Gov Apologizes For Staff's Holiday Party Conduct - The Associated Press
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is apologizing for her staff's conduct at her annual holiday party at a downtown Santa Fe hotel.
A noise complaint resulted in police responding to one of her staffer's rooms.
In a statement Friday night, Martinez says someone threw snowballs from a hotel balcony and says that behavior is unacceptable.
Martinez also says she made a mistake by speaking to the hotel receptionist and asking about the noise complaint.
The governor says she shouldn't have gotten involved in trying to resolve the situation and she should have handled it differently.
You can listen to the 911 tapes from the Governor's conversation with dispatchers on NMPoliticalReport.com.
Disgraced New Mexico Official Checks Into Jail – The Associated Press
Former New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran has checked into a county jail to serve out a 30-day sentence as partial punishment for siphoning money from her election account to fuel a gambling addiction.
Duran surrendered to deputies Friday morning at the Santa Fe County Adult Correctional Facility on a rural highway 14 miles south of Santa Fe.
The 60-year-old from Tularosa resigned from office in October, and she pleaded guilty to felony counts of embezzlement and money laundering. The transgressions have led to calls for a major overhaul of state campaign finance and ethics laws.
For violating the laws she was expected to uphold, Duran also must hand-deliver letters of apology to political donors and talk to school children and civic groups regularly for three years.
Santa Fe Takes Steps Toward Providing High-Speed Internet – The Santa Fe New Mexican, The Associated Press
Santa Fe is speeding up Internet service across the city.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Mayor Javier Gonzales announced this week that a long-delayed goal of offering fast Internet speed is happening.
Gonzales says Santa Fe Fiber will raise speeds to 1 gigabit per second, or 1 billion bits per second, for the city.
Businesses in Santa Fe typically receive no more than 100 megabits per second.
Officials say the average Internet speed for Santa Fe residences is 5 megabits per second.
Gonzales says high-speed Internet is crucial for city city's ability to grow its economy.
Santa Fe Fiber is a 2-mile stretch of fiber-optic wire tying together two key access points.
Project administrator Sean Moody says the network may expand to other portions of the city.
Report: Drug Overdose Deaths Surged In 14 States Last Year - Mike Stobbe, AP Medical Writer
A government report shows drug overdose deaths surged in 14 states last year.
Rates went up in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the report Friday.
The highest overdose rates were in West Virginia, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Kentucky and Ohio.
For the nation, overdose deaths last year surpassed 47,000 — up 7 percent from the previous year. That's the most reported in the nation since at least 1970, according to CDC records.
The count includes deaths involving powerful painkillers, sedatives, heroin, cocaine and other legal and illicit drugs.
New Mexico Lawmaker Proposes Tough-On-Crime Reform – The Associated Press
A New Mexico lawmaker and retired police officer has pre-filed two pieces of tough-on-crime legislation ahead of next month's 30-day legislative session.
Rep. Paul Pacheco, an Albuquerque Republican, filed proposed legislation Friday that would require mandatory-minimum sentences for criminals convicted of serious violent felonies.
The filing came a day after Pacheco pre-filed legislation to expand the scope of New Mexico's "three strikes" law, which calls for defendants with three or more violent felony convictions to face life sentences.
Pacheco has criticized the current law as being too narrow.
He says his proposal would add crimes to the list of violent felonies under the three strikes law.
His proposal for mandatory-minimum sentencing would bar judges from suspending or deferring more than 15 percent of a sentence for defendants convicted of voluntary manslaughter and several other violent offenses.
New Mexico Unemployment Rate Remains At 6.8 Percent In Nov. – The Associated Press
New Mexico's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was at 6.8 percent in November, unchanged from the previous two months.
By comparison, the state's unemployment rate was 6.1 percent in November 2014.
The 3,000 non-farm job increase for October was the state's 39th consecutive month of over-the-year employment growth.
State Department of Workforce Solutions officials said Friday that seven economic sectors lost jobs last month and six added jobs.
The industry with the largest and fastest over-the-year employment growth in November was leisure and hospitality, which was up 3,100 jobs.
Education and health services added 2,900 jobs and professional and business services added 2,800 jobs.
Mining lost 2,900 jobs in November while manufacturing, transportation, warehousing and utilities all had 1,100 jobs losses.
Flu Season Off To Slower Start This Year, Might Be Milder - Mike Stobbe, AP Medical Writer
Health officials say there's not much flu going around so far this year.
That's a stark contrast to the last three flu seasons, when doctors' offices were filled with patients before Christmas and illnesses peaked by late December.
U.S. officials released the weekly flu figures Friday. Only one state, South Carolina, is reporting significant flu-related traffic at doctors' offices and clinics.
Traditionally, most flu seasons don't really get going until around Christmas — possibly triggered by holiday gatherings that bring together people and viruses. Infected kids then go back to school, mingle with classmates and flu season takes off.
Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory this week predicted there's a 57 percent chance this flu season will peak in February.