New mexico businesses have closed

Closed businesses for COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, closure sign on retail store window banner background. Government shutdown of restaurants, shopping stores, non essential services.

A new report shows just how many businesses are having to close down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yelp recently released their Q2 Yelp Economic Average report, and found that nationally, while temporary business closures were on the decrease, permanent business closures are continuing to increase.
While Frank’s Famous Chicken & Waffles hasn’t had to close, they’re staying afloat throughout this time by getting creative with the way they do business.
“It’s been a challenge, we’re doing OK with it,” said Frank Willis. “We’ve had to do things outside out the box to bring in extra customers, extra money, specials, we’re doing a drive in theater we do every Friday night.”
While business did pick up for Frank’s during the Black Lives Matter movement as many jumped to support Black-owned businesses, Willis said they’ve lost about 50% of revenue.
“And we don’t know what the changes are going to be, so it’s kind of hard to adapt to something, when you don’t have a clue about what’s going to happen in the future,” he said.
And that uncertainty hit several New Mexico businesses pretty hard. The Yelp report found that from March 1 to July 10, at least 381 Albuquerque businesses closed– 199 of those were permanent closures.
And in Santa Fe, 88 business closures, 45 of those also permanent.
“It’s terrible because I know the struggle of the same business, cause I’m one, and you know for some people unfortunately they’re not going to be able to get it back,” Willis said.
While Frank’s is making it work day by day, Willis said they’re learning how to survive under the circumstances.
“Times are changing in the world,” Willis said. “People need restaurants, but small businesses as a whole, it’s just going to be tough.”
Willis said they’re that making sure all his employees are safe and have proper personal protective equipment has changed how they do business. The Yelp report also found that in the state, there were 687 total business closures, in which at least 355 of those were permanent closures. Full credits KOAT Albuquerque.

New Mexico fines Air Force $1.7 million over groundwater

CLOVIS, NM- The New Mexico Environment Department on Thursday assessed the U.S. Air Force a nearly $1.7 million fine for not complying with rules aimed at protecting groundwater.
The agency claims Cannon Air Force Base has released wastewater despite not having a permit since March 2019.
State officials are concerned because the base near Clovis is among dozens of military installations around the U.S. where contamination from past firefighting activities has been reported. The contamination is linked to chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.
“The Air Force continues to ignore New Mexico’s environmental laws,” said James Kenney, head of the Environment Department. “Rather than address PFAS contamination, the Department of Defense shows no interest in helping afflicted communities and impacted natural resources.”
Officials at Cannon did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment about the state’s compliance order or the civil penalty.
The state in 2018 began regulating for PFAS chemicals. As part of the program, certain entities with groundwater discharge permits began monitoring for and disclosing the presence of the chemicals.
Since the base’s permit expired, the state said on multiple occasions it notified the Air Force that PFAS monitoring was required. To remedy the violations, the state says the Air Force must submit an application for a new permit and pay the penalty within 30 days.
State officials say if the Air Force doesn’t comply, it could face additional penalties of up to $25,000 a day.
The state currently is in a legal battle with the Air Force over PFAS contamination at Cannon and Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo. New Mexico sued last April, saying the military has a responsibility to clean up the toxic chemicals.
Air Force officials have said previously that they have been working with regulators to identify and implement long-term solutions to prevent exposure. Full Credits Associate Press

Minimum wage will increase in New Mexico

NEW MEXICO: The minimum wage will increase for the first time in a decade as several new state laws will take effect on New Year’s Day.
Hourly base pay rises to $9 an hour starting in 2020 and eventually to $12 by 2023 under a law signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
Primavera Bakery manager’s Nancy Orellana, located in Albuquerque said January is a very slow time for restaurants, so more likey businesses will be affected.
“It is very hard to run a small business, and with the new wage increse we will struggle on a very slow economy” Orellana Said.

Healthcare entity will be created in the Navajo Nation

The Navajo Nation is seeking become one of the first Native American tribes to create it’s own managed healthcare entity, the tribe recently announced.
The tribe said it plans to contract with Molina Healthcare to work toward a managed healthcare offering under New Mexico’s Centennial Care Medicaid program.
Navajo Nation Counselor Daniel Tso, chair of the Health, Education and Human Services Committee, said the new entity “will be a one-of-a-kind medicaid program” designed to improve access and quality of healthcare on the largest Native American reservation.
New Mexico state health officials estimated that the proposed entity could generate up to $468 million in annual payments to the Navajo Nation if 50,000 people enrolled. Credits Associated Press

Tribes get $36M for affordable housing projects in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Several Native American tribes in New Mexico will share more than $36 million in federal funding for affordable housing projects.
The U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department announced the funding Wednesday.
In all, tribes across the country will be getting nearly $200 million in grants for new construction.
Officials say the money is expected to result in about 1,200 new housing units for low-income families living on reservations or in other Native American communities.
Housing authorities that serve Zuni Pueblo and the Jicarilla and Mescalero Apache tribes are among the recipients. AP full credits.

New Mexico fugitive will be extradited

SANTA FE, N.M. A fugitive who stabbed a man to death in Santa Fe won’t fight extradition to New Mexico, authorities said.
According to the New Mexican, Ernesto Valdez was arrested in Enfield, Maine by State Police this week, a year after authorities say he removed an ankle monitor and fled New Mexico, violating his probation for second-degree murder.
He and his brother pleaded guilty back in 2010 for killing Orlando Haws near Santa Fe’s railyard district during a fight about a woman. He will be taken back to New Mexico in the coming days.

Thanksgiving will be cold and snowy across New Mexico

This Thanksgiving weekend will be cold, snowy and windy across New Mexico. At least three separate storm systems will blast the state.
The first storm moves in Tuesday with powerful and gusty winds. In Albuquerque, afternoon winds will be around 35 mph, and it will continua though the weekend.
However, winds could gust at more than 60 mph in the northern part of the State. Wednesday afternoon the weather conditions will get worse to some part of the state will get up to two feet of snow, according to National Weather Service.

Christmas tree heading to Washington stops in Santa Fe

SANTA FE: Hundreds turned out Wednesday evening to see a 60-foot-tall blue spruce destined to serve as the nation’s Christmas tree as it made a stop in Santa Fe.
The tree, cut Nov. 6 from the Questa Ranger District in the Carson National Forest, will have an official lighting on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol in early December.
The truck carrying the tree will stop in more than 25 communities along the way including in Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia.