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NM In Focus Looks At Economic Development Legislation

From KNME-TV in Albuquerque, an interview with lawmakers on a proposal from Gov. Martinez on increasing the closing fund of New Mexico. This would be used to entice businesses to relocate to the state. Watch it now, by going to the You Tube link at the bottom of the page. 

Municipal Court Set To Return To Its Building

Roswell Municipal Court will be closed Tuesday-Friday (Feb. 3-6) for relocation back into its court building at North Richardson Avenue and West Fifth Street. Any trials scheduled for next Tuesday through Friday will be vacated and rescheduled. In recent months, the court has been operating at a temporary site in the Penn Plaza building while work on its building was being done. Upon reopening Feb. 9, the court’s new hours will be Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and Tuesdays 1-7 p.m. The court will be closed to the public Tuesday mornings and all day Fridays as administration days for staff to accomplish work. 

Think NM Head Talks About Session And Efforts To Bring Back Food Tax

Fred Nathan says the mission of his group is to improve the quality of life for all New Mexicans. He lists one of their accomplishments as repealing the food tax. He says there is an effort to bring it back. Another goal is to make healthcare affordable in the state by increasing transparency and ending price discrimination. You can hear more by going to the podcast section on the left hand side of the page. 

RTW Clears First Hurdle In NM House

Rep. Dennis Roch, a Republican from District 67, says the Right To Work proposal passed a house committee on Thursday. He supports the measure and he also says there is bipartisan support for it as well. Hear his comments on it now by going to the podcast section on the left hand side of the page. 

Broncos Win

The NMMI Bronco Basketball team defeated Western Texas JC Thursday night 70-67 in Roswell. The Broncos travel to Hobbs on Monday for a contest against New Mexico JC. 

Four officers,One Sergeant Honored By RPD

Five members of the Roswell Police Department were honored Thursday, Jan. 29, each receiving an award recognizing outstanding performance in his job or great sacrifice made in the line of duty. An awards ceremony was held at the police station Thursday morning.Left to right, RPD Chief Phil Smith, Officer Jorge Arroyo-Jaime, Sgt. Steve Meredith, Deputy Chief Brad McFadin, Officer Chris King and Officer Randy Rodriquez. Not pictured is Officer Allan Covarrubias. (RPD photo by Scott Stevens

Marita Noon And Chris Saegar Comment On A Recent Visit By Interior Boss

Noon is with Energy Makes America Great and Saegar(pictured) is with The Western Values Project. Recently Department of Interior Sec. Sally Jewell paid a visit to Carlsbad to talk about possible rules on venting and flaring of natural gas from wells on public lands. Hear the thoughts of both in the podcast section on the left hand side of the page. (Photo of Saeger taken from his Twitter page.)

AG Makes Announcement On Behavior Health Audit

Hector Balderas made the announcement during a Thursday press conference. He says the investigation has, “taken too long.” The audit dates back to 2013 and spawned a shake-up of the system in New Mexico. You can hear the press conference now by going to the podcast section on the left hand side of the page. 

NMSU To Fill Gap In Lottery Scholarship Aid For Students

New Mexico State University announced Thursday that it will make up the difference between tuition costs for the spring 2015 semester and the amount covered by the state’s Legislative Lottery Scholarships for all eligible students at NMSU’s Las Cruces campus. Due to recent changes at the state-level, NMSU Las Cruces students eligible for the Legislative Lottery Scholarship now receive just 95 percent of the average tuition for 4-year comprehensive universities in New Mexico. That means students attending NMSU Las Cruces would have had to pay as much as $128.80 out of their own pocket, or through other means of student aid.
“Due to the uncertainty in Lottery Scholarship funding and mid-year changes in the funds allotted by the state, many students were left owing money for their classes at the beginning of the semester,” said Bernadette Montoya, NMSU’s vice president for student affairs and enrollment management. “We wanted to make sure we did what we could for these students.” “The real credit goes to Student Body President Wes Jackson for pushing this issue and to our folks in the Office of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management for making this possible,” said NMSU Executive Vice President and Provost Dan Howard. “NMSU is a caring community, and we’re committed to doing what we can to help our students succeed.”
“I think this is great news,” Jackson said. “For many students, $129 can be the difference between being able to buy a textbook for a class or not. I appreciate NMSU’s administration for making this a priority and ensuring that students’ voices are being heard at the highest levels. We’re fortunate to have the best university president and provost in the state of New Mexico.” NMSU’s Financial Aid Office is currently working to update student accounts to reflect the new changes. Students with questions are encouraged to work closely with their financial aid advisers. 

GHS Students Learn About RPD

The Roswell Police Department participated in the Career Fair held Wednesday, Jan. 28, at Goddard High School. RPD personnel discussed with interested juniors and seniors the opportunities for and benefits of a career with the police department. Representing RPD at the event were, left to right, School Resource Officer Helen Cheromiah, Recruiting Officer Lisa Brackeen, Officer Tracy Mounts and Police Service Aide Narciso Santillan. Anyone who would like more information about working in law enforcement or applying at the police department can call Officer Brackeen at (575) 624- 6770 ext. 108. 

Animal Shelter Seeing Positive Trends

Animal rescue groups, as well as local citizens willing to adopt pets, are making a positive impact on the number of dogs and cats that have been able to leave the Roswell Animal Shelter to find homes with loving families or individuals. The shelter, which has been taking in on average 500 or more animals each month from all areas of Chaves County, always has adoptable animals – whether a dog or cat was given up by a previous owner or was a stray – so the public is encouraged to consider helping an animal in need of a good home. In December, the City Council, which sets policy for the animal shelter, extended the potential time before euthanizing the animal from seven to nine days if a rescue group was interested in adopting the animal. This followed other changes last year that included eliminating a requirement for certain information and paperwork to be provided by rescue groups, and also keeping the shelter open to the public for more hours throughout the week, making it easier for individuals and rescue groups to come by the shelter to see the dogs and cats and adopt them, as well as for pet owners to reclaim their pets that may have gotten loose and run away. Some encouraging results have been seen in the last two months as the number of adoptions has climbed while the number of euthanized animals has been greatly reduced. The number of overall adoptions from the shelter this month is on pace to reach 251 by the end of the month, which would be more than double the amount seen just last month in December. That adoption total will also be 36-percent more than the monthly average for the previous six months (July-December 2014). Meanwhile, the number of euthanized animals at the shelter for January is on track for an end-of-month total of 82, which would cut nearly in half the number recorded in December, as well as be a drop of two-thirds compared to the monthly average seen in the six months of July through December. Through Monday, Jan. 26, almost half of the euthanization cases this month were a result of an animal being sick, injured or aggressive, or were animals brought in by an owner who requested the euthanization for various reasons. The significant reduction in euthanized animals was actually seen initially in December when the total fell by more than 100 animals, or 42 percent, compared with the monthly average from the previous five months. While in an ideal world no dog or cat would have to be euthanized because each one would have a loving, responsible owner to care for it, that, unfortunately, is not the reality of society today. The City Council has carefully considered and adopted the policy that it determined would be in the best interests of an efficiently run animal shelter to serve the community. The City of Roswell and the Roswell Police Department are encouraged by the recent positive trends at the shelter, and urge all those who are truly able to consider adopting a pet. Also, please take steps to curb the overpopulation of animals by having your pet spayed or neutered and ensuring that female dogs and cats in heat are confined to your property and other dogs and cats cannot get to them. The City and RPD thanks Roswell’s responsible pet owners, along with individuals and rescue groups that are adopting shelter animals. Thanks also go to the dedicated staff members who serve the community at the animal shelter. Adoptions cost $40 for dogs and $30 for cats. Those adopting an animal must get the animal spayed or neutered and get it the proper vaccinations and city tags. Approved rescue organizations can adopt for $1 per animal. The shelter is open weekdays 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The phone number is (575) 624-6722.

Roswell State Senator Does Not Want Time To Change

Cliff Pirtle has introduced legislation in Santa Fe that would keep New Mexico on Daylight Savings Time year round. To watch his explanation, go to the You Tube link at the bottom of the page. 

Artesia City Council Meets

Mayor Pro Tem Terry Hill filled in for Artesia Mayor Phil Burch on the KSVP Morning Show Wednesday. He talked about looking for input from residents on a proposed water ordinance. He also talked about new hires for the city. Get a recap now in the podcast section on the left hand side of the page. 

Unemployment Figures Released

New Mexico’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.1 percent in December 2014, down from 6.4 percent in November and down from 6.6 percent a year ago. The national unemployment rate was 5.6 percent, down from November’s rate of 5.8 percent and down from 6.7 percent in December 2013. The rate of over-the-year job growth for nonfarm payroll employment, comparing December 2014 with December 2013, was 1.7 percent, representing a gain of 13,500 jobs. Between April and November 2014, job growth improved substantially (from -0.6 percent to 1.8 percent). This month’s net job gains were somewhat lower than gains in November, which were the highest seen since March 2007. Over recent months, in addition to boosts in education and health services employment, growth has been positively impacted by the increasing number of growing industries. This broad industrial growth was maintained in December, with gains in ten industries and losses in three. In Chaves County, the rate in December of 2014 was around 5%. That is well below the November numbers. In Eddy County the figure was around 3%. That is down from the November numbers, which was around 4%. 


State Forestry Bluewater Watershed Restoration Project Underway

Work on a 200-acre watershed restoration treatment project near Bluewater Lake State Park in western New Mexico has begun, according to New Mexico State Forestry.The project, which continues work that began in 2012, will treat State Trust Land administered by the State Land Office that serves as an upper tributary to Bluewater Lake and will reduce tree density and lower the threat of catastrophic wildfire, while promoting forest and watershed health.“The partnership we have with the State Land Office and the McKinley Soil and Water Conservation District has been an integral part of getting this project started,” said Bernalillo District Special Projects Forester Lawrence Crane. “Working with these agencies as well as the US Forest Service, who has conducted similar projects adjacent to this area, we’ll help protect this vital watershed that surrounds nearby communities.” Funding for the Bluewater Watershed Restoration Project was approved by Governor Martinez during the 2014 legislative session as a part of $6.2 million in severance tax dollars to be used to treat approximately 7,700 acres of 14 high priority watershed areas on public lands. The Bluewater Watershed Restoration Project will take place in three phases, targeting Bluewater Creek and other nearby intermittent streams that flow into Bluewater Lake. This area was listed as a high priority by New Mexico State Forestry as part of a statewide assessment of at-risk watershed areas. The project will utilize hand crews and mechanical equipment to reduce overly dense piñon/juniper stands to improve the health of the existing ponderosa pine forest and reestablish open meadows. Cut materials will be chipped and scattered tohelp prevent erosion. This project supports water quality objectives, promotes the growth of native vegetation and creates a forest ecosystem that is more resilient to wildfire and forest insect and disease issues. New Mexico State Forestry is involved in the implementation of many other healthy forest projects including Governor Susana Martinez’s water initiatives to protect and promote healthy watersheds.

NMSU Takes Steps To Streamline Research Processes

Landing a significant grant is challenging enough in a time of shrinking state and federal funds available for even the most important research projects. Even when a researcher at New Mexico State University is able to line up a great idea with a willing funding agency, the challenge may just be starting.Critical work on a research project is only part of what a scientist must juggle in the process from idea to discovery. Research assistants and students must be hired and equipment must be purchased and, as the project gets underway, travel expenses, supplies, budgets, personnel issues and numerous other considerations must be managed along the way. Getting a million dollars to investigate a critical science topic also means shouldering the responsibility for judiciously, efficiently and appropriately spending a million dollars.How much of this falls on the shoulders of the scientist and how much is handled by university staff members is an ongoing concern at any university. Also critical is how much the research processes that must be followed are seen as a help or hindrance to the scientist. An initiative at NMSU is underway to ensure that research processes are examined and, if necessary, changed to allow the researchers to spend as much time as possible on what they do best – conduct research – rather than spend unnecessary time and effort in the administration of their grant.Leading the way is NMSU Executive Vice President and Provost Dan Howard and the Research Processes Taskforce, which began meeting in September 2013 to seek improvements to research support processes that have been a source of concern for more than 25 years.“We have wonderfully talented faculty members who are seeking solutions to scientific questions about vector-borne diseases, arid lands agriculture, cancer, biofuels and aerospace issues to name only a few,” Howard said. “It doesn’t make sense for these people to spend a lot of their time immersed in administrative chores associated with their grants and contracts. We need to develop the most efficient research support processes possible to make sure our researchers can spend their time seeking new discoveries, rather than dealing with budgetary matters.”One important change, initiated by the taskforce and implemented by Information and Communication Technologies, has been the development of an online research portal that provides quick and easy access to institutional information that relates not only to the administration of the grant award, but also gives good guidance in the grant writing process. This Research Tab went live Dec. 1, and already has resulted in positive reactions from faculty.“The main benefit for me is that the Research Tab puts a large number of web tools and informational documents all in one place,” said Stephen Pate, professor of physics. “Most of that information is scattered all over various email directories and file folders that I have on my own computer, and there was always a lot of searching involved to find it. Now I know I can just go to the Research Tab. The main challenge for the future is to make sure there is a mechanism in place to keep the Research Tab up-to-date; we are all familiar with web pages that were once current but became stale through neglect – I hope that won’t happen to the Research Tab.”Steven Stochaj, distinguished professor in the Klipsch School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, agreed.“Funded research is an important element in the mission of NMSU and appears as one of the five goals in the Vision 2020 Strategic Plan,” Stochaj said. “The new Research Tab on myNMSU places all the information a researcher needs to prepare a proposal or manage a grant in one location that is easy to navigate. Having this information presented in a clear and concise manner greatly reduces the administrative burden associated with funded research activities at NMSU.”Faculty member Mary O’Connell, Regents Professor in Plant and Environmental Sciences, said the Research Tab’s success also will depend on participation from the wide range of researchers at the university.“In the past I would have to search through many separate pages and units on the NMSU website to gather the information I needed to prepare a budget for a grant proposal,” O’Connell said. “Now I have the current facilities and administrative rates, the current fringe benefit rates and the current graduate student salaries all gathered in one spot on the new Research Tab. The tab also provides help for me managing my current grants.“The IT group that built the Research Tab also has provided a mechanism for continued improvement with the Suggestions space on the tab,” O’Connell said. “Research at NMSU is a very diverse enterprise. I know that the tools I need for my program are not the only tools that other researchers need. The IT group is looking for feedback to continue to improve this tab and I hope my colleagues provide that information.”
In addition to the Research Tab, new Shared Service Centers will be set up to give faculty another way to get quick and easy access to institutional support. The first, scheduled to open March 15, will be in the College of Arts and Sciences.“The establishment of Shared Service Centers will provide a one-stop shop for principal investigators who have questions about research proposals, current grants and contracts and human resources,” Howard said. “Among many other functions, Shared Service Center staff will lead efforts to define and develop budget reports that inform PIs of account balances and warn them of impending deadlines for the expenditure of funds. HR personnel in the centers will serve as a point of contact to help with budgeting for staff during the proposal writing process and hiring staff when the grant is funded.“The centers will improve communication by placing research support staff among the faculty, allowing both groups to know one another better and to view each other as colleagues rather than as opponents,” Howard said. Although the research process taskforce completed its work in spring of 2014, it will continue to meet, serving as a quality assurance group that will provide feedback and recommendations on research processes and PI training.
Howard said he and NMSU President Garrey Carruthers are focused on improving research processes at NMSU.“We are committed to making NMSU ‘researcher friendly’ and it is the interests of our researchers that will be foremost in our minds as we make changes to research processes, now and into the future,” Howard said.



Is Raising The Federal Gas Tax A Good Idea?

Marita Noon of Energy Makes America Great says Republicans in Washington are looking at raising the Gas Tax to help pay for the Highway Trust Fund. She says money is running low due to American success. She talks more in the podcast section on the left hand side of the page. 

Meet The New State Auditor

Tim Keller is a former State Senator from Albuquerque and he is starting his first term in a new job. One that he admits is, "under the radar." To hear more go to the podcast section on the left hand side of the page.