NM Gets Veteran Homeless Prevention Grants, UNM Awards Record Number of Degrees

Sep 3, 2016

New Mexico To Share In Veteran Homeless Prevention GrantsAssociated Press

Veteran families across New Mexico will get a boost thanks to more than $2 million in homeless prevention grants.

The Veterans Affairs Department announced the funding this week as part of the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program.

The grants were awarded to Goodwill Industries of New Mexico, New Mexico Veterans Integration Centers and Mesilla Valley Community of Hope. These were three of 275 community agencies across the nation and in Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to receive funding.

As part of the veteran families support program, the VA awards grants to private nonprofit organizations and consumer cooperatives that provide services to very low-income veteran families living in or transitioning to permanent housing.

The organizations will provide eligible families with outreach, case management and assistance obtaining VA and other benefits.

UNM Awards Record Number Of Degrees In 2015-16 School YearAssociated Press, Albuquerque Journal

Despite dropping enrollment the University of New Mexico awarded a record number of degrees during the 2015-16 school year.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the school awarded a total of 5,674 degrees - up from 5,489 the 2014-15 school year. Of those, master's and doctorate degrees accounted for 1,362 and 292 degrees, respectively.

Provost Chauki Abdallah says UNM does not track exact graduation figures, but that the university's four-year graduation last year was on track to exceed 20 percent for the first time in many years.

Abdallah says the high number of degrees can be attributed to changing graduation requirements, increased student services and a more engaged faculty.

New Mexico Colleges, Universities Prepare For Budget CutsAssociated Press, The Santa Fe New Mexican

Public colleges and universities in New Mexico are bracing for budget cuts as state lawmakers prepared to deal with a budget shortfall of up to $650 million.

Albuquerque Republican Rep. Jimmie Hall told The Santa Fe New Mexican that many lawmakers consider higher education one of the easiest areas to cut.

Hall, the vice chairman of the Legislative Finance Committee, says constituents, lobbyists, legislators and staff have all told him to start by reducing higher education funding.

New Mexico cut funding for colleges and universities by 2.4 percent in fiscal year 2016. Some universities have already responded to the cuts and prepared for the potential of more reductions by slashing their own budgets.

Former New Mexico Official To Lead Oil Industry GroupAssociated Press

The former head of the New Mexico Environment Department has been appointed to lead an oil and gas industry group that represents producers around the state.

The New Mexico Oil and Gas Association on Friday announced Ryan Flynn as its new executive director.

Flynn replaces Steve Henke, who retired after six years with the association. Like Flynn, Henke also was a former government official, having worked in the Bureau of Land Management's field office in Farmington.

The association's chairman, Cliff Brunson, says Flynn's background in legal and regulatory affairs will be a good fit for the industry as it navigates what he called challenging times.

Environmental groups voiced concerns about a revolving door between government and industry, but association spokesman Wally Drangmeister said Flynn will honor an agreement that prohibits him from interacting with his former agency.

Airline To Offer Direct Flights Between Santa Fe, PhoenixAssociated Press

American Airlines will offer direct flights between Santa Fe and Phoenix starting next week.

Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales announced the new service Friday.

According to the airline, a flight will depart once a day from Phoenix to Santa Fe in the morning and head back in the other direction.

The flight will only offer 70 seats.

Gonzales says the new flight service will help bring more people to the city whether it's for tourism, films or other industries by being connected to another hub.

Tickets will go on sale beginning Monday.