Non-Local News Releases

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.

Settlement will bring $1.8 million in debt relief for CEC students in New Mexico

Albuquerque, NM -  For-profit education company Career Education Corp. (CEC) has agreed to reform its recruiting and enrollment practices and forgo collecting about $1.8 million in debts owed by 709 New Mexican students, and millions more nationally, in a settlement with Attorney General Balderas and 48 other attorneys general.

“I will always fight to ensure that New Mexican students are not taken advantage of,” said Attorney General Hector Balderas. “This settlement will help hundreds of hard-working New Mexicans continue to reach their educational goals, and provide for their families.”

As a result of this settlement, CEC agrees to forgo any and all efforts to collect debts owed by former students in New Mexico.

CEC has also agreed to pay $5 million to the states, with New Mexico receiving about $75,000. 

CEC has closed or phased out many of its schools over the past 10 years. Its brands have included Briarcliffe College, Brooks Institute, Brown College, Harrington College of Design, International Academy of Design & Technology, Le Cordon Bleu, Missouri College, and Sanford-Brown.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (Jan. 2, 2019) -- Low-income youth and their families could soon have expanded opportunities to access state parks, federal public lands, and a variety of outdoor recreation and education opportunities as part of a statewide and national coalition effort to establish an Outdoor Equity Fund in the 2019 New Mexico Legislative Session.

New Mexico State Rep. Angelica Rubio (D-35) will introduce the bill, which is tied to the creation of a New Mexico Office of Outdoor Recreation, a priority economic development initiative that New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan-Grisham has committed to creating in her first 100 days in office.

The Outdoor Equity Fund seeks a $100,000 state appropriation in addition to committed funding from private donors such as outdoor industry retailers, to provide micro-grants to local governments, Indian communities, and nonprofit organizations to help fund outdoor recreation and education programs that serve at least a 40-percent low-income youth population. Eligible grant recipients, for example, could include a Boys & Girls’ Club outdoor recreation program, a summer hiking program for the City of Española, or an aquatics and fishing program for Santo Domingo Pueblo. The micro-grants could be used for staff time, equipment, transportation, and other operational needs.

“In New Mexico, our culture and traditions are tied to the land and our natural resources, resources that we will be aggressively marketing to visitors and tourists as part of the creation of an Office of Outdoor Recreation,” Rubio said. “The Outdoor Equity Fund helps to level the playing field for our own communities and youth, so that they too, are able to enjoy these same experiences and resources.”

ALBUQUERQUE – January 2, 2019 –After a year of profitability and growth, True Health New Mexico announced today a new local Plan President and several key promotions. The new leadership structure will position True Health for further expansion, both of its membership and its mission, according to CEO Martin Hickey, who will remain as CEO while taking on a broader role with parent company Evolent Health. 

Dr. Hickey was the founding CEO of New Mexico Health Connections (NMHC), the state’s nonprofit consumer oriented and operated health plan (CO-OP), which was established through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). He led NMHC through the challenging first years of the ACA and successfully established the partnership with Evolent Health that resulted in the creation of True Health New Mexico. While Dr. Hickey will now focus significantly on working with Evolent Health, he will continue to serve as the CEO of True Health New Mexico.

“In close partnership with our parent company, Evolent Health, True Health New Mexico has continued to deliver high-quality, effective medical management for our members, which is making a measurable difference in people’s health and well-being,” said Dr. Hickey. “New Mexico is leading the way in this initiative and will serve as a model for other health care organizations around the country.”

Sandoval County, NM – On December 31, 2018 at about 7:00 p.m. the New Mexico State Police investigated a fatal crash that killed a 12-year-old Albuquerque boy on U.S. 550 around mile post 44 south of Cuba. 

The initial investigation indicated a 2011 Chevy Truck was traveling north on U.S. Highway 550. The Elantra began to fish tail on the icy road, slid into oncoming traffic, and collided with a south bound 2007 Hyundai Elantra.  

Alexander Steven Madsen (12) of Albuquerque, who was a passenger in the Elantra sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased by the Office of the Medical Investigator. Two other passengers in the Elantra and the driver of the Chevy were treated for injuries not believed to be life threatening. The driver of the Elantra was uninjured.

The weather was a contributing factor in the crash, alcohol was not involved, and seat belts were properly used. For the victim’s privacy their identities will not be immediately released by State Police. The crash is still under investigation. No additional information is available at this time. 

Environment Department to Review Proposed Investigation to Characterize Groundwater and Soil Contamination at the former Karler Meat Packing Facility

Santa Fe – The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) Ground Water Quality Bureau has received a Stage 1 Abatement Plan proposal to investigate soil and ground water contamination at the former Karler meat packing facility located at 9111 Broadway Blvd. SE, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Ground Water Quality Bureau required the property owner (Responsible Party) to submit the abatement plan to address groundwater and soil pollution at the site. Previous groundwater sampling results indicate that concentrations of nitrate, chloride, and total dissolved solids (TDS) exceed the groundwater standards specified in the Section 3103 of the New Mexico Ground and Surface Water Protection Regulations (20.6.2 NMAC). In this area, the depth to groundwater is reported to be 54 to 92 feet below the ground surface.

The Stage 1 Abatement Plan proposal describes the collection of groundwater and soil samples. The investigation will define the extent of soil and groundwater impacts at the site, for which the NMED has no recent data.

SANTA FE — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, the 32nd governor of the state of New Mexico, was sworn into office at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 1.

Surrounded by roughly 200 family members and close friends at a private ceremony, Lujan Grisham took the oath of office in the Capitol rotunda.

A public inauguration will follow Tuesday afternoon.

The Hon. Sandra A. Grisham, the governor’s sister-in-law and a retired state District Court judge, administered the oath of office. A family Bible was used.

Gov. Lujan Grisham, who served three terms as a Congressional representative, formally resigned from that office. Her resignation was effective 12:59 p.m., Dec. 31.

The governor will be publicly sworn in Tuesday afternoon at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center, where she will issue her first inaugural address to New Mexicans statewide.

The public inaugural ceremony is scheduled to begin at noon. Doors will open to registered members of the media at 8 a.m. and the public at 9 a.m.

Santa Fe, NM- New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas will retire today after 26 years with the department. Chief Kassetas started his career with the New Mexico State Police in 1992. His first duty station was Grants, NM. During his career, Chief Kassetas worked in both patrol and criminal investigations section as an officer and supervisor.

On August 1, 2013 he was appointed as the 21st New Mexico State Police Chief and Deputy Secretary of the Department of Public Safety, Law Enforcement Program. Chief Kassetas directed the State Police, Motor Transportation Police, and Special Investigations Unit. Under his direction he promoted an influential merger which brought all three departments under the umbrella of New Mexico State Police.

When he began his tenure as chief, State Police manpower was at 513 officers which he increased to 658.  He graduated 11 recruit schools totaling 247 new officers, 23 of those being female officers.  

retirement1Before his retirement, Chief Kassetas wanted to bring back a part of the New Mexico State Police’s legacy. In 1933 the New Mexico Motor Patrol was formed, and the original 7 officers were issued Harley Davidson Motorcycles. It has been almost 70 years since the New Mexico State Police has had a Harley Davidson in their fleet. Chief Kassetas is proud to add 2 new Harley Davidson Motorcycles to the Motor Unit in 2019.  The addition of these two Harley Davidson Motorcycles will carry out the New Mexico State Police’s tradition, pride, and honor.

Santa Fe, NM – The Rio Grande Trail Commission announced today the master plan identifying partnerships and next steps in development of the Rio Grande Trail has been adopted. The plan also provides the vision of the Rio Grande Trail and summarizes existing and proposed Rio Grande Trail alignments. The master plan received significant input from stakeholders, communities and agencies statewide for the past two years.

“This is significant for the state of New Mexico,” said Rio Grande Trail Commission Chair, Ken McQueen.  “I am so proud of the work of our Commission, our contractors, our stakeholders and our staff to make this plan a reality.”

The vision for the Rio Grande Trail is a 500-mile cross-state recreational trail to allow users to learn about and connect with the diverse habitats, rich history, striking landscapes and vibrant communities along the trail. Created by state legislation, the Rio Grande Trail Commission has met quarterly since 2015 and has been dedicated to this planning process to make this trail a reality.

The planning process was funded by the Federal Highway Administration, Recreational Trails Program through the NM Department of Transportation, as well as state funds, and was commissioned by the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. The plan was developed by Alta Planning + Design, Sites Southwest, Rosemary Romero Consulting and Wilson & Company.

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