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Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New numbers show exports from New Mexico have jumped nearly 3 percent in the first half of 2016. The state Economic Development Department said this week exports to Mexico have risen 17.5 percent compared to the first six months last year, and exports to China are up around 500 percent. State numbers show New Mexico saw around $1.96 billion in exports from January to June this year. That's an increase from $1.9 billion during the same period last year.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The city of Albuquerque temporarily has taken over an abandoned Albuquerque Route 66 motel and apartment complex made famous in the 2007 movie "No Country for Old Men." KRQE-TV in Albuquerque reports (https://goo.gl/nKfUBq) the city's "Safe City Strike Force" recently took control of the Desert Sands Motel following a third fire since May. Officials say firefighters were called Saturday evening to the Desert Sands Motel and found a fire in a unit believed to have been started by a homeless person.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Two constitutional amendments approved by voters in recent years will finally take effect thanks to a ruling by the New Mexico Supreme Court. The justices ruled the ballot measures needed only a simple majority to be approved rather than 75 percent of the vote. At issue is an amendment allowing school elections to be held in conjunction with other nonpartisan elections and one that would remove language from the constitution that excludes "idiots" and "insane persons" from voting.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The ex-girlfriend of a man accused of fatally shooting a Rio Rancho police officer says he never wanted to be arrested again or go back to prison. Andrew Romero is charged with first-degree murder in the May 2015 death of Officer Gregg Benner. The jury trial for the 29-year-old Romero started last week in Valencia County District Courthouse. The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/2cJt0vA) Tabitha Littles testified Wednesday as part of a plea deal in which authorities dropped multiple charges against her.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Prosecutors have agreed to drop an aggravated assault charge against a former Albuquerque police officer who is scheduled to stand trial next week in the on-duty shooting death of a homeless man. Former Officer Dominique Perez and now retired Detective Keith Sandy were both charged with second-degree murder and other counts in the death of the 38-year-old James Boyd, who was shot after an hours-long standoff in the Albuquerque foothills.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Facebook officials say they're thrilled to have found a home in New Mexico for their $250 million data center. The social media giant announced Wednesday that it would build the center in Los Lunas, a village just south of Albuquerque. Construction is expected to start next month. The company's vice president for infrastructure, Tom Furlong, says everything was as advertised when it came to New Mexico, from the community partners and talent pool to the renewable energy that will power the facility.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich says Facebook is choosing New Mexico for a new data center over Utah after questions arose about a tax-break deal worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Wednesday's announcement that the social media giant will build in Los Lunas, south of Albuquerque comes after a roller-coaster contest between the two states to attract the facility. While the project has enjoyed broad political support in New Mexico, local leaders in Utah pushed back against a tax-incentive plan they saw as too generous.

The mother of an Albuquerque 10-year-old girl found dead and dismembered told police she sought men online to sexually assault her daughter before her death. The Albuquerque Journal reports (https://goo.gl/bujnqP) Michelle Martens told police she had set up encounters with at least three men to sexual assault her daughter whose brutal death spark vigils and outcry across New Mexico. According to warrants obtained by the Journal, the 35-year-old Martens told investigators she didn't do it for the money. Martens said she set up the sexual assaults because she enjoyed watching.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — More New Mexicans have access to health care than ever before thanks to the expansion of a government program aimed at helping low-income people. A report from the U.S. Census Bureau shows the number of residents going without health insurance dropped nearly a quarter in 2015. The share of people in the state who were uninsured for the entire year was 10.9 percent, down from 14.5 in 2014. New Mexico is one of the states that opted to expand Medicaid under President Barack Obama's health care law. More than 879,000 people are now on the rolls in New Mexico.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A Latino civil rights group says an Albuquerque middle school is mistreating its bilingual education teachers who face discrimination and harassment. The New Mexico League of United Latin American Citizens said this week that former and current bilingual education teachers at Jimmy Carter Middle School have repeatedly complained about mistreatment. But LULAC state director Dennis Montoya says those complaints have been ignored.

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — The hiring Luna Community College President Leroy "Huero" Sanchez's son as a full-time assistant women's softball coach is raising eyebrows. The Las Vegas Optic reports (http://goo.gl/ovntwS) the Luna Community College's Board of Trustees signed off last week on the hiring of Roy Sanchez for the $33,566 a year position. The decision to hire the president's son comes as the college is facing increased scrutiny from the state Higher Education Department.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A group of American Indians who are seeking federal recognition also want support from Las Cruces. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports (http://goo.gl/6SDQXX) representatives of Piro Pueblo de Las Cruces told city councilors this week they wanted their endorsement in getting the federal government to recognize them. In March, the Piro-Manso-Tiwa Tribe of the Pueblo of San Juan de Guadalupe went before city council seeking support for its quest for standing as a federally recognized tribe.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — University of New Mexico President Bob Frank says the school will freeze staff hiring in an attempt to address possible budget cuts from the state. Frank also told the Board of Regents on Tuesday that UNM may hire fewer faculty, which could affect the number of classes offered. The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/2cjM9ER) Frank also has instructed officials with academic affairs, the administration and the Health Sciences Center to prepare for a 5 percent budget cut in anticipation of a potential state cut to the current budget. Last month, Gov.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Las Cruces will receive $1.1 million from the federal government for new city buses for the southern New Mexico city's transit system. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced Tuesday that the funding has been awarded through a Department of Transportation grant program.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal agents are searching for a man with a bandage over his chin who authorities say robbed a downtown Albuquerque bank. FBI spokesman Frank Fisher says the man walked into the Bank of the West branch on Monday and tossed a threatening note toward a teller demanding money. Fisher says the suspect also appeared to have a gun. He left with an undisclosed amount of money. Officials say the man had a white beard or goatee, a white bandage on his chin, and wore sunglasses and a red and black baseball cap. No arrests have been made.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Francisco Jimenez, a Mexican-American author of "The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child," is set to receive the John Steinbeck Award. The book is published by University of New Mexico Press and is a collection of 12 short stories. "The Circuit" draws from Jiménez's childhood experiences growing up in a family of Mexican migrant farmworkers. The John Steinbeck Award is offered to artists and activists whose work exemplifies the spirit of Steinbeck's social engagement.

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — A former Native American women's college basketball star, who with her sister generated excitement across Indian Country as Louisville players, has visited the Navajo Nation. The Gallup Independent reports (http://goo.gl/GVy2U3) Jude Schimmel came to Arizona last week to promote her book, Dreamcatcher, and talk about her career. Schimmel says the book is about her life and growing up on the Umatila Indian Reservation in Mission, Oregon. She and her sister, Shoni, helped led Louisville to the 2013 NCAA National Championship game, falling 93-60 to Connecticut.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Four months after the federal government gave up a court fight to keep the lesser prairie chicken on the endangered species list, environmentalists say there's new evidence that warrants listing the bird again. A coalition of environmental groups has filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, arguing that key populations are in danger of extinction as climate change exacerbates problems caused by energy development, farming and other infrastructure such as roads and power lines.

SUNLAND PARK, N.M. (AP) — A group seeking to incorporate a booming border town in New Mexico is seeking an injunction to stop the annexation of its land by a nearby city. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports (http://goo.gl/007Nou) the Provisional Government of Santa Teresa wants to block Sunland Park from annexing 229 acres. The lawsuit filed Wednesday names the city of Sunland Park and Socorro Partners, a limited liability company that twice petitioned Sunland Park for annexation earlier this year Sunland Park Mayor Javier Perea says he is aware of the lawsuit, but couldn't comment.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A former lawyer for the New Mexico Workers' Compensation Administration has been sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for Social Security fraud and wire fraud. Prosecutors say 61-year-old Juanita Roibal-Bradley of Albuquerque was accused of defrauding the Social Security Administration of more than $40,000 and an estate and its beneficiaries of almost $572,000. She's been ordered to pay nearly $18,000 in restitution to the SSA with the amount of restitution to the estate heirs to be determined later by the court.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's largest electric provider has restored power to thousands of customers following multiple outages throughout central New Mexico. Public Service Co. of New Mexico reported outages from Santa Fe to Albuquerque and south toward Belen on Monday afternoon. Residential and business customers were affected. Utility spokesman Pahl Shipley said the initial investigation indicates lightning played a role in the disruption of a high-voltage transmission line in northwestern New Mexico.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A district court judge in Las Cruces has postponed the retrial of a former Santa Fe County sheriff's deputy accused of killing a fellow deputy in 2014. The original retrial of Tai Chan had been set for Nov. 28. A judge Monday granted a stipulation motion to vacate the November date, but didn't set a new retrial date. Prosecutors are seeking to have the retrial in February. Chan's first trial ended in a mistrial in June. He had been charged with first-degree murder in fellow deputy Jeremy Martin's death.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An attorney prosecuting two former police officers charged with second-degree murder in the 2014 shooting of a homeless man has asked potential jurors with law enforcement ties whether they could be fair and impartial in deciding the case. Opening statements and testimony in the trial for now-retired Detective Keith Sandy and former Officer Dominique Perez are scheduled to get underway next week. Jury selection in the case began Monday.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas is demanding answers from a northern New Mexico hospital that ended obstetrical and delivery services six months ago. Balderas sent letters last week to leaders of the Alta Vista Regional Hospital in Las Vegas and said the closure had left an unacceptable gap in services for women in the area. The sudden closure left dozens of pregnant women without a local hospital to deliver newborns.

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — Navajo Nation leaders are in talks with the U.S. government to establish an emergency alert system across the 27,000-square-mile reservation. The Farmington Daily Times reports (http://bit.ly/2c5wbNl ) that Coordinator Harlan Cleveland says tribal government officials and the U.S. Department of Justice are considering establishing the Integrated Public Alert & Warning System on tribal land. The program is a federal alert system created in 2006 in response to Hurricane Katrina.

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