This category will feature news releases from out-of-area government agencies and representatives, as well as events that are not taking place in the four-county area of Grant, Catron, Hidalgo or Luna. For those events please visit Local News Releases.
SANTA FE, NM – The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) reports a decrease in the 2016 teen birth rate in the state, continuing a steep decline that began in 2007. Births to teens in New Mexico are now at their lowest point in many decades:
Santa Fe, NM – New Mexico State Parks proudly joins other states by waiving fees on Black Friday in support of a growing number of other organizations who are encouraging people to spend more time outdoors. State Parks will be waiving the $5 day-use fees for all 34 state parks on Friday, November 24, 2017.
"Naturally, we want everyone to visit our State Parks every day," said State Parks Director, Christy Tafoya. "On November 24th, we're encouraging visitors to extend the family gathering beyond the Thanksgiving holiday table, get outdoors on Black Friday and visit a New Mexico State Park for free."
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 16, 2017) - U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) released the following statement regarding the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) decision to allow those rejected because of mail delays to resubmit their renewals for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Senator Heinrich led a group of Democratic Senators in sending a letter to DHS calling on the department to take immediate action.
"I'm pleased that Dreamers whose applications were rejected due to Postal Service delays will be able to resubmit their renewals for DACA. In the five years since its implementation, DACA has changed the lives of many of our brightest students and veterans who have come out of the shadows to earn an education, contribute to our economy, and give back to their communities and their country.
White Sands Missile Range Notification
For information regarding closures you may call WSMR at 678-1178 or 678-2222 for updates.
Traffic updates are posted on the NMDOT traffic advisory web-site at http://nmroads.com and can be retrieved through our automated system at 511 in New Mexico or 1-800-432-4269 from any line.
WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall joined the Senate in voting for final passage of a major national defense bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), to support troops and military families, and to strengthen national defense programs in New Mexico and across the country. The bill, which will now be sent to the president, includes several measures that Udall has championed to benefit the national security mission being carried out at New Mexico's national laboratories, military bases and installations, to strengthen the state's economy, and to save taxpayer money.
"New Mexico's labs, military bases, and federal installations are invaluable assets to our national security and engines of our state's economy," Udall said. "I'm proud to have fought for New Mexico priorities in the NDAA, which supports our men and women in uniform and the work being done across our state to keep the country safe. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, where these defense programs are ultimately funded, I will keep fighting for the resources we need to keep New Mexico and the nation strong and secure."
Santa Fe, NM – Today, Attorney General Hector Balderas announced that a Santa Fe jury found former Senator Phil Griego guilty on five counts in the corruption trial prosecuted by the Office of the Attorney General. After a two and half week trial, the jury found Griego guilty of Violation of Ethical Principles of Public Service, Violation of Ethical Principles of Public Service (Requesting or Receiving Thing of Value), Bribery, Fraud (Over $20,000), and Unlawful Interest in a Public Contract (Over $50). The case involves the 2014 sale of a state-owned building in downtown Santa Fe wherein Griego received a $50,000.00 commission.
"Holding the powerful accountable is how we ensure our government truly serves the citizens of New Mexico and that no one is above the law, regardless of their political status," said Attorney General Hector Balderas. "Public officials are elected to do the work of the people, not to enrich themselves from their official duties while New Mexicans struggle just to get by. New Mexico families deserve the highest level of ethics and service from their elected officials."
Las Cruces, N.M. – The New Mexico Department of Agriculture will issue an emergency pecan weevil quarantine effective Nov. 20 for a duration of 180 days for Chaves, Curry, Eddy, and Lea counties. The quarantine is issued as a result of the continued findings of pecan weevil in residential pecan trees in Hobbs, Lovington, Roswell, Clovis, Artesia and in several commercial southeastern New Mexico orchards.
The primary objective of the quarantine is to prevent the spread of pecan weevil by providing restrictions on the export of in-shell pecans grown in those counties. During the 180 days, input from the pecan industry will continue to be accepted by NMDA for possible incorporation into a permanent quarantine.
PHOENIX — For the second year, the Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry will host National Tax Security Awareness Week to encourage both individual and business taxpayers to take additional steps to protect their tax data and identities in advance of the 2018 filing season.
Starting Monday, Nov. 27, National Tax Security Awareness Week will focus daily on one issue that poses a threat to individuals and businesses and offer steps they may take to better protect themselves from cybercriminals.
The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry, partners in the Security Summit, have enacted a series of defenses in recent years that have made significant inroads into tax-related identity theft. While the Summit partners continue to improve defenses, they also recognize that they need help from taxpayers, tax preparers and businesses to continue progress against identity theft.
Summit partners and other consumer, business and community groups will be hosting a series of more than 20 events across the country to raise awareness during National Tax Security Awareness Week. This is especially timely as the holiday season brings out not only online shoppers but online thieves seeking to trick people into disclosing sensitive information that could be used to help file fraudulent tax returns.
The week also comes amid continuing disclosures that more than 145 million Americans have had their names, addresses and Social Security numbers stolen from a variety of places. No one yet knows how cybercriminals will use this data or try to make money from it.
The IRS and states have put many new defenses in place to help protect taxpayers from identity theft. The new IRS protections have worked well to protect taxpayers, and some key indicators of identity theft on tax returns have dropped by around two-thirds since 2015.
These protections are especially helpful if criminals only have names, addresses and SSNs – which was the information stolen in recent incidents. However, there are continuing concerns that cybercriminals will try to build on this basic information by trying to obtain more specific financial details from taxpayers and tax professionals to help them file fraudulent tax returns.
During the upcoming 2018 filing season, the IRS urges tax professionals, businesses and others to join with the Security Summit partners in sharing the security information through organizations, customers and partners.
During National Tax Security Awareness Week, people will learn about the basic steps necessary to protect themselves and their tax data online, such as using security software, strong passwords and data encryption. They will learn what steps they should take if they are a data breach victim, such as placing a freeze on their credit accounts and the signs of tax-related identity theft.
They will learn how cybercriminals use phishing emails to bait them into disclosing information. Employers will be warned about the dangerous W-2 scam that has made identity theft victims of thousands of employees. Finally, Summit partners will remind small businesses that they, too, are subject to identity theft and should take steps to protect themselves.
There are three key steps the Summit partners urge people to take to protect tax and financial information:
• Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails, threatening phone calls and texts from thieves posing as legitimate organizations such as banks, credit card companies and government organizations, including the IRS. Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails.
• Always use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections. Make sure the security software is always turned on and will automatically update. Encrypt sensitive files such as tax records stored on computers. Use strong passwords.
• Protect personal data. Use strong, unique passwords for each online account. Don't routinely carry Social Security cards, and make sure tax records are secure. Treat personal information like cash; don't leave it lying around.
The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry came together in 2015 to join forces in their fight against tax-related identity theft. Learn more about their efforts and their progress at Security Summit on IRS.gov.
Increasing public awareness about people's role in protecting their own data is a critical part of the Security Summit efforts. Partners launched the "Taxes. Security. Together" awareness campaign in the fall of 2015.
The partners followed up with "Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself" campaign aimed at tax professionals. Partners also held a 10-week "Don't Take the Bait" awareness effort, warning tax professionals of the most common data breach scams targeting their offices and taxpayer data.
The Beat as a new column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.
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