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Nov. 12 First News: Lovelace Health Plan Members Will Soon Be Customers of the "Blues." (Listen)

  Lovelace Health Plan of New Mexico’s more than 100-thousand members will soon be switching to Blue Cross-Blue Shield under a new agreement. Blue Cross of New Mexico President Kurt Shipley tells KSFR about the change:*****Nov. 12 Shipley-1  :16***** Under the deal, Lovelace members have access to their current health-care network, and will re-gain access to  ABQ Health Partners providers. Lovelace says it sold the health plan to focus on its hospital and health care centers.

Northern New Mexico charities that feed the region’s hungry were seeing more people seeking food help even before cuts to the federal SNAP, or food stamps program,  kicked-in this month.  Sherry Hooper of Santa Fe’s “The Food Depot” says those charities had to turn people away, and says the results translate into more hungry New Mexicans: *****Nov. 12 Hooper 1  :11***** Hooper says the cuts force already food-needy families to further stretch already tight budgets.

A proposal for a two-percent sales tax on junk food is headed to the Navajo Nation Council for consideration. The legislation would add the tax to sweetened beverages, chips, candy, cookies and pastries bought on the reservation, which spans parts of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. Revenue from the levy would be used to build wellness centers, parks, basketball courts, trails, gardens and picnic grounds. It would also help to sponsor health education classes. Opponents argue the tax would push consumers to buy junk food in stores off the reservation.

Last month was a good one for the State Land Office, which says it earned 68 million-dollars in revenue in October, marking the third-highest monthly revenue in the agency's history. New Mexico Land Commissioner Ray Powell credits the successful month to oil and gas royalties. Powell says the royalty payments are critically important to the state's public education system and hospitals, all of which are beneficiaries of the state land trust.

A woman at the center of the lawsuit petitioning the New Mexico Supreme Court to rule on the legality of same-sex marriage has died. Jennifer Martin Neuman-Roper died last week of brain cancer.  Her illness fueled the urgency with which she and her partner of 20 years fought for acquiring legal recognition of their union. An August state district court ruling allowed the Santa Fe County Clerk to give the Española couple a marriage license.  With her passing, her New Mexico certificate of death is the first to acknowledge a surviving same-sex spouse.

The number of flights at Albuquerque's Sunport could change dramatically as the airport's main tenant, Southwest, will be free to skip stops in our state.  Today's Albuquerque Journal spotlights the expiration next year of a federal amendment that had required Southwest to limit the number of non-stops originating out of Dallas beyond a certain geographic area. With the rule removed, Southwest can fly directly to larger cities without putting down in the Duke City. Dallas-based Southwest is credited to with up to 60-percent of all Sunport activity.

Weather for Santa Fe – Mostly sunny today and Wednesday with highs in the low 50s and overnight lows in the upper 20s.