From The Associated Press
State receives $25M grant
SANTA FE — New Mexico will receive $25 million over four years to improve early childhood learning under a grant announced by the U.S. Department of Education.
Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration said Thursday the state will use the federal money to ensure that children are ready to learn when they start kindergarten and to improve read skills of students from pre-kindergarten through the third grade.
The federal agency announced that New Mexico was among five states receiving $133 million through its Race to the Top competition, which last year awarded $500 million to nine states to improve early childhood education programs.
Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera described the grant for New Mexico as a “huge victory for our students and schools.” The state could start to receive some of the money in February.
Pearce, Lujan push for cleanup
ALBUQUERQUE — Two members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation are pushing for a House vote on legislation that would free up federal funding to clean up abandoned uranium mines.
U.S. Reps. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., and Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., say House approval is needed to get the bill to the president’s desk. Pearce and Lujan spelled out their request in a letter to House leaders on Wednesday.
The legislation was introduced by U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M. The Senate has already voted unanimously in favor of the bill.
Under the Abandoned Mine Land program, the federal government collects revenue from coal companies to fund abandoned mine cleanup. Each state receives a share of the money, but the program currently restricts the ability of states to use the money for cleaning up non-coal mines.
Change of venue in murder trial
ALBUQUERQUE — A change in venue has been granted for next year’s trial of a former Albuquerque police accused of killing his wife.
KOB-TV reports that the defense motioned Wednesday to move Levi Chavez’s trial to Sandoval County and the request was granted.
The trial is scheduled to begin in June.
Tera Chavez was found dead in her Los Lunas home with a gunshot wound to the head in October 2007.
Authorities say Levi Chavez’s police-issued handgun was found at her side and the death was initially ruled a suicide.
In 2011, a grand jury charged Levi Chavez with the murder of his 26-year-old wife.