Water officials say meetings crucial

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer The Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Authority has long held public education and federal authorization as its two biggest keys for the Ute Water Project. If the next few months go to plan, they’ll take care of both. The plan is to have two hearings related to the pipeline […]

Defense bill includes payday loan limitations

By CNJ Staff WASHINGTON — With a long list of caveats, President Bush signed a bill Tuesday authorizing $532.8 billion in defense spending, including a 2.2 percent pay raise for members of the military. The measure, for the 2007 fiscal year that began Oct. 1, authorizes $70 billion in supplemental funding to support the war […]

Construction costs pump up Ute Water Project prices

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ Staff Writer Like a summer traveler cringing at $3 a gallon for unleaded gasoline, the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Authority is feeling pain with the pump. Fueled by higher energy and construction costs as a fallout from Hurricane Katrina and numerous other factors, the Ute Water Project’s price tag has […]

New water rates to provide for long-term

By Kathy Wright: guest columnist As a lifelong resident of the Clovis area, I have been proud to see our community grow and prosper. I shared the joy of many to hear that Cannon Air Force Base has a new mission, and what a mission it is! Cannon is the economic engine of our community […]

Fuel duel: Fire marshal ends gas war on Prince

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Gas prices dropped to 49.9 cents a gallon Wednesday at the Allsup’s at the corner of Prince Street and Llano Estacado. (Staff photo: Andy DeLislie) By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer When a fevered gas war between rival convenience stores snarled traffic at one of the city’s busiest intersections Wednesday afternoon, Clovis Fire Marshal Allan […]

Drug lobby, White House resist TRICARE rebates

By Tom Philpott: Military Update As the Justice Department prepares to battle drug manufacturers in court to win what U.S. lawyers say are long overdue price rebates for the TRICARE retail pharmacy network, the White House quietly is pressuring Congress not to pass legislation that would support the cause. Bush administration politicos, in effect, have […]

Lawmakers should listen to soldiers

Tom Philpott: military columnist The Bush administration continues to sound an alarm over rising military personnel costs from steady gains in pay and benefits voted by the Congress, including more new initiatives in the 2007 defense budget bill. But Congress shows no sign of heeding the alarm, not while U.S. forces “stay the course” in […]

Shift in funding could relieve pressure

By Tom Philpott: Military Update The Joint Chiefs support a sharp rise in TRICARE fees for under-65 retirees and their families, they say, because retiree health costs are soaking up dollars needed to buy new weapons and sustain force readiness. The problem they describe is real but their solution is flawed, says Dov S. Zakheim, […]

4/2 Letters to the editor

State Democratic Party looking forward The New Mexico Democratic Party is an optimistic and inclusive organization that takes its inspiration from hundreds of thousands of state Democrats, but several beliefs stand out. We believe the 55,000 new jobs created since Democrats took over the state government are a step forward. We believe Gov. Richardson’s continuing […]

Government meddling causes high drug costs

Freedom Newspapers Our southern border isn’t the only one where drugs come into this country illegally. Thousands of Americans buy prescription medications on the Internet and have them shipped from Canada. They spend less money and most likely get medicine identical to what’s available at the corner pharmacy. Everyone’s a winner. Not exactly. Reimporting medicine […]

Removing tax credit will drive up prices

By Keith Gardner: Guest columnist In recognition of higher home heating and fuel costs nationwide, the New Mexico Legislature recently approved a small tax relief package intended to help — at least a little bit — with offsetting those higher energy costs. As your representative, I was proud to support the effort. But the fight […]

Some medical benefits moving online

Tom Philpott: Military Update Every month, about 400,000 users of the military’s retail pharmacy network — those who have other health insurance — have to file paper claims with TRICARE to be reimbursed for co-payments and other costs incurred that their primary insurance won’t cover. The paper hassle is about to end, said Navy Cmdr. […]

Spaceport at Cannon makes sense

Joseph Carraro: Guest Columnist If this proposed spaceport for private and commercial rocket launches is actually going to be able to fly, why not save some money and bring it to an area that already has infrastructure? It’s going to cost taxpayers $225 million to get it going. Plans call for its location north of […]

Officials planning health-care changes

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Senior defense officials characterized the military health benefit as “extremely rich” during a Wednesday meeting with service association representatives over plans to raise retirees’ TRICARE fees. Officials requested the meeting, say attendees, to explain to The Military Coalition, an umbrella group of three dozen military and veterans groups, why the […]

Miliarty Digest: Health insurance bump on way

By Tom Philpott Alarmed that soaring health care costs are crimping budget dollars for higher-priority defense programs, the Joint Chiefs intend to endorse the Defense Department’s plan to raise TRICARE fees sharply over the next three years for retirees under 65 and their families, say senior military officers. One officer described a likely scenario, early […]

Companies have right to regulate workers’ habits

Freedom Newspapers What you do on your own time increasingly looks like it could be your employer’s business. Smokers are the focus right now as businesses look at ways to contain health-care costs, with some companies increasing the insurance premiums of smokers or even firing them. In Ohio, Marysville-based Scotts Miracle-Gro has told employees who […]

Officials ready to raise enrollment fees

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Defense Department officials have drafted plans to raise TRICARE enrollment fees and deductibles sharply over the next three years for military retirees under age 65 and their families, about 3 million beneficiaries. If the changes touted by senior Defense officials are adopted, annual enrollment fees for TRICARE Prime, the military’s […]

High tariffs send construction costs even higher

Freedom Newspapers Just as the Gulf Coast struggles to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina, the Bush administration has tossed another obstacle in the way that makes the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s bungled disaster relief seem like a minor wrinkle. It’s no secret that construction costs are on the rise, and part of the reason is enormous […]

Military health spending to be slowed

Tom Philpott: Military Update Congress will worsen a near crisis of runaway military health care costs if it enacts a Senate-backed provision to open the new TRICARE Reserve Select program to all drilling Reserve and National Guard members, the Defense Department’s top health official has warned. In testimony before a House subcommittee, Dr. William Winkenwerder […]

Heating costs forcing some seniors to look at alternatives

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Richard Jamieson holds up his homemade storm window Saturday at his home north of Clovis. The storm window, which is piece of insulation with tape, is used to keep out the cold and lower heating costs. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth) By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer A wood stove and closed doors. These are the […]