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May 19 First News: New Mexico Philanthropies Contemplate Collaboration, Possible Merger (Listen)

Five major New Mexico philanthropic organizations are thinking about formalizing their collaborations with the possibility of a merger in the future. The Santa Fe Community Foundation’s C-E-O, Brian Byrnes says the foundations are already working together, pointing to the recent “Give Grande New Mexico” single-day fund-raising campaign that demonstrates how much can be accomplished. *****051914-Byrnes-3 (q:each other’s strengths) :25***** Byrnes says we can expect recommendations for the foundations’ future course by the end of the year.
Interviews for the three finalists for the job of Santa Fe Police Chief begin this week. The City announced Friday that Santa Fe County Sheriff's deputy Randy Foster, Espanola Public Safety Director Eric Garcia and former Albuquerque Police Department Deputy Chief Joseph Silva are the final candidates for the job. Officials say they were chosen from a field of about 50 candidates to replace former Chief Ray Rael, who retired in March.

There will be many eyes—and yes, ears—on tonight’s Albuquerque City Council meeting. During the last meeting, protestors remaining silent after signing up and appearing before the body during the “public comment” portion of the agenda were forcibly removed. They were expressing outrage at the recent conduct of the Albuquerque Police Department, and now the American Civil Liberties Union is concerned about the way they were treated. ACLU-New Mexico staff attorney Alexandra Smith says the public comment period of a meeting is one of the only avenues people have to communicate with those who represent them, even if they’re critical. She says the First Amendment protects this sort of interaction with elected officials.  *****051914-Smith-3  (q: in what court) :25***** Smith says the way the protestors were treated  for expressing themselves was an offense against the U-S Constitution.

New Mexico's Workforce Solutions Department reports the state’s unemployment rate dropped to six-point-eight percent in April, down from seven-percent in March and six-point-nine percent a year ago. The agency reports that the state's economy lost 44-hundred jobs over the year.

Crews have containment lines around 60 percent southwestern New Mexico’s Signal Fire as they expect dry and windy conditions today. Fire managers said Sunday an "initial attack crew" is on standby in case hot spots flare up inside the nine-square-mile Signal Fire burning in the Gila National Forest. Authorities say the fire did not grow overnight and crews continue to work around the perimeter to ensure it doesn't spread. The human-caused blaze has been burning about ten miles north of Silver City for more than one week.

An update from Santa Fe Police—SFPD reports that 32-year old Sarah Ann Averill, who went missing two weeks ago today made contact with her family last Friday. Police say Averill is safe and the missing persons alert has been canceled.

Santa Fe Weather: Sunny and breezy today, with a high near 79. Tonight Mostly clear, with a low around 46. Tomorrow: Sunny, with a high near 78.