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Wednesday Morning Roundup

NM High Court To Hear Internet Cafe Gambling Case - Associated Press and Las Cruces Sun-News

The New Mexico Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case about a Las Cruces man accused of running a gambling enterprise out of his Internet cafe.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that the state's high court recently said it will hear arguments next month in the case involving businessman Michael T. Vento.

Last year, a state Court of Appeals overturned Vento's conviction of running a gambling enterprise out of his Internet cafe.

Gov. Susana Martinez, a district attorney when Vento was operating his cafe, prosecuted him for commercial gambling.

But the 63-year-old Vento says he only provided his customers s chance to win sweepstakes prizes.

NMSU Hires Presidential Finalist As New Provost - Associated Press

New Mexico State University has announced that presidential finalist Daniel Howard will become the school's next provost and executive vice president.

The university said Tuesday that Howard will start the job Aug. 1 and will earn 285,000 per year.

Howard is a former NMSU department head and current dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver.

He replaces former provost Wendy Wilkins, who resigned in November amid a university administration shakeup.

Newly named NMSU president Garrey Carruthers announced last week that he would offer the position to Howard after the regents voted to waive a university rule requiring a national search for provost.

2 Stubborn NM Wildfires Continue To Grow - Associated Press

Two raging wildfires on opposite ends of New Mexico continue to grow amid dangerously dry conditions.

Fire officials say the Silver Fire, the furious blaze in southern New Mexico's Gila National Forest, expanded Wednesday to nearly 133 square miles. Meanwhile, officials say the lightning-sparked Jaroso Fire in in the rugged, steep canyons of the Pecos Wilderness grew to 16 square miles.

The Silver Fire was 20 percent contained while the Jaroso Fire was zero percent contained.

In all, wildfires have burned more than 192 square miles around New Mexico over the last month.

Managers assigned to the Silver Fire expected that blaze — the largest currently burning in the state — to keep marching north and west.

NM Mental Health Audit Targeted Well-Known Groups - Associated Press and The Albuquerque Journal

A list of 15 New Mexico nonprofit groups whose Medicaid payments were ordered stopped this week after a state audit showed massive mismanagement and possible fraud includes well-known names in behavior health.

The Albuquerque Journal reportsthat among the groups targeted by the state Human Services Department were Presbyterian Medical Service Inc., and TeamBuilders Inc., a group run by a Santa Fe couple. Seven southern New Mexico providers linked to Rio Grande Behavioral Health Services also were targeted by the audit.

The list of the groups was provided by the state Human Services Department after a public records request from the Albuquerque Journal.

New Mexico Human Services Department officials said the audit released Monday found that the groups failed to meet basic standards and overbilled the federal and state government by tens of millions of dollars.

Mexico Raps US Immigration Bill On Border Security -  Associated Press

The Mexican government is objecting to an immigration bill that appears headed for approval in the U.S. Senate, saying the initiative's heavy focus on border security is not consistent with the relationship between the two countries.

Foreign Relations Secretary Jose Meade says that instead of expanding a border fence, as proposed in the bill, the United States should modernize border bridges to expedite commerce.

In Meade's words, "measures that could affect ties between communities move away from the principles of shared responsibility and neighborliness."

He says that "fences are not the solution" to the problem of illegal immigration.

Meade read a statement to reporters Tuesday and didn't take questions. It is the first time the Mexican government has addressed the U.S. immigration bill.