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Students Caught In Crossfire Over Public School Meals, Burnout To Increase Smoke From Southern Fire

United States Department of Agriculture
Flickr via Creative Commons

Students Caught In Crossfire Over Public School Meal DebtsAssociated Press

Public school districts in the U.S. are rethinking how they cope with unpaid lunch debts amid a wave of outrage over practices that single out children by taking food out of their hands or stamping them with a payment reminder.

The U.S. Agriculture Department is requiring districts to adopt policies this month for addressing meal debts and to inform parents at the start of the academic year.

The agency isn't specifically barring some of the potentially embarrassing tactics. It is encouraging schools to work more closely with parents to address delinquent accounts and ensure children don't go hungry in classrooms.

Some states are taking matters into their own hands, with New Mexico this year becoming the first to outlaw school-meal shaming and several others weighing similar laws.

Burnout To Increase Smoke From Southern New Mexico Wildfire Associated Press

Authorities say operations to burn vegetation in advance of a southern New Mexico wildfire will cause a significant increase in smoke.

The fire is burning on state and federal land about 30 miles south of Socorro.

It has burned 10.1 square miles (26.2 sq. kilometers) since being sparked by lightning on June 26 and officials say the planned burnout today, consisting of 2 square miles, would help contain the fire in area of safe access for firefighters.

Approximately 250 firefighters and other personnel are assigned to the fire.

The fire was contained around 40 percent of its perimeter as of today.

Man Driving Stolen Car Shot During Encounter With Deputies Associated Press

Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales says an armed man who was driving a stolen car has died after being shot during an encounter with deputies in the Albuquerque area.

Gonzales says the man ran and then pulled a gun before he was shot by at least one of the deputies who had followed and stopped the car early Tuesday morning after determining it was stolen.

The Sheriff's Department says the deputies weren't injured and will be on paid administrative leave while the incident is investigated.

Identities weren't released.

Southern New Mexico County Conducting Anti-DWI Blitz Associated Press

A southern New Mexico county is conducting an aggressive drunken driving blitz this month.

The Dona Ana County Sheriff's Department has scheduled at least two checkpoints and saturation patrols as part of an effort to reduce DWI-related crashes, injuries, and deaths.

The county says checkpoints and patrols will be conducted at various undisclosed locations.

The Dona Ana County Health and Human Services Department is offering county residents a low-cost taxi rides on Fridays, Saturdays and holidays.

Permian Basin Produced Water May Hit 1B Barrels Per Day Associated Press

Experts say produced water from the Permian Basin may hit 1 billion barrels per day within the next decade.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports New Mexico EnergyPlex Conference panelist Nathan Zaugg told attendees last week that the billion barrels per day estimate could fill Elephant Butte Lake in around 21 days.

Produced water also contains heavy metals including zinc, lead, manganese, iron and barium.

Zaugg, industrial group leader for Carollo Engineers of Salt Lake City, said his company and a New Mexico company are working together to address the problem with urgency.

Ken McQueen, secretary for the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, says companies now know the importance of recycling water, realizing brackish water as a source rather than using fresh water.