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Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Attorney General Hector Balderas and other top officials are angry with the federal government's decision not to pay claims related to a 2015 mine spill that tainted rivers in three western states. The Republican governor said Friday that this marks another insult by the Obama administration and serves as another example of why people have lost faith in the federal government. Balderas, a Democrat, accused the U.S.

DENVER (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency won't repay claims totaling over $1.2 billion for economic damages from a mine waste spill the agency accidentally triggered in Colorado, saying the law prohibits it. The EPA said Friday the claims could be refiled in federal court, or Congress could authorize payments. But government attorneys concluded the EPA is barred from paying the claims because of sovereign immunity, which prohibits most lawsuits against the government. An official announcement is planned later Friday.

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) — Another of New Mexico's judicial districts will be reducing the hours its court clerks have to help the public due to budget cuts and resulting staff shortages. Officials in the 12th district, representing Otero and Lincoln counties in southern New Mexico, made the announcement Friday. They join New Mexico's busiest district in metro Albuquerque in trimming public hours within the clerk's offices. Beginning next week, clerks will be available to assist the public for only four hours each day.

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Navajo Nation leaders say the tribe is making progress on a public emergency alert system that can broadcast Amber Alerts and other notifications across the expansive reservation. Officials say the tribe will be using the federal government's internet-based Public Alert and Warning System, or IPAWS. The next step is for the tribe to purchase software that will allow the system to be fully functional across its lands in New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico officials say Medicaid health care for the poor and disabled will be less costly than previously expected this fiscal year and next year, easing financial pressures amid a state budget crisis. New Mexico Human Services Secretary Brent Earnest told lawmakers Friday that state cost overruns no longer are expected during the current fiscal year. He said state general fund spending on Medicaid is expected to increase by $42 million next year to $956 million — a smaller increase than previously expected.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Santa Fe City Council has voted down a resolution that would have taken a direct shot at President-elect Donald Trump and his policies. The New Mexican reports (http://bit.ly/2il0XVu ) that the resolution states that Trump "espouses beliefs that are contrary to and undermine our community values." The measure died on a tie vote Wednesday night, even after direct references to the incoming Republican president were removed.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Metro Albuquerque's new district attorney will decide if two former Albuquerque police officers should be retried in connection to the shooting death of a mentally ill homeless man after the special prosecutor handling the case stepped down. Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez was appointed as prosecutor in the murder trial against Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez at a hearing Thursday. Special prosecutor Randi McGinn withdrew from the case at that time. Sandy and Perez were charged with murder in the death of James Boyd in 2014.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez says state government, specifically the dealings of lawmakers, should be more transparent. The Republican governor made the comment during a business luncheon in Albuquerque on Thursday. She called for all legislative hearings to be archived so that New Mexicans know what decisions are being made "in the wee hours of the night," referencing the flurry of votes that are often cast during committee meetings in the final days of the legislative session. New Mexico already offers webcasting of committee hearings.

TAOS, N.M. (AP) — A new avalanche center in northern New Mexico hopes to aid the state with avalanche warnings in the region. KOB-TV in Albuquerque reports (https://goo.gl/oxFpNR ) the new Taos Avalanche Center is joining forces with the U.S. Forest Service and National Weather Service to issue avalanche warnings in the state for the first time. Shawn Bennett, the National Weather Service Meteorologist-in-Charge in Albuquerque, says it's a much-needed collaborative effort. When storms drop layers of heavy snow, officials say it can eventually become unstable like a house of cards.

TAOS, N.M. (AP) — A new avalanche center in northern New Mexico hopes to aid the state with avalanche warnings in the region. KOB-TV in Albuquerque reports (https://goo.gl/oxFpNR ) the new Taos Avalanche Center is joining forces with the U.S. Forest Service and National Weather Service to issue avalanche warnings in the state for the first time. Shawn Bennett, the National Weather Service Meteorologist-in-Charge in Albuquerque, says it's a much-needed collaborative effort. When storms drop layers of heavy snow, officials say it can eventually become unstable like a house of cards.

ESPANOLA, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas has filed a lawsuit against a troubled northern New Mexico school district whose finances were recently taken over by the state. The lawsuit against the Espanola Public Schools District filed in Rio Arriba State District Court on Thursday seeks to force the district to comply with an open records request for emails. Court documents say the attorney general only received less than 1 percent of the requested documents. Superintendent Eric Martinez didn't immediately respond to an email.

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Navajo Nation officials say two sisters and their three young daughters who were found dead in New Mexico were originally from the Arizona community of Red Valley. Tribal officials say Navajo Nation Council members are mourning the deaths of Vanessa George and her two children Zoe and Chloe plus Leticia George and her daughter Haleigh. The FBI in Albuquerque is awaiting preliminary autopsy reports on the five bodies found in a remote area on the western edge of Santa Ana Pueblo. An FBI spokesman says foul play by another party isn't suspected in the deaths.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is warning that before anything reaches her desk during the upcoming legislative session, she wants lawmakers to come up with a "serious solvency package." The Republican governor made the comment Thursday while addressing business leaders in Albuquerque. She's referring to projections that the state is expected to outspend revenues by nearly $220 million this fiscal year. Martinez and lawmakers rolled out dueling budget proposals earlier this week.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A new federal lawsuit says U.S. Bureau of Indian Education schools are chronically understaffed, lack systems to provide special education and have a deficient curriculum. A coalition of advocacy groups announced on Thursday the new federal lawsuit involving Havasupai students at a northern Arizona school inside the Grand Canyon. Lawyers say the lawsuit potentially could have repercussions for other BIE schools. The 95-page complaint filed in U.S.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico health officials say the number of cases of whooping cough in infants has increased. The Health Department is investigating four cases in infants that were reported in December. The cases are from Eddy, Curry, Rio Arriba and San Juan counties. The agency says this is the largest cluster of whooping cough cases investigated by the state since August 2013. Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher says the best way for parents to protect against the illness is to get their children vaccinated. She also encouraged women to get vaccinated during pregnancy.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A 19-year-old convicted felon has been acquitted of murder in the stabbing death of a 20-year-old Las Cruces man. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports (http://bit.ly/2igGCRd ) that a jury on Wednesday found Jose Luis Salazar Jr. not guilty in connection to the death of Carlos Adrian Contreras Jr. Salazar is currently service prison time in an unrelated case. Salazar was accused of deliberately killing Contreras in June 2015 during a party. During the trail, witnesses testified that Salazar, then 17, and Contreras had been arguing before the stabbing.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Los Alamos National Security has received a $9.1 million bonus for reaching environmental goals in its operation of Los Alamos National Laboratory. The New Mexican reports (http://bit.ly/2igBvkk ) that the U.S. Energy Department says the contractor excelled in a number of projects to remediate areas of environmental concern during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. The company earned 90 percent of the maximum $10.1 million award.

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — Fire officials say one man was found dead after a blaze at a Farmington apartment complex. The Farmington Fire Department is investing the blaze that started Tuesday night and displaced approximately 30 people. A man's body was found inside one of the apartments and authorities are investigating his cause of death. Farmington police spokeswoman Georgette Allen says the body was found after crews extinguished the fire. The man's identity has not yet been released. The fire destroyed six units and residents were evacuated from several others.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A 28-year-old man is facing charges after police say he used his 7-year-old daughter as a barrier while shoplifting in Albuquerque. KOB-TV in Albuquerque reports (https://goo.gl/vJL8Of) that Eduardo Orellana was arrested Saturday after authorities say he tried to steal a drill at a Home Depot. When confronted by a store employee, police say Orellana threw his daughter in front of the worker as he tried to escape. He is charged shoplifting over $250 and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Federal land managers in New Mexico are planning their first online oil and natural gas lease sale later this month. The Bureau of Land Management announced the Jan. 25 sale on Wednesday. Under the new system, each parcel will have its own unique open bidding period and the entire bidding process is expected to last three hours. The parcels include more than 842 acres in Sandoval and Rio Arriba counties. Environmental groups, Navajo tribal members and others are planning to protest the sale, saying the parcels are near Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on a southwestern New Mexico district attorney investigation (all times local): 5:30 p.m. A lawyer for a southwestern New Mexico district attorney says the investigation into her traffic stop is "purely political grandstanding." Jim Foy, an attorney for Francesca Martinez-Estevez, said Wednesday he found it unusual that Attorney General Hector Balderas wants to prosecute allegations of speedy and reckless driving.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on the deaths of two New Mexico sisters and their three young daughters (all times local): 1:45 p.m. Tribal officials with the Native American community in New Mexico where two sisters and their three young daughters were found dead say they are dismayed and saddened by the discovery of the five bodies. Federal authorities say the bodies were found over the course of three days after the women and children were first reported missing. Initial reports indicated the women might have been in danger, but the FBI says there's no indication of foul play.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — State Auditor Tim Keller has entered the race to become Albuquerque's next mayor. The Democrat made his announcement Wednesday, saying he will seek public financing for his campaign. An Albuquerque native, Keller said the city is a special place but is facing immense challenges, including some of the highest crime rates in decades. He listed police reforms and economic development as top priorities. Republican City Councilor Dan Lewis and retired police detective Michelle Garcia Holmes, an independent, announced their candidacies earlier this week.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The legislative committee that drafts the New Mexico state budget is recommending new cuts in agency spending for next year to avoid a shortfall. Budget recommendations announced on Wednesday by the Legislative Finance Committee would trim general fund spending by 0.4 percent to $6.05 billion. Funding for public schools would decrease by $22.5 million without cutting per-pupil funding to school districts, and would bolster some efforts to improve early literacy.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The outgoing Bernalillo County District Attorney compared the Albuquerque Police Department to a criminal enterprise in one of her final acts in office. Kari Brandenburg wrote in a farewell letter to the U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez, released Tuesday, that the police department is affected by widespread corruption and is unwilling to change. APD Chief Gorden Eden released a statement Tuesday saying his officers work tirelessly for the community and that all of Brandenburg's allegations are baseless.

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