In Brief - New Mexico News - Oct. 25, 2013

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The Associated Press

Cities want food sales tax

The New Mexico Municipal League wants the state to allow local governments to apply the sales tax to food purchases, but Gov. Susana Martinez is against the idea.
League Executive Director Bill Fulginiti says local governments want the Legislature to act on the issue next year.
He says renewed authority to impose a food tax would give municipalities a way to absorb a phase-out of subsidy dollars from the state.
However, the Albuquerque Journal reports that Martinez spokesman Enrique Knell says the governor is against applying the sales tax to food purchases.

‘Memo not a strike call’

ALBUQUERQUE — A teachers union leader in Albuquerque says a memo she sent fellow educators regarding a possible strike to protest the state’s new evaluation system for teachers wasn’t a call for action.
Albuquerque Teachers Federation President Ellen Bernstein says she wrote the Oct. 14 memo in response to questions from teachers who are talking about going on strike.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that Bernstein’s memo acknowledges that a teachers strike would violate state law and her union’s contract with the Albuquerque school district.
Bernstein’s memo goes on to say that a strike could be held but that it’d take 100 percent participation to be successful.
And she notes that her union has only 50 percent membership among teachers. She said that’s not enough support for a successful strike.

Pneumonia outbreak probed

ALBUQUERQUE — State health officials are investigating a pneumonia outbreak at an Albuquerque elementary school.
KOB-TV reports that five students at Sandia Base Elementary came down with the contagious disease at the end of September.
The students have recovered but officials are trying to determine whether it’s being spread.
Dr. Joan Baumbach is deputy epidemiologist for the state Department of Health. She says investigators are looking for any common links other than the students just being close to one another.
Albuquerque Public Schools nursing director Laura Case says parents of children with symptoms such as coughing, sneezing and high temperatures should have the children’s doctors evaluate them.

Oregon company recalls meats

Oregon-based Reser’s Fine Foods is recalling pre-packaged products that may be contaminated with Listeria.
The items were made at a Topeka, Kan., plant. They vary widely and include such items as cole slaw, pimento spread and potato salad. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the items also include 22,800 pounds of products containing chicken, ham and beef.
The company and federal officials announced Tuesday that the refrigerated ready-to-eat products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The products were distributed across the U.S. and Canada.
There have been no reports of illness.
The company and federal officials listed various “sell by” dates for the recalled products.
Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, an uncommon and potentially fatal disease. Symptoms can include high fever and severe headache.