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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Democratic members of New Mexico's congressional delegation are pushing federal officials to uphold an agreement that limits oil and gas leasing on public land near Chaco Culture National Historical Park. The Bureau of Land Management previously agreed to defer all leases within a 10-mile radius around the park as the agency works to update its resource management plan for northwestern New Mexico. The agency is also working with the Bureau of Indian Affairs on how to best protect archaeological and cultural sites in the region. Sens.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday denied a bid to block rules governing new constitutional provisions in New Mexico on pretrial release. Judge Robert Junell says those seeking to block the rules didn't show they were likely to succeed on their claims. Voters approved a measure in November that lets judges deny bail to defendants considered extremely dangerous and grants pretrial release to those who aren't considered a threat but remain in jail because they can't afford bail.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico attorney general's office has filed a lawsuit accusing major manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioid medication of exacerbating the state's drug addiction crisis. Attorney General Hector Balderas on Thursday announced the filing of the lawsuit in state district court against five of the nation's largest opioid manufacturers and three major wholesale distributors.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is asking for time to appeal a ruling overturning vetoes on bills before they become law. The Albuquerque Journal reports a district court judge had overturned the governor's 10 vetoes last month and ruled that Martinez did not follow the proper constitutional procedures when she vetoed the bills. Martinez says she plans to appeal the ruling before Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver can chapter the bills into law.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A government watchdog agency says the only underground nuclear waste repository in the United States doesn't have enough space for radioactive debris left over from decades of bomb-making and research, much less tons of surplus weapons-grade plutonium. A Senate committee requested the review from the U.S. Government Accountability Office amid concerns about ballooning costs and significant delays related to a 20-year-old pledge the U.S. made with Russia to dispose of extra plutonium from its stockpiles. The agency found that officials with the U.S.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A 39-year-old Ohio man who pleaded guilty to killing a New Mexico police officer last year has been sentenced to life in prison. State District Judge Douglas Driggers on Thursday to sentenced Jesse Denver Hanes for the Aug. 16 shooting death of Hatch policeman Jose Chavez during a traffic stop. Under the terms of a guilty plea agreement, Hanes will serve the mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Hanes also recently pleaded guilty in federal court to federal firearms and carjacking charges.

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — Farmington police and Game and Fish officers say a young bear is back in the wild after it was spotted in backyard of a business. Yoga studio Owner Melissa Silversmith Firestone tells The Daily Times that the bear entered the yard on Monday by climbing over the fence. Officials say they tranquilized the 160-pound (73-kilogram) sub-adult black bear and loaded into the back of a state vehicle so it could be transported to the forest. Police have confirmed that only one bear was in the area on Monday.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The operator of a New Mexico medical transportation company been sentenced to 30 months in prison for defrauding Arizona's Medicaid agency of nearly $2 million through a billing scheme. The U.S. attorney for New Mexico says 33-year-old Farmington resident Cory Werito was sentenced Wednesday and ordered to repay $1.2 million. He had pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud involving his company, CW Transport. Werito and co-defendant Rosita Toledo provided non-emergency medical transportation to Arizona Medicaid recipients.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal authorities say they are closing the offices of an Albuquerque guardianship firm whose owners have been charged with embezzling millions of dollars from their clients' trust accounts. Tuesday's announcement from the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. attorney for New Mexico comes nearly seven weeks after federal official took over operations of the company, Ayudando Guardians, Inc. Company founders Susan Harris and Sharon Moore have pleaded not guilty to federal charges.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's most visited state museum needs more than $2 million in improvements. The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/2eGBEwB) that the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque needs a fire-retardant curtain, smoke detectors, fire-alarm panels, improvements to heating and air conditioning systems, and other repairs. The Department of Cultural Affairs received only $300,000 for the needs of the entire department this fiscal year from the Governmental Gross Receipts Tax. Money from the tax is used for capital emergencies within the DCA.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Students in the most Hispanic state in the U.S. are planning a massive walk out in reaction to the Trump's Administration's decision to end Obama-era immigrant protections. Activists say students in high schools across Albuquerque, New Mexico, are planning to walk out of class Tuesday to protest the administration's announcement it would wind down a program protecting young immigrants from deportation.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque police believe a 42-year-old man was killed after a home invasion on Sunday. Police say Freddie Mirabal, Jr., was shot dead and that witnesses reported seeing a man running from the scene. The incident happened on a home on San Pablo Street NE and Louisiana Boulevard. Police are still investigating.

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — A book club mandated for supervisors of a New Mexico county to teach leadership skills is drawing scrutiny over a Christian book. That's because the first book required for reading among San Miguel County department directors was Tony Dungy's "The One-Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge," the Las Vegas Optic reported (https://goo.gl/FaFgNX) The book by former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy includes a daily devotional with a Bible verse. Dungy also gives reflections about Christianity.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A longtime legislator who his colleagues say used his budget savvy to guide the state through turbulent economic times has died. Luciano "Lucky" Varela died Saturday in Santa Fe after recent health issues, He was 82. Varela, who at one point during his long career in public service served as state controller, represented a state House district in the Santa Fe area from 1987 to 2016. Varela, a Democrat, was chairman of the powerful Legislative Finance Committee and was regarded as a top budget expert, The Albuquerque Journal reported.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico judge is reviewing three binders filled with years-old documents on three former Catholic priests accused of sexually abusing children to decide what records should and shouldn't be released to the public. Judge Alan Malott said Friday there is good cause to open sealed records, but that he will review them "with an eye toward what is appropriate for public disclosure." Malott is reviewing the records in response to a request by KOB-TV, which filed in July as an intervenor in seven clerical abuse cases for the purpose of obtaining court records.

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — Authorities in New Mexico say three people were found dead in a battery tank explosion. The explosion was reported Friday morning near Carlsbad in far southeastern New Mexico. The Eddy County sheriff's office says it took about three hours to contain the blaze before the bodies were found, though they haven't been identified. A tank battery is used to store and process oil wells. It's unclear what caused the explosion.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's voter rolls have decreased by more than 85,000 people since last year's general election after county clerks in all 33 counties conducted a "purge." The Albuquerque Journal reported (http://bit.ly/2eydzrK ) Friday that New Mexico conducts purges in odd-numbered years to remove voters no longer eligible to cast ballots — such as voters who have died and those who have moved. After the latest purge, New Mexico has slightly more than 1.2 million registered voters.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State University is reporting the largest increase in first-time freshmen enrollment in more than 17 years. The university announced Friday that the number of first-time freshmen enrolled for the fall semester is up more than 11 percent from the same time last year. Branch transfers at NMSU are also up more than 17 percent. Chancellor Garry Carruthers says he feels the university is turning a corner and that marketing and recruitment efforts are paying off.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Irving, Texas-based health care system and its hospital in Santa Fe, New Mexico, will pay $12.2 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit over Medicaid payments. Federal officials say the settlement resolves allegations that Christus Health and Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center made illegal payments in 2001-2009 to county governments for the state's share of Medicaid payments to the hospital. A statement released Friday by the U.S.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Officials at Spaceport America are asking state lawmakers double their funding for the spaceflights launch facility in southern New Mexico. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Spaceport America officials are seeking the additional money to prepare for the regular flights Virgin Galactic spaceflight company is looking to start up in the near future. They say they recognize their request comes as the state has made several painful budget cuts and after years of failing to send people to space.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Attorney General's Office has refiled charges stemming from a 2013 rape case that had been dropped by local prosecutors after it was discovered evidence had been destroyed. Court records show 34-year-old Eli Kronenanker of Albuquerque was arrested late Thursday on charges of criminal sexual penetration, kidnapping, aggravated assault and witness intimidation. Defense attorney Molly Schmidt-Nowara said Friday she needs to see what evidence prosecutors plan to present before commenting on the case.

New Mexico village to hold Bigfoot festival

Sep 1, 2017

JEMEZ SPRINGS, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico village is holding a festival in connection with a legend that Bigfoot is roaming around the state's Jemez Mountains. The Los Alamos Monitor reports (https://goo.gl/E26ihV ) the village of Jemez Springs is hosting the Bigfoot BBQ & Blues Fest on Saturday to celebrate rumors the ape-like creature hangs around the forests near one of the nation's premier nuclear labs. Event organizer Felix Nunez says he didn't want to hang his hat on Bigfoot's existence. But he says there are unexplainable and fascinating audio and video clips.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce is seeking a federal court injunction to tap into $1 million in political contributions that he collected while in Congress to use in his run for governor of New Mexico. The motion, filed late Thursday in federal court, seeks to block enforcement of limitations on campaign transfers from Pearce's federal campaign account to a state one. Approval could give Pearce access to campaign cash while underlying issues are litigated.

CLOVIS, N.M. (AP) — The latest on the deadly shooting at a New Mexico public library (all times local): 4 p.m. Trauma surgeons at a Texas hospital who treated patients wounded during a shooting at a public library in New Mexico this week described them as heroes for saving other people the day of the rampage. The doctors at University Medical Center in Lubbock told reporters Thursday that all four patients who were brought in following Monday's shooting in Clovis were recovering. Two have been released.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — University of New Mexico officials say Eddie Nunez has been hired as the school's new athletic director. The 42-year-old Nunez has been at LSU for the past 14 years and was most recently the Tigers' deputy director of athletics. Nunez will become the 13th athletic director in UNM's history. He replaces Paul Krebs, who announced his retirement in June after 11 years with the Lobos. UNM officials say they don't have a start date for Nunez, but a formal news conference for him is expected next week.

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