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Nov. 6 First News: Behavioral Health Professionals Call Service Disruption "Hurtful." (Listen)

  Behavioral health professionals and their clients informed state lawmakers Tuesday that the disruption in care resulting from accusations of fraud has been hurtful. The state suspended Medicaid payments to the providers in June over allegations of fraud. State Auditor Hector Balderas, who’s investigating the charges, urged better coordination among agencies in the future: *****Nov. 6 Balderas-1  :13*****  Balderas says questions remain about the disruption of services to the people he calls “New Mexico’s most vulnerable citizens.”

Santa Fe School Superintendent Joel Boyd wants the district to explore establishing its own criteria for graduation requirements. That potentially sets the district at odds with the state's Public Education Department and guidelines it set in 2012. Superintendent Boyd says he'd like to see graduation standards strengthened but also wants achievable alternative competency measurements to be clearly defined.  At Tuesday night's board meeting, the district's new attorney, GenoZamora, asserted that local school boards have the power to develop local procedures

Santa Fe's city attorney has issued an opinion that municipal candidates cannot use e-signatures, such as those collected at a website, to count toward the mandatory minimum needed to qualify for public campaign financing funds. A memo this week from assistant city attorney Zach Shandler indicates such e-signatures would be difficult to verify in the event of fraud allegations. Candidates for mayor must collect 600 five-dollar contributions for mayor to receive public campaign funds. 

The State Game and Fish Department says wildlife poaching appears to be on the rise across the state. Department officials are investigating 22 cases involving elk, deer and antelope carcasses found headless and left to rot. Department officers are running road blocks across the state to check for illegal hunting activity and to gather data about harvest success. They also are deploying artificial elk and deer in the field to catch poachers who try to shoot illegally at night or from the road. Game and Fish officials say New Mexico has stiffer poaching civil penalties of up to ten-thousand dollars

Despite recording its lowest attendance level in ten years, New Mexico State Fair officials say they're pleased. The Albuquerque Journal reports Fair attendance dropped nearly four-percent compared to last year. But officials are blaming the drop on the four days of severe weather during the Fair's 12-day run saying it was likely responsible for the decline. Total attendance at this year's State Fair was more than 392-thousand people.

Governor Susana Martinez's administration has announced "Operation Soundstage,” a workshop for veterans interested in pursuing jobs as crew members in the film and television industry. An orientation is scheduled next Friday in which the state will reimburse part of the wages of a veteran being trained as a crew member by a film or television production in New Mexico. The state Film Office said the workshop will be held at the Department of Workforce Solutions office building near downtown Albuquerque

Santa Fe Police are still seeking a burglary suspect likely sporting one, if not two, black eyes.  The would-be burglar attempted to enter a southside Santa Fe residence through a bedroom window Sunday morning. The man sleeping in the room woke up and began punching the prowler in the face. He fell out the window and fled the scene in a silver Pontiac Sedan. Police want to hear from anyone who may have information as to the suspect's identity.

The City of Santa Fe’s Recreation Division reports Genoveva Chavez Community Center‘s leisure pool will re-open tomorrow and that new boilers for all of the Center’s pools have been installed. Also, the City says the pool at Fort Marcy has revised its swimming hours to accommodate local swim team practices. The updated schedule is available on the City’s website.

Weather for Santa Fe – a long stretch of sunny, dry days in store.  Highs today in the upper 40s, lows tonight in the upper 20s. A bit warmer tomorrow and Friday with highs in the low 50s and overnight lows near 30 degrees