Many Native Americans Lack Medical Insurance Coverage, Teen Snowboarders Rescued At Ski Santa Fe

Dec 19, 2019

Medical Insurance Bypasses Native Americans In New MexicoBy Morgan Lee, Associated Press

Native Americans in New Mexico go without medical insurance at a much higher rate than other state residents and the nation as a whole.

A state-commissioned study by the Urban Institute explores gaps in medical insurance by ethnicity, age, education and location. About 16 percent of Native Americans statewide go without medical insurance. Health insurance coverage also is relatively scarce in the northwest area of the state that is home to the Navajo Nation.

New Mexico's expansion of federally subsidized Medicaid health care gave coverage in 2014 to more people on the cusp of poverty. That cut in half the number of people without insurance.

Constituents Praise, Pillory Swing-District Congresswoman - By Morgan Lee,  Associated Press

A first-term congresswoman from a swing district in southern New Mexico held a town hall meeting with constituents by telephone minutes after the House voted to impeach President Donald Trump.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico received both high praise and biting criticism for her vote in favor of two articles of impeachment.

Torres Small said she was saddened by the anger and political divisions linked to the impeachment and that her vote was necessary to safeguard U.S. elections.

US House Hopeful Blames Impeachment On Herrell's Loss In '18 - By Russell Contreras, Associated Press

A Republican candidate in a critical Congressional race in New Mexico says her GOP primary opponent's 2018 general election loss partly resulted in President Donald Trump's impeachment.

Claire Chase's campaign said late Wednesday that Yvette Herrell's poorly run campaign and loss to Democrat Xochitl Torres Small gave Democrats one more vote.

Torres Small voted for two articles of impeachment against Trump. Herrell's campaign manager Dakotah Parshall called Chase's charge "desperate" and said conservative leaders across the country have endorsed Herrell.

Sawmill Company In New Mexico Remains Open, Keeps 40 JobsGallup Independent, Associated Press

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has announced that a sawmill will not shut down after a forest has become a new source of wood for the facility.

The Gallup Independent reports that the Democratic governor says the family-owned business averted a shutdown and the loss of about 40 jobs. Officials say the state forestry department signed an agreement with landowners that would enable a forest restoration project.

Officials say a judge halted fuelwood permit sales and timber management activities on all national forests in New Mexico as a result of a 2013 lawsuit. The governor says the state worked around the judge and was able to find a solution to get debris out of the forest.

Quarantine For Invasive Pecan Pest Persists In New MexicoAssociated Press

New Mexico agriculture officials are reminding the public that a quarantine is still in place around an invasive bug threatening the pecan industry.

The state's Department of Agriculture said Wednesday that the so-called pecan weevil quarantine rule affects the movement of in-shell pecans in quarantined areas. Those areas include Eddy, Lea and Chaves counties.

Under the rules, in-shell pecans cannot be transported out of quarantined areas unless they have undergone storage requirements. In late 2016 and January 2018, the weevil was found in pecan orchards in multiple southeastern New Mexico counties.

New Mexico Quarterback's Indecent Exposure Charge DismissedAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

The case against a New Mexico college football quarterback charged with indecent exposure has been tossed out.

The Albuquerque Journal reports charges against 23-year-old Sheriron Jones were dismissed Tuesday after witnesses failed to show up for a trial. Jones was accused of showing his genitalia to a woman in a university parking structure in October.

Jones started seven games last year when New Mexico went 3-9. He lost the starting job in preseason camp to junior college transfer Brandt Hughes. Jones played in the second half of the season opener after Hughes suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.

Police Say Robber 'Face-Planted' Into Door, Left DNA, ArrestedLas Cruces Sun-News, Associated Press

A suspected robber who face-planted into a Pizza Hut door before fleeing has been arrested thanks to the DNA evidence he left behind, police said.

Markell Deshaun Barnes, 19, was taken into custody last week in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after a forensic laboratory matched his DNA, the Las Cruces Sun-News reports.

According to police, officers had swabbed the door for possible DNA evidence from the June 2019 robbery of a Pizza Hut in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Investigators took the DNA after reviewing surveillance images and seeing the 19-year-old face-planting into a locked door.

Barnes is suspected in another Las Cruces robbery that same day at a gas station.

He has been charged with one third-degree felony count of attempted armed robbery and one fourth-degree felony count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Barnes has since been transferred to the Doña Ana County Detention Center where he is being held without bond.

No attorney is listed for Barnes.

New Mexico Governor Seeks Sustained Pay Raises For TeachersAssociated Press

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says she wants sustained pay increases for public school employees after a recent round of salary hikes.

Teachers flocked Wednesday night to a town-hall style forum in Albuquerque where Lujan Grisham and three Cabinet secretaries answered questions about public education.

Lujan Grisham said state-funded salary increases this year of at least 6% for public school employees were not enough and that pay for educators "cannot be stagnant."

Zuni Pueblo Gets $5 Million Grant To Construct HousingAssociated Press

The Zuni Pueblo said it has been awarded $5 million as part of a federal grant for tribal-designated housing entities across the United States.

Zuni Housing Director Mike Chavez told The Gallup Independent last week that the tribe is in dire need of housing and that the grant will help. He says if the tribe had 900 homes available right now, it could fill all of them.

He was at a housing-related legal symposium in Las Vegas when he learned about the award.

Chavez said it is the first time Zuni Pueblo has been awarded funds for housing through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Competitive Indian Housing Block Grant.

Other tribes awarded in New Mexico and Arizona through the competitive grant include the pueblos of San Felipe, Santo Domingo, Nambe, Tamaya, and the Tohono O'odham Ki Ki Housing Association, the White Mountain Apache Housing Authority, Ohkay Owingeh Housing Authority and both the Jicarilla Apache Housing Authority and the Mescalero Apache Tribe.

Teen Snowboarders Rescued After Going Off Path At Ski Area – KOAT-TV, Associated Press

Two young snowboarders who went off the path at a ski area in mountains near Santa Fe are safe after being rescued by emergency crews early Thursday. 

KOAT-TV reports that the two 15-year-old boys got stuck in the Ski Santa Fe basin Wednesday evening, prompting a call to police for help. 

Crews hindered by darkness and rough terrain searched for the boys before locating them and taking them down from the mountain just after midnight. The boys were released to their parents after being examined by medical personnel.

Justice Dept. Plans Crackdown On Violent Crime In 7 Cities - By Michael Balsamo And Corey Williams Associated Press

The Justice Department is launching a crackdown aimed at driving down crime in seven of the nation's most violent cities.

Attorney General William Barr announced the initiative known as Operation Relentless Pursuit at a Wednesday news conference in Detroit. He was joined by the leaders of the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Marshals Service.

The Justice Department will intensify federal law enforcement resources in the seven cities with violent crime rates way above the national average. They are: Albuquerque, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Memphis and Milwaukee.

Navajo Nation To Create 'One-Of-A-Kind Medicaid Program' Associated Press

The Navajo Nation is seeking to become one of the first Native American tribes to create its own managed health care entity. 

A Navajo corporation recently announced it plans to contract with Molina Healthcare to work toward a managed health care offering under New Mexico's Medicaid program. A Navajo Nation Council delegate says the new entity will improve access and quality of health care on the largest Native American reservation.


About 75,000 Navajos living in New Mexico are eligible for Medicaid. Under provisions established by the federal government, each state is allowed to structure and tailor Medicaid programs.

New Mexico Coach Gonzales Relishes Chance To Restore Program - By Glen Rosales, Associated Press

Danny Gonzales says taking the New Mexico head coaching job came down to having an opportunity to return home and a chance to turn around the program he grew up around.

New Mexico introduced Gonzales on Wednesday as the successor to Bob Davie, who stepped down after the season. The 43-year-old Gonzales has been Herm Edwards' defensive coordinator for the past two seasons at Arizona State.

He was promoted to assistant head coach before this season began. 

New Mexico Officials Ask For Endangered Species Act Probe  Alamogordo Daily News, Associated Press

County officials in New Mexico have asked for an investigation into alleged waste and mismanagement of public lands by federal wildlife agencies.

The Alamogordo Daily News reported Monday that Otero County commissioners made the allegations against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and U.S. Forest Service in a letter.

County Public Land Use Advisory Council members say the letter referenced a Sept. 11 opinion by U.S. District Court Judge Raner Collins saying the two agencies were violating the Endangered Species Act.