician in oil-rich southeastern New Mexico said it was unfair, its criticisms overblown.
- Will youngsters sign up for the Affordable Care Act?
- Immigration reform advocates will rally in Hobbs, Steve Pearce’s hometown.
- The always-interesting Rio Arriba County is once again interesting.
A proposal to give a two-year County employee a $7,280 raise resulted in a heated meeting of the Rio Arriba County commissioners last week. Public comments from the gallery warned it could be the costliest raise the commission will ever approve, considering its potential political backlash from County employees. The public perception of systemic favoritism and unfairness in Rio Arriba County government was cited by two people speaking during the meeting’s public comment period.
- Interim Committee Watch:
The Legislative Health & Human Services Committee wraps up its three-day meeting today at New Mexico junior College in Hobbs.
The Capitol Buildings Planning Commission meets in the State Capitol in room 311 today.
The Radioactive & Hazardous Materials Committee will meet Monday and Tuesday at the Pecos River Village Conference Center in Carlsbad.
The Transportation Infrastructure Revenue Subcommitee meets Tuesday in the State Capitol.
The Jobs Council meets at the Fort Bayard Room in the Grant County Business and Conference Center in Silver City on Wednesday.
The Military & Veterans’ Affairs Committee meets on Thursday at the Sgt. Willie Estrada Memorial Civic Center in Alamogordo.
- The Eddy County volunteer fire chiefs threatened to resign if policy changes go into effect.
“We had two main issues going into Tuesday’s closed meeting,” Williams said. “One was the policy that would merge all the fire departments into one department with Joel Arnwine as the head. The second was the issue we all have with Joel.”
- The Albuquerque Teachers Federation wants a debate on teacher evaluations, but the Public Education Department secretary designate is not biting.
Larry Behrens, spokesman for the state Public Education Department, said Thursday that Skandera will not be meeting ATF members for any such debate.
“What is disappointing, but not surprising, is that this so-called offer from the status quo defenders does not once mention the most important element of education – our students,” said Behrens. “It’s unfortunate our students can’t afford the organized political operation from which ATF union leaders benefit.”
- Pat Davis of ProgressNow New Mexico spoke to the Democratic Party of Otero County and told of the success of the group.
Davis said his organization also advocates for a raised minimum wage in New Mexico and increased voter access. It opposed a recent legislative bill that could have made it a felony for victims of rape to get abortions.
The organization also advocates for legislators to break contact with ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, which calls itself “the nation’s largest, non-partisan, individual public-private membership association of state legislators.”
- A survivor of the Hiroshima bombing visited New Mexico as part of a peace delegation. The atomic bomb was developed at Los Alamos National Labs.
- The Jemez Mountain Electric Cooperative and three other cooperatives are going to fight a proposed rate hike from Tri-Star Generation.
- A town hall on the Mexican gray wolves will go on despite the government shutdown.
- Drought and Fire Digest:
A group near Las Vegas is upset with a decision to divert some water to acequias instead of letting it all go to Storrie Lake.
- Steve Stucker is going to give away his iconic Balloon Fiesta hat filled with pins. Maybe this should have led the Morning Word?
- The Albuquerque Zoo has a newborn elephant.
Sprawled out in the sand, 20 year old Asian elephant Rozie gave birth to her second calf. Her oldest, Daizy, was born at the BioPark 4 years ago.
I’m betting the calf will have a “Z” in her name.
- Los Alamos County made an offer to Dino Sgambellone to be its next police chief. I’m glad I don’t have to try to read his name out loud.
- A proposal would ban buskers on Santa Fe Plaza and seriously limit them in surrounding areas.
- A former 60s-radical will speak about her actions in Taos.
Power, a Denver native, will talk about her evolution from student activist against the Vietnam War to guerrilla warrior, to fugitive on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, to prisoner, penitent and, now, practical peace catalyst.
Power was the getaway driver for a bank robbery gone bad in 1970. A student protester at Brandeis, she joined a group willing to take radical action against the Vietnam War. But things went wrong when an Irish policeman and father of nine was shot and killed during the robbery.
Filed under: Morning Word