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Rep. Townsend And Others Asking State Engineer For Help On Fence

Artesia State Rep. Jim Townsend(pictured)and scores of other legislators have sent a letter to NM State Engineer Tom Blaine regarding a dispute between the feds and ranchers over fencing of water areas on Forest Service land.The feds say they are doing this to protect the New Mexico Jumping Mouse, which is endangered.Rep. Townsend is encouraging people to call the engineer in Santa Fe.

AAA Releases Weekend Gas Watch

The statewide gas price average in New Mexico is now $2.05 for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel, according to the AAA New Mexico Weekend Gas Watch. That price is five cents more than last week and 48 cents less per gallon than last year. Of the major metropolitan areas surveyed in the Land of Enchantment, drivers in Las Cruces are paying the most on average at $2.07 per gallon while drivers in Albuquerque are paying the least at $1.98 per gallon. Nationwide drivers are paying an average of $2.22, which is five cents higher than last week and 41 cents less per gallon than last year. Ample gasoline supplies and relatively lower crude oil costs are helping to sustain year-over-year savings. Gasoline demand continues to break seasonal records as low prices motivate people to drive more. Additionally, crude oil costs are also increasing and recently reached new 2016 highs. Increased demand and more expensive oil costs have helped to push gas prices higher in many parts of the country over the past few weeks, and prices may move even higher leading into the busy summer driving season. Retail averages have historically fluctuated during this time of year, and although the overall price at the pump is beginning to trend higher, gas prices during this summer should remain noticeably discounted compared to previous years. “The lower price environment for gas prices has not only led to drivers taking to the roads at record levels, but is also shifting attitudes about various price points,” said AAA Texas/New Mexico Representative Doug Shupe. “Attitudes towards gas prices have changed significantly over the past few years, according to a new survey by AAA.”

NMSU Students, Faculty Offer Fitness Tips For Staying Healthy This Summer

Friends and family of Amanda Concha, a kinesiology student at New Mexico State University, often seek her out for advice on workout tips and sports-related injuries. But once February rolls around, the questions become less frequent, typically because they start to veer away from their New Year’s resolutions, Concha said. “What I see is burnouts. I understand that with the new year you’re excited to get these new year’s resolutions done, but you do have to take it gradually, especially if your body is not used to it,” Concha said. “You got to take baby steps. People have a tendency to jump into it and their body goes into shock and they don’t want to do it anymore.” According to, 44 percent of gym members go to the gym less than once a week by the sixth month of their membership. However, more people are looking to take advantage of the warm spring months to gear up for summer clothing and swimsuits. Find out more by going to the You Tube link at the bottom of the page.

Woods Houghton Podcast Returns

This week the Eddy County Extension Agent talks about some meetings taking place this month. He also talks about agri-terrorism and pests.

Roberta Smith And Gay West Talk About Their Jobs With Eddy County

Smith (pictured) is the Finance Director and West is the Executive Administrative Assistant and both appeared Wednesday on Good Morning Artesia on KSVP. Smith talked about the budget process that county leaders have been dealing with due to low oil prices. West says her job is preparing agendas for commission meetings.

Mabson Signs With UT Martin

Bronco big man Nehemiah Mabson is headed back to the region he hails from, as the Kentucky native signed his Letter of Intent to attend the University of Tennessee Martin. And while basketball is obviously the big reason he picked the Skyhawks, there are other reasons as well. “It sets me up to better my future as far as education and being a pro, which is my dream,” he said. Mabson will study sports management with an eye on eventually becoming a coach, but before that, he’d like to continue to play ball. “NBA or professional. It doesn’t matter. Get paid for what I like to do,” he said. UTM is an NCAA D-I school in the Ohio Valley Conference, and under interim head coach Anthony Stewart, the Skyhawks finished 21-13 in 2014-15 and 20-15 this past season, closing out the season in the second round of the Tournament. “He made a great choice,” said Bronco coach Ralph David. “They play in the Ohio Valley Conference, and it fits his style of play. They have a great staff over there. They’ve had a lot of success and it’s also important for him to have the opportunity to perform in the tournament.” Stewart is happy to have signed the 6-6, 250-pound forward. “Nehemiah is a great kid who is skilled both inside and out,” Stewart said. “He posted good numbers in junior college and he also had Division-I experience. He will be a key part of our program moving forward. I’m really excited that he’s my first commitment.” Mabson only played a year for NMMI, but Davis said he will be missed. “First and most importantly, he is a great young man off the court. The type of guy you want to interact with and know aside from basketball. I think most of this school community would agree in their interactions with him, so it was a pleasure to have him with us, unfortunately for just one year, but we definitely enjoyed it.” “He’s a great kid, and he really grew immensely as far as mental toughness on the floor and becoming a better teammate this year,” said assistant coach Jake White. “Seeing where we got him in the fall to where he is now, it’s almost a, I won’t give him a 180 degree change, but it’s like 165. He’s almost there, so he definitely grew as a young man, and just like coach Davis said, he’s a great guy off the court.” Mabson credits a lot of his growth, both personally and in basketball, to the Institute. “NMMI has given me a lot of structure, as far as the corps,” he said. “The coaches are great. They set me up the best way possible to pursue my dream as far as getting back to the DI level. Also NMMI has taught me a lot about adversity. Our record wasn’t the best this year, but we kept playing hard throughout the season regardless of our record. It just taught me to keep going.” The sophomore led the Broncos in scoring with 15.6 points per game, and rebounding (5.8 per game.) He expects to step onto the court as a starter for the Skyhawks, and with a brother who played in the NFL, Davis is confident he can make it as far as his dreams take him. “It’s in his blood,” Davis said. “Now that’s football, and if you’ve seen the kid play, being 6-6 and 245, he’s probably playing the wrong sport. But that being said, he does have a wealth of natural talent. If he puts his mind to it, there’s no doubt he can accomplish some of his goals.” “The good thing about him is he really wants to be successful, so we hope everything works out,” White agreed. “Like coach said, (UTM) is the best of his options, and if he goes in with the right mindset, he should be a very successful student-athlete.”

Marita Noon Podcast Returns

All of us loved paying less than $2 a gallon at the pump. AAA reports: `Americans paid cheapest quarterly gas prices in 12 years`--which resulted in savings of nearly $10 billion compared to the same period last year. However, oil (and, therefore gasoline) has been creeping upward since the February low--topping $45 a barrel, a high for the year. And that could be a good thing. While low prices at the pump have been a boon to consumers, the plunge in oil prices has been a bust for American producers. Throughout the past 20 months, crude oil prices have dropped almost 80 percent, nearly 300,000 people are out of work, and corporate valuations for oil and gas companies have plummeted--even Exxon Mobil`s credit rating has been downgraded. In this environment, bankruptcies are frequent, and stock portfolios and retirement funds are feeling the pinch. You may not care about `big oil,` but there`s still reason to be positive about the rising prices. There are several causes for uptick. First is the weaker U.S. dollar. As oil is traded in dollars, a weaker dollar means that it takes more of them to buy the same amount of oil. Additionally, we are heading into a busy summer driving season and refineries are switching to the more expensive `summer blend.` The switch typically means a brief shut down for maintenance--which reduces the gasoline supply. Summer driving increases demand. Globally, oil production is down due to a workers` strike in Kuwait that took about 1.3 million barrels a day of production offline, and disruptions in Iraq, Nigeria, Venezuela, and the North Sea. Former investment advisor and financial writer Tony Daltorio writes: `That brought the total to roughly 3 million barrels a day that were offline.` In the U.S., according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), `oil production has fallen below 9 million barrels a day in recent weeks, down from a peak of 9.7 million barrels a day last April.` In addition to supply contractions, there is a `risk` factor in the calculations. Risk can mean disruptions from a geo-political situation, such as those threatening to erupt in the Middle East, or weather. Because of the now-constant volatility in the Gulf States, that risk is already factored into the global price of crude oil. But risk can also come from weather disruptions. Energy economist Tim Snyder explains: `Last week`s hurricane prediction report from renowned Colorado State University Professor, Dr. Phil Klotzbach predicted that due to more of a La Niña pattern we should see a slightly more active hurricane season in 2016 than the last couple of years. He predicted 12 named storms with 6 hurricanes and 3 of them category 3 or higher. The fact that the first storm of the season was Alex, in January, has prognosticators worried and has added to the risk premium in the price of crude oil. The risk of a hurricane can--and most of the time does--cause supply disruptions and damage to a port and/or a refinery.` These are all supply issues that can easily be eradicated with increased production--such as recently threatened by Saudi Arabia`s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Additionally, in the U.S., reports Bloomberg: `Drilled, uncompleted wells could return 500,000 barrels a day back to the market.` The potential for increased production has many, including Daltorio, predicting a fall in price from current levels. Consumers like lower prices, but they signal economic concerns as the price of oil is directly connected to the global economy. In February, a Citibank strategist warned that due to the extended oil price collapse, the global economy `appears to be trapped in a death spiral.` Eric Sharpe, Publisher at Energy Ink Magazine, states: `Citi`s assessment is clear, and easy to understand: weak global growth results in continued depressed oil prices as demand weakens under over-supply.` Conversely, strong growth increases demand--which raises prices. This is why I posit higher prices are a good thing for everyone, not just the oil industry. Simple economics are based on a supply vs. demand formula. So far, I`ve mostly addressed the supply side. But a careful read of the forecasts indicates an increase in the demand side. Sharpe points out: `The single most important factor for the stabilization of oil prices is for demand to outpace growth which it has not done for over two years. Though demand growth is slow, it is still climbing.` On April 23, the Financial Times reported that commodities, led by oil, rallied `on signs of stronger growth` that bolstered demand. It also referenced: `better housing and infrastructure demand after China`s economy rebounded in March.` On April 27, in a story about the price of oil hitting `another 2016 high,` WSJ addressed the fact that the Federal Reserve officials `left interest rates unchanged.` The last time the same decision was made, the statement included language that indicated the global economic and financial conditions posed risks to their outlook. This time, that was removed--`signaling less concern about risks posed to the U.S. Economy by global financial conditions.` In WSJ, Robert Yawger, director of the futures division at Mizuho Securities USA, is quoted as saying: `The elimination of international elements in the language may mean that the market feels that the international situation is improving, and we`ll get a bit of demand from emerging markets which wasn`t there.` Additionally, Phil Flynn, Sr. Market Analyst at the PRICE Futures Group and a Fox Business Channel contributor, in his daily energy report, on April 22, wrote: `Demand is busting out all over.` He explains: `Low gas prices are causing a buying frenzy at the pump as gasoline demand in the month of March hit an all-time record high.` He continues: `But it`s not just gasoline demand, it is oil demand all over. Not just here in the United States but also in China. China reported that crude-oil imports in March were up a whopping 21.6% from last year coming in close to 7.7 million barrels a day. ...China`s demand for imported oil is stronger than it has ever been.` He also addressed; `the strongest ever volume increase in Indian demand.` So there is growing demand. There is also decreased production and dramatic cuts in the spending on new exploration and development (Flynn reports: `In February, ExxonMobil cut capex [capital expenditures] by a quarter to 23.2 million`). Many are seeing the loss of billions and billions of barrels of oil in the future. In his daily Corn & Ethanol report, Phil`s brother, Daniel Flynn (also with the Price Futures Group), on April 29 wrote: `On the crude oil front the market is trading higher on fundamentals and the expected weaker earnings from the Big Three today that should fundamentally show that they cannot keep up capital spending to meet demand with the huge losses suffered-which should catapult oil futures even higher.` Snyder analyzed the oil supplies on hand, how much we are going to need to meet refinery demand, and how much crude oil we are producing in the U.S.--Supply vs. demand vs. production. He concluded that we have about 33 days of demand in storage. He says: `All of a sudden, 33 days of oversupply doesn`t look like such a big number.` `The market is coming in better balance,` Jason Gammel, an analyst at Jefferies, stated, according to the WSJ. `We maintain the view that the current oversupply will flip into an undersupply in the second half of the year.` Sharpe concludes: `Cautious optimism has finally begun to permeate the industry.` While this is good news for the oil industry, it is also good for everyone--even though it means higher prices at the pump. If this optimistic view is correct, it means the global economy--despite the bad economic news on the American front--may be heading toward a net positive; that it is not `trapped in a death spiral.` A growing economy needs energy. And strong growth means job security and higher wages. That is why higher demand--that equals higher prices--is good for everyone.

Documented Safety Analysis (DSA) Approved

The Department of Energy’s Carlsbad Field Office (CBFO) has approved the contractor’s Documented Safety Analysis (DSA). The latest DSA was developed based on the new DOE standard DOE-STD-3009-2014, Preparation of Non-Reactor Nuclear Facility Documented Safety Analysis, and defines the safety parameters under which the facility operates. “Completion of this important safety analysis is key to ensuring that the resumptions of operations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) meets the highest safety standards and that all potential scenarios that could impact safe operations at the site have been fully anticipated and mitigated through careful preparation and response planning,” said Todd Shrader, CBFO Manager. “Completion of this key milestone keeps us on track to resuming operations by the end of this year.” The DSA includes detailed examination of seven different types of potential events at the WIPP site, such as fires, explosions or energetic events, radiological releases and impacts of natural phenomenon such a high winds or tornadoes. The analysis includes evaluation of the likelihood and consequences of these events as well as the engineered and administrative controls or technical safety requirements necessary to mitigate or minimize impacts to the safety of the workers, the facility and the environment. The approval of the DSA will allow the WIPP management and operations contractor Nuclear Waste Partnership to complete the final phase of their Independent Verification Review (IVR) and finalize training the workforce on procedures necessary to implement the new safety basis. Successful completion of the IVR allows for implementation of the DSA which is the last step on the critical path before the start of cold operations, which is the phase of restart that involves conducting facility operations with simulated waste containers. Cold Operations is designed to demonstrate the adequacy of procedures and establish worker proficiency prior to the beginning of formal readiness reviews required before resumption of actual waste emplacement operations.

Happy Birthday Smokey

Capitan`s hometown hero celebrates his birthday this weekend. Smokey Bear Days happen Friday and Saturday, focusing on family fun and fire prevention. The area in and around Smokey Bear Historical Park has a variety of activities in store. Friday`s events include an auction and a kids` bicycle safety course. On Saturday, expect a chainsaw carving competition, a firefighters challenge, and the morning parade. Firefighters saved Smokey during the Capitan Gap Wildfire in 1950. Since then, the cub has risen to international fame with his image now as an icon of fire prevention.(Photo from State Forestry) 

Wes Reeves Talks Power For The Plains

Xcel Energy has planned upgrades for 30 miles of transmission lines and several electrical substations.These come as part of eight infrastructure projects. The company calls the $40 million investment a part of the push to strengthen the grid along the New Mexico-Texas border. Reeves is a spokesman for Xcel.

ENMU-Roswell To Hold Spring Commencement

ENMU-Roswell will hold two commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 13 at the Roswell Convention and Civic Center, 912 N. Main St. Close to 250 candidates for graduation will participate in the 65th Commencement Convocation. The first ceremony will begin at 5:30 p.m. for those graduation candidates receiving Certificates of Employability, Certificates of Occupational Training, and Certificates of Completion. New Mexico Youth ChalleNGe graduation candidates will also participate in this ceremony. The second ceremony will begin at 7:30 p.m. for those graduation candidates receiving Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Science, and Associate of Arts degrees. Students receiving both a certificate and an associate degree will participate in the 7:30 p.m. ceremony. Bachelor’s and master’s degree candidates from ENMU will also participate in the 7:30 p.m. ceremony. The commencement speaker will be Helen Mata, a candidate for graduation who will be receiving an Associate of Arts degree in Human Services and a Certificate of Employability in Human Services-Helping Relationship Skills. Mata found her path and her passion at ENMU-Roswell. She graduated from Roswell High School in 2014 and was considering various colleges, including UNM in her hometown of Albuquerque, when she was contacted about the Presidential Scholarship. It was an offer she couldn’t refuse and she said the past two years at ENMU-Roswell have gone by in a flash. As an incoming freshman, Mata wasn’t sure what to expect from college and she was worried she would feel lost. But she soon realized that ENMU-Roswell was a great place to begin her college career. “I liked the ease of transition from high school to college. The size of the classrooms helped and the instructors are good at letting us know they are there for us and they have had a positive effect on me. I’ve enjoyed the environment and atmosphere here. It’s been a great stepping stone.” Mata said her advisor, James Mares, also helped her find a career field she enjoyed. “I chose Human Services because I like helping and working with people and making an impact on their lives.” In addition to attending classes, Mata has also gained some practical experience working on campus as a Peer Advisor and a Chase Scholar mentor, meeting with other students once a week to keep them on track and work through any issues. Mata is looking at several universities as she plans to continue her education towards a bachelor’s degree in Social Work, with possibly an additional major in Communications. With the foundation she received from ENMU-Roswell, she is confident now in what her future holds and is ready to tackle what lies ahead.

Second In Command To Speak At ENMU-R

The Adult Education Department at ENMU-Roswell will hold its Twenty-Sixth Annual GED®/HiSET® Adult Education Graduation Ceremony on Thursday, May 12 at 7 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center on campus. A reception will follow the ceremony in the Campus Union Building. About 40 candidates for graduation will participate. The featured speaker will be New Mexico Lieutenant Governor, John A. Sanchez. For adults who did not complete high school, the Tests of General Educational Development (GED® tests) or High School Equivalent Tests (HiSET® tests) provide an opportunity to earn a high school credential. The GED®/HiSET® programs, sponsored by the American Council on Education, enables individuals to demonstrate that they have acquired a level of learning comparable to that of high school graduates. Recognized nationwide by employers and institutions of higher learning, the GED®/HiSET® programs have increased employment, education, and earning opportunities for more than ten million adults since 1942. Since 1986, ENMU-Roswell’s GED®/HiSET® Testing Center has issued more than 4,000 high school equivalency diplomas. Instruction for the GED®/HiSET® is available, free of charge, through the University’s Adult Education Program, which is funded by the Adult Education Act in a grant from the New Mexico Department of Education, Vocational-Technical and Adult Education. Sanchez has served as Lieutenant Governor since January 2011. He was reelected on November 4, 2014. He was born and raised in Albuquerque, and can trace his public service roots to his great, great grandfather, who was a territorial legislator from San Miguel County in 1860. Prior to being elected Lieutenant Governor, Sanchez was elected to the office of Councilman for the Village of Los Ranchos and also served in the New Mexico House of Representatives. In 2005, he was recognized as one of the Top 40 Most Influential Hispanics in the Country. Together with his wife, Debra, Sanchez built one of New Mexico’s most respected and successful small businesses in Albuquerque. The firm has operated continuously for over 30 years and was twice honored as Small Business of the Year. As Lieutenant Governor, Sanchez presides over the New Mexico State Senate, serves as the State’s Ombudsman, and sits on several boards and commissions. He is also an active member of the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) and currently serves as the association’s West Regional Chairman. Lieutenant Governor Sanchez is a strong advocate for job creation, economic development, and private sector growth in New Mexico, and recently accepted an appointment to the Innovate ABQ Board of Directors. He and his wife are the proud parents of two grown daughters.

NMMI Broncos Wrap Up Regular Season This Weekend

Head Coach Chris Cook says the team hosted Midland this past weekend and this weekend they host Frank Phillips. 

Paul Gessing Podcast Returns

This week the head of the Rio Grande Foundation think tank talks about an effort by those on the left to “keep it in the ground.” He also talks about millennials rejecting blank economics and if you ship dentures across state lines you could be facing some jail time.

Wild Horse And Burro Adoption Coming To Artesia

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will hold a wild horse and burro adoption in Artesia, May 6-7. The two-day event at the Artesia Horse Council Arena will feature around 35 outstanding animals. These are adult and yearling horses and burros that once roamed free on public lands in the West. The BLM periodically removes excess animals from the range in order to maintain healthy herds and to protect other rangeland resources. The adoption program is essential for achieving these important management goals. Crystal Cowan is with the BLM and offers more information. (Photo courtesy of BLM)