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Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A Raton company has filed a lawsuit accusing the New Mexico Racing Commission of working to "sabotage" its plans for a $50 million racino in favor of a rival casino operator.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque says commissioners let the license for La Mesa Racetrack and Casino expire after the project faced a number of delays. The lawsuit also accused former commissioner Marty Cope of intentionally blocking the racino project because she was a friend of a rival.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A Las Cruces woman is in custody for allegedly driving while impaired and running over someone following an argument.

Dona Ana County Sheriff's officials say 33-year-old Rachel Miranda is being held on suspicion of aggravated DWI.

They say their investigation is ongoing and additional charges are possible.

Sheriff's deputies responded to the scene in the early morning hours of Jan. 1 after receiving a call that a woman had been hit by a car.

Authorities say Miranda allegedly got into a physical altercation with a 39-year-old woman.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Dona Ana County authorities say a man is dead, another hospitalized and two others in jail following a home invasion in the Las Cruces area.

The Sheriff's Department says four men forced their way into a home early Wednesday because of what's called an "unresolved issue" from an earlier altercation New Year's Eve in Las Cruces.

Investigators say the man at the house fought back when the four men entered the home and that a person in the home called 911.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Santa Fe-area woman and her three young children were found in good condition after they got lost in the Santa Fe National Forest.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, Denise Lee and her children ended up several miles off course after they got turned around during their outing Wednesday afternoon on the Bear Wallow Trail.

State Police and Atalaya Search and Rescue responded to a call for help, and searchers found the family about two hours later Wednesday evening.

Lee is a daughter of Santa Fe Public Schools board president Linda Trujillo.

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A busy highway was closed for several hours yesterday as Rio Rancho police investigated a suspicious death.

Highway 528 between Barbara Loop and Hilltop Plaza was closed after authorities received a report of a man lying in the road around 7:30 in the morning. The victim was taken to a local hospital, where he died.

Officer Janet Garcia says the man sustained some type of trauma to his body, but investigators are trying to figure out exactly what happened.

The man's name has not been released.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Bernalillo County Treasurer Manny Ortiz is facing a recall petition.

Ortiz's office has been the subject of a state audit, and the county commission recently voted no confidence in Ortiz.

The petition filed last week in state court accuses Ortiz of mismanaging county investments and other malfeasance warranting his removal from office.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the petition was delivered to Ortiz on Friday. It seeks court approval to circulate a petition that could force the treasurer into a recall election.

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — The Navajo Nation Council has approved a measure that would let disputes over a northwestern New Mexico coal mine that's being bought on behalf of the tribe be settled in state courts rather than tribal courts.

The council voted 17-5 in favor of the measure during a special session Friday in Window Rock, Ariz.

The Farmington Daily Times reports that a number of tribal delegates, attorneys and risk management experts met for about an hour in executive session before the vote.

PLACITAS, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State Police say one suspect is dead and two others are in custody following a crime spree that stretched from Albuquerque to the village of Placitas.

Lt. Emmanuel Gutierrez says it began late Friday when Albuquerque police began pursuing shoplifting suspects in a stolen vehicle.

The chase headed north on Interstate 25, with Albuquerque police tracking the vehicle by helicopter. A state police officer then began following the speeding vehicle.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The former head of the state Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management's Intelligence and Security Bureau is accusing his bosses of retaliation.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Richard Clark filed his lawsuit earlier this month in state district court. It names cabinet Secretary Gregory Myers and Assistant Secretary Anita Tallarico Statman.

Clark is suing under laws protecting whistleblowers and members of the armed services.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — City engineers will seek an exception under historic preservation rules to demolish and replace a deteriorating bridge in Santa Fe's downtown district.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the engineers believe the Defouri Street Bridge is becoming unsafe and that the city can't do any more work to extend its life.

Officials say it would be a hardship for drivers for the city to let the bridge remain in its current condition.

The bridge that sits over the Santa Fe River was originally built in the late 1930s and then reconstructed in 1959.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Several university leaders in New Mexico are supporting Gov. Susana Martinez's plan to funnel $7.5 million into a state fund to recruit new college professors, scientists and researchers.

The Associated Press reports that Martinez's plan would allow the state's universities to compete for competitive grants, instead of being divvied up by colleges based on a set formula, as has been the practice in the past.

Funding decisions would likely be made by a committee of state officials, though details are still being worked out.

AMARILLO, Texas (AP) — Cold-weather clues have helped police in the Texas Panhandle track a burglary suspect through footprints in the snow.

Amarillo police say Collin Thomas Ferguson was being held Monday on four burglary counts and a charge of possession of a controlled substance. Online Potter County jail records don't list an attorney for the Bloomfield, N.M., man, whose bond was set at $6,000.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Police departments and sheriffs' offices across New Mexico are battling shortages of officers and deputies amid retirements and low pay.

From Albuquerque police to small rural agencies like the Torrance County Sheriff's office, departments are reporting staffing shortfalls and say it may get worse next year.

Officials say the shortages hurt agencies' ability to fight crime and often require officers to work many shifts.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Albuquerque man is facing child abuse charges after police say he stabbed his 12-year-old stepson during an argument.

Avelino Chavez was booked a charge of child abuse with great bodily harm stemming from the stabbing Friday night.

A criminal complaint says the 45-year-old Chavez stabbed the boy after the boy said he wanted to stay home and watch a movie instead of going to Chavez's parents' house.

According to police, the boy suffered a punctured lung and a lacerated liver.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal energy experts say New Mexico's petroleum and natural gas production make the state the third largest net energy supplier to the nation and there's substantial potential when it comes to solar, wind and geothermal energy.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration updated the state's energy profile this week.

The agency says New Mexico is second only to Wyoming in the number of producing mineral leases on federal lands.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez has proposed spending $9.5 million on two high-tech research and development initiatives.

The governor says the aim is to attract top faculty members to New Mexico's colleges and universities and to fund innovative projects that have the potential to contribute to the state's economic growth.

Martinez unveiled her proposals during visits Thursday to the University of New Mexico and New Mexico Tech.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque's two city animal shelters are full and the lack of space means some people who want to surrender their pets are temporarily turned away

The shelters have accepted fewer animals and also euthanized fewer but it's been keeping the animals it gets longer in hopes of them getting homes.

To cope with the current shortage, officials are urging owners to keep their pets or find new homes for them on their own.

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — A Navajo Nation official says the tribe's own law prohibiting same-sex marriage isn't affected by the New Mexico Supreme Court's decision legalizing marriage for gay and lesbian couples in New Mexico.

Deswood Tome, an adviser to Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly, told The Daily Times that the tribe's own law prohibiting same-sex marriage still stands.

That law enacted in 2005 says same-sex marriage says same-sex marriage is "void and prohibited" but it also recognizes marriages created outside tribal lands.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Gay marriage opponents are vowing the fight is not over despite a New Mexico Supreme Court decision Thursday saying it was unconstitutional to bar same-sex couples from getting marriage licenses.

State Sen. William Sharer, a Farmington Republican, says he will continue his push for a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage.

And groups like the Flora Vista-based Voices for Family Values say their members already are gathering signatures for petitions to present to lawmakers during the upcoming session in January.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A 47-year-old Albuquerque man faces over five years in prison for his convictions in a real estate fraud case.

Rodney Chavez pleaded guilty in September to wire fraud and money laundering charges, and he was sentenced Monday by a federal judge in Albuquerque.

He was ordered to serve a 63-month prison sentence and pay restitution of approximately $847,000.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Santa Fe hospital says it didn't do anything wrong and that it will appeal a jury's $2.25 million award in a medical negligence case stemming from the 2008 death of a 20-year-old woman.

The Associated Press reports that a jury on Friday made the award against Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center to the family of Mercedes Christopherson.

She died from a blood infection after being treated for pancreatitis. The death occurred several weeks after she was initially treated and after several hospital discharges and admittances.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — One of New Mexico's American Indian tribes is suing the state over failed negotiations concerning its gaming compact.

Pojoaque Pueblo Gov. George Rivera says the agreement being sought by Gov. Susana Martinez's administration would further restrict tribal gambling operations and would increase taxes, fees and other charges.

Rivera says such a compact would not help New Mexico's gaming industry compete with other states, especially since casino revenues have been flat since 2008 and government funding for tribes has diminished.

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A suburban Albuquerque teacher who told a black student that Santa Claus is white has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Rio Rancho school district spokeswoman Kim Vesely confirmed yesterday that the teacher is out of the classroom while the incident is being investigated.

The teacher's comments came after students at Cleveland High School were told they could come to class dressed as Santa, an elf or a reindeer.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Two bars in New Mexico have been fined and had their liquor licenses suspended for over-serving patrons who went on to cause fatal drunken-driving crashes.

The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department's Alcohol and Gaming Division announced the penalties yesterday.

The Blue Corn Cafe and Brewery in Santa Fe was fined $10,000 and had its liquor license suspended for 15 days spanning two weekends.

SANTA TERESA, N.M. (AP) — Border agents in New Mexico have seized nearly 400 pounds of marijuana at the Santa Teresa crossing.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations says officers seized 372 pounds of marijuana worth $297,600 Wednesday.

The drugs were found concealed in a pickup truck with the help of drug-sniffing dog named Murphy.

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