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AAA New Mexico: Statewide Gas Price Average Increases As Gasoline Demand Maintains Momentum

The statewide gas price average in New Mexico is $2.18 for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel, according to the AAA New Mexico Weekend Gas Watch. That price is one cent more than last week and five cents more per gallon than this day last year. Of the major metropolitan areas surveyed in New Mexico, drivers in Santa Fe are paying the most on average at $2.18 per gallon while drivers in Las Cruces are paying the least at $2.08 per gallon. The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $2.29, which is two cents higher than last week and 14 higher than the price per gallon at this same time last year. “A fill up for a family-sized vehicle, or a 14-gallon tank, is averaging $30 in New Mexico this week,” said AAA Texas/AAA New Mexico Representative Daniel Armbruster. “With a few more weeks of summer ahead and plenty of time to fit in more leisure travel before school begins, analysts say demand for gasoline may increase before the summer travel season ends. AAA New Mexico branch offices are available to help families stretch their remaining vacation budgets and plan those last few summer trips.” Earlier this week across the country, at least 39 states saw prices increase on average by three cents – a major swing from last week when only nine states posted more expensive gas prices on the week. Gas prices in the Mountain Region were volatile this last week and most states in the region saw an increase in average prices. Analysts say if demand maintains its upward momentum and wholesale crude oil prices increase, consumers will likely see higher retail gas prices at the pump.


Xcel Energy Offers Mobile Customer Service

Xcel Energy has rolled out a mobile app that offers personalized customer support for managing monthly bills and reporting and checking the status of outages. The app is an extension of online tools that provide more options for customers to manage their accounts and easily access important information anytime and from anywhere. “We know customers want reliable electric service, but increasingly our customers also desire more information about their service and their monthly bills, and to access it in the ways most convenient to them,” said Brooke Trammell, Xcel Energy director of Customer and Community Relations. “The app is one more way in which we seek to make it easy to do business with us, and we’ll continue looking for ways to make it even better in order to provide the best experience for our customers.” Once a customer is logged in to the app, the home page displays the amount owed and the due date, with a link to pay the current bill electronically or view past bills, usage and payments. The app allows customers to set up payment methods, choose the time of month to be billed and enroll in auto pay or Averaged Monthly Payment. Not only does this tool make it convenient to pay a bill, but it also protects customers against phone scammers who use misinformation to trick unsuspecting customers into providing them access to financial information under the threat of imminent disconnection. “Scammers are hoping you don’t keep track of your bill or when it is due,” Trammell said. “They have been successful in convincing some customers that their bills are past due and the only way to avoid disconnection is to pay over the phone. Customers who are targeted in this way can simply hang up and immediately check the mobile app to see how much is owed, when the payment is due, and make payments through the secure online payment system.” The new Xcel Energy app also includes an outage map that shows where outages are occurring, how many customers are affected and when power is expected to be restored. Customers may also choose to have notifications emailed or texted to them if power is out in their area. “It’s much easier to weather a power outage if you know how widespread the outage might be, and when to expect your lights to come back on,” Trammell said. Customers may still connect with Xcel Energy by telephone and email, and also through social media, and the app has a “contact us” page listing that contact information. The new app is available at Apple Store and Google Play. Customers who have already registered for My Account at xcelenergy.com simply log-in with their username and password, or new users can register directly through the app.


NM In Focus Looks At Young Professionals Plug The Brain Drain

New Mexico in Focus has been examining why so many bright, talented young people leave the state. In this segment, correspondent Gwyneth Doland talks to 20- and 30-somethings about living and working outside New Mexico—and why they chose to stay. Watch it now in the You Tube link at the bottom of the page.


Roswell High To Host Coyote Camp

It’s a sign that summer break is just about over. Roswell High School will be hosting “Coyote Camp” on Tuesday and it will take place in the big gym. Coyote Camp is the freshman orientation and it will start at nine that morning and last until noon. RHS officials say this will be a great time for freshman students to get acquainted with the school. They also say that this should make the transition to high school a little less stressful. RHS also says that they will be handing out student schedules on Tuesday and students can pick them up at the front of the school starting at eight that morning and going until two that afternoon.


ENMU-Roswell Offers New Medical Scribe Program

A new Medical Scribe program is now being offered at ENMU-Roswell. This new Certificate of Employability is an academic option within the existing Medical Assisting program. Through this short 18 credit hour program, students can transition into the Medical Assisting and Medical Coding programs. Medical Scribes are allied health professionals specifically educated to work in ambulatory settings performing data entry. Medical scribes accompany physicians/providers into the exam room and transcribe patient histories, physical exams, and patient encounters. Medical Scribe is a new allied health field based on data entry into EHRs (electronic health records). With the increased number of physicians using EHRs, this will continue to be a growing field. Fall classes start August 21. Students enrolling in the program will be expected to meet health history, immunization, and background check requirements. For more information, contact Cheryl Vineyard, director of the Medical Assisting, Medical Coding and Medical Scribe programs, at 575-624-7199.


Mayor Burch Talks Water And Taxes

Artesia Mayor Phil Burch(pictured) is offering some more information on how water from the city system was tested during the recent boil water advisory that was issued by the state. Traces of E coli were found in the system earlier this month. He appeared Wednesday on Good Morning Artesia on KSVP.


Carlsbad Health Office Hosting Got Shots?

The New Mexico Department of Health’s Eddy County Public Health Office in Carlsbad will be hosting a back-to-school immunization clinic on July 31 through August 17 at 1306 W. Stevens St. Shots will be given Monday and Wednesday 9:30 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 to 3:00 pm, and on Tuesday and Thursday 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 to 3:00 pm. The immunization clinic is open to the public and immunizations will be administered at no cost. Parents should bring a copy of their child’s shot record and their insurance card, including Medicaid with them. The special clinic is part of the Got Shots? immunization campaign. The New Mexico Department of Health, the New Mexico Immunization Coalition, the New Mexico Primary Care Association, and healthcare providers from across the state are partnering again to host immunization clinics from July 29 through August 12 for children 18 years old and younger.


Roswell City Council Approves Spending Increase

The Roswell City Council has approved an operating budget of nearly 147 million dollars. The Roswell Daily Record reports that the spending plan for city government is a major increase from the previous fiscal year. The budget increase is due to some major construction in Roswell, which includes 23-million dollars for a recreation center, 23-million for a citywide water meter replacement and 7-million dollars for a convention center expansion.


SLO FY17 Revenue Earnings And Distributions Soar – Public Schools Collect $613 Million

State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn today announced that the State Land Office’s 2017 fiscal year earnings were $545 million – nearly $50 million more than last fiscal year. Consequently, the increase in earnings means a boost in revenues distributed to public schools, universities, hospitals, and other institutions supported by the agency. The agency’s revenue sources include lease payments, oil and gas lease sale earnings, rights-of-way, permits, interest, and fees, which amounted to $101 million, and oil, gas, and minerals royalties which came to $444 million. Oil and gas production on State Trust Lands dominated business activity at the State Land Office, generating $505 million –$56 million over last fiscal year and 93 percent of all revenues earned.


Artesia General Continues To Hire..Looking For New Boss

The search for a new CEO for Artesia General Hospital continues so says the Vice Chair of the Artesia Special Hospital District Board of Directors’ Mike Deans. Deans also says AGH has hired a couple of new doctors, including one who deals with internal medicine. That doctor will start next month.


Paul Gessing Podcast Returns

This week the head of the Albuquerque based Rio Grande Foundation talks about New Mexico’s economy, Albuquerque and New Mexico vs. Denver and Colorado and the RGF suing the City of Santa Fe.


Racing Ducks, How About Llamas?

© 2017 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. “A peasant has to stand on a hillside for a very long time before a roast duck flies into his mouth.” Chinese proverb quoted by Paul Theroux in Riding the Iron Rooster New Mexico has the challenge of a falling economy. Many New Mexicans are standing around waiting for something good to happen. It might or might not. Other people have looked at tourists as a way to perk up the New Mexico economy. It’s a place to get new money. Especially if New Mexico appeals to tourists with lots of money to spend. Problem: some New Mexicans don’t want more people in our state. There is a conflict between bringing people into the state and people who don’t want New Mexico to grow at all. These people like the lonesome feeling and don’t want any more people coming here. My grandfather wanted to live far enough away from his neighbors so as to not hear their dogs bark. And he did. First there was Lincoln, the little town that developed a great Billy-the-Kid festival. Then Albuquerque adopted the balloons. Roswell got the aliens celebration going. I asked someone from Roswell about the aliens. He smirked, “The tourists come bringing hundred dollar bills.” Years ago, some people in Deming were looking for something to increase the money in their town. Using alliteration, it turned into the Deming Duck Races. If they were in Lordsburg, I wonder if it would have been the Lordsburg Llama Races? Perhaps next the Raton Rat Races, the Taos Tuttle Races, the Alamogordo Alpaca Races, the Carlsbad Camel Races, the Artesia Ant Races… well, I could go. Again, part of the problem involves the people already in New Mexico who don’t want the state to grow in size. Many people in New Mexico like what Oregon Governor Tom McCall said back in the 1970s. Eric Cain in OPB.org wrote about this in 2013: His (Governor Tom McCall) focus was quality of life and so in a 1971 speech said to the people who come to Oregon, “Come visit, don’t stay.” He added, “I urge them to come and come many, many times to enjoy the beauty of Oregon. But I also ask them, for heaven’s sake, don’t move here to live.” While some people might think that rude, I understood. Tourism is a nice relatively clean industry. But come, look, take pictures, eat Green Chile, go home. How pleasant. And truth be known, I really don’t mind more people coming here. I would just like them to take a pledge: “I (state your name) promise never to tell anyone in New Mexico how we did things back home and that it was so much better back home.” Amen. Maybe we can think of some more festivals: Dust Days in March comes to mind. A celebration of people baking on their car dash would be interesting. There are plenty of possible celebrations. Consider a Snake Racing in Springer celebration. Then we have lunch. Tastes like Chicken, eh? Email: drswickard@comcast.net - Swickard’s novel, Hideaway Hills,is available at Amazon.com


Crimestoppers Looking For Info

The Eddy County Sheriff’s Office and Crimestoppers are looking for some information on a criminal damage to property and larceny case that was reported earlier this month on Occidental Petroleum property off Dark Canyon Road. The incident was reported between 11:30 on the night of July 13 and around ten on the morning of July 14. Officials say the victim had advised them that he received a power failure notice at one of the sites. Upon checking it on July 14, he discovered that some panels had been tampered with and some copper had been removed. The total loss is estimated at around 30-thousand dollars. If you have any information on this crime, you’re asked to call the hotline at 844-786-7227. That number again is 844-786-7227. All tips are anonymous and confidential and may result in a reward of up to a thousand dollars.


A Report On A Leading NM Industry

Whether it’s butter for our toast or cheese for our tacos, we all know that dairy products make things taste better. So much so that several days in July honor various dairy products. Dalene Hodnett (pictured)has the details.


Legendary Pianist Byron Janis Releases New Classical Album, Byron Janis Live on Tour

Byron Janis Live on Tour, is the first album of a Three Volume Series of a musical journey. Each Volume will have a limited edition pressed vinyl release. The album is of never before released live recordings of performances by the internationally celebrated pianist. Byron Janis Live on Tour is an exclusive compilation of twelve works composed by Haydn, Chopin & Liszt. Also featured are two pieces composed for stage and screen by Janis himself. (Courtesy photo)