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Last updated 5:50AM ET
August 19, 2018
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First News: a new report shows improving financial news for New Mexico. (listen)
(KSFR) - The Legislative Finance Committee is out with a new report showing that New Mexico's financial picture is getting somewhat better. Revenues are higher than expected by about four percent. The Public Employees Retirement fund has performed better than comparable funds in other states and the State Investment Council reports strong investment earnings. But mixed in with the good news is the fact that the Educational Retirement Board's investment earnings are down.

Downstate, Lincoln County's 36,000 acre Little Bear Fire has thus far burned 224 residential structures and 10 outbuildings. Nearly 1200 firefighters have achieved 35% containment. Governor Martinez has formally declared a State of Emergency to make emergency financial resources available. The lightning-caused blaze started back on June 4th.

FBI agents have served a federal search warrant at a popular horse racing track in southern New Mexico, the Ruidoso Downs Race Track & Casino. The subject of the warrant is Tremor Enterprises, a horse breeding operation allegedly a cover for drug money laundering by people connected to Mexico's Zeta drug trafficking organization. The company has a horse ranch in Oklahoma that conducted business in four states. The FBI has made seven arrests in the affair with defendants facing 20 years in federal prison upon conviction. The Zeta drug cartel is one of Mexico's most powerful and brutal and the US embassy in Mexico has warned Americans of the threat of retaliatory action.

In Santa Fe County, commissioners have approved a ban on some types of aerial fireworks for at least the next 30 days in unincorporated areas, and they extended for another month the restrictions on open fires. Today, Santa Fe City Council will visit its own version of a fireworks ban.

Meanwhile, citing the current wildfires burning in our state and noting extreme drought conditions, Gov. Susana Martinez is urging other city and county governments to hold their own emergency hearings no later than Friday to vote on local fireworks bans ahead of the July 4th holiday.

Santa Fe's school board has narrowed down to six the list of candidates for the job of superintendent of schools. They plan to have individual interviews beginning next week. The candidates come from Philadelphia, Minnesota, Florida, Texas and Nevada. The position offers a salary of between $160,000 and $180,000 a year. Outgoing superintendent Bobbie Guitierrez made $115,000.

Santa Fe City Council will talk about reducing fluoride in the city's water supply this evening. Water sources for Santa Fe naturally contains some fluoride but the city has added to it for more than 50 years to reach federally recommended levels between 0.8 and 1.2 parts per million. The substance is credited with improving dental health. Recently, however, the US Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a new, lower level of 0.7 parts per million. A recent report from the city said local water sources naturally contain between 0.2 and 0.4 parts per million.

Weather for Santa Fe - mostly sunny and dry today through Friday with highs in the mid-to-upper 80s. Our next chance for precipitation arrives Friday evening into Saturday.
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