- Santa Fe Community College sees a sharp decline in enrollment
SANTA FE, NM (AP) – Santa Fe Community College has seen the enrollment fund drop thanks to the novel coronavirus. The Albuquerque Journal reports that college enrollments dropped 28% in one year. Officials say the number of students dropped from 5,337 students last year to 3,841 this semester. College president Becky Rowley says most of the reduction was due to the cancellation of fitness classes and a sharp reduction in art classes. In addition, many part-time students at the school have decided not to return. Part-time students account for approximately 80% of the college’s total enrollments. College administrators had expected enrollments to plummet since the early days of COVID-19.
- States face pressure to ban race-based bias about hairdressing
RIO RANCHO, NM (AP) – A growing number of US states are coming under pressure to ban race-based discrimination against hair texture and styling. Activists recently presented a proposal to New Mexico state lawmakers that would ban employers and schools from discriminating against the hairstyles of black and Native American women. Earlier this year, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a measure that made Washington the sixth state to pass a version of the CROWN Act. The name of the act stands for Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. . Under the Crown Act campaign, California, Colorado, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, and Virginia have already passed similar laws.
- The audit probes the New Mexico hospital that has been invaded by the virus
SANTA FE, NM (AP) – A special management contract review raises concerns about weak financial controls, overcompensation of executives, and potential profit at a county-owned hospital on the edge of the Navajo Reservation. The hospital was overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The state auditor’s office released on Tuesday findings regarding Gallup’s Rehoboth McKinley Christian Hospital and its management and service contracts dating back to 2016. State officials say the review shows a contract with hospital management company Healthcare Integrity bypassed the hospital’s code of conduct and political conflicts of interest. The audit report was referred to prosecutors and the IRS.
- New Mexico education officials report 5 cases of coronavirus
SANTA FE, NM (AP) – A week after in-person learning begins in a small number of public schools, New Mexico officials are reporting five confirmed cases of COVID-19 in schools, including two students. The cases were confirmed Monday among students and staff. About 50 New Mexico school and charter districts have begun allowing students from kindergarten through fifth grade to attend school in person, two days a week. Some of the larger districts in the state plan to keep the school online for the remainder of the semester only. At least one of the teachers who tested positive for COVID-19 Monday works in a county where there is no in-person learning.
- Former Los Alamos employee sentenced to probation in China
ALBUQUERQUE, NM (AP) – Federal officials say a former employee of Los Alamos National Laboratory was sentenced to five years’ probation and fined $ 75,000 for making false claims about involvement with China. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for New Mexico said that Turab Lookman of Santa Fe, 68, was convicted on Friday by a federal judge after pleading guilty in January. The office said Lookman in 2018 denied a counterintelligence officer had been recruited or applied for a job with a Chinese recruiting program involving foreign technology and intellectual property. Lookman cannot leave New Mexico while on probation.
- Water shortages in the western United States are more likely than previously thought
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) – Models released by the US government suggest that a future with less water may come sooner than previously predicted for the seven states that rely on the Colorado River. After a relatively dry summer, government scientists say Lake Powell and Lake Mead are 12% more likely to drop to critically low levels by 2025 than expected in spring. Climate change and prolonged drought have forced some cities and farms to conserve water to protect the river in the long term, but it remains outdated. The projections could complicate the already difficult negotiations between Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Mexico on the future of the river.
- New Mexico residents asked for help with bird death research
LAS CRUCES, NM (AP) – Researchers from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces urged residents to share photos or written descriptions via their cell phones about a recent mass death of migratory birds in the state. The Las Cruces Sun-News reported that Professor Martha Desmond said Monday that reports from across the state indicate migratory species are dying at an unprecedented rate. Residents reported birds dying in groups and live birds exhibiting lethargic and unusual behaviors such as not eating, flying low, or gathering on the ground. A mobile app through the Southwest Avian Mortality Project allows the public to contribute to research.
- The fires put the Republican meteorologist candidate in trouble
SANTA FE, NM (AP) – Political clashes over the role of climate change in the catastrophic hells of the West Coast are spilling over into a US Senate race in New Mexico, where a Republican meteorologist is campaigning for an open seat. US MP and Democratic Senate candidate Ben Ray Luján accused rival Mark Ronchetti on Monday of engaging in dangerous climate denial. Ronchetti responded on Monday acknowledging that climate change must be addressed and that both “human activity” and drought are responsible for the violent fires. On a visit to California, Trump ignored the scientific consensus that climate change is playing a central role in the historic West Coast wildfires.