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.

Wildfire Preparedness is Year-Round October 2022

Remove Dead Plants and Debris from Property

Santa Fe, NM – As cooler fall temperatures set in, wildfire season can seem like a distant concern. However, this is a great time to begin preparations for the next fire season and clean up around your home. The 2022 Wildfire Preparedness is Year-Round campaign provides monthly wildfire preparedness tasks that follow the changing seasons.

The October message from the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department Forestry Division and its partners, is remove dead plants and debris from your property. 

Seasonal upkeep, like raking dry leaves; cleaning gutters and roofs; or regularly trimming trees that could grow too close to your home, is a simple step you can take for wildfire preparedness. Maintain your yard and outdoor space year-round and remove accumulated trimmings, dead plants and debris from your property to reduce wildfire risks.

Here are some helpful tips for seasonal cleanup: 

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Rise in syphilis cases in newborns causes concern 

DOH orders increase in syphilis testing of all pregnant women to prevent congenital syphilis in babies 

SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) renewed a 2021 Public Health Order (PHO) to protect newborns from syphilis on September 30, 2022. The PHO mandates that all medical providers serving pregnant women follow best practices by testing all pregnant women for syphilis multiple times. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report a nationwide increase in cases. In 2020, there were 2,148 cases of congenital syphilis, including 149 congenital syphilis-related stillbirths and infant deaths. The national congenital syphilis rate of 57.3 cases per 100,000 live births in 2020 represents a 254 percent increase compared with 2016.  

New Mexico has seen a sharp increase in the number of congenital syphilis cases since 2017 and ranked first in the U.S. for rate of congenital syphilis in 2020 (the most recent finalized CDC data). There was one congenital syphilis case reported in 2017, 10 cases in 2018, 26 cases in 2019, and 42 cases in 2020. 

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Gov. Lujan Grisham announces historic pay increase for early childhood workforce

SANTA FE – Today, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced a new grant available to child care providers that will increase wages for staff by $3 an hour across the board, raising the wage floor to $15 an hour for entry-level workers and $20 an hour for lead teachers.  

Early childhood educators are some of the lowest paid workers in the economy, and the low wages pervasive in the industry remain the single largest barrier to staffing classrooms and expanding child care access in the country. The new grant, Competitive Pay for Professionals (CPP), which is initially funded with $77 million in American Rescue Plan Act dollars, will provide a critical support for child care providers statewide who are struggling to recruit and retain educators for their classrooms. The New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) projects that at least 16,000 child care staff across the state stand to benefit from the pay raise provided through the CPP grant. Applications will open on November 1. 

“Early childhood workers have always been underpaid relative to the importance of the work they do,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham.

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USDA confirms highly pathogenic avian influenza in backyard non-poultry flock in New Mexico

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LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a non-commercial backyard flock (non-poultry) in Bernalillo County, New Mexico.

Samples from the flock were tested at the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa.

APHIS is working closely with state animal health officials in New Mexico on a joint incident response. State officials quarantined the affected premises, and birds on the property will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds from the flock will not enter the food system.

A “non-poultry” backyard flock refers to birds that do not meet the World Organisation for Animal Health definition of poultry. 

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NMSU to host certification course for commercial food processors

New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences will host an online course designed for managers and supervisors of commercially canned food and aseptic food processing operations around the region.

This Better Process Control School has been approved by the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and sponsored by NMSU. The FDA requires this course for food processors that process aseptic, acidified and low-acid foods. For more information or to register, visit https://foodtech.nmsu.edu/workshops/bpcs.html.  

The course, “Better Process Control School for low acid, aseptic and acidified foods,” will be presented virtually live in English over seven sessions from Oct. 28 to Nov. 10. Each session will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This certification course follows the Consumer Brand Association, Canned Foods: Principles of thermal Process Control, Acidification, and Container Closure Evaluation, ninth edition manual.

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Farm & Ranch Museum to open The Dairy Spot on Oct. 29

LAS CRUCES -- The dairy barn at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces has a new look, a new name, and lots of fun, new activities and exhibits.

The Dairy Spot: Discovery Center opens to the public with a special celebration on Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Caliche’s Frozen Custard will be on site to provide a free 5-ounce serving to the first 500 visitors, and guests are invited to make their own ice cream using Ziplock bags. Milking and other demonstrations also are part of the fun. Regular admission applies ($5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens, and $3 for children 4 to 17), and it includes all the Museum’s regular offerings.

With this renovation, The Dairy Spot: Discovery Center will continue to share New Mexico’s dairy history but will be more child-friendly and have more interactive exhibits. This brighter, livelier venue includes a multi-use public space that can be used for everything from demonstrations to children’s birthday parties.

The Southwest Dairy Farmers’ $30,000 donation to the Museum last year made the renovation possible.

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Game Commission to meet Oct. 14

LAS CRUCES – The New Mexico State Game Commission will hold a meeting at 9 a.m., Friday, Oct. 14, at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces. The full agenda, location address, attendee information and general information are available on the Department of Game and Fish website.

If you are interested in participating and providing comments, but cannot attend the meeting in person, you are encouraged to pre-register to attend the meeting on the Zoom Webinar platform. More information, including how to join the meeting by phone, will be available on the Department’s website.

In addition, there will be a live webcast on the Department’s website. Webcast participants can listen to the meeting using a desktop computer or mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

If you are an individual with a disability who needs a reader, amplifier, qualified sign language interpreter or any other form of auxiliary aid or service to attend or participate in the meeting, please contact Ryan Darr at 505-476-8027 or ryan.darr@dgf.nm.gov. Public documents, including the agenda and minutes, can be provided in various accessible forms.

The Bureau of Land Management New Mexico seeks feedback on proposed oil and gas lease sale

SANTA FE, N.M. – In accordance with congressional direction in the Inflation Reduction Act, Bureau of Land Management New Mexico started a 30-day scoping period to receive public input on 45 parcels totaling 10,123.91 acres that may be included in an upcoming lease sale.

The parcels the BLM will analyze, as well as maps and instructions on how to comment are available on our ePlanning website at https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/2021616/570

Future BLM lease sales will include updated fiscal provisions authorized in the Inflation Reduction Act: 

  • Minimum bids for all offered parcels will be $10 per acre, an increase from the $2 per acre minimum bid set in 1987;
  • Royalty rates will be 16.67 percent, up from the previous minimum of 12.5 percent; and
  • Rental rates will be $3 per acre for the first two years, $5 per acre for years three through eight, and $15 per acre in years nine and ten. Prior to the Inflation Reduction Act, rental rates were $1.50 per acre for the first five years and $2 per acre for each year thereafter, rates originally set in 1987.

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