It’s a tough time of year for lots of folks, but, thankfully, Santa had many big-hearted helpers this December who reached out to Northern New Mexico families and kids. Among those who filled this important role were drivers and administrators from the North Central Regional Transit District. In collaboration with the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department, the drivers and staff provided brightly wrapped gifts — distributed at CYFD’s annual holiday party — for foster children in Rio Arriba and Los Alamos counties. The North Central Regional Transit District provides free bus service connecting communities and pueblos in Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Santa Fe and Taos counties. For route and schedule information, visit ridetheblue bus.com or call 866-206-0754.
Eugene Knight, a health inspector in the state Environment Department, has been named Environmentalist of the Year by the New Mexico Health Association. The award recognizes Knight’s “outstanding service to the environmental health inspection field.” Environmental Health Bureau Chief Frank Fiore describes Knight as an “extremely dedicated and effective inspector who … always puts top priority on protecting the health and well-being of New Mexico citizens, as well as the businesses and communities they depend on.” Among the extreme events requiring emergency environmental inspections during the past few years were flooding, wildfires and the 2010 “big freeze.”
The State Bar of New Mexico recently named four state-employed attorneys Top Prosecutors for 2012. Assistant Attorney General Shannon Murdock, Phyllis H. Bowman with the state Regulation and Licensing Department, Assistant District Attorney Shaharazad McDowell and Assistant District Attorney Orlando Torres were singled out for their “excellence in service and performance.”
Murdock earned the Homer Campbell Award for prosecutorial excellence in child abuse cases, which she is known to approach with “compassion and perseverance.” Bowman was presented with the State Bar’s White Collar Crime Award. McDowell received the Domestic Violence Award for encouraging victims to stand up for themselves, and for standing up for them when they cannot. And Torres, known as a “great mentor and prosecutor,” was honored with the Violent Crimes Award.
Earlier this winter, Santa Fe native Sunalei Stewart stepped into the role of deputy state land commissioner.
Stewart comes to the position from the office of Sen. Jeff Bingaman, where he served as legislative director and chief counsel for nine years. With a law degree and a master’s in international affairs from American University, he previously worked for the U.S. Department of State. Stewart replaces Bob Jenks, who retired after serving 27 years in New Mexico state government. State Land Commissioner Ray Powell called Jenks an “honest, ethical and hardworking public servant.”
If you have news about a public employee, contact Gussie Fauntleroy at gussie7@fair point.net.