Committee To Examine Native Women Deaths And Disappearances, NMSU Grant Will Tackle Opioid Epidemic

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Committee To Examine Native Women's Deaths, Disappearances Associated Press

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has appointed eight members to a task force established to examine the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women.

She announced appointments Wednesday. They include Pueblo, Jicarilla Apache, Mescalero Apache and Navajo representatives, as well as nonprofit leaders and a Native American survivor of violence.

The group is tasked with determining the scope of the issue in New Mexico. They also are expected to identify barriers related to investigations.

A lack of consistent data and complicated jurisdictional issues have stifled policy makers nationwide as they seek to respond to concerns about the crisis.

The task force has until November 2020 to report findings. A growing number of states have established similar committees.

Appointees include Navajo Nation First Lady Phefelia Nez and Elizabeth Gonzales, an Office of the Medical Investigator supervisor

Head Of Albuquerque Public Schools District Set To Retire – Associated Press

The superintendent of the state's largest public schools district is retiring.

Raquel Reedy told the Albuquerque Public Schools' Board of Education this week that she'll leave the office June 30 when her contract expires. She served as acting superintendent for several months before she was named to the post in 2016.

The district credited Reedy with bringing stability, reorganizing the district into learning zones, strengthening a bilingual program and expanding other programs. The board voted earlier this year to boost her salary to more than $276,000 annually — up nearly $30,000 from her previous salary.

Voters also struck down efforts to bring more money into the district during her tenure and standardized test scores have been low.

The school board says it will work quickly to identify candidates to replace Reedy.

New Mexico State School Gets Grant To Tackle Opioid Epidemic - Associated Press

The nursing school at New Mexico State University has received a three-year $1.35 million grant to help address the opioid epidemic.

The funding from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration will finance a project aimed at expanding the number of professionals in New Mexico who are trained to prevent and treat opioid use and substance abuse disorders in community-based practices.

The project is a collaboration between the university's College of Health and Social Services and the College of Education. Officials say faculty and students from a total of three university departments will participate in the project through 2021.

According to state health officials, New Mexico in 2017 reported a rate of 24.6 deaths per 100,000 people because of drug overdose. Opioid overdose-related emergency room visits also increased by 60 percent between 2010 and 2017.

Democrat Ridicules Rival In New Mexico Congressional PrimaryAssociated Press

Northern New Mexico District Attorney and congressional candidate Marco Serna is attacking rival Democrat Valerie Plame in an online video that shows him riding on horseback and talking about policy priorities.

The Santa Fe-based prosecutor posted the online campaign ad Tuesday.

It opens with a scathing critique of Plame's own biographical video that explores her background as a former CIA operative whose covert identity was exposed in retribution for her then-husband Joe Wilson's opposition to the Iraq War.

The new video casts Serna as someone who understands local values, wants livable-wage jobs and fights anti-Semitism. Plame has apologized for a sharing on Twitter in 2017 an article with anti-Semitic expressions.

Plame responded in an email that it was unfortunate that Serna was "using Republican talking points to attack me and my public service."

Nearly a dozen Democratic candidates are competing to succeed Rep. Ben Ray Luján as he runs for Senate.

Long A New Mexico Icon, Spanish Conquistador Faces Attacks - By Russell Contreras Associated Press

The Spanish conquistador, a New Mexico icon that has long been celebrated in art and honored at festivals as a homage to Hispanic heritage, is under attack.

A new generation of Native American and Latino activists in the state is demanding that conquistador images and reenactments be removed from schools, seals and celebrations. They say the figure's connection to colonialism and indigenous genocide makes the conquistador outdated.

Elena Ortiz of the Native American advocacy group Red Nation says activists want the conquistador expunged from public spaces to revise the region's narrative about itself. She says the conquistador glorifies indigenous genocide.

Some Hispanics say, however, that any removal of the conquistador is erasing history. Hispano Round Table of New Mexico chair Ralph Arellanes calls the protesters "ridiculous and crazy."

Tom Hanks Returns To New Mexico To Film Adventure Saga - Associated Press

Tom Hanks is in New Mexico working on another film.

The New Mexico Film Office announced Wednesday that Hanks is co-producing and starring in "News of the World," a post-Civil War adventure saga that is filming in and around Santa Fe through November.

Directed by Paul Greengrass, the film is based on the National Book Award finalist and best-selling novel by Paulette Jiles.

New Mexico Economic Development Secretary Alicia J. Keyes says it's reassuring that film industry leaders are returning to New Mexico to benefit from its locations, crew and tax incentives.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's administration has been looking to leverage more taxpayer dollars to attract jobs and spending by the industry to New Mexico.

The state estimates the industry spent $525 million within New Mexico during the last fiscal year.