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Associated Press

DENVER (AP) — The draining of a massive aquifer that underlies portions of eight states in the central U.S. is drying up streams, causing fish to disappear and threatening the livelihood of farmers who rely on it for their crops. Water levels in the Ogallala aquifer have been dropping for decades as irrigators pump water faster than rainfall can recharge it. An analysis of federal data found the Ogallala aquifer shrank twice as fast over the past six years compared with the previous 60, The Denver Post reports.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Voters in New Mexico's largest city are preparing to choose its next mayor after the Republican incumbent opted not to seek re-election. Voters will decide Tuesday between Democrat Tim Keller and Republican Dan Lewis in a race that largely has focused on rising crime in Albuquerque and the city's struggling economy. The election comes a week after Democrats won governorships and legislative seats in Virginia and New Jersey and took mayor seats in places like Helena, Montana.

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — An oil and gas pioneer who loved work and was known for his philanthropy has died at his home in northwestern New Mexico. The Daily Times of Farmington reports that Tom Dugan died Tuesday. He was 91. His family says a memorial service is scheduled for Nov. 18 at San Juan College. Dugan's granddaughter, Megan Rains, said her grandfather was committed to his company and loved going to work every day. She said he was loyal to the employees at Dugan Production Corp. and they were loyal to him.

CLOVIS, N.M. (AP) — The Curry County jail has earned accreditation from a special council of the New Mexico Association of Counties. Detention Administrator Mark Gallegos tells The Eastern New Mexico News he has been working toward the accreditation since taking over in 2016. To earn the accreditation, staff updated policies and procedures to meet the 208 mandatory standards developed by the council. They cover areas such as security and mental health. The detention center passed the inspection of six auditors and will need to do so again in three years to maintain the accreditation.

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — A northwestern New Mexico man is facing a dozen charges after authorities say he sprayed a Farmington police officer with gasoline. The Daily News of Farmington, New Mexico, reports Raymond Mayes was arrested Sunday following a report of a man trying to burn an SUV. According to a criminal complaint, the 43-year-old Mayes doused an officer with gas when police ordered Mayes to put a gas can on the ground. The complaint says Mayes held onto the gas can as two officers took him to the ground, and ended up with gasoline on themselves.

ARTESIA, N.M. (AP) — Artesia city councilors have voted to move forward with disinfection of the community's drinking water system. The vote comes in the wake of a series of boil-water orders that were issued due to E. coli contamination. The first order in July was followed by another alert two months later. In October, a sample again tested positive. The Artesia Daily Press reports the sudden rash of positive samples has baffled the city's infrastructure department, particularly since the samples were isolated and located in different areas.

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) — Federal land managers are drafting a plan that will guide the management of resources and potential energy development in an area of southern New Mexico where environmentalists have sought protections for decades. The Alamogordo Daily News reports the Bureau of Land Management is expected to have a draft plan for the Otero Mesa area ready for public comment next spring.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say three Santa Fe High School students have been arrested for a letter that described plans for a school shooting. The Albuquerque Journal reports that the students told Santa Fe police that the letter as a joke. Santa Fe Public Schools spokesman Jeff Gephart says students found the letter Tuesday and notified school officials.

TAOS, N.M. (AP) — For the first time, the Sabinoso Wilderness in northeastern New Mexico is accessible to the general public for hunting, fishing and other recreational activities. The 16,000-acre area contains some of the most pristine habitat in the country for elk, mule deer and other wildlife. It was previously wholly surrounded by non-federal land, making it inaccessible to the public. However, a donation of about 3,600 acres formerly known as the Rimrock Rose Ranch that are adjacent to Sabinoso Wilderness was accepted by Interior Department and Bureau of Land Management.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico lawmakers are drafting legislation that would restrict public access to video recordings from police lapel cameras of people with mental illnesses. Rep. Gail Chasey of Albuquerque said Thursday that the public availability of video recordings taken by police can discourage people from calling emergency services or interfere with the work of mental health crisis teams as frightened patients hold back information.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Officials in New Mexico's largest city are excited about a new program announced by social media giant Facebook to help small businesses grow. Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry said Thursday he's hopeful the initiative will allow residents to gain more technical skills that will help them thrive in a digital world. He's also hopeful the Community Boost program will lead to better job opportunities. Officials say Albuquerque will be one of the first cities to participate in the program next year.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Environmentalists say methane emissions from oil and natural gas production in New Mexico are higher than what state and federal regulators have measured. The Environmental Defense Fund released a report Thursday that aims to quantify the amount of methane intentionally released through venting or flaring processes as well as gas lost through unintentional leaks.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Environmental groups are appealing a federal judge's dismissal of their lawsuit aimed at shutting down a coal-fired power plant and adjacent mine near the Arizona-New Mexico border. The coalition said Thursday attorneys filed with the 9th Circuit appeals court, continuing their challenge of the 2015 approval of a lease extension for the Navajo Mine and the Four Corners Power Plant. A judge tossed the case in September, citing tribal sovereignty. The judge argued the mine is owned by a corporation created by the Navajo Nation, making it immune to legal challenges.

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — Another Las Vegas elected official is facing a recall petition. The Las Vegas Optics reports a recall effort has begun in an attempt to oust Las Vegas City Councilor Barbara Perea-Casey. Resident Lorenzo Flores says interference with city workers, speaking publicly about topics discussed in executive sessions and rising city debt are the main reasons for the recall. It's the fourth recall attempt within the past five years involving Las Vegas elected officials. A 2013 recall effort against then-mayor Alfonso Ortiz Jr.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A Telemundo affiliate in Albuquerque has announced it will include the boundaries of American Indian tribes and pueblos on its weather maps. KASA-TV General Manager Marina LaVoie said last week the decision to include the Native American nations in weather maps was an easy one and encourage other stations to follow. The station says the maps of American Indian tribes and pueblos will be shown when forecasters zoom in to discuss the weather in a particular location.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A top official with Virgin Galactic says the company is planning to move more of its operations to New Mexico next year as it prepares for commercial flights from Spaceport America. The company's vice president for business development and government affairs, Richard DalBello, provided an update to a panel of New Mexico lawmakers during a meeting Wednesday. DalBello said another unpowered test flight of its space tourism spacecraft is planned soon over the Southern California desert.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The former top-ranked lawmaker in the New Mexico House of Representatives says he was confronted in his state Capitol office in 2014 by a senator for interfering with the sale of a state-owned building. Court testimony on Wednesday by former House Speaker Ken Martinez provided a glimpse of backroom dealings in the Legislature as then-Sen. Phil Griego helped usher the sale of a state-owned building through approvals. Griego is accused of using his position as a lawmaker to profit from the sale of the building in downtown Santa Fe.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has proclaimed Nov. 9th as a day to honor two Houston Astros from New Mexico who helped the Astros win its first World Series. Martinez said Wednesday that Astros third baseman Alex Bregman and pitcher Ken Giles made significant contributions to the Houston Astros' 2017 World Series Championship-winning season and deserved to be recognized. Bregman attended Albuquerque Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He later played baseball at LSU before the Astros drafted him in 2015.

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico group that erected a monument on city-owned property honoring the Ten Commandments will move it to church property. The city of Bloomfield and the organization must move the monument after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case involving whether it could be displayed on public property, the Daily Times of Farmington reported . The monument was placed on the lawn of City Hall in 2011 and was challenged a year later by the American Civil Liberties Union. Lower courts concluded it violated the U.S.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The head of Sandia National Laboratories says the research facility has recently made changes aimed at bolstering recruitment and diversifying the workforce. Lab director Stephen Younger told members of a state legislative committee on Wednesday that Sandia has dropped its grade point average requirement for non-intern positions. Younger says the change adopted in August is part of an effort to look at the whole person, rather than just transcripts or what kind of degree a person might have.

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Air Force is teaming up with El Paso Electric to build a new solar farm that will serve Holloman Air Force Base in southern New Mexico. Officials announced the start of construction Wednesday, saying the 5-megawatt plant will be the utility's first renewable energy project built to serve a military installation. The new facility will be made up of almost 56,000 thin-film modules and will generate enough electricity to power more than 1,700 homes annually. M+W Energy, Inc. will build the plant.

CLOVIS, N.M. (AP) — State Rep. Dennis Roch says he will step down from the New Mexico Legislature after 10 years. The Eastern New Mexico News reports the Logan Republican announced Tuesday he will not run for re-election when his term expires on Dec. 31. He said his chief reason for leaving state politics is the imminent birth of his fourth child. Roch says he's also facing difficulty in balancing his political career with his duties as superintendent of Logan Municipal Schools.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Members of state's congressional delegation say more than $32 million in rural development loans will help increase access to affordable electricity in parts of eastern and northern New Mexico. The loans are being offered through the U.S. Agriculture Department. The Jemez Mountains Electric Coop will receive $18.3 million to build 58 new miles of power line and improve another 28 miles of line. The coop will also make other improvements and invest in smart grid projects. The Roosevelt County Electric Cooperative Inc.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Las Cruces has hired Patrick Gallagher as its new police chief. City Manager Stuart Ed announced the hiring Tuesday. Gallagher has been the police chief in Santa Fe. He will succeed Las Cruces police chief Jaime Montoya, who is retiring at the end of this year. Gallagher has nearly 30 years of law enforcement experience. He previously was police chief in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico and also worked with the New York City Police Department as deputy inspector and captain/internal affairs bureau division commander.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A judge is limiting testimony about a 2014 meeting between New Mexico's attorney general and a former state senator being prosecuted on corruption charges to the defendant's own words if he chooses to testify. District Court Judge Brett Loveless on Tuesday ruled against allowing testimony from an attorney who previously represented ex-Sen. Phil Griego about his knowledge of the conversation in June 2014 between Griego and Hector Balderas.

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