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.

NMSU researcher: Firearm suicides rising among elderly Americans

A new study by New Mexico State University and the University of Toledo has found firearm suicides are a leading cause of death for older Americans.

The study, published earlier this year in the Journal of Community Health, found 70 percent of all elderly suicides in the United States involved a firearm. Between 2010 and 2018, firearm suicides by Americans 65 years old and older increased by 49 percent, according to the study. A total of 47,725 elderly adults committed suicide with a firearm within that eight-year span.

Today, more than 17 elderly Americans on average commit suicide with a firearm each day, said one of the study’s co-authors, Jagdish Khubchandani, public health sciences professor at NMSU.

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USDA Increases SNAP Benefits Up To $100 Per Household with Funding from American Rescue Plan

WASHINGTON, March 22, 2021 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today a 15 percent increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits through September 2021, providing an estimated $3.5 billion to households experiencing food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding is made possible by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which invests federal resources to reduce hunger across the country, strengthen the food supply chain, invest in rural America, and provide long awaited support to underserved, socially disadvantaged communities.

The 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits will provide about $28 more per person, per month, or more than $100 more per month for a household of four, in additional SNAP benefits.

“We cannot sit by and watch food insecurity grow in the United States,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The American Rescue Plan brings help to those hurting the most due to the pandemic."

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NMDOH Appoints Purvi Mody as Special Director

Will manage key projects and engage stakeholders

SANTA FE-- The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) on Monday announced the selection of Purvi Mody as Special Director. Ms. Mody will lead and execute key projects for the DOH including, promoting and communicating change initiatives for the Division of Health Improvement and its bureaus.

Ms. Mody brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience. Previously known as the UNM Health System Chief Compliance and Internal Audit Officer, Ms. Mody led key initiatives and oversaw broad areas of regulation and policy within the UNM Medical Group, UNM Hospital, and UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center. Ms. Mody earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her masters degree in accounting from the University of New Mexico. Additionally, she is certified in both public accounting and healthcare compliance. 

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Rep. Kelly Fajardo appointed to executive committee for Republican Legislative Campaign Committee

Los Lunas, NM- New Mexico State Representative Kelly Fajardo (R-Los Lunas) has been selected to join the 2021 executive committee for the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee (RLCC). The executive committee is RLCC’s largest caucus and only national organization devoted to electing Republican state legislative leaders.

“I look forward to working with the RLCC to recruit and support candidates across the nation, and here in New Mexico,” said Rep. Kelly Fajardo (R-Los Lunas). “My work has always been focused on finding and supporting conservative women, and I am excited to work on continuing these efforts on a national level. In my time in the legislature, we have seen historic changes. Working with so many great minds across the nation will certainly help move forward to defend and win back many state legislatures.”

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NMSU selected for student success capacity investment

New Mexico State University is one of 16 institutions participating in the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ Powered by Publics initiative to receive additional investment and support to advance student-centered transformation.

The cohort of 16 institutions will engage in an in-depth institutional needs assessment, share student success data, and receive targeted professional development and technical assistance based on needs in advising, college readiness policy and practice, and digital learning. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding the effort.

“NMSU is very pleased to be selected to participate in ‘Transforming Institutions to Increase Student Success,’ a Powered by Publics project of the Association for Public and Land-Grant Universities,” said NMSU Provost Carol Parker. “This data-centered, collaborative project aligns directly with our LEADS 2025 strategic plan’s goals for equitable improvement of student success. The project’s institutional needs assessment and data-gathering activities will both help improve our existing student success strategies. We also believe our participation will aid us in refining and reforming our first-year and general education curricula to be more equitably serving all of our students.”

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Examining the Need to Expand Eligibility Under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act

(RECA) before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties

When: Wednesday, March 24, 2021, at 2 pm EDT, noon MDT


At the invitation of Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Tina Cordova, Co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium (TBDC), will provide written and oral testimony to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties this week to urge the members to expand the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) to include the Trinity Downwinders.  

The Trinity Downwinders seek justice for the unknowing, unwilling, and uncompensated innocent victims of the first atomic bomb test on July 16, 1945 in south central New Mexico.

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State Auditor Colón Warns New Mexicans About Unemployment Insurance Scams

Auditor Colón and the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions Urge New Mexicans to be Aware of Fraudsters Seeking to Take Advantage of Unemployment Benefits 

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Auditor Colón is once again urging New Mexicans to be aware of fraudsters exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic. The Office of the State Auditor (OSA) together with the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (DWS) issued a joint risk advisory and fraud alert concerning unemployment benefits scams. Both agencies are calling for increased awareness as fraudsters continue to perpetuate numerous schemes related to the pandemic and are providing actionable steps individuals can take to protect themselves.  

"Predators continue to target New Mexicans who are already struggling to make ends meet during this pandemic," said Auditor Colón. "These fraudsters are stealing personal identification information and as a result are stealing money out of the pockets of taxpayers."

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Senator Cliff Pirtle Applauds Removal of Ban on Youth Sports Games

SANTA FE – Following a letter sent from Senator Cliff Pirtle (District 32-Chaves, Eddy, and Otero) to Secretary of Health, Dr. Tracie Collins, the Department of Health has removed the ban on youth competitive play and scrimmage for club sports.

Senator Pirtle released the following statement applauding the Department's decision:

"I want to thank Dr. Collins and the Department of Health for making this reasonable and important modification to the state's COVID-Safe Practices. Our young children have not been able to play since the spring of last year and were facing yet another lost season. With this change, they will now be able to safely return to competitive play."

The revised COVID-Safe Practices are available at

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