In Brief - New Mexico - Jan. 24, 2014

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The Associated Press

Remedial help needed in NM
SANTA FE — A new study says approximately half of the New Mexico students attending the state’s colleges and universities aren’t ready academically and that it’s costly for the state.
The student released by the Legislative Finance Committee says 51 percent of the students needed remedial courses last year and that the cost was $22 million.
According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, the study says remediation rates haven’t changed in the past seven years.
Nearly half of the remedial coursework is in math. Most of the rest was in English and reading.

High court set to review abuse case
The New Mexico Supreme Court has agreed to review a recent court decision narrowing who must report suspected cases of abuse and neglect.
State law requires “every person” to contact authorities about suspected abuse and neglect.
However, the state Court of Appeals ruled last November in an Albuquerque case that the law’s wording means the requirement only applies to 10 categories of people, including physicians, teachers and nurses,
The Albuquerque Journal  reports that the Supreme Court granted a request by the state Attorney General’s Office for a review of the Court of Appeals ruling.
Meanwhile, Gov. Susana Martinez has said she wants the Legislature to change the law immediately to clarify the reporting obligation.

Three more die from flu
SANTA FE — State officials have confirmed three more flu deaths.
The New Mexico Department of Health said Thursday a 79-year-old man and a 73-year -old man, both from Bernalillo County, recently died from the illness. In addition, the department says a 45-year-old man from Rio Arriba County also died from influenza.
The names of the victims were not immediately released.
A 76 year-old Santa Fe woman who died earlier this month was the first reported flu death this season.
The New Mexico Department of Health is urging everyone 6 months of age and older to get a flu vaccine.
The vaccine is currently available and protects against H1N1 and other strains of flu.
The Department of Health has 29 providers statewide that report influenza-like illnesses from October through May.

Police: Body left in towed van
MORIARTY— The body of a missing woman has been found inside a van, five days after authorities in New Mexico towed it away.
KOAT-TV reports authorities say Tammie Cessna’s body was found last week in an impound lot after state police executed a search warrant.
Moriarty Police Chief Bobby Garcia says Cessna’s van was found at a Moriarty motel but officers didn’t see the body.
Garcia says he doesn’t feel his officers did anything wrong by taping up the van with the body still inside. Authorities say it’s unclear if Cessna was dead when the van was towed.
He says the van wasn’t opened because officers didn’t have a search warrant.
Authorities say 41-year-old Mark Chavez is facing charges in her death.
It’s unclear if he had an attorney.

Firm pledges money for chair
LAS CRUCES — An Albuquerque firm has pledged $50,000 over the next five years to help establish an endowed chair in honor of a New Mexico State University accounting professor.
The university announced the pledge from Moss Adams on Wednesday.
The firm’s money will go to the Lionel Haight Accounting Professorship to help reach the goal of turning the professorship into a $1 million endowed chair.
Haight once headed NMSU’s accounting department. He died in 1998.
The professorship was established in 2010 with a $250,000 contribution from former student Judy Gray Johnson and her husband. Johnson pledged an additional $100,000 in 2011 to match contributions and a second $100,000 once the first goal was met.
NMSU says the fund raising campaign is more than halfway to its $1 million goal.