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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Athletics are losing out in the competition for limited dollars as one of the nation's largest school districts prepares for an anticipated 2 percent cut in state funding. Albuquerque Public Schools announced Thursday it's dropping its middle-school athletics program because of anticipated funding cuts linked to New Mexico's state budget crisis. School district spokeswoman Monica Armenta said eliminating after-school intermural volleyball, basketball, and track and field will save up to $750,000 next school year and help avoid classroom cuts.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on New Mexico's state budget crisis (all times local): 4:00 p.m. New Mexico lawmakers have authorized legal challenges to vetoes by Gov. Susana Martinez that could otherwise defund the Legislature and state universities and colleges. Leading lawmakers on Thursday directed attorneys to proceed with lawsuits that challenge vetoes that affect core state functions.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal water managers say snowpack in the mountains that feed the Rio Chama and Rio Grande were above average this winter, meaning water users downstream in New Mexico can expect a full allotment this year. The Bureau of Reclamation outlined its expectations for water supplies and management along the river system that flows through some of the state's most populated areas during a meeting Thursday in Albuquerque. The forecast is based on snowpack, soil moisture and climate predictions, but officials acknowledged it's still a best-guess and that things can change.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The University of New Mexico is dropping its men's and women's ski programs due to rising costs and impending budget cuts. UNM Vice President for Athletics Paul Krebs made the announcement Thursday. The decision will save the school's athletic department about $600,000 per year in operating budget, scholarships and salaries. The cuts will reduce UNM's sports programs from 22 to 20.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The lawyers for a former New Mexico deputy accused of killing his partner in 2014 are asking the court to dismiss their client's case. The defense attorneys for former Santa Fe deputy Tai Chan filed motions Wednesday that claim their client is a victim of outrageous government conduct in what they call a botched investigation by Las Cruces Police Department. The attorneys are also asking District Attorney Mark D'Antonio be dismissed from the case.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A Navajo Nation man has been charged with murder and other crimes in the March 11 killing of a tribal police officer. A federal indictment announced Thursday charges 32-year-old Kirby Cleveland with three types of murder plus escape and firearms counts. The murder and weapons charges stem from the killing of Officer Houston James Largo. He was gunned down after he stopped a vehicle on a dark road while responding to a domestic violence call in rural New Mexico. An escape charge alleges Cleveland escaped Feb. 26 from a halfway house. Officials say U.S.

GRANTS, N.M. (AP) — A company wants New Mexico to set a lower standard for groundwater contamination at the site of a uranium mine it has spent more than a decade cleaning up. The Gallup Independent (http://bit.ly/2o70OE6) reports United Nuclear Corp. is asking state regulators to approve a variance thousands of times above current groundwater standards. The New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission scheduled a public hearing for next month. The company operated the St. Anthony Mine from 1975-1981 and started cleaning up the site in 2004.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The facets of New Mexico's juvenile justice system will go under the microscope as part of a comprehensive review that will be carried out by a special task force. New Mexico Supreme Court Chief Justice Barbara Vigil and officials with the state's child welfare agency plan to launch the task force during a stop in Albuquerque on Thursday. Nationwide, more states are looking for alternatives that both respond to youth crime while improving the outcome for those offenders in the system.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's congressional delegation has revived legislation that would honor veterans who fought against the Japanese for months during World War II and suffered through what would become known as the Bataan Death March. Survivors and their descendants gathered last weekend to mark the 75th anniversary. Tens of thousands of U.S. and Filipino troops were forced on the 65-mile (105-kilometre) march to a prison camp.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A nonprofit that works to boost home ownership in the state has been awarded a multimillion-dollar grant that will benefit residents in several counties in central and northern New Mexico. Homewise, Inc. says the grant will help provide $10,500 in mortgage down payment assistance to 300 low- and moderate-income prospective home buyers through deferred loans. The nonprofit says that in 2015, 13 percent of home purchase loan applicants in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties were denied, compared to less than 10 percent nationally.

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State Police have released more details in the shooting of an Oklahoma man during a traffic stop on Interstate 40 in Gallup. They say 33-year-old Steven Thompson of Oklahoma City remains hospitalized after Friday's incident. Police say he's facing several charges including intent to distribute marijuana. They say the suspect's SUV was searched and about 50 pounds of marijuana was found in the trunk. Police also say 20-year-old Kierra Johnson of Del City, Oklahoma was a passenger in the vehicle and also is facing charges.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court has affirmed that witness testimony is not always necessary in applying new constitutional provisions that can keep criminal suspects jailed without bail until they go to trial. Chief Justice Charles Daniels summarized the court's position Wednesday in response to concerns from prosecutors that detention hearings for extremely dangerous defendants may be derailed or bogged down by trial-like requirements.

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A conservation group and an Arizona congressman have filed what they say is the first federal lawsuit against the proposed border wall. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Tucson by the Center for Biological Diversity and U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, a southern Arizona Democrat. Wildlife conservationists say the wall would be detrimental to rare animals such as jaguars and ocelots that are known to traverse the international line. The lawsuit seeks to require the U.S.

PORTALES, N.M. (AP) — The Eastern New Mexico University Board of Regents has chosen a new president from among five finalists. The regents voted unanimously Wednesday to offer J.S. "Jeff" Elwell of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga the post. Portales radio station KENW reports that he accepted a three-year contact with an annual salary of $230,000. Elwell will take over later this summer once current president Steven G. Gamble retires. Elwell will be in charge of the main campus in Portales as well as campuses in Roswell and Ruidoso.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Santa Fe University of Art and Design will be closing in the spring of 2018. School administrators made the announcement Wednesday, citing ongoing financial challenges and the need to offer their roughly 650 students more clarity about the school's future. Still, administrators say they are considering other options, such as public-private partnerships that can further the mission of the campus. The school is owned by Laureate International Universities. The city of Santa Fe leases the campus to the university for $2.2 million a year.

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — A judge has sentenced a former New Mexico teacher to pay restitution and supervised probation for a felony embezzlement charge. The Roswell Daily Record reports (http://bit.ly/2o6SeVW ) Judge James Hudson gave 44-year-old Michelle Fuentes her sentence on Monday. Prosecutors say Fuentes was accused of taking about $325,000 from her former employer, JJM Farms. Fuentes pleaded no contest to the charge March 8, which means she chose not to defend herself against the charge.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Santa Fe Public Schools is considering closing two elementary schools to prepare for a possible budget shortfall totaling as much as $9 million. Superintendent Veronica Garcia sent home letters to families of students Tuesday announcing the possible closure of Nava and E.J. Martinez elementary schools as early as this fall. Garcia says the decision is based on decreased funding estimated between $4 million and $9 million. She put part of the blame for the district's financial situation on the state's fiscal problems.

CARRIZOZO, N.M. (AP) — A 25-year-old man arrested in the ax killing of a Ruidoso-area ranch worker has been charged with first-degree murder in the near-beheading. Court records say Andrew Poteet Magill's case was transferred Monday from magistrate court to District Court in Carrizozo after he was indicted in the killing of Mary Ann Moorhouse at the ranch where she worked about 10 miles (16 kilometers) east of the city of Ruidoso Downs.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Santa Fe Community College won't be able to accept any new students into its nursing program until its graduates' test results improve or it wins an appeal. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports (http://bit.ly/2op1G89) that the state nursing board has placed the college's nursing program on conditional status for two years due to low scores on licensing exams. The passing rate for the exams is 80 percent. Students at the college averaged between 72 percent and 79 percent in the last three years.

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — New Mexico State University Chancellor Garrey Carruthers says the university is considering merging colleges and cutting programs amid ongoing state budget cuts. The El Paso Times reported (http://bit.ly/2o5Qbkc) Tuesday that Carruthers spoke about potential options for the Las Cruces-based school at a public forum this week. His comments came after New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed the state's entire higher education budget Friday.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — The city of Las Cruces is teaming up with the local public school district to host a town hall to discuss education funding concerns in Dona Ana County. Mayor Ken Miyagishima said Tuesday that schools in the southern New Mexico community are facing a real threat from a potential lack of funding due to actions by state officials. The mayor called it a serious issue. The Democrat-led Legislature and GOP Gov. Susana Martinez are locked in a standoff over the state budget, a lack of revenue and a push by some to raise taxes to fund government programs.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Prosecutors and public defenders are turning to the New Mexico Supreme Court for guidance on how to apply new constitutional provisions that can keep an accused person jailed without bond until trial. Justices are scheduled to hear oral arguments Wednesday aimed at clarifying what evidence must be presented at detention hearings to justify holding a defendant without bail. The court will focus on three criminal cases from the Albuquerque-based Second Judicial District, where District Attorney Raul Torrez has requested dozens of no-bond detentions with limited success.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Espanola man has pleaded guilty to a bank robbery charge. Prosecutors say 24-year-old Troy Montoya entered his plea Tuesday in federal court in Albuquerque. Montoya and two co-defendants were arrested last year on a criminal complaint stemming from the Oct. 6 robbery of the People's Bank in Red River. At sentencing, prosecutors say Montoya faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. His sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Leading New Mexico lawmakers will gather this week to weigh the consequences of the governor's veto of funding for the legislative branch of government in the coming fiscal year. The 16-member Legislative Council that oversees Statehouse business in between legislative sessions scheduled a meeting for Thursday to consider how it might respond to major line-item budget vetoes by Gov. Susana Martinez. The Republican governor vetoed the staff budget for the state's unsalaried Legislature, along with funding to all state universities and colleges.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is moving ahead with plans to keep setting high expectations for students and public schools as it works to meet federal mandates aimed at resetting the outdated and widely criticized No Child Left Behind education law. The state on Tuesday made public its plan for implementing the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act, a law signed by former President Barack Obama that addresses school ratings, student report cards and other ways to spot and help troubled schools.

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