State Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez is calling for Human Services Department Secretary Sidonie Squier’s resignation. Sanchez says Squier’s written response to a Draft Hunger Task Force report shows a lack of understanding of both her job and the people she serves. After reading the report, Squier wrote in an email that there has never been any significant evidence of hunger in New Mexico nor is there any at present. Squier says the focus should instead be on providing proper nutrition to citizens and that expanding government food programs is not productive.

In today's features following our local news: we talk with Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela about the state's JTIP program.  We also hear about how those folks collecting disability can return to gainful employment with risking much needed benefits. And...Bigfoot in the Valles Caldera? Those items and more plus 60 Seconds with Christopher Hagen.

How much money should the mayor of Santa Fe receive for the job? That was among first items of discussion as Santa Fe City Council considers city charter amendments for voter consideration in a special election. At the first of three public meetings on the matter, the assembly demurred on setting a fixed amount but noted that earlier discussions cited an amount of more than $100,000 annually. The Charter Review Commission advocates making the mayoral post a fulltime position with expanded powers while also barring additional employment.

In today's features after local news headlines: LANL spokesman Fred DeSousa details the damages known thus far to the Lab's properties after historic rainfall there caused flooding. We also speak with Land Commissioner Ray Power about a new wind energy project for New Mexico, a portion of which will be built on state lands.  Those items and more plus 60 Seconds with Christopher Hagen.

 A special Santa Fe City Council meeting takes place this evening to discuss three resolutions concerning the Santa Fe Municipal Charter amendments. Those amendments could become ballot items for voter approval in a proposed special election that would be held in conjunction with our regular municipal election on March 4th, 2014. Among changes put forth is making the mayoral post a full-time position with higher pay and barring additional employment.

Due to today's technical difficulties, our AT NOON podcast is abbreviated, limited to today's top local news headlines at mid-day and 60 Seconds with Christopher Hagen. We are expecting our OTA signal to be restored shortly.

  The federal government has authorized $2 million in “quick release” emergency funds for New Mexico roadways & bridges damaged by our recent bout of heavy rains. According to the U.S. DOT, repairs from the September storms are so far estimated to be at least $9 million.  That number is expected to rise with future damage assessments. 

  Among today's features: We hear from New Mexico Voices For Children on the persistence of poverty levels in our state.  We also speak with the director of the Interstate Stream Commission as--for the first time in years -- the Pecos River does not require augmentation of its water flows. And KSFR News reporter Marion Cox wraps up her conversation with Santa Fe County Commissioner Kathy Holian; today they talk about the new animal control ordinance being prepared. Those items and more plus 60 Seconds with Christopher Hagen.

  New Mexico’s three house members have voted along party lines on cuts to food stamps. Ben Ray Luján voted against the republican sponsored bill that would cut $39 billion from SNAP, the supplemental nutritional assistance program. The national program helps 179,000 households here in New Mexico. Congressman Luján took to the floor of the House to speak against the cuts. *** District One’s Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham also voted against the cuts. Congressman Steve Pearce joined fellow republicans in support of the cuts, which passed on a 217-210 vote.

In feature stories after our local news report:  A conversation with the NM Environment Department about the hazards to drinking water wells in areas hit with flooding and how to decontaminate them.  We also speak with the Human Services Department as New Mexico receives relatively good marks for delivering Medicaid services to a high percentage of our state's eligible children. Those items and more plus 60 seconds with Christopher Hagen.


This week on HERE and THERE

MONDAY December 10 - Amazon wins again! But the way it’s framed is that Long Island City, Queens, NY and Arlington, VA won the competition to become Amazon HQ cities. But, Bryce Covert asked in the NY Times, is this a win-win for the cities or just -- Amazon wins again! TUESDAY December 11 - Donald Trump says he doesn’t believe in climate change. Here’s how much he knows about it – he’s handed over global leadership on one of the defining issues of our time to China. So, Barbara Finamore asks...

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