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101218 Local news briefs

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BLM to begin prescribed burns

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management plans to conduct three prescribed burns northwest of Ruidoso and about five miles southeast of Capitan in Lincoln County starting this month.

The burn operations will occur in three prescribed fire units within the Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area. They are the Benches Unit, 254 acres located above the Rio Bonito River to the north; the West Mesa Unit, 223 acres about five miles southwest of the junction of State Road 220 and U.S. 380; and South Mesa Unit, 300 acres located west of Sierra Blanca Regional Airport.

Smoke from the burns may be visible from Capitan, Lincoln, Ruidoso and other surrounding communities. Signs will be posted along roadways to inform motorists of possible smoke hazards impacting visibility. In these areas, motorists are reminded to reduce speed and watch for fire personnel and equipment. The BLM continues to encourage public land users to be careful with fire usage.

For more information, please call Nathan Curnutt, 575-627-0311.

Program provides health education to inmates 

The New Mexico Peer Education Project has been selected by the Addiction Policy Forum as an innovative program seeking to address substance addiction.

The New Mexico Peer Education Project of the University of New Mexico, which operates in nine of 12 state prisons, including the Roswell Correctional Center near Hagerman, trains incarcerated individuals to educate their peers about substance use disorders, harm reduction, infectious diseases and basic health literacy. Providing health education to inmates before they are released is intended to reduce the harms of substance use and other unhealthy behaviors in the community. The program also provides peer educators with skills that can be used in their careers.

Xcel explains billing factors

Xcel Energy has begun emailing about 400,000 customers in eight states to inform them about factors affecting electricity usage and monthly costs.

The emails contain short video explanations of monthly billing to explain how factors such as weather, price changes, energy-use changes and even a shorter or longer billing cycle can lead to increased or lower usage and costs.

The customers receiving these emails have experienced a billing change of at least $15 over or under the previous month’s billing and they have opted to receive email communications from the company.

If a bill is lower than the previous month, the videos estimate how much of that savings was related to actions the homeowner might have taken to use energy more efficiently.

In Texas and New Mexico, customers can go to xcelenergyefficiency.com to get more details or energy saving tips.