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In Brief - New Mexico News - Dec. 23, 2013

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The Associated Press

2 men accused in fraud case

ALBUQUERQUE — A sergeant with the New Mexico Army National Guard and his father-in-law are being accused of fraudulently obtaining recruiting bonuses.
The Albuquerque Journal reports Sgt. 1st Class Travis Nau of Albuquerque is facing one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, three counts of wire fraud and three counts of aggravated identity theft.
His father-in-law, retired Col. Isaac Alvarado of Albuquerque, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four counts of wire fraud and four counts of aggravated identity theft.
The indictment was filed this week in federal court.
According to the indictment, Nau allegedly supplied Alvarado with the names and Social Security numbers of potential recruits, which enabled Alvarado to claim that he recruited the applicants and collect about $12,000 in bonuses.

State gets grant for school meals

New Mexico is among several states that will share $11 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for improving the quality of school meals.
The funding will help schools purchase needed equipment to make preparing and serving healthier meals easier and more efficient.
In addition to New Mexico, 13 states as well as the District of Columbia and Guam were selected to receive grants based on free- and reduced-price participation in the National School Lunch Program.
Federal officials say the states will competitively award the funds to school districts to purchase equipment. Priority will be given to districts serving a high percentage of low-income children.
Along with other food programs, the agency says the aim is to combat child hunger and obesity and improve the health and nutrition for students.

NM jobless rate down slightly

ALBUQUERQUE — New Mexico’s unemployment rate dropped slightly to 6.4 percent last month.
The state Workforce Solutions Department said Friday the unemployment rate in November was down from 6.7 percent a year ago and down from 6.6 percent in October.
The state agency says jobs have grown by 0.2 percent, a gain of 1,700 over the year.
The largest employment gains were reported in the financial activities industry, which added 2,900 jobs since November 2012.
Employment gains in the professional and business services industry rose to 1,600 jobs, its highest over-the-year increase since 2007.
Manufacturing declined by 1,300 jobs and the educational and health services industry lost 1,100 jobs.
In the government sector, there was a net loss of 3,300 jobs since last year.

Eclipse planning to expand

New Mexico and Albuquerque officials say $635,000 of state and city government funding will result in at least 100 new aerospace jobs in New Mexico’s largest city over the next two years.
According to an announcement Friday by state and officials, the money will help pay for facilities that will allow Eclipse Aerospace Inc. to expand. The announcement says the 100 additional jobs would raise the company’s work force to 275.