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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.

Friday, providing information to arm the public against criminals trying to cash in on the fear and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic crisis.

FBI special agents answered questions ranging from how to identify fraud and scam websites to ways to protect minors.

"The FBI will not tolerate criminals trying to take advantage of people at their most vulnerable during this pandemic," said Special Agent in Charge James Langenberg of the Albuquerque FBI Division. "Together with our federal, state, local, and tribal partners, we are going after scammers, hoarders, and price gougers. At the same time, we are urging the public to go to reliable federal websites like FBI.GOV/coronavirus and IC3.GOV to get the latest information about COVID-19 frauds and learn how to protect themselves."

SANTA FE – Three graduate medical education programs will receive a total of $1 million for program development and expansion, adding 36 primary care physicians to the state's workforce, the New Mexico Human Services Department announced Friday.

The funding recipients are:

Washington, D.C., May 15, 2020 – U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Stephen Censky today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture launched an online portal to begin accepting applications for Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) grants. USDA plans to make available up to $100 million in competitive grants for activities designed to expand the sale and availability of ethanol and biodiesel fuels.

"As the coronavirus response continues, America's energy independence has proven critical to our economic security now more than ever," Deputy Secretary Censky said. "Under the leadership of President Trump, we know the positive impacts that affordable, abundant and clean-burning fuel provide to our country's farmers and consumers. The Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program will help rural communities build stronger economies and will give consumers more choices when they fill up at the pump."

(Washington, D.C., May 15, 2020) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the extension of three nationwide waivers, giving child nutrition program operators the flexibility they need to continue to feed children while promoting social distancing and keeping families safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"USDA has been extremely aggressive in expanding flexibilities to ensure Americans who have been impacted by the coronavirus continue to receive the food they need for themselves and their families," said Secretary Perdue. "As our nation reopens and people return to work, we want to continue to be flexible since there is not a one size fits all approach to feeding kids. Extending these waivers throughout the summer ensures local operators can make plans that best suit their communities and keep children fed."

Throughout the pandemic, schools and local program sponsors have used flexibilities provided by USDA to find creative ways to feed kids, such as setting up drive-thru pick-ups and delivering meals on bus routes. With the extension of these waivers, these innovative models can continue, without interruption, while state and local social distancing orders remain in place.

Background:
Since March, USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has made maximum use of existing program flexibilities and new authorities granted by Congress to make it as easy as possible for children to receive food through the department's nutrition assistance programs during the national health emergency. Today's announcement extends three key flexibilities that will allow current operations to continue without disruption and ensure states and program operators have time to plan for continued operations throughout the summer.

Today, FNS is extending the following waivers nationwide through August 31, 2020:

  • Non-Congregate Feeding: FNS is allowing meals to be served to children outside of the normally-required group setting to support social distancing.
  • Parent Pickup: FNS is allowing parents and/or guardians to pick up meals and bring them home to their children.
  • Meal Times: FNS is waiving requirements that meals be served at certain standard times to allow for grab-n-go options. This also allows for multiple days-worth of meals to be provided at once.

In addition to granting significant program flexibilities through both nationwide and individual state waivers, FNS is rapidly approving states for Pandemic-EBT, which provides food-purchasing benefits, equal to the value of school meals, to households with children who would otherwise be receiving free or reduced-price meals at school. FNS has approved 26 plans and continues to review new plans as they are submitted.

These actions and more are part of FNS's critical response to the COVID-19 outbreak. To learn more, visit www.fns.usda.gov/coronavirus and follow FNS on Twitter at @USDANutrition.

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American's agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS also co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide science-based nutrition recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy.

Incident Name: Lumberton Fire

Start Date & Time: May 10, 2020 - 11:45 am

Start Location: Rio Arriba County, east of Lumberton

In its regular meeting Thursday, the Board of Regents of the New Mexico State University system approved a systemwide operating budget of roughly $620 million for the coming fiscal year, a 5.7 percent increase over the current year. They also acknowledged the expectation that the budget will be revised later this summer, following a likely special session of the New Mexico Legislature, which may reduce planned appropriations from the state.

The budget, which includes $551 million for the Las Cruces campus, was approved unanimously by the board in an online meeting conducted over Zoom due to public health orders from the New Mexico Department of Health.

More than 36 percent of the approved budget, or about $225 million, is provided by state appropriations that were approved in March. A combination of factors, including the price of oil and the economic slowdown associated with COVID-19, have dramatically reduced the state's revenue projections, and a special session of the state Legislature is expected in June.

Silver City Regional Association of Realtors Board President Nikki Stokes highlighted the improved statistics for 2020 over 2019: "In our market we actually closed more residential transactions in April 2020 with 36 properties sold versus 32 in April of 2019. Sales year to date in 2020 are at 119 with an average sales price of $159,227. Through April of 2019 the numbers were 114 residential sales and an average sales price of $152,085. The largest difference we saw is that average days on market for 2020 through April was 145 days versus 175 in 2019."

"Even with business closures and new guidelines for showing houses and closing real estate transactions, according to numbers reported to the New Mexico Association of REALTORS (NMAR), April 2020 sales are off less than 14% from April 2019 sales numbers," reports James Russ, 2020 NMAR President. "Even with the Governor's declaration that real estate is an essential service, REALTORS everywhere are feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic as buyers and sellers alike are facing uncertain times."

April say 1,901 reported sales, compared to 2,207 sales reported for April 2019. The April sales bring 2020's year-to-date total sales to 7,246. This number, thanks to a strong first quarter, is slightly ahead of the 7,188 January through April 2019 sales number.

(Washington, D.C., May 14, 2020) U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced a final rule updating and modernizing the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) biotechnology regulations under the Plant Protection Act. The Sustainable, Ecological, Consistent, Uniform, Responsible, Efficient (SECURE) rule will bring USDA's plant biotechnology regulations into the 21st century by removing duplicative and antiquated processes in order to facilitate the development and availability of these technologies through a transparent, consistent, science-based, and risk-proportionate regulatory system. This new rule will help provide America's farmers access to these critical tools to help increase agricultural productivity and sustainability, improve the nutritional value and quality of crops, combat pests and diseases, and enhance food safety.

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Editor's Note

FILLED: Classified for Silver City church seeking office manager. Check back often for new classifieds.

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