Associated Press

Thousands of people protested gun violence and called for safer schools and gun control during protests Saturday in New Mexico's major cities. Cities in New Mexico where March For Our Lives protests were held included Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces. The protests were organized in the wake of last month's school shooting in Florida in which 17 people were killed and less than five months after a gunman killed two students at Aztec High School in northwestern New Mexico. Media outlets report the New Mexico crowds included nearly 4,000 people in Santa Fe and hundreds in Albuquerque.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Census Bureau population estimates show that areas of New Mexico that were once the fastest growing were the fastest shrinking last year. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the state's population stayed mostly flat last year, growing by less than 1 percent. Officials say the population around the Permian Basin's oil fields in southeast New Mexico declined, indicating a possible industry trend. New Mexico State University economist Jim Peach says employment in the industry has been slow to come back as oil and gas prices recover.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico authorities say they are searching for the suspect in a road-rage shooting that wounded a 15-year-old boy. Deputy Felicia Maggard, a spokeswoman for the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office, says the shooting that critically wounded Efrain Arzate Jr. happened at about 10 p.m. Tuesday in Albuquerque. She says authorities responding to reports of the shooting had found him sitting in the backseat of a Dodge Challenger and rushed him to a hospital in critical condition. Maggard says the boy was on life support Thursday night.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's unemployment rate is down, with the Department of Workforce Solutions reporting that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February was 5.8 percent, down from 5.9 percent in January. The department's report Friday says total non-agricultural payroll employment grew by 11,000 jobs, or 1.3 percent, since February 2017 when the state's jobless rate was 6.4 percent. Most of the job gains in the past year were in the private sector, with the goods-producing economic sector accounting for roughly half of the increase.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Two scholars, including one who led a series of protests against Albuquerque police, have written a guide they hope will "arm activists" to push police reforms. David Correia and Tyler Wall say their book "The Police: A Field Guide" will provide activists in places like Ferguson, Missouri, and Sacramento, California, the tools to recognize attempts to thwart dramatic change. They say many police departments mainly protect the wealthy against the poor.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — One of the men sent to federal prison and ordered to pay millions of dollars in restitution for a courthouse corruption scandal that rocked New Mexico politics has been hired by the state Law Offices of the Public Defender. Chief Public Defender Bennett Baur is defending the hiring of Toby Martinez, former administrator of the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Courthouse. Baur says Martinez was the most qualified applicant for the paralegal position.

CLOVIS, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico 12-year-old will undergo a 15-day evaluation after a jury found he brought an airsoft pistol to school and threatened a school employee. Prosecutors said Friday the child entered Marshall Middle School with the pellet gun on Feb. 8, before school officials were able to secure it from him. Authorities say the child asked "how would you like to be shot by a 12-year-old?" He also is accused of making threats to shoot-up the school. A judge ordered the evaluation for him at a youth facility in Albuquerque.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Some of New Mexico's most influential lawmakers on Thursday proposed creating a task force to explore the challenges of school violence and classroom security after hearing from top law enforcement officers and administrators from a district where two students were shot and killed in December. Officials gathered at the State Capitol for a hearing before the Legislative Finance Committee on school safety strategies. Some said it's the top issue for constituents in their districts and that simple efforts like having working locks on classroom doors will help.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Top law enforcement officials, administrators from a New Mexico school district where two students were shot and killed in December and some of the state's most influential lawmakers are looking for strategies to make schools safer. Officials are gathering Thursday at the State Capitol for a hearing before the Legislative Finance Committee on school violence and what can be done to limit the risks.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico youth soccer league is investigating reported racial slurs and an assault on a girl by an adult during a game. The Duke City League said Tuesday it's looking into allegations that a white man choked and groped a 14-year-old Hispanic female player following a match Saturday in Bernalillo, New Mexico. Ana Garcia, coach of Alameda, a largely Latina under 19 team, says a parent from the opposing team Rio Galaxy ran onto the field, grabbed an Alameda player and chocked her after a players' brawl broke out.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A draft report indicates that Santa Fe's public bank task force will not recommend for the city to move forward with the establishment of a bank. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the task force, which met Tuesday to edit its final report, is planning to recommend for the city council to work with New Mexico officials to explore the possibility of a state public bank. The report says a city bank would likely be swamped with legal and regulatory hurdles.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico congresswoman who's running for governor has obtained a restraining order against a former Capitol Hill intern who protested her recent speech at the Democratic pre-primary convention in Albuquerque. The Albuquerque Journal reports the Second Judicial District Court in Bernalillo County has granted Michelle Lujan Grisham's restraining order request against Riley Del Rey. Lujan Grisham claimed in court documents that she believed Del Rey intended to cause her serious harm.

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) — Workers at Los Alamos National Laboratory have finished treating more than two dozen drums of waste that contained nitrate salts similar to one that caused a 2014 radiation release at the federal government's underground repository. The U.S. Energy Department on Tuesday announced the treatment of the 27 drums. The containers of nitrate salt waste had not previously been treated so over the last three months crews mixed the waste with water and an inert material to neutralize the combustible characteristic of the salts.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. is closing its office in the New Mexico city where it was founded. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the business had maintained an office in the city despite being acquired years ago by North Carolina-based tobacco giant Reynolds American Inc. This summer, the fewer than 20 people who work in Santa Fe must either move to North Carolina or leave the company. The bulk of Santa Fe Natural Tobacco's manufacturing and distribution has been centered in North Carolina since 1996.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — The Las Cruces City Council is considering a proposed resolution that would support restrictions on the sale and possession of semi-automatic weapons in New Mexico. The nonbinding measure requests that state lawmakers and the governor take action in the wake of a recent flurry of gun threats at schools. The council chamber was packed Monday as the debate over the contentious proposal began. Some protesters carried their guns openly as allowed under state law, but Mayor Ken Miyagishima said he wouldn't allow anyone carrying a weapon to speak.

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — Police in Roswell continue to investigate a fatal shooting over the weekend. They say 25-year-old Andrew Joseph Morro died shortly after being transported to a hospital after Saturday night's shooting. His body has been sent to the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator in Albuquerque for an autopsy. Police say Morro was shot at a residence in the northeast part of Roswell. They say investigators know who the shooter is, but there have been no arrests at this point in the homicide investigation.

TAOS, N.M. (AP) — A trial over public access to prime hunting territory in northeast New Mexico is underway in Taos. White Peak has been the source of legal and administrative fights for decades, and at issue in state district court is whether roads used to access the area are considered historic roads open to the public or private ranching roads. The trial is expected to last about two weeks. Prosecutors with the New Mexico Attorney General's Office on Monday described the area as a checkerboard that includes state trust land and property owned by rancher David Stanley.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A prominent figure in New Mexico's film industry facing allegations of sexual misconduct has resigned as a business agent at one of the state's largest unions. The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 480 announced Sunday that Jon Hendry stepped down. The move comes after two women said in a lawsuit filed this month that Hendry harassed and discriminated against them when they were union employees.

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) — The former executive director of a troubled agency of New Mexico municipalities surrounding Los Alamos National Laboratory says she won't return to lead the coalition. The Los Alamos Monitor reports Andrea Romero, the former paid leader of the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities, said last week she won't seek to renew her contract amid charges that she used public money for fancy dinners and baseball tickets. But Romero says she's still running as a Democrat for a House seat around Santa Fe.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Police say a man has been found dead near Interstate 25 in northeast Albuquerque and that area has been shut down as officers investigate the homicide case. The man's name and age weren't immediately released and police didn't say how he died although there were shots reported in the area about 8 a.m. Sunday. Police say Menaul Boulevard between Broadbent and I-25 is expected to be closed down until sometime Sunday evening.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce reportedly has missed more roll call votes in the House than any other member of New Mexico's congressional delegation so far this year as he campaigns for governor. According to the nonpartisan project GovTrack, Pearce has missed 41 votes after missing only seven votes in 2017. The Santa Fe New Mexican checked those numbers against the congressional record. The newspaper says only four other members of the U.S. House have missed that many votes this year and two have medical issues.

GRANTS, N.M. (AP) — Environmentalists are seeking to keep an idle uranium mine in western New Mexico from becoming active again. The Gallup Independent reports that the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment and Amigos Bravos contend a recent decision to activate the Mount Taylor Mine will allow it to avoid cleanup. They're asking the New Mexico Mining Commission to review the decision. New Mexico Mining and Minerals Division Director Fernando Martinez recently decided to allow Mount Taylor Mine to return to "active," or operational, status.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Santa Fe chef is a finalist for a prestigious James Beard Foundation Award. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Martin Rios is a finalist for Best Chef of the Southwest, and he is the only New Mexico chef up for the award. The owner of Restaurant Martin on Galisteo Street, he's been up for a James Beard award in the past. He has been a Best Chef semifinalist eight times for what is called by some as the Oscars of the food world. He describes his restaurant as serving progressive American cuisine. The awards will be announced May 7 at a gala in Chicago.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Forecasters are warning of critical fire weather conditions on New Mexico's eastern plains. The National Weather Service says the region will have very strong to severe winds with gusts up to 65 mph (105 kph), very low humidity and above-average temperatures on Sunday and into Sunday night. Elsewhere in the state, scattered thunderstorms will be possible in north-central to northwestern New Mexico with several inches of snow in the higher elevations of the northern mountains.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's DWI fatalities dropped 16 percent in 2017 from the previous year. Gov. Susana Martinez announced the decrease of alcohol-related fatalities from 173 in 2016 to 145 in 2017 on Friday as she said law enforcement agencies across the state will be out in force over the weekend to crack down on drunken driving during St. Patrick's Day celebrations. The number of alcohol-involved crashes decreased from 2,073 in 2016 to 1,805 in 2017, according to preliminary data. The weekend crackdown will include special saturation patrols by police and DWI checkpoints.

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — A stretch of highway in southeast New Mexico will be designated as a safety corridor, allowing police to double the fines for traffic violations. The New Mexico Department of Transportation on Thursday announced the designation for the section of U.S. Highway 285 from the town of Loving to the border with Texas. According to the Eddy County Sheriff's Office, nine people died on this stretch of roadway last year. The deaths spurred residents and officials to search for ways to improve safety.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico has changed the application for patients wanting to participate in the state's medical marijuana program. The Health Department said Friday the application is now two pages rather than four and can be completed online and then printed for signing. The applications still must be submitted by mail or in person. Certifying practitioners also are required to send medical records instead of writing lengthy explanations. Patients must meet at least one of 21 conditions to qualify for a medical marijuana card.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico judge has ordered a young man who killed five family members as a teenager to remain in custody while his juvenile sentence is reviewed. Judge Michael E. Martinez on Thursday ordered Nehemiah Griego to be transferred immediately to an adult jail pending the outcome of his case. Griego previously had been set for release on Tuesday, his 21st birthday, under a ruling two years ago that found he had been receptive to treatment while in state custody and could be sentenced as a juvenile.

(Information from: Hobbs News-Sun, http://www.hobbsnews.com) HOBBS, N.M. (AP) — A Dallas company and a France-based multinational corporation are forming a joint venture to license an interim storage site in West Texas for high-level nuclear waste. The Hobbs News-Sun reports Orano USA and Waste Control Specialists announced on Tuesday their intent to form the joint venture.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal and state experts in drought assessment and long-range forecasting are expected to provide an overview of the critical situation facing much of the United States' southern high plains. They're meeting Friday as dry conditions intensify from the plains of eastern New Mexico to the Texas Panhandle and parts of Colorado, Oklahoma and Kansas. The latest map shows swaths of red covering the Four Corners Region and the southern high plains, indicating extreme to exceptional drought — the worst categories of drought.