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Dec. 13 First News: LFC Report: Patients Suffered As A Result of HSD Actions (Listen)

  A report from the Legislative Finance Committee criticizes New Mexico’s termination of behavioral health providers resulting from findings in an as-yet unreleased audit of providers receiving Medicaid funding through the Human Services Department. The LFC report released this week says patients suffered as a result of the changes. Citing law enforcement considerations, two judges recently refused in separate cases to order release of the audit, meaning providers weren't told of specific allegations or given a chance to rebut them before funding was cut off.


Federal authorities say 15 Albuquerque men have been indicted on federal drug trafficking charges in Santa Fe and Bernalillo counties. They say all but one have been arrested after the execution of search and seizure warrants. Officials say they took-in about eight pounds of heroin, two pounds of cocaine and one pound of methamphetamine during the so-called “operation sand wedge,” which was the result of a year-and-a-half long investigation.


Santa Fe County’s DWI Prevention Specialist Peter Olson says if you’re driving around and don’t see a drunk-driving checkpoint you will be observed by county sheriff’s deputies or other law enforcement agencies conducting a so-called “saturation patrol.” In its effort to prevent DWI, Olson says Santa Fe County offers people who have a bit too much to drink a one-dollar cab ride home from bars: *****Olson-1  :13***** Olson says Santa Fe County has seen four drunk driving fatalities so far in 2013.


Don’t expect an immediate ruling in a case challenging New Mexico's assisted suicide law. The State District Judge hearing the case, Nan Nash, says she has much to consider after hearing closing arguments Thursday. Two doctors and a Santa Fe cancer patient filed a suit last year, seeking to make it legal for New Mexico MD’s to prescribe needed medications for terminally ill patients who want to end their lives on their own terms. Under current state law, assisted suicide is a fourth-degree felony. Reports indicate a ruling could be a month away.


A lawsuit says an Albuquerque man suffered severe burns to his knees and buttocks after a Bernalillo County Sheriff's deputy forced him to kneel and sit on hot asphalt for nearly half an hour. The federal lawsuit says deputy Chris Starr made Jonathan Griego kneel on scorching-hot asphalt during a June traffic stop on a day where temperatures reached 96 degrees. An attorney for the county denied the allegations.


New Mexico Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich have introduced the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Conservation Act. The bill would designate the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument to conserve, protect and enhance scenic, recreational and culturally significant land. Senator Heinrich commented on the measure this morning: *****Dec. 12 Heinrich-1  :14***** Senator Udall says the measure would put the Organ Mountains on recreation maps around the world, attracting tourists to Southern New Mexico, creating jobs and bringing in millions of dollars in tourism revenue.



The City of Roswell’s main tourist attraction--the International UFO Museum and Research Center— is getting a facelift. The Museum Director says the exterior on the southeastern New Mexico city’s main street will be redone to make it look like one large building. The Roswell Daily Record reports that the museum’s marquee is also getting a new look. The museum also plans future changes for its interior. Roswell is internationally famous for the so-called “Roswell Incident” in 1947, when Air Force Officials said they’d discovered a UFO, only to later recant the story.


Santa Fe Weather: Today: A 40 percent chance of snow showers, mainly before noon; otherwise it’ll be mostly sunny, with a high near 39. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.  Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 18. Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 35.