When it comes to trying new, exciting cuisine, few foods hit the spot like a deliciously fresh Mediterranean meal. However, we know that it can be very difficult to find authentic Mediterranean grocery wholesalers in Albuquerque, NM. Having lived in metro Atlanta for years, we realized that our customers needed an easy way to find quality wholesale Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food in bulk. That is why we created Nazareth Grocery Mediterranean Market - to give everyone a chance to enjoy tasty, healthy food, desserts, and authentic Mediterranean gifts at wholesale prices.
Founded in 2009, Nazareth Grocery has become one of Albuquerque's leading international wholesale grocery stores. We are very proud to serve our customers and do everything in our power to give them the largest selection of high-quality wholesale goods available.
If you're looking for the freshest, most delicious Middle Eastern wholesale products and ingredients, you will find them here at the best prices in the state. We encourage you to swing by our store in Marietta to see our selection for yourself. We think that you will be impressed!
There is so much more to Mediterranean food than pizza and pasta. The perfect climate combined with delicious foods and amazing wine makes the Mediterranean incredibly irresistible. That's why our customers absolutely love to buy this kind of cuisine in bulk. Every country in this region has its own set of specialties and delicacies, each with its own flavors and styles of preparation.
Mediterranean countries include:
Fresh, healthy, aromatic, rich: it's no wonder that the popularity of Middle Eastern cuisine and products has skyrocketed in the United States. This genre of cuisine features a large variety of foods, from Halvah to Labneh. If there were one common theme throughout all Middle Eastern food, it would be the bright, vibrant herbs and spices that are used. These flavorings help create rich, complex flavors that foodies fawn over. Typically, Middle Eastern food is piled high for all to eat, with enough food for an entire republic to put down.
This refreshing, healthy dish is chock-full of greens, herbs, tomatoes, and bulgur (or cracked wheat), creating a memorable, bold flavor. This dish may be eaten on its own or paired with a shawarma sandwich or helping of falafel. It's best to buy your ingredients in bulk to make this dish because it tastes best freshly made with family around to enjoy. Just be sure to bring a toothpick to the tabbouleh party - you're almost certain to have some leafy greens stuck in your teeth after eating.
We mentioned shawarma above, and for good reason - this dish is enjoyed by men and women around the world, and of course, right here in the U.S. Except for falafel, this might be the most popular Middle Eastern food item in history. Shawarma is kind of like a Greek gyro, with slow-roasted meat stuffed in laffa with veggies and sauce. The blend of spices and the smoky meat mix together to create a tangy, meaty flavor that you will want to keep eating for hours. For western-style shawarma, try using beef or chicken. For a more traditional meal, try using lamb from our Middle Eastern grocery distributor in Albuquerque, NM.
Traditionally used as a dip meant for fresh pita, hummus is a combo of chickpeas, garlic, and tahini, blended together until silky, smooth, and creamy. You can find hummus in just about any appetizer section of a Middle Eastern restaurant menu. That's because it's considered a staple of Middle Eastern food that can be enjoyed by itself, as a spread, or with fresh-baked pita bread. Hummus is also very healthy, making it a no-brainer purchase from our grocery store.
If there's one diet that is most well-known for its health benefits, it has got to be the Mediterranean diet. In 2019, U.S. News & World Report listed the Mediterranean diet as No. 1 on its best over diet list. This incredible diet has been cited to help with weight loss, brain health, heart health, diabetes prevention, and cancer prevention.
Whether you already love Mediterranean food or you're looking to make some positive changes in your life, this "diet" is for you. Eating cuisine like Greek food, Persian food, Turkish food, and Italian food is healthy and tastes great. Even better than that? At Nazareth Wholesale Grocery, we have many staples of the Mediterranean diet for sale in bulk so that you can stock up on your favorites at the best prices around.
So, what exactly is the Mediterranean diet?
It is a way of eating that incorporates traditional Greek, Italian, and other Mediterranean cultures' foods. These foods are often plant-based and make up the foundation of the diet, along with olive oil. Fish, seafood, dairy, and poultry are also included in moderation. Red meat and sweets are only eaten in moderation, not in abundance. Mediterranean food includes many forms of nuts, fruits, vegetables, fish, seeds, and more. Of course, you can find at them all at our wholesale Mediterranean grocery store!
Here are just a few of the many benefits of eating a healthy Mediterranean diet:
Many studies have been conducted on this diet, many of which report that Mediterranean food is excellent for your heart. Some of the most promising evidence comes from a randomized clinical trial published in 2013. For about five years, researchers followed 7,000 men and women around the country of Spain. These people had type 2 diabetes or were at a high risk for cardiovascular disease. Participants in the study who ate an unrestricted Mediterranean diet with nuts and extra-virgin olive oil were shown to have a 30% lower risk of heart events.
In addition to the heart-healthy benefits of a Mediterranean diet, studies have shown that eating healthy Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods can reduce the chances of stroke in women. The study was conducted in the U.K., which included women between the ages of 40 and 77. Women who stuck to the Mediterranean diet showed a lower risk of having a stroke - especially women who were at high risk of having one.
First and foremost, purchase your Mediterranean and Middle Eastern wholesale foods from Nazareth Grocery - we're always updating our inventory! Getting started on this healthy, delicious diet is easy.
Instead of unhealthy sweets like candy and ice cream, try eating fresh fruit instead. It's refreshing, tasty, and often packed with great vitamins and nutrients.
Try eating fish twice a week, in lieu of red meat. Fish is much healthier and doesn't have the unfortunate side effects of red meat, like inflammation.
Try planning out your meals using beans, whole grains, and veggies. Don't start with meats and sweets.
They're tasty, but try to avoid processed foods completely.
Instead of using butter to flavor your food, use extra virgin olive oil instead. Olive oil contains healthy fats and tastes great too.
Try to get more exercise and get out of the house. The Mediterranean lifestyle is an active one, best enjoyed in the beautiful sunshine when possible.
Buying wholesale and retail are quite different. When you buy products from a wholesaler, you're essentially buying from the middleman between a retail establishment and the manufacturer. Wholesale purchases are almost always made in bulk. Because of that, buyers pay a discounted price. That's great for normal buyers and great for business owners, who can sell those products to profit. This higher price is called the retail price, and it is what traditional customers pay when they enter a retail store.Free Estimate
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Over the last two decades, more than 5 million acres of land have been burned by wildfires in and around New Mexico. The fires range from small blazes to thousand-acre infernos. So how does this year’s wildfire season compare?A history of firesNew Mexico is no stranger to wildfires. With frequent droughts, hig...
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Over the last two decades, more than 5 million acres of land have been burned by wildfires in and around New Mexico. The fires range from small blazes to thousand-acre infernos. So how does this year’s wildfire season compare?
New Mexico is no stranger to wildfires. With frequent droughts, high winds, and a variety of vegetation acting as fuel, the state has had more than 1,000 wildfires larger than 100 acres since the year 2000, according to records kept by the National Interagency Fire Center and the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG).
KRQE News 13 tallied those records to discover that more than 5 million acres of New Mexico land have been charred over the past 20 years. About half of the fires were caused by lightning or another non-human source. About 37% of the fires were human-caused, the data shows. And the cause is unknown for about 10% of the large wildfires since 2000.
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Interactive: New Mexico’s large fires tend to occur in the state’s forested areas. But nearly every region has been touched by wildfire. Data from: National Interagency Fire Center and the National Wildfire Coordinating Group ‘s Southwest Coordination Center. Note* location data may have errors.
To explore New Mexico’s history of wildfires, KRQE News 13 analyzed data and historical accounts. Topping the list is the state’s largest recorded wildfire: the Whitewater-Baldy Fire.
If you were in New Mexico a decade ago, you might remember this one. The U.S. Forest Service recognizes the Whitewater-Baldy Fire Complex as the largest burn in New Mexico’s history.
The initial spark was caused by lightning on May 9, 2012, according to the Forest Service’s chronology. It struck a remote portion of the Gila Wilderness Area in southwestern New Mexico. Seven days later, lightning started another fire nearby. Together, they would become the Whitewater-Baldy Fire Complex.
The rugged, steep, boulder-filled terrain made fighting the fires incredibly difficult, the Forest Service account reveals. Six days after the second blaze started, the fires had combined and grew from around 2,000 acres to over 70,000 acres in a single day.
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Ultimately, the fire burned around 300,000 acres. That’s more than double the area of Albuquerque. And it took about two months to contain and end the fire.
While this one only burned about half the acres that the Whitewater-Baldy Complex Fire torched, the Las Conchas fire was still massive. It started quickly and burned nearly an acre a second, according to the National Park Service (NPS).
It began Jun 26, 2011, when a tree fell onto a powerline. The fire ignited southwest of Los Alamos, New Mexico and took advantage of particularly dry vegetation. In only 13 hours, it burned more than 44,000 acres, according to the NPS.
It burned for a little less than two months, according to SWCC data. In that time, it burned a total of 156,593 acres in the Jemez Mountains.
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Photo of the Las Conchas Fire. Source: USGS.
While the fire was large, a 2016 research study estimated that it could have been worse. But hanks to a previous fire, the Cerro Grande Fire in 2000, some would-be fuels had already been cleaned out, the study revealed.
The fire destroyed at least 63 homes and scorched some historical sites. 1,104 cultural sites, created around 850 years ago by the Ancestral Pueblo Peoples, were located within the burn area, according to NPS.
There are many ways to compare one year of wildfires to another. For example, you could look at the total number of large fires per year.
Over the last 20 years, 2011 had the most 100+ acre fires in a year, according to data from the National Interagency Fire Center and the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG). That year, New Mexico saw more than 150 large fires.
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In the past two decades, 2011 stands out as having the highest count of large fires. Data from: National Interagency Fire Center and the National Wildfire Coordinating Group ‘s Southwest Coordination Center.
But, not every large fire is equally severe or dangerous. Here are some particularly damaging fires.
While only around 44,000 acres, this lightning-caused fire was one of New Mexico’s most damaging. The blaze began on June 4, 2012. In four days, firefighters were able to establish a perimeter, according to a United States Department of Agriculture report.
But that same day, high winds took embers to nearby homes. The fire quickly burned 242 houses near Ruidoso, New Mexico, and damaged additional buildings, the report notes. The total economic cost exceeded $11 million, according to a National Aeronautics and Space Administration archive.
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Satellite imagery from June 12, 2012 showing the Little Bear Fire Complex. In the false -color image, red is the burn scar, vegetation is green, and land is tan. Imagery from NOAA; image created by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using EO-1 ALI data provided courtesy of the NASA EO-1 team.
The human-caused Trigo Fire from 2008 made it on to a list of America’s most devastating wildfires, according to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (PBS). It damaged 59 homes, the PBS list notes.
The resulting damage led to a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designation. This means the U.S. president declared the region a disaster area. As a result, FEMA granted $2.1 million in public assistance funds.
This one might have been one of the state’s most expensive fires. In 2000, the Cerro Grande Fire only burned around 43,000 acres, but it destroyed 260 residences and damaged Los Alamos National Laboratories, according to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
About 18,000 people had to be evacuated, the report says. Fire suppression alone cost $33.5 million — repairs to the national lab cost over $300 million. All direct and indirect expenses totaled, that fire cost nearly a billion dollars, the report shows.
As for 2022, there have already been several wildfires. As cliché as it sounds, only time will tell how the year stacks up to previous years. But as Wendy Mason, the spokesperson for the New Mexico Forestry Division told KRQE News 13, this year’s drought conditions are bad news for firefighters.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – If you’ve been in New Mexico during wildfire season, you know the all-too-familiar smell of smoke in the air and the sound of fire trucks racing to the scene of another New Mexico wildfire. You probably remember fires in the Jemez mountains, blazes near Ruidoso, or flames in the Albuquerque foothills in years past. But have y...
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – If you’ve been in New Mexico during wildfire season, you know the all-too-familiar smell of smoke in the air and the sound of fire trucks racing to the scene of another New Mexico wildfire. You probably remember fires in the Jemez mountains, blazes near Ruidoso, or flames in the Albuquerque foothills in years past. But have you ever wondered what communities are at the greatest risk for fire damage?
Wildfire researchers sure have. In fact, it’s a question the U.S. Forest Service has been researching for years now.
In 2018, the U.S. Congress asked the Forest Service to create a map of the U.S. showing which communities were the most at-risk for wildfires. The latest numbers come from 2020. They combine data from several sources, such as population data from the U.S. Census Bureau, with computer simulations of wildfires. Here’s what the latest maps reveal about the potential for destructive fires in New Mexico.
Across New Mexico, on average, homes are at a greater risk of wildfire damage than in 78% of other states, the data shows. That means that for homes in populated parts of New Mexico, there is not only a relatively high likelihood of wildfires reaching homes, but that those fires are also likely to be relatively intense.
Greg Dillon, the director of the Fire Modeling Institute at the Missoula Fire Sciences Lab used the data to create risk maps. “Essentially, it’s showing us a map of where are our fire-prone landscapes in the United States and where are the ecosystems that can burn,” he says.
New Mexico’s homes are, on average, at greater risk than homes in Colorado. But at a lower risk than homes in Arizona, the data shows. Within New Mexico, of course, some communities are at greater risk than others.
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Western states tend to have relatively higher areas of wildfire risk to homes. Image: U.S. Forest Service.
“We tend to think of forests when we think of wildfires, but it’s not just forests,” Dillon says. “It’s also shrublands in California. That might be chaparral shrublands in the Southwest. In the Great Basin, it might be different kinds of sagebrush. Even certain desert scrub landscapes are seeing more fire because we have invasive grasses in some of those Southwestern ecosystems.”
New Mexico has several wildfire-prone ecosystems. Of course, forest timber can burn, especially if dry (think firewood). But grass is also a potential fuel. And some parts of the state have chaparral shrublands, which are often made of rocky terrain dotted with shrubs. Those too are potential fuel sources. In 2017, the Tiffany fire scorched over 9,000 acres of chaparral shrubland near Socorro, according to records from the Southwest Coordination Center.
Among all the ecosystems in New Mexico, the major forests generally create greater wildfire risks than the desert basins. After all, forests can be packed with fuel high and low, including both living and dead vegetation.
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This means the Gila National Forest in southwest New Mexico, the Lincoln National Forest in the southern portion of the state, and the Santa Fe National Forest in northern New Mexico are particularly likely to experience wildfire, the U.S. Forest Service data shows. The probability that a wildfire will burn through an area generally increases near the centers of those forests. But the edges of forested areas are still at high-risk.
Those edges of forests might make for beautiful views for homeowners. But unfortunately, areas, where developments expand into forested areas, are at an elevated risk for wildfire, the data shows.
For example, many homes in Ruidoso, New Mexico, are at higher risk because of their location. When you overlay a map of wildfire risk — including the likelihood of fire, potential intensity of fire, and potential exposure to fire — with the recent McBride fire, it’s clear that the damage could have been much worse, given the risks.
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Much of the Ruidoso community is at relatively high risk for wildfire impacts. Here, yellow indicates areas impacted by the 2022 McBride fire and red indicates areas of housing units at risk. Data: U.S. Forest Service and Southwest Area Incident Management Team; satellite imagery from Google Earth.
Ruidoso ranks relatively high in terms of wildfire risk to homes compared to other New Mexico communities. In fact, U.S. Forest Service data ranks Ruidoso’s populated areas as having a greater risk than 95% of all New Mexico communities. And at-risk homes in Ruidoso tend to be directly exposed to wildfire due to surrounding vegetation, the data shows.
At an even greater risk are communities such as Aragon, New Mexico. This sparsely populated area on the north end of the Gila Mountains has a greater wildfire risk than 98% of all New Mexico communities. In fact, the largest wildfire in New Mexico history occurred about 40 miles south of Aragon, back in 2012.
A relatively small amount of the state’s population lives in the highest-risk areas. But even urban areas like Albuquerque are potentially exposed to wildfires.
Albuquerque’s North Bosque is particularly at risk for impacts from wildfire, the data shows. The South Valley and far Northeast Heights are also high-risk areas.
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Around Albuquerque, wildfire risk to housing units is greatest in the North Bosque, Northeast Foothills, and South Valley. Pink indicates elevated risk. Data: U.S. Forest Service. Underlying imagery created by MRCOG and Bohannan Huston, Inc. via UNMRGIS.
The bosque, of course, is no stranger to fire. In fact, 2022 has already brought several fires to the bosque in and around Albuquerque. KRQE News 13 previously reported details of an April 18 fire near homes along Riverview Drive. And on April 20, there Simona Fire in Jarales sparked in the Valencia County bosque.
The U.S. Forest Service didn’t just collect wildfire risk data for the fun of it. The data is intended to help communities better prepare and mitigate wildfire risks, Dillon says.
And there are specific things homeowners in at-risk areas can do. Here are some tips from Dillon and the U.S. Forest Service (more info can be found here).
*Editor’s Note: Full citation to the wildfire risk data as follows:
Scott, Joe H.; Brough, April M.; Gilbertson-Day, Julie W.; Dillon, Gregory K.; Moran,Christopher. Wildfire Risk to Communities: Spatial datasets of wildfire risk for populatedareas in the United States. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive.https://doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2020-0060
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A handful of homeowners in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho have been left with giant holes in their yards. They were supposed to be swimming pools. The Attorney General is investigating after they say their contractor left them hanging.Rebeca Elizondo explains, “Building a pool is not cheap and so it’s expensive they’re taking us for thousands and thousands of dollars and we are getting ripped...
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A handful of homeowners in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho have been left with giant holes in their yards. They were supposed to be swimming pools. The Attorney General is investigating after they say their contractor left them hanging.
Rebeca Elizondo explains, “Building a pool is not cheap and so it’s expensive they’re taking us for thousands and thousands of dollars and we are getting ripped off.”
Five families say they’re getting ripped off by the same contractors. Elizondo continues, “They are hitting everybody in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, they’re moving to the Tucumcari-Santa Rosa area and they’re just scamming people.”
They all say they paid Carrillo Roofing and D&J constructions to install pools but say they never finished the job.
Celina Phelps shares, “I have a dangerous hole because I have two children, I have pets and I have a deep hole with a lot of rebar sticking out of it.” She signed a contract with D&J Constructions last May and put half the money down — $25,000. Almost a year later and all she’s left with is a hole and trashed backyard. “I’m kind of uncovering some of the issues. There seems to be a lot of conflict on who’s running the jobs,” she said.
Phelps is an essential worker and used her COVID bonus money to do something nice for her family. “I don’t necessarily have the extra money to spend on another 10, 20, 30 thousand dollars on top of what I budgeted for it.”
Another alleged victim – Scott Melvin – is a disabled veteran who put down $30,000 for a pool he wanted to use for therapy. He says, “We’re going into almost a year and a half and I have nothing to show for it other than frustration and I’m out quite a bit of money.”
Police have investigated Demian Montes of D&J Constructions in the past for his dealings with customers. “You would think it’d just be as simple as hey let me get a refund of my money but it doesn’t work like that,” Melvin said.
Those families have all filed complaints with the Attorney General’s office as well as the state’s Construction Industries Division. KRQE NEWS 13 tried calling the companies for comment — but did not get an answer.
*Editor’s note: A correction was made to clarify that an independent commission will oversee representation for abused and neglected youth.NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – From new funds for charter schools to raises for Native American language teachers, several new bills passed during the 2022 legislative session are going on the books. Here are some new laws of interest.Expanding substance abuse harm reductionTho...
*Editor’s note: A correction was made to clarify that an independent commission will oversee representation for abused and neglected youth.
NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – From new funds for charter schools to raises for Native American language teachers, several new bills passed during the 2022 legislative session are going on the books. Here are some new laws of interest.
Though not a new law on the books, the state will update its harm reduction laws. These are laws intended to help prevent overdose deaths and infections among people with substance abuse issues. The existing law in part allows the Department of Health to provide sterile equipment for drug users so that they are less likely to overdose or contract disease.
The new law comes as statistics show New Mexico has a relatively high overdose rate. In 2019, there were nearly 600 overdose deaths in New Mexico — that was nearly 40% higher than the nationwide average, according to statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Legislative Finance Committee.
Previously, the Harm Reduction Act was primarily focused on syringe and needle exchanges. The new changes expand the act to focus on the larger goal of reducing deaths and illness. The changes add new “safe injection supplies” to the list of things the state can provide people going through substance abuse. This includes supplies to consume drugs in a safer and cleaner manner as well as supplies to test drugs for adulterants — potentially deadly substances mixed in.
Under a new law, charter schools will have greater access to public, funds for capital improvements. In particular, the changes are designed to help charter schools get funding for building improvements.
Under the new law, school districts are required to offer unused land to charter schools for lease. In addition, the new law creates a revolving fund to help schools finance buildings via loans from the state.
In the 2022 legislative session, public school teachers got a pay boost. And they aren’t the only educators seeing a raise. A new law going into effect will also raise pay for certified Native American language instructors.
There are around 100 Native American language certified teachers working in the state, according to the Public Education Department. An additional 180 or so Native American language teachers are certified but not working, according to the department.
Pay for the certified language and culture instructors formerly depended on the district they taught in. In the Gallup McKinley School District, for example, certified instructors generally make somewhere between$34,600 per year and $40,700 per year, according to statistics compiled by the Legislative Finance Committee. Under the new law, they will now make a minimum of $50,000 per year — the same as entry-level licensed teachers in New Mexico.
A new law going into effect May 15 will create the Office of Family Representation and Advocacy. The office will be in charge of helping families involved in abuse and neglect cases find legal representation.
The office will be overseen by a newly created independent 13-member Family Representation and Advocacy Commission. There will be five regional offices across the state to serve families.
The state is preparing to launch a program to help uninsured New Mexicans receive health insurance. The “Easy Enrollment Program” will help the state identify uninsured people in taxpaying households and, if they consent, provide them with information on healthcare eligibility.
The streamlined identification and enrollment process is aimed at helping the state’s uninsured in Medicaid or other insurance. As of 2019, there were roughly 187,000 uninsured people in New Mexico, according to a study from the Urban Institute. After accounting for people who might be eligible for insurance, around 100,000 New Mexicans could benefit from the program, according to an analysis by the Legislative Finance Committee.
Starting May 15, the state will allow out-of-state veterinarians to practice in New Mexico under a temporary permit. The permit would be good for six months and the veterinarians would have to practice at a zoo or aquarium.
The state’s Board of Veterinary Medicine notes that there are relatively few zoo and aquarium vets in the state, according to a Legislative Finance Committee analysis of the bill. But, it’s not clear how many out-of-state vets might apply to practice in New Mexico.
Under a new law going into effect, the state’s Environmental Department is tasked with leading the cleanup of old uranium mines. The new law also aims to establish uranium mine cleanup and reclamation as an industry to develop job opportunities and grow the economy.
It’s worth noting that many of the states old mines are already being cleaned up. Some are under federal cleanup programs, according to the Legislative Finance Committee.
The program will use existing state funds as well as federal funding to operate. Additionally, the law allows the office to receive gifts and donations to do its work.
The state’s Small Business Recovery Loan program is being extended. Thanks to legislation passed earlier this year, the window for applying for small business loans is extended for seven additional months. The deadline for applications now ends December 31, 2022.
More than $95 million in loans have already been approved, according to numbers from the New Mexico Finance Authority. The state launched the loan program in August 2020. It uses money the state collected from taxes on the oil and gas industry to help New Mexico businesses and nonprofits that struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state’s Horseracing Act, which regulates the sport of horse racing, was set to end in July 2022. But lawmakers extended the repeal of the act. So, horse racing continues at the state’s five racetracks and the State Fairgrounds.
The state’s racing commission is also extended. The organization will continue overseeing races and equine drug testing.
Summer road trips in the car can bring members of a family together, or rip them apart.For the New Mexico State Athletics Department and its traveling road show, this week introducing supporters from Gallup to Santa Fe to Albuquerque to the trifecta of new marquee Aggies sports coaches — Jerry Kill in football, Greg Heiar in men’s basketball and Jodi Adams-Birch in women’s basketball — the rookies seemed to catch on pretty quick.“I’ve been on this trip now with Jodi and coach Kill now, and we...
Summer road trips in the car can bring members of a family together, or rip them apart.
For the New Mexico State Athletics Department and its traveling road show, this week introducing supporters from Gallup to Santa Fe to Albuquerque to the trifecta of new marquee Aggies sports coaches — Jerry Kill in football, Greg Heiar in men’s basketball and Jodi Adams-Birch in women’s basketball — the rookies seemed to catch on pretty quick.
“I’ve been on this trip now with Jodi and coach Kill now, and we’ve had an unbelievable time together,” said Heiar. He has been on the job a grand total of 37 days as the man tasked with replacing Chris Jans, who coached the New Mexico State men in March to an NCAA Tournament victory.
“When Mario (athletic dDirector Mario Moccia) gave me this opportunity, I honestly did not know what I was getting into. But these last 48 hours together with these coaches is why I’m here, and why we’re together. I mean, we’ve had the time of our lives the last few days, and I’m big on family.”
The united front of the three new coaches, and maybe more specifically capitalizing on the energy Aggies fans seem to be feeling this spring with that united front, is what Moccia is hoping can put another spark into what has already been a strong year of fundraising for the department. That is happening even in a year when the Aggies might not be able to balance its budget as it has done in 11 of the past 12 years.
“I think it’s been a reinvigoration,” said Thursday’s emcee and 42-year NMSU Aggies radio play-by-play broadcaster Jack Nixon.
“It could have been looked at it like, ‘Oh my gosh. These people are gone. What are we going to do? All hope is lost.’ But people are excited.”
Thursday’s event held at Nativo Lodge, with a couple hundred supporters on hand, was more than just a meet and greet, but also a pep rally of sorts with Moccia serving as the numbers guy.
He let all know about the positive academic achievements and financial milestones the program has achieved, including the highly successful “stock sale” fundraiser that generated $250,000 for football since Kill was hired to succeed Doug Martin.
The team-specific fundraising account the day Kill was hired was $0, Moccia noted.
He also noted there’s still a long way to go for all NMSU sports and facilities before the school joins Conference USA for the 2023-24 academic year.
There’s no reason, the Aggie front men and women preached this week and at Thursday night’s event, that even NMSU can’t compete in every sport. But it takes letting everyone know what Aggies really are — loyal, hardworking and determined.
“I’ve been told twice in my life I had no chance to live,” Kill, a two-time cancer survivor who also suffered from epilepsy, said.
“And let me tell you something, when you have that told to you, there’s some (expletive) that goes on in your mind. … All I can tell you is this. I will give you everything I got. I may die on a football field, and if I do, that’s where I want to go right there. I love this game. I love people. I’ll do anything for you. And I won’t apologize for that.”
And while Cowboy Kill stole the show with his bring on the world pep talk, folksy charm and highly Aggie-relatable quips — “Hell, I was drinking beer and bailin’ hay when I was 14 years-old,” he said at one point — Adams-Birch showed this wasn’t her first rodeo working a room of supporters, either.
The 27-year coaching veteran with 185 Division I wins to her credit and the crash course education she got from one of the game’s icons in Pat Summitt while she was the starting point guard on the 1991 NCAA Women’s National Champion Tennessee Lady Vols, did well in making everyone feel like part of the family.
She opened her remarks inviting Dr. Smoky Glass Torgerson up to thank her for a phone call they had when she was first hired. Torgerson just so happens to be a huge supporter of Aggies Athletics and earlier this month was awarded an honorary doctorate at NMSU after years of work as a board member on the NMSU Foundation.
She then went on to explain the importance of everyone in the room — from the biggest supporters to the smallest — getting involved.
“Winning is in the roots here,” she said.
“It’s not like we’re coming and starting from the ground up. It’s here. So, I know together, we’re better. So let’s stay together. Let’s stick together. And let’s just continue to empower each other and give each other all of that we can.”