Bears May Search For Food In NM Communities

From - NewsNM (Swickard) Remember the old saying, "A fed (by human) bear becomes a dead bear" Do not feed them as they become a problem bear for humans which ends in their death.

This is the month that bears wake up from their winter hibernation, and they might head down from the mountains in search of food. In April, 5,000 to 6,000 black bears awake from their winter sleep in New Mexico. However, the mountainside might not provide enough nourishment. “There is food on the ground. It’s just not as abundant as years past,” Brandon Griffith, with New Mexico Game and Fish, said. The limited snowpack and almost completely rain-free spring make easy food tough to come by for bears. “They are foraging on leftover juniper berries from last season. Grass, if it is growing, they are foraging on grass at this time. Insects are starting to come around,” Griffith said. New Mexico’s black bears do have one thing going for them; they have plenty of space to roam. If rain remains scarce, their main source of food by late summer may not grow, and that could mean bears searching for food in New Mexico communities. Read more

Students are drowning in debt

From the - THIS year American student-loan debt surpassed credit-card debt for the first time. More students are borrowing more money than ever before in order to buy a commodity that is often of dubious value. Higher education has never been more expensive. The price of attending a public university doubled, after inflation, over the last two decades, and family income and student financial aid haven’t kept pace.1 As a result, students have no choice but to borrow, and more college students are borrowing more money than ever before. But a new analysis of federal financial aid records reveals more than just surging debt levels. Students are taking on more of the riskiest debt: read more

The Latest Enemies of Iran: Dogs and Their Owners

From Time - By Azadeh Moaveni - For much of the past decade, the Iranian government has tolerated what it considers a particularly depraved and un-Islamic vice: the keeping of pet dogs. During periodic crackdowns, police have confiscated dogs from their owners right off the street. But as with the policing of many other practices (like imbibing alcoholic drinks) that are deemed impure by the mullahs but perfectly fine to many Iranians, the state has eventually relaxed and let dog lovers be. Those days of tacit acceptance may soon be over, however. Lawmakers in Tehran have recently proposed a bill in parliament that would criminalize dog ownership, formally enshrining its punishment within the country's Islamic penal code. Read more:

ACLU: Michigan cops stealing drivers' phone data

From CNET-News - The Michigan State Police have started using handheld machines called "extraction devices" to download personal information from motorists they pull over, even if they're not suspected of any crime. Naturally, the ACLU has a problem with this. The devices, sold by a company called Cellebrite, can download text messages, photos, video, and even GPS data from most brands of cell phones. The handheld machines have various interfaces to work with different models and can even bypass security passwords and access some information. The problem as the ACLU sees it, is that accessing a citizen's private phone information when there's no probable cause creates a violation of the Constitution's 4th Amendment, which protects us against unreasonable searches and seizures. Read more:

Border Agents Confirming Feds' No-Apprehension Policy

From -An Arizona sheriff says he has been flooded with calls and emails of support from local and federal agents who back his claims that the U.S. Border Patrol has effectively ordered them to stop apprehending illegal immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexican border. “Upper management has advised supervisors to have agents ‘turn back South’ (TBS) the illegal aliens (aka bodies) they detect attempting to unlawfully enter the country … at times you even hear supervisors order the agents over the radio to 'TBS' the aliens instead of catching them,” one San Diego border agent wrote in an email to Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever.  More News New Mexico

Generational Theft

Brigette Russell
Capitol Report New Mexico - Last week, Rep. Mimi Stewart (D-Albuquerque) wrote a piece in NM arguing that the state’s pension plans need fixing. On most issues, Stewart and I come down on opposite sides, but in this case, I commend her for sounding the alarm. In the House Education Committee this past session, I got an earful about what ails the Educational Retirement Board (ERB), and pretty much the same thing is wrong with the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA). In layman’s terms, they’re going bust. Last week, Capitol Report New Mexico ran this jaw-dropping story about a PERA loophole that could allow one person and his benificiary to receive $14.5 million in lifetime benefits. This is a loophole the state had better close soon, or the retirement system will go broke even faster than Mimi Stewart says it will. Carter Bundy of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) was on News New Mexico last week (listen here) agreeing with Stewart that the system is insolvent, but taking issue with some of the specifics. He also took a couple of personal shots, suggesting that Stewart, a retired educator, may be concerned primarily about the solvency of her own retirement, and probably would not have supported the changes she now advocates back when they would have affected her. Read full column here: News New Mexico

Is Gary King's Office Minding the Store?

NMPolitics - After reviewing a complaint from the N.M. Corrections Department, Attorney General Gary King’s office declined last year to investigate a former corrections official accused of bribery.“ After a review of the information provided, it does not appear that a possible criminal violation has been identified,” Investigations Division Director Earl Holmes wrote in a Sept. 3 letter to the Corrections Department’s general counsel. The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office, however, believe they have found significant criminal activity. A federal investigation proceeded, and last week Laurie Chapman was indicted by a federal grand jury on 30 felony counts of bribery. Chapman is accused of soliciting and accepting $237,080 in bribes to steer Corrections Department construction contracts to a particular roofing company. “Corruption of this nature strikes at the heart of good government and erodes public confidence,” U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said last week. “… This kind of betrayal of the public’s trust cannot and will not be tolerated.” Read full story here: News New Mexico

Unemployment Rate in NM Falls in March

Santa Fe - New Mexico’s unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent in March, down from 8.7 percent in February, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. New Mexico’s 6 tenths of 1 percent decrease in the jobless rate in March was the largest percentage drop of all 50 states. Governor Susana Martinez made the following statement after the United States Department of Labor released New Mexico’s latest unemployment figures. New Mexico saw the largest drop in unemployment in the country, with the unemployment rate decreasing from 8.7 percent to 8.1 percent. “We still have a lot of work to do, but I am encouraged that New Mexico’s unemployment rate saw the largest monthly drop in America,” said Governor Martinez.
Susana Martinez - Inauguration
“In a bi-partisan fashion, we recently put our financial house in order without raising taxes and by cutting wasteful spending, while protecting key priorities like classroom spending. It is critical that we continue down the road to economic recovery by helping small businesses hire more New Mexicans and that means opposing job-killing tax increases. I am committed to ensuring that job creators understand that New Mexico is open for business.”


Martinez Administration Looking Closely at LCPS

Stan Rounds
KVIA - LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- The Las Cruces Public School District is accused of cheating the system to get more money than the State feels they need. Superintendent Stan Rounds said he stands behind the District’s reported numbers, but instead of trusting LCPS, Governor Susana Martinez said the State will conduct its own research. "We're not gaming the system; we're not cheating the system," Rounds said. Bottom line, Rounds said $9,000,000 is what the District needs to cover increased enrollment and special education students. But this seven-digit figure is being questioned by the State. "Population in schools throughout the state only grew 1%; so for your budget to grow by $9,000,000 for those kids, and in Las Cruces, a little more than 300 kids, that's $30,000 a child; it's impossible," Martinez said.
Susana Martinez
The Public Education Department reported LCPS is among 34 districts statewide that showed unusually high spikes in the number of special education students. This is a category of expenses up nearly 63% for Las Cruces Public Schools. "It's terribly wrong to game the system in order to take more money for your school from another school,” Martinez said. “You're taking it for your own school from another and other students in order to increase your budget." The District always reports numbers on the conservative side, Rounds said. He also said he is confident this year they were even more accurate than in the past. "We've had difficulty verifying data to the State - so we didn't. We could have gamed the system and reported it, done it improperly, but until we're convinced the data in this District is absolutely correct, we don't report it,” Rounds said. But Martinez said instead of taking his word for it, there has to be accountability for possibly padding the system and mislabeling kids. "When the flags are raised, we're going to have to just make sure we're checking,” Martinez said. “These are taxpayer dollars and I’m committed not to cutting funding in the classroom." Read full story here: News New Mexico