UNM Dean Will Push For Free Medical School, State Health Officials Urge Flu Vaccines

Oct 22, 2019

University Of New Mexico Dean Proposes Free Medical SchoolAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A University of New Mexico dean has announced plans to ask the state to fund full-ride scholarships to medical students who commit to practicing within the state.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Monday that medical school dean Paul Roth has plans to ask the state for $6 million in additional scholarships to create the program.

State officials have estimated an additional $907 million would be available in the coming budget because of an increase in oil production in the southeast.

Roth says he announced the suggestion to address a shortage of doctors in the state.

The dean says the state would pay for upfront cost of medical school with the expectation that the doctor would return to New Mexico and practice for a period or would be subjected to a penalty.

Arts Upstart Meow Wolf Delivers Jobs After Public Investment

Arts adventure and entertainment company Meow Wolf says it has surpassed hiring goals outlined in a $1.1 million economic development grant from New Mexico and the city of Santa Fe.

Meow Wolf co-founder and board member Vince Kadlubek said Monday the addition of 290 employees since 2018 puts the company ahead of employment requirements under the 2017 grant award for building renovations.

The New Mexico Economic Development Department that monitors the agreement could not immediately verify the employment numbers.

Kadlubek is stepping down as the company's CEO amid plans for an aggressive business expansion into Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Washington, D.C.

Visitors have flocked to Meow Wolf's kaleidoscopic walk- and crawl-through exhibit space in Santa Fe since it opened in a converted bowling alley in early 2016.

New Mexico State Workers Settle In Union Dues CaseSanta Fe New Mexican, Association

The state of New Mexico has agreed to pay about $16,000 to dozens of nonunion state employees as the result of a settlement over union dues.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Monday that New Mexico Department of Information Technology employee David McCutcheon filed the lawsuit in December objecting to having union dues automatically deducted from his pay.

Authorities say the high court previously ruled that it's a First Amendment violation to force public sector workers to pay union fees as a condition of employment.

The Communications Workers of America and the state Personnel Office agreed to refund $15,000 taken from 67 state employees and an additional $1,000 for McCutcheon taken prior to the 2018 high court case.

Local Union President Donald Alire couldn't be reached for comment Monday.

Passenger Killed In New Mexico Crash ID'd As Colorado ManAssociated Press

A passenger killed in a Sept. 26 plane crash in northern New Mexico has been identified as a 29-year-old Colorado man.

The New Mexico State Police said Tuesday that the state Office of Medical Investigator identified the passenger as Eric Page of Littleton.

The pilot killed in the crash in mountains in the Pecos Wilderness in Mora County was identified previously as another Littleton resident, 29-year-old Nicholas Peterson.

The single-engine plane was on a flight from Santa Fe to Broomfield, Colorado.

The wreckage was found near Hamilton Mesa after a three-day search. Much of the wreckage was consumed by fire after the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.

3 Years Later, Legislature Gives Ethical Advice To Member - Associated Press

It has taken three years for the New Mexico Legislature to answer a request for advice about ethical conduct by one of its members.

A legislative ethics panel on Monday endorsed a six-page opinion that lawmakers can rely on to provide immunity from sanctions.

It says that a lawmaker must assiduously avoid using a legislative position for professional advantage and that public disclosure is the "polestar" for managing conflicts of interest.

Legislative Council Service Director Raúl Burciaga says the request was submitted three years ago by a lawmaker who wishes to remain anonymous.

It asks about appropriate conduct for a legislator who works as an attorney at a law firm that has state contracts and has partners who are registered lobbyists, as well as other situations.

Report Details Solitary Confinement In New Mexico – Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

The first-ever quarterly report from the New Mexico Corrections Department on its use of solitary confinement shows about 4% of inmates are held alone in a cell for at least 22 hours a day.

The report shows the top reason inmates were held in solitary during the past three months was because they were awaiting court hearings.

The second most common reason was that they were awaiting transfer to another facility.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that while some of these inmates spent just a day or two in isolation, many spent weeks or even months awaiting their next hearing or a transfer.

The report was mandated by legislation approved earlier this year that restricts the use of solitary confinement for pregnant, juvenile and mentally ill inmates.

Southwest Tribes Oppose Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Plans - By Susan Montoya Bryan Associated Press

Native American leaders from New Mexico are opposing plans that call for storing in the desert Southwest tons of spent nuclear fuel from power plants around the U.S.

The All Pueblo Council of Governors in a resolution adopted late last week affirmed its commitment to protecting tribal natural and cultural resources.

The council — representing 20 sovereign pueblo nations — is worried about risks associated with transporting the waste to New Mexico and West Texas from sites around the country.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and others also are opposed to the plans because the federal government has yet to develop any long-term solutions for handling the fuel.

The pueblos also pointed to a lack of consultation regarding transport routes and emergency response training in case of an accident.

New Mexico Officer Seen In Video Roughing Girl, 11, Resigns Associated Press

A northwestern New Mexico police officer shown on a lapel video roughing up an 11-year-old middle school girl has resigned.

Farmington police announced Sunday that officer Zachary Christensen stepped down after an internal use-of-force investigation was launched following the Aug. 27 episode.

The lapel video shows Christensen throwing the 6th-grade student on the ground after accusing her of taking more pints of milk than allowed from the cafeteria. The video also shows school employees pleading with Christensen not to use excessive force.

Farmington Police Chief Steven Hebbe says the use of force did not comply with department standards.

The case has been referred to the New Mexico State Police for possible criminal charges.

It was not known of Christensen had an attorney. No phone number for Christensen was listed.

New Mexico Health Officials Urge Flu Vaccinations - Associated Press

New Mexico Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel will be getting her flu shot as the state kicks off its campaign to get more people vaccinated this season.

Kunkel and Deputy Secretary Abinash Achrekar will be visiting a public health office in Albuquerque on Tuesday. They'll be talking about the importance of annual vaccinations.

Kunkel says flu can be fatal if left untreated.

More than 200 New Mexicans died of flu and flu-related pneumonia during the 2018-2019 flu season.

Earlier this month, the Health Department confirmed the state's first cases of the season. Those included one in Bernalillo County in which a 90-year-old patient died.

Officials say young children and older adults are the most vulnerable.

The flu season typically runs through the end of April.

Proposal In Owl Case Allows For Cutting Of US Capitol Tree - Associated Press

It will be up to a federal judge to sign off on a proposed order that would clear the way for a tree to be cut and displayed outside the U.S. Capitol building over the holidays.

The proposal is the result of an agreement reached Monday between environmentalists and the U.S. Forest Service in a case centered on the threatened Mexican spotted owl.

The plan allows personal Christmas tree-cutting permits, prescribed fires with stipulations and commercial firewood gathering in certain areas.

It's unclear when the judge might issue a final ruling.

A September order drew criticism for imposing a tree-cutting ban that spanned five national forests in New Mexico and one in Arizona.

The judge later narrowed the order to allow personal firewood permits, but other timber management activities remain sidelined.

New Mexico Utility Touts Energy Efficiency, Job Creation Associated Press

Executives with New Mexico's largest electric utility are touting energy efficiency, pointing to a recent report from a clean energy group that shows more than a quarter of energy sector jobs in the state are related to improving efficiency.

Statistics compiled by the energy industry group E4TheFuture indicate New Mexico led all states with an 11.5% increase in energy efficiency jobs in 2018. Nevada followed with growth of just over 8%.

The group predicts the sector will show more growth by the end of 2019.

Most of these jobs are in the construction industry and involve the design and installation of improved heating and cooling systems.

PNM Resources, the parent company of Public Service Co. of New Mexico, says the report solidifies that the energy workforce is woven throughout New Mexico's economy.

'Breaking Bad' Beer Sells Out Within 3 Hours In Albuquerque - KOB-TV, Associated Press

A beer named after the AMC-TV hit series "Breaking Bad" and brewed by an actor from the show sold out after its debut.

KOB-TV reports "Breaking Bad" fans lined up at three Albuquerque Costcos, but the brew was gone within three hours.

Dean Norris, who played a DEA agent in the series, started to brew German lager, Schraderbräu, following the premiere of Netflix's "El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie" earlier this month.

Norris says he will launch the beer nationwide soon.

"Breaking Bad" follows an Albuquerque high school chemistry teacher turned meth lord, Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston. The series ran from 2008 to 2013.

University Of New Mexico Law Student Sues School Over DustKRQE-TV, Associated Press

A University of New Mexico law student is suing the school and a construction company for kicking up dust.

KRQE-TV reports Zacary Wilson-Fetrow this month filed a lawsuit in Albuquerque District Court over public nuisance and negligence in connection with construction around the law school.

Wilson-Fetrow says dust from construction caused a terrible rash and respiratory problems. He says students were never given prior warning about construction.

Wilson-Fetrow is seeking around $400,000 in damages.

The University of New Mexico declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Wilson-Fetrow is representing himself.

California Won't Approve Sale Of Berkshire Hathaway Insurer Associated Press

California regulators say they won't approve the sale of one of Berkshire Hathaway's smaller insurance companies, but the company has voluntarily stopped writing policies in that state.

The California Department of Insurance said Monday that Applied Underwriters failed to get approval to move its California Insurance Co. subsidiary's headquarters to New Mexico beforehand.

Applied Underwriters officials say California failed to act on the deal after six months of review, so it changed all its insurance companies' domiciles to New Mexico.

Applied says California officials attended a hearing about moving the companies to New Mexico and didn't object then.

Berkshire and Applied Underwriters said last week that the $920 million sale to company founder Steve Menzies was completed Oct. 10.

Meow Wolf CEO Announces He Would Step Down Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

The CEO of a New Mexico-based startup company for immersive art installations known as Meow Wolf is stepping down

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports 36-year-old CEO Vince Kadlubek announced Friday he was stepping down but would remain on the company's payroll as an executive adviser to the leadership team.

He described the move as a new phase in his career.

Kadlubek hinted in a website post the move might be temporary. He says he plans to take time to recharge and hone his skills as a leader and collaborator "in hopeful preparation for returning as CEO in the future."

Meow Wolf rose to prominence with an interactive exhibit in a converted Santa Fe bowling alley that combines psychedelic design work with narrative storytelling.

Kansas Couple Killed In New Mexico Plane Crash Associated Press

Authorities say a Kansas couple has been killed in a plane crash in New Mexico.

Fire officials in the town of Angel Fire said in a Facebook post that the plane went down Sunday morning in a field between a restaurant and hardware store. Fire officials identified the victims as 65-year-old Richard Schenk and Anne Schenk, of Great Bend.

The post described Richard Schenk as an experienced commercial-rated pilot. He was chief executive officer of Community Bank of the Midwest in Great Bend.

The cause of the crash hasn't been determined. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

Angel Fire is about 20 miles east of Taos.