Here’s a look some headlines:
The New Mexico Department of Health reports the number of flu-related illnesses and deaths continue to increase across New Mexico. The NMDOH reports 28 flu-related deaths and 100 pneumonia related deaths in adults so far in the 2017-2018 flu season in addition to flu-related hospitalizations, especially in those aged 65 and older, continue to steadily increase. Since October, the department has investigated 27-flu outbreaks in long-term care facilities, a number that is already more than the number of outbreaks investigated the entire 2016-2017 flu season. It is encouraged that New Mexicans to continue to take simple precautions, such as washing your hands regularly and staying home when sick, to avoid the spread of the flu and if you haven’t already, get your flu shot. The influenza vaccine provides protection from several strains of flu, including Influenza B – a strain of flu that is now being more frequently reported across the United States.
In New Mexico legislative news, last night, Senate Bill 11, that allows patients and doctors to appeal “step therapy” practices to opt for other treatment plans that may be more effective, passed the house floor. The bill that was sponsored by four New Mexico Representatives, was created to improve “step therapy”, the practice used by insurance companies to cut costs by requiring patients to try more affordable treatment options before more expensive ones. SB 11 would allow doctors to skip treatments that have already proven ineffective or harmful and prescribe more effective treatments first. This bill is part of a multi-year effort to work on insurance reform, but has never made it to the Governor’s desk. Senate Bill 11 will now head to the Governor’s desk.
House Bill 117 that allows the New Mexico State Library and the state Historic Preservation Division to fundraise for the support of their programs and services passed the Senate Floor unanimously. House Bill 117 was sponsored by Deborah Armstrong, of Albuquerque and would authorize the two organizations to seek non-state funds. The bill would give the Historic Preservation Division and the New Mexico State Library division the same ability to raise funds to enhance their programs that museum directors around the state currently have. HB 117 has passed both the Senate and the House and now heads to the Governor’s desk for her approval.
Western New Mexico University celebrated its 125th Anniversary last Friday with special presentations and programs. University President, Joseph Shepard, kicked off the festivities by reading the proclamation from 1893 that the territory of New Mexico gave to name two communities, Las Vegas and Silver City to be recipients of a normal school. Other festivities included a gathering at Old James Stadium where a group photo was taken, and the dedication of the MEChA Building as the WNMU Cultural Center to be named after Dr. Felipe Ortego.
In Deming, city officials will host a Town Hall Meeting tonight to discuss the $3 million general obligation bond that has been proposed for street improvements. If passed on the March 6th municipal election, the requested mill levy equals to $41.60 a year on a home valued at $83 thousand, with the cost decreasing annually. Deming City officials have posted a calculator on their web page for residents to estimate their annual cost at, cityofdeming.org. The Town Hall meeting is scheduled for tonight at 5:00 P.M. in the Andres V. Silva Conference Center, located at 119 East Pine Street in Deming. The public is urged to attend.