Hanna Skandera on News New Mexico Wednesday

NewsNM - Swickard - We will be talking public education with Hanna Skandera, the Public Education Department Secretary Designate at 7:00 a.m. If you have questions, please use our feedback link to send them. The hosts will be Michael Swickard and Bob Endlich.

APD to increase service aides

The Albuquerque Police Department plans to increase its ranks of police service aides -- civilian employees who aren't sworn police officers but who perform some of the same duties. 
Chief Ray Schultz says the department wants to increase the number of aides to 60 from the current 21. 
According to the Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque's police service aides write initial reports on some crimes and collect some basic evidence. Aides don't carry guns while on duty and don't have arrest power. 
Schultz says hiring more aides will free up regular officers to respond to more serious situations faster and create an apprentice program for aides to become regular officers.


NM delegates reintroduce Columbine-Hondo legislation

Members of New Mexico's congressional delegations are trying again to designate the 45,000-acre Columbine-Hondo area in Taos County as wilderness. 
Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, both Democrats, on Monday reintroduced legislation to give the area permanent wilderness status. A companion bill is expected to be introduced in the House Tuesday by Rep. Ben Ray Luján, a Democrat who represents northern New Mexico
Located in the Carson National Forest, the Columbine-Hondo has been managed as a "Wilderness Study Area" since 1980. The Columbine-Hondo includes lush forests and alpine meadows that are home elk, mule deer, mountain lions, black bears, and bighorn sheep.
 Udall and Heinrich say giving the area permanent wilderness status will increase profitable tourism opportunities and provide for continued traditional land uses, such as hunting and grazing.