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Trump buries the hatchet with former rival Ted Cruz. Also on the Tuesday rundown: New Mexico voters face a tough choice over diversifying the state's economy; and Florida’s environmental concerns prompt a new institute to inform the public.

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Report: Retirees Prefer Areas with Protected Public Lands

PHOTO: A new report says more Americans are retiring to communities in the West, like Las Cruces, that are home to protected public lands, such as the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
PHOTO: A new report says more Americans are retiring to communities in the West, like Las Cruces, that are home to protected public lands, such as the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
March 16, 2015

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Older Americans are three times more likely to retire in areas of New Mexico and other Western states that have protected public lands such as the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument near Las Cruces. That's the finding of a new report from the Center for Western Priorities.

Carrie Hamblen, executive director with the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, says retirees also are a boon to local economies.

"When they move here, not only are they purchasing real estate, but they are also shopping at our local farmers markets, they're shopping at our local stores, and they're contributing to the tax base," says Hamblen.

The report found that about 40,000 retirees moved into New Mexico in the first decade of this century, which created nearly 22,000 jobs. It also found that more than a half-million people retired to 11 Western states in the same time period, creating about 300,000 jobs.

Hamblen says having more tax revenue and a stronger economy can also help provide improvements that benefit what otherwise is considered one of New Mexico's poorest areas.

"That really gives us an opportunity to improve in areas that need to be improved upon including living conditions, parks that are provided, services that are provided to the community in general," she says.

As an estimated 10,000 Americans retire each day, Hamblen says she expects that the retiree population in Southern New Mexico will continue to grow.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NM