Teacher accused of duct taping students

From KRQE-TV.com - An Albuquerque third-grade teacher has been placed on paid administrative leave for allegedly duct-taping the mouths of two students to keep them quiet, according to APS Police. Students in one third grade class at Mark Twain Elementary near Constitution and Louisiana went home with a letter that states the teacher is being investigated for "alleged employee misconduct." An APS spokesperson would not comment further calling the issue a personnel matter. APS said the teacher hasn't been charged with anything, but the district removed the teacher from the classroom because the allegations involve students. "Outraged, very much so, very angry," said Ann Chavez, the parent of a third-grader in another class. "There's never an excuse for putting duct tape on a child's mouth ever." A substitute teacher has taken over the class until the investigation is finished. Read more

Mexican President Felipe Calderón opens Juárez Competitiva

From the El Paso Times - By Alejandro Martinez-Cabrera - Juárez - Mexican president Felipe Calderón inaugurated Juárez Competitiva, a two-week industry promotion event, by announcing a tax break extension to the manufacturing plants in the city on Thursday. The tax break, which was set to expire in December, was stretched till the end of 2013 and will help promote economic growth in Juárez, Calderón said. "This decree will nourish the maquiladora industry," he said. "It will allow companies to invest with a medium-term perspective. They will count with the resources to strengthen their investments and generate jobs." Calderón kicked off the event in a ribbon-cutting ceremony along with Chihuahua Gov. Cesar Duarte, Juárez Mayor Hector "Teto" Murguía, Mexico's Secretary of Economy Bruno Ferrari, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Anthony Wayne and Juárez Competitiva coordinator Carlos Chavira. Afterward, Juárez Competitiva organizers gave Calderón a quick tour of the facilities to show him some of the products manufactured in the city, including televisions, furniture, race karts and robots. Read more

Española Teachers 95th Lowest-Paid in State

From the Rio Grande Sun - By Michael Maresh - The average teacher’s salary in the Española School District this fiscal year is among the lowest in the state, prompting at least two Española School Board members to say they want to find ways to compensate District teachers more fairly. The District’s average teacher salary of $45,385 places it 95th statewide, according to data from the state Education Department. The Department rankings included charter schools as independent entities, so the District’s ranking of 95th is out of 125 entities, not just the state’s 89 school districts. Of the 13 school districts in the state with student enrollments between 2,501 to 5,000, the average Española teacher’s salary was the 12th lowest, .the data shows. Read more

Woman says marijuana was for chronic pain

From the Clovis News Journal - A woman said the 150 pounds of marijuana Roosevelt County Sheriff’s deputies confiscated from her home Monday was being used strictly for treatment of chronic pain and illness. Margie Koger, 48, and her husband Timothy Koger, 42, were arrested Wednesday on a bench warrant two days after deputies seized the marijuana, which included 16 gallon-sized bags and jars of harvested buds, from the kitchen of the residence and from an outbuilding located behind the residence. “I couldn’t afford to apply for a New Mexico license yet. It has been my goal,” Margie Koger said. “I want people to know that I am a medical patient and that I’m not a criminal. I’ve never had any kind of speeding ticket or anything. I never intended to break the law.” A New Mexico grower’s license allows for the production — up to 150 plants — and distribution of medical marijuana. Chief Deputy Malin Parker said the sheriff’s office received an anonymous phone tip about a possible marijuana growing operation. Koger said she was prescribed medical marijuana in California after a vehicle accident in 1996, which caused severe brain and spinal damage, causing her to have to learn to walk and read again.
She said the physical therapy she received helped, but she still suffers from scoliosis and severe migraines, among other things. She said the marijuana relieves the pain. The Kogers, who were charged with possession of more than eight ounces of marijuana, a fourth-degree felony, bonded out of the Roosevelt County Detention Center on a $5,000 cash or surety bond. “We appreciate all tips from citizens and act on them according to the laws of New Mexico in the most efficient manner possible in all cases,” Parker said. Read more

Swickard: A poor way to look at the rich

From NM Politics.net - Commentary by Michael Swickard - Much of our public policy is tied to the notion of citizens falling neatly into three categories: rich, middle class and poor. Those designations are usually based on income, which can be deceiving and is a poor way to look at the rich. We have a wealth of opinions about what wealth is, but no consensus. Are we wealthy if we have roofs over our heads and three meals a day? In some parts of the world we are extremely wealthy to be overweight since extra calories cost money not available in some societies. Likewise, are we poor with a roof and three meals of Ramen eaten in a house with only one bathroom and only basic cable? We are poor in comparison but not in reality. Except in the extreme, when Americans talk rich and poor it depends upon very subjective comparisons. Read Column

Rail Runner Considers Fare Increase

KOB - TV - Public hearings have begun on a proposed fare increase for the New Mexico Rail Runner Express. Officials say a fare increase is needed in light of the upcoming discontinuation of significant federal funds that are currently being used to pay for Rail Runner service. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Fixing the Mess at Workforce Solutions

Celina Bussey
Capitol Report New Mexico - “It’s a new day” at Workforce Solutions, secretary Celina Bussey says. That’s good — because there have been plenty of bad ones at a department with a reputation for being one of the most troubled in all of New Mexico government. “Workforce Solutions has been, to say the least, working at far less than peak efficiency for years,” said state Sen. John Arthur Smith (D-Deming), who’s been observing the department closely as chairman of the Legislative Finance Committee, adding, “It’s been a mess.” State auditor Hector Balderas says his office has conducted annual audits of Workforce Solutions and “we have repeat findings, anywhere from one to years old, of negligent conduct.” The most glaring example of trouble at the department came last month when the US Department of Labor released a national study showing New Mexico ranked third in the US in the rate of overpayments in state unemployment benefits – some $104.7 million that should have not gone out. To make matters worse, the state had the fourth-worst record for unemployment fraud in the country. Into the breach has stepped Bussey, a 33-year-old cabinet member who used to work at Workforce Solutions (back when it called the state Department of Labor) from 1999-2006 and has been told in so many words by new Gov. Susana Martinez to get the department’s house in order. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Santa Fe Judge to Make Redistricting Decisions for State

Capitol Report New Mexico - Democrats got they wanted in the sense that they preferred to have the redistricting case heard in liberal Santa Fe while Republicans wanted it heard in more the more politically-split city of Albuquerque or in conservative Lovington. As for the judge, before retiring as a district court judge in Santa Fe, Hall was appointed by then-Gov. Gary Johnson, a Republican, but Hall himself ran as a Democrat in 1996. When can we expect a decision? It’s hard to say but the last time the redistricting squabble landed in court, a decision was rendered in January. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Bus Driver, Parent Fight In Front Of Students

From KOAT-TV.com - ALBUQUERQUE - Police are investigating a bloody fight between an Albuquerque Public School District bus driver and a parent. Police said the incident happened Wednesday morning in front of a bus full of middle-school students. An APS police report says that a parent walked onto the bus accusing the driver of looking at his daughter inappropriately. The report says the driver than pushed the man off the bus, and they got into a physical fight in a parking lot. Parents said they are outraged that something like this would ever happen, especially in a setting where they expect their children to be safe. "It's dangerous for the children," said parent Martha Chasinghawk. "It sets a bad example." APS police are investigating the case and have pulled the driver off the route to Hoover Middle School. Neither the parent nor the driver has been charged yet. Read more

Pearce Praises Free Trade Bills

Steve Pearce
Washington, DC (October 12, 2011) Today, Congressman Steve Pearce voted in favor of the free trade agreements with South Korea, Columbia, and Panama. "I support these efforts to expand free trade, and to foster American job growth by keeping America competitive internationally,” said Pearce. “The trade agreements that passed through the House will boost exports, creating jobs and bolstering our economy. The agreement with South Korea alone will create 1,300 jobs in New Mexico, according to the Korean Embassy. By putting Americans back to work, we can begin to ease the burden that our economic crisis has had on New Mexico families. Agreements to expand market access and increase exports by the U.S. have been talked about widely in the media,” Pearce continued. “However, they have to originate in the White House. The House passed these agreements within 9 days of receiving them, despite the President’s two year refusal to send these legitimate, commonsense proposals to Congress. In addition to trade, I agree with the President on other issues concerning job growth, including tax relief for small businesses, reducing the regulatory burden and tax credits for hiring veterans.”
Harry Reid
“As we saw last night, even the Democrat controlled Senate refused to bring President Obama’s jobs bill to the floor for consideration, and also failed to pass its own version. His own party did not want to vote for the irresponsible aspects of his package, including tax increases and giveaways to the well connected, and clearly did not support the same failed stimulus policies that will not create real jobs. It is time to get our economy moving, and to vote in support of actual reforms that will create jobs.”


Pressure Mounts to Expel Iranian Diplomats

Mahmoud Amandinejad
Washington Times - The GOP chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee is calling on the Obama administration to expel Iranian diplomats, after U.S. officials said Tehran was behind a plot to murder the Saudi ambassador in Washington. “While I intend to support the president’s ultimate decision, I believe that he should consider expelling Iranian officials, especially known intelligence officers, from the Iranian Mission to the United Nations in New York, and the Iranian Interests Section in Washington,” said Rep. Peter King, New York Republican, in a statement. Mr King said that if the terror plot — in reality an elaborate sting put together by a paid DEA informant — had succeeded, it would have been “an act of war” by Iran against the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Holder is Subpoenaed by House

Eric Holder
L.A. Times - U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder has been subpoenaed by the Republican chairman of a House oversight committee, an escalation of the congressional investigation into the botched "Fast and Furious" gun-tracking operation. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, issued a far-ranging subpoena that seeks all communications between Holder, his subordinates and the White House in connection with now-defunct Operation Fast and Furious. Issa contends Holder knew more about the operation than he has indicated to congressional investigators – a claim Holder has strongly denied. "It's time we know the whole truth," Issa said in a statement. "The documents this subpoena demands will provide answers to questions that Justice officials have tried to avoid since this investigation began eight months ago." Read full story here: News New Mexico

"RINOS Beware"