Pay boosted for ENMU

By William P. Thompson: Freedom Newspapers Eastern New Mexico University employees and faculty will earn at least 5.5 percent more for the 2006-2007 school year. The Board of Regents approved adding at least 1 percent to a state-funded 4.5 percent pay raise for ENMU faculty and made the 5.5 percent total raise effective for all […]

French protesters have wrong idea

By Steve Chapman: Syndicated columnist French students and unions have been protesting for weeks now over a law making it easier for companies to get rid of employees. Under the measure recently signed by President Jacques Chirac, they may fire workers younger than 26 during their first two years on the job — for no […]

Republicans seek investigation into ’temporary’ hires

Staff and wire reports SANTA FE — Republican lawmakers have asked the state attorney general’s office to investigate the Richardson administration’s practice of hiring temporary exempt employees. A March 18 letter from Sen. Kent Cravens, R-Albuquerque, signed by two dozen other GOP lawmakers, said Gov. Bill Richardson’s practices have resulted in “numerous unauthorized hirings.” Lawmakers […]

Conference spending wastes taxpayer money

Freedom Newspapers It’s not always easy to get a federal employee on the phone. Now we know a bit more about where they are when we call. Federal spending on out-of-town conferences has increased by nearly 70 percent over the past five years, according to Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, one Republican who is taking on […]

Officials say bank transition smooth

By Tony Parra: Freedom Newspapers Access Bank is now officially the First Community Bank and banking officials said customers will notice the transition, but they’re confidentcustomers will only experience minor inconveniences. Linda Wedeen, senior vice president of First Community Bank, said the Access Banks in Portales and Clovis officially became First Community Banks in January. […]

Goal met thanks to community giving

By Errin Burch: Guest columnist I’d like to thank the citizens of eastern New Mexico. Looking back at 2005, United Way of Eastern New Mexico reaching its goal this year was a great tribute to the resilience and generosity of people of our area. To all who contributed — thank you. In the face of […]

Officials hoping to book first events for civic center in April

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Javier Madrid Jr. works on the airduct system Thursday at the Clovis Civic Center. Officials said the center is near completion and has already booked events for May. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth) By Tonya Garner: CNJ staff writer The Clovis Civic Center is welcoming the arrival of its air-conditioner units as well as three new […]

New pay system focused on merit better for all

Freedom Newspapers Americans are almost unanimous in carping about big, wasteful, unresponsive government. Yet almost every effort to improve the way federal agencies function comes to naught, due in part to resistance from government employee labor unions. The unions were out in force again last week, protesting proposed changes in personnel and pay systems at […]

12/13 Business Digest

First State Bank to change name Access Bank of Clovis, acquired by First State Bancorporation in the summer, will soon change its name to First Community Bank, officials said. A company official said customers should not expect any major changes in service, but “a few” employees in the accounting department may lose their jobs. “We […]

Call center opens in Clovis

Freedom Newspapers The SEI call center in the works since May opened Monday with eight technicians and two supervisors, according to company officials. Located in the former ClientLogic Building on Seventh Street, the technology-based Customer Care Service, or computer help desk, supports inbound customer requests related to technical issues with computer hardware and software. Susan […]

County praised for fire response

By Tonya Garner: CNJ staff writer The monstrous grass fire last week at the Melrose Bombing Range that consumed 35,000 acres was the hot topic at Tuesday’s Curry County Commission meeting. Road Superintendent Danny Davis recounted to the commissioners details of his department’s involvement in fighting the blaze. Davis said he assisted in fighting the […]

Privatizing pension agency would benefit taxpayers

Freedom Newspapers The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. took another step down the slippery slope last week, according to an Associated Press story. The federal agency announced it has assumed the pension assets and claims of Falcon Products Inc., a manufacturer of commercial furniture. The two plans taken over by the agency cover about 2,300 current […]

Eastern New Mexico organizations absent from state reference guide

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer Eastern New Mexico charities are absent from a non-profit charity list created as a reference guide for state employee donations. The list includes more than 100 charities, however, almost half of all the charities listed are based in Albuquerque or central New Mexico. United Way of Eastern New Mexico […]

Medical center implements smoking ban on property

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer Plains Regional Medical Center will no longer permit tobacco use on its property to promote public health, according to a hospital official. The smoking ban begins today. The hospital, part of the Presbyterian Health Care Services system, has disbanded its designated outdoor smoking areas, hospital officials said. “We wanted […]

Firearms matter of personal responsibility

Freedom Newspapers It seems hardly a week goes by that one group or another tries to pit one of our rights against another. It’s usually the result of someone claiming an absolute right or misreading the Constitution. The latest example is one we’ve seen before. It wasn’t long ago that legislators in Oklahoma passed a […]

Flu season approaching

By Tonya Garner: CNJ staff writer The month of October brings pleasant changes in the form of shorter days and cooler weather. The beginning of fall, however, is also the onset of flu season. Chris Minnick of the New Mexico Department of Health said flu shot shortages were not expected to be a worry this […]

Southwest Cheese starting production

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Construction on the $200 million cheese plant started in early 2004. (File photo) Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer Southwest Cheese received their first delivery of milk Tuesday, although by the end of the year it will only be operating at 30 percent of capacity, according Southwest Cheese Company Chief Executive Director Maurice Keane. The plant […]

Southwest Cheese to get grant for new employees

Southwest Cheese will receive $294,665 from a state job-training initiative to train 73 new employees, said a state economic development department press release. The cheese company was previously awarded $718,456 for 79 employees by the Job Training Incentive Program in March 2005. The company has hired 88 employees to date, state officials said. Scheduled to […]

‘Mind trick’ not taught in journalism class

By Ned Cantwell: State Columnist We once were a frivolous bunch, the five guys who get together for our annual stag trip. As frisky pups we would pass the evening discussing life’s important topics: golf, gambling, Melanie Griffith. Years pass, men mature, interests change: gambling, golf, Sandra Bullock. The seasoned, wiser gentlemen who gathered for […]

Some public offices plan skeleton crew

By David Irvin: CNJ staff writer Essential public services will be available during the Base Realignment and Closure regional hearing on Friday, but many public offices will operate on skeleton crews and others will be shut so employees can participate in the rally and events. “We have so many people who are just essential people, […]