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.

Public invited to comment on future projects

State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP)

SANTA FE – The Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) is required under federal legislation and contains projects located on federal and state highways (roads with I, U.S., or N.M. designations). The STIP is a collaborative state, local, regional, and tribal transportation planning effort, developed by The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT). Projects included in the STIP are funded with a combination of federal, state and or local funds.

The department strives to keep the public informed and cares about their opinions. The STIP is amended quarterly and always open for viewing on the NMDOT website. The public is welcome to review the list of proposed projects and post comments.

The sixth amendment to the 2020-2025 STIP is posted at https://estip.dot.state.nm.us. It is open for public comment until Tuesday, March 16, 2021. The NMDOT STIP personnel will take comments via the eSTIP amendment tab.

White Sands Missile Range - US 70 Roadblock

LAS CRUCES - The New Mexico Department of Transportation District One office (NMDOT) along with White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) has posted an alert for Wednesday Feb. 17, 2021.

US 70 will be blocked three separate times: 3:50 a.m., 5:50 a.m. and 7:50 a.m. for approximately one hour each time.  These blocks will be located at 'RED BLOCK' (top of San Augustin Pass /mile marker 164) and 'YELLOW BLOCK' (White Sands National Park /mile marker 200).  The Las Cruces Gate, Owen Road and Nike Avenue will also be affected.  

All roadblocks are subject to change without notice, please call WSMR at 575-678-2222 for updates or go to New Mexico Department of Transportation:  www.nmroads.com or call 511.

Biden Administration Announces Another Foreclosure Moratorium and Mortgage Forbearance Deadline Extension

USDA Extends Evictions and Foreclosure Moratorium to June 30, 2021 and Provides Additional Guidance for Servicing Loans Impacted by COVID-19

WASHINGTON, Feb. 16, 2021 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced an extension of eviction and foreclosure moratoriums on USDA Single Family Housing Direct and Guaranteed loans through June 30, 2021. The actions announced today will bring relief to residents in rural America who have housing loans through USDA.

“USDA recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an almost unprecedented housing affordability crisis in the United States. That’s why USDA is taking this important action today to extend relief to the hundreds-of-thousands of individuals and families holding USDA Single Family Housing loans,” USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson said. “While today’s actions are an important step for them, we need to do more. The Biden Administration is working closely with Congress to pass the American Rescue Plan to take more robust and aggressive actions to bring additional relief to American families and individuals impacted by the pandemic.”

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NMSU collective hosts series to imagine a ‘borderlands pluriversity’

The New Mexico State University Borderlands and Ethnic Studies, Chicano Programs and the Dean’s Fellows of Equity, Inclusion and Diversity at the College of Arts and Sciences are hosting a dialogue series titled, "Imagining and Shaping Pluriversities: Land-based Indigenous Knowledges and Pedagogies of Resistance."

A pluriversity rethinks the relationship between knowledge and power, offering new perspectives on how a university imparts knowledge using diverse methodologies to broaden university thought and practices that range from feminist approaches to scientific research to ways of knowing expressed through Native American, African and other traditions. These approaches seek creative solutions for expanding learning in traditional universities so they may evolve into pluriversities.

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Update on Oil Conservation Commission natural gas waste reduction rules hearing

Santa Fe, NM – On February 12, 2021, the Oil Conservation Commission (OCC) finished deliberations on the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department’s proposed rules on reducing natural gas waste. At its next meeting on March 25, 2021, the Commission will review and approve the final rule changes and vote on a final order.

During the two days of deliberations, the OCC Commissioners reviewed technical testimony, public comment and each party’s final proposals and determined, based on evidence presented during testimony, what changes should be made to the Oil Conservation Division’s proposed rules.

The deliberations and hearing videos can be found on the EMNRD OCC YouTube channel. All information relevant to scheduling will be posted on the Outreach and Public Information tab on the Division’s website, here.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Monica Rainge as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights

WASHINGTON, Feb. 16, 2021 — Monica Armster Rainge was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Agriculture today. Rainge is an agricultural lawyer and mediator. She has worked in the public and private agricultural sectors for more than 25 years. Most recently, she served as the Director of Land Retention and Advocacy for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund where she led the development and management of outreach and technical assistance programs that support regional land retention and advocacy initiatives for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

Rainge also directed the Federation’s Regional Heirs Property and Mediation Center which provides USDA-certified mediation services in Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana. Her professional experience with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund dates back to 1996 when she served as a college intern under the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Internship Program.

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Headwater Streams in the Rio Grande and Gila River Watersheds to Benefit from Nearly $600,000 in Restoration Grants

Headwater Streams in the Rio Grande and Gila River Watersheds to Benefit from Nearly $600,000 in Restoration Grants

Public-private partnership awards grants to conserve headwaters species and their habitats in two Southwestern watersheds
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February 16, 2021 13:00 ET | Source: National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 16, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced more than $584,000 in grants to restore, protect and enhance aquatic and riparian species of conservation concern and their habitats in the headwaters of the Rio Grande and Gila River watersheds. The five grants will generate more than $980,000 in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of $1.56 million.

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Construction begins on NMSU, El Paso Electric solar project

Construction is now underway on a renewable energy project at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Park that is projected to generate enough solar electricity to power about one-third of the university’s 900-acre Las Cruces campus by this fall.

The project – called Aggie Power – is the result of a new partnership between NMSU and El Paso Electric (EPE) aiming to further mutual goals related to state renewable energy, climate action and micro-grid development.

“NMSU is excited to develop strategic partnerships across our entire system to support a balanced and sustainable energy economy,” NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu said. “This partnership with EPE moves us forward in a leadership role and is a perfect example of our ability to balance investments in infrastructure while providing a state-of-the-art living laboratory to complement our educational programs.”

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