In Brief - New Mexico - March 28, 2014

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Optic Staff and Wire

Police plan DWI checkpoints
New Mexico State Police will be conducting DWI checkpoints in San Miguel and Mora counties during the next two weeks.
According to Sgt. Leonard Arias of the New Mexico State Police, Dist. 2, several DWI saturation patrols will be conducted.

New position for ex-chief

Tim Gallegos of Las Vegas has been appointed to the Northern Regional Housing Authority.
Gallegos is the executive director of Somos Familia Family Institute, Inc. Gallegos was the chief of police for the Las Vegas Police Department, and has also served as captain of the Special Operations Division. Gallegos’ law enforcement career also included service as the lieutenant for the Office of Emergency Management and as sergeant in the Planning and Training Division in the Crime Prevention Unit.

FOG questions Martinez policy

The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government is asking Gov. Susana Martinez about the administration’s policy for handling information requests from the Legislature’s watchdog committees.
The questions were raised in response to a story by The Associated Press that Martinez agencies have told the Legislative Finance Committee and the Legislative Education Study Committee to send their information requests to the governor’s chief of staff for approval before an agency will respond.
Foundation Executive Director Susan Boe sent a letter Wednesday to the governor asking if her chief of staff now serves as the “chief records custodian” for agency requests under the Inspection of Public Records Act.
The foundation also made a public records request for any correspondence or memorandum sent to agencies about the governor’s new policy.

Train getting security officers

ALBUQUERQUE — The New Mexico Rail Runner Express is getting additional security.
The Rio Metro Regional Transit District says it has contracted with a company for a pilot project to have security officers patrol platforms, parking lots and some trains.
The district says the project is intended to provide an extra level of security for train passengers and crews and also help check passengers’ tickets.
The rail service runs between Belen and Santa Fe.

Council OKs $40M funding

ALBUQUERQUE — New Mexico’s state government is putting more cash on the line to promote economic development.
The State Investment Council on Tuesday approved providing an additional $40 million for venture capital investments in local companies.
The Albuquerque Journal  reports that the money will be invested in startups in health care, energy and other fields in the next three years.
The allocation increases the state Co-Investment Fund to $150 million from $10 million.
The money comes from the state’s severance tax permanent fund.

Anti-overdose drug available

SANTA FE — New Mexico pharmacists are being trained to prescribe a drug that can reverse the effects of a heroin overdose if administered quickly.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the state Board of Pharmacy on Tuesday completed training the first 60 pharmacists on the use of naloxone, which is sold under the brand name Narcan.
The medicine is administered by attaching a nasal-tip inhaler to a small vial, which is used to spray a mist into the nose membrane. The drug flows directly to the brain, blocking opioids and restoring breathing.
Emergency rooms and some responders carry the drug, but Dale Tinker of the New Mexico Pharmacists Association says increased availability is a plus for public health because of the state’s high rate of deaths from drug overdoses.

Programs get financial boost

ALBUQUERQUE — Federal officials say wildlife and conservation programs in New Mexico will be get a boost of nearly $21 million.
The funding was announced this week by the U.S. Department of Interior. It comes from excise taxes generated by the sale of sporting firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing equipment and electric outboard boat motors.
The money will be distributed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through two restoration programs that are aimed at conserving wildlife resources.
Officials say the programs have generated more than $15 billion since their inception and that money has been matched with more than $5 billion from recipient agencies.
Total distributions to the states this year are greater than last year partly because funds that were not released due to the government shutdown are being included.