New Mexico is making a multimillion-dollar effort to encourage residents to participate in the US Census and avoid losing funding.
The Associated Press reports that the “I Count New Mexico” website, icountnm.gov, launched last week. The site features a video of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham pleading with residents to participate in next year's national survey. According to the site, political representation and the distribution of federal funds are determined by the number of census participants, and the state stands to lose about $3,750 in annual federal spending for each uncounted resident. The site also says that Medicaid is the largest Census guided program, and even a 1 percent undercount would cost New Mexico $32 million a year for the next 10 years. The state is offering $2.4 million in grant money to historically undercounted county governments that successfully encourage their residents to participate.
The 2020 US Census will be the first ever to be conducted largely online by the Census Bureau. The agency is reportedly sending invitations to complete the online survey to 80 percent of American households.
Home For Sex-Trafficked Teens Planned
The New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department and Bernalillo County are opening a safe house for teenage survivors of sex trafficking.
According to KOAT, CYFD and Bernalillo County received up to $1 million to build and staff the facility. There are currently a limited number of shelter options for sex-trafficked teens, and many are housed in the same shelters as adults and the mentally ill. The safe house will be better equipped to serve these children.
It will provide trauma-informed care and substance abuse treatment for up to 16 children between the ages of 12 and 16. A rotating staff will enable the facility to provide around-the-clock attention.
Authorities expect to complete the facility by 2020 and hope to open a second safe house in southern New Mexico.
If you suspect a person is being sex trafficked, you can report it at 505-GET-FREE.
Residents Fight Mining Proposal
Residents near the village of Pecos are fighting a proposal to conduct exploratory mining operations on Santa Fe National Forest land.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Australian-based New World Cobalt and its American subsidiary, Comexico LLC, submitted a request to search for copper, zinc and gold on two acres of land near Tererro, N.M.
Last week, more than 100 residents from the area met to discuss their concerns and look for ways to slow or halt the mining company's progress. Lela McFerrin, vice president of the Upper Pecos Watershed Association, said the group is worried about the quality of the water coming out of the watershed.
Mike Haynes, general manager and CEO of New World Cobalt, said their concerns were influenced from “hysteria and misinformation.” He likened the exploratory process to “drilling water holes in someone’s back yard.” He predicted a “one in 200 or one in 300 chance” that the company will find enough mineralization to justify building a mine.