Bernalillo County Offering Methadone In Jail, Report Urges Expansion Of Pre-K Programs

Nov 20, 2017

Methadone Program For Inmates To Begin At New Mexico JailAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Bernalillo County is joining only a handful of jails around the country that allow inmates with opioid addictions to start a methadone program while behind bars.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that Recovery Services of New Mexico has been providing medication-assisted treatment with methadone since 2005 for inmates who are already enrolled in a program when they enter the Metropolitan Detention Center.

According to the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance, fewer than 30 of the nation's 5,100 jails and prisons offer opioid users medication-assisted treatment.

Supporters of the program hope it will address a multitude of issues including recidivism, crime rates and community wellness.

The program begins Wednesday, exactly 12 years to the day after the first dose of methadone was given to an inmate at the jail.

Trader Joe's Recalls Packaged Salads Over Contamination FearAssociated Press

Trader Joe's says it has recalled several packaged salads after a supplier said there may be shards of glass or hard plastic inside.

The grocery chain said Saturday on its website that packages of white meat chicken salad, curried white chicken deli salad and turkey cranberry apple salad sold in some areas that expire from Nov. 10-21 could be contaminated.

The products are labeled with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's "inspected" code P-40299.

The warning applies to white meat chicken and curried white chicken deli salads sold in Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma or Texas.

Turkey cranberry salads sold in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Oregon or Washington are at risk.

Trader Joe's said products with other "inspected" codes were not affected because they were created at separate sites.

The chain apologized and urged customers to discard the products or return them for a refund.

Unions: Power Plant Contractors Violating Navajo Labor LawsAssociated Press

Unions that represent Navajo workers in northwestern New Mexico say the tribal members are being passed over for jobs at a local power plant in violation of tribal labor laws.

The coal-fired Four Corners Power Plant is undergoing a massive overhaul of its equipment to add pollution controls. The work requires the plant's operator, Arizona Public Service Co., to hire contractors to employ nearly 1,500 people.

The utility leases the land from the Navajo Nation. APS says its contractors are required to hire qualified Navajos before considering other applicants.

Chris Frank, a Navajo man who lives in Red Mesa, says he believes a number of contractors are running afoul of the law.

Navajo Nation spokesman Mihio Manus says the tribe is looking into the matter.

GOP Lieutenant Governor Candidate Drops Bid Over ResidencyAssociated Press

The only Republican candidate for New Mexico lieutenant governor has abruptly withdrawn from the race.

Former Indian Affairs Department Secretary Kelly Zunie dropped out Friday, citing concerns about residency requirements.

Zunie says she may not meet the criteria that candidates continuously live in New Mexico for at least five years preceding Election Day.

Zunie, a New Mexico native, moved back from Utah in July 2014.

Zunie has also faced financial issues including $15,000 in unpaid Utah state tax liens in 2016.

She has said the trouble was caused by confusion over filing taxes jointly with her husband, who still lives in Utah.

Of the five Democrats vying for lieutenant governor, Sen. Michael Padilla is facing calls to drop his bid over sexual harassment claims.

Oral Arguments Scheduled In Texas-New Mexico Water RightAssociated Press

The U.S. Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments in a lengthy battle between New Mexico and Texas over management of one of North America's longest rivers.

Oral arguments in the Rio Grande case are scheduled Jan. 8.

All sides say the stakes are high given uncertainty about the future sustainability of water supplies throughout the Rio Grande Valley. Farmers, water policy experts, city officials and others have been working behind the scenes to build a framework for a possible settlement.

Texas took its case to the Supreme Court in 2013, asking that New Mexico stop pumping groundwater along the border so that more of the river could flow south to farmers and residents in El Paso.

New Mexico has argued in court documents that it's meeting delivery obligations to Texas.

Albuquerque Seeks Clarification Of Ruling On Police Video Albuquerque Journal, Associated

The city of Albuquerque wants a federal judge to clarify an order that accuses local officials of manipulating police body camera video.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that City Attorney Jessica Hernandez filed a notice Friday, saying the city shared the same amount of footage with the court and media.

U.S. District Judge Robert Brack is presiding over federally mandated reforms of Albuquerque police.

In a hearing Thursday, Brack said officials had only shared the portion of the video that made it seem like an independent court monitor was biased against the department.

Brack also blasted police leadership for secretly recording the monitor and denied the city's motion for a different monitor.

The department has been undergoing an overhaul since the Justice Department found a pattern of excessive force in 2014.

Lujan Grisham Tells Senate Leader To Leave RaceAssociated Press

New Mexico Democratic gubernatorial candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham says Democratic State Sen. Michael Padilla should end his bid for lieutenant governor over claims he harassed women as a city of Albuquerque supervisor.

Padilla has long denied the claims from 2007, but Lujan Grisham said Friday that he was wrong and "there is no room for excuses" for the alleged abuse.

Two federal lawsuits say Padilla harassed women while managing the Albuquerque's 911 Call Center. Padilla was accused of making inappropriate comments and often asked women out on dates despite their repeated rejections.

The city ended up settling sexual harassment claims stemming from Padilla's tenure overhauling the problem-plagued 911 center.

Padilla said he will speak with Lujan Grisham, who is now a U.S. congresswoman. He called her a great candidate.

Analysts Urge State To Expand Pre-KAlbuquerque Journal

Many New Mexico students are starting kindergarten behind their peers and a new report urges expansion of effective pre-kindergarten programs to address those gaps.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the Legislative Finance Committee released a new report that finds the benefits of pre-K programs last through eighth grade.

It also finds positive effects among students in the K-3 Plus program that adds additional school days, but that program faced budget cuts of about 28 percent this year as New Mexico has struggled with anemic revenues.

The report noted that poverty and students learning English, as well as low-income families changing schools often all contribute to low test scores.

The LFC report recommends lawmakers prioritize funding for districts that implement the K-3 Plus program on a school-wide basis and ensure students remain with the same teacher throughout the year.

New Mexico Sees Over-The-Year Job Growth In Private SectorAssociated Press

New Mexico's unemployment rate edged lower in October to 6.1 percent, slightly less than the previous month and nearly a percentage point less than the same period last year.

The state jobless rate is still higher than the national rate, but labor officials say New Mexico over the past year has recorded gains in the private sector that have resulted in 13,900 jobs, or 2.2 percent growth.

Employment in the leisure and hospitality sector was up 4,000 jobs, or 4.2 percent, representing the most substantial numeric gain of all industries.

Over-the-year job losses in mining have ranged from 100 to 800 jobs in the last seven months.

Among the state's 33 counties, Luna had the highest unemployment rate — 10.3 percent — for October, followed by McKinley and Torrance counties.