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Associated Press

BELEN, N.M. (AP) — Democratic lawmakers have named Sen. Peter Wirth of Santa Fe as the new majority floor leader for the New Mexico state Senate to replace departing Sen. Michael Sanchez. Wirth was named majority leader by Democratic senators during a meeting Saturday in Belen. Senate Democrats re-nominated Mary Kay Papen of Las Cruces as Senate president, pending confirmation by the chamber in January. Sen. Michael Padilla of Bernalillo was chosen as majority whip and Sen. Jacob Candelaria of Bernalillo will be majority caucus chair.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Two cubs whose mother was shot to death after attacking a marathon runner have been released into the wild. The New Mexican reports (http://bit.ly/2g8C0sv) the bears went from weighing roughly 10 pounds when they were found to 125 and 90 pounds when the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish released them. Cottonwood Rehabilitation Center's Dr. Kathleen Ramsay said the cubs were released outside the territory where they were found to reduce the risk of encounters with people or other bears.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Three judges and six other lawyers have applied for appointment to fill a vacancy on the New Mexico Court of Appeals. The judges applying for the vacancy left by Judge Michael Bustamante's retirement include current Court of Appeals Judge Stephen French. French is a Republican who was appointed to the court but who lost a bid for his current seat in the Nov. 8 general election to Democrat Julie Vargas. The other judges applying for the vacancy are Sandoval County Magistrate William Mast and Judge Briana Zamora of state District Court in Albuquerque.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico State Land Office says a Texas-based oil company will be denied access to well sites until it agrees to the agency's directions for cleaning up spills of oily salt water. State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn announced Friday that it would deny site access to Siana Operating of Midland, Texas, until the company agrees to a preliminary cleanup plan that will determine the extent of ground pollution at well sites in southeastern New Mexico.

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — The Navajo Nation and Urban Outfitters Inc. have reached a settlement in the tribe's 2012 trademark infringement lawsuit against the clothing retailer. The Daily Times (https://goo.gl/9r4nwG ) reports that terms of the settlement signed Monday by a federal judge are confidential. However, the tribe said it and Urban Outfitters plan to collaborate on American Indian jewelry.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Santa Fe Roman Catholic Archbishop John Wester is addressing the fears that have emerged among immigrants since Election Day. Wester says he knows there are people within the archdiocese who are fearful of what may happen to them if the incoming Trump administration repeals, as promised on the campaign trail, an Obama administration program that allows immigrants brought to the country illegally as children to avoid deportation and get work permits.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Mentor Williams, the songwriter behind the 1970s pop hit "Drift Away," has died in Taos, New Mexico, at age 70. Paul Williams, also a famed songwriter who is the president of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, or ASCAP, confirmed for The Associated Press that his brother Mentor Williams died Wednesday morning at his home after battling lung cancer. "Drift Away" sung by pop artist Dobie Gray reached No. 5 on the Billboard charts and won awards in 1973.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico State Land Office says a Texas-based oil company will be denied access to well sites until it agrees to the agency's directions for cleaning up spills of oily salt water. State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn announced Friday that it would deny site access to Siana Operating of Midland, Texas, until the company agrees to a preliminary cleanup plan that will determine the extent of ground pollution at well sites in southeastern New Mexico.

CHAMA, N.M. (AP) — State authorities say a 64-year-old man was thrown from his horse in a remote, wilderness area of New Mexico before game wardens rescued him. New Mexico Department of Game & Fish said Friday that horsebackrider Randy Van Zant, of Chama, was airlfited from a field after breaking his arm. He had been riding in the 10,000-acre Humphries Wildlife Management Area when his horse was spooked on Nov. 3 and threw him to the ground. Another rider who was out with Van Zant sought help for him.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — One of six New Mexico teens charged with killing a 60-year-old man in his driveway has taken a plea deal. The 17-year-old boy pleaded guilty to 10 criminal counts, including aggravated burglary with a deadly weapon. A hearing in February will determine whether he will be sentenced as a juvenile. An adult sentence could carry up to 31 ½ years in prison. Prosecutors dropped a murder charge, among others, in exchange for the plea. The boy was 16 when police say he and five other teenagers were breaking into cars and homes around Albuquerque.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A group of professors at the largest university in the nation's most Hispanic state are asking for more protection of immigrant students. Professors and instructors at the University of New Mexico delivered a letter Friday to the school's president, Bob Frank, amid uncertainty from immigrant students who are living in the country illegally but have temporary protective status. Advocates say the students are scared of being deported after the election of Republican Donald Trump as president.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — County and city officials are considering combining the Albuquerque Police Department and the Bernalillo Sheriff's Office to help with the city's officer shortage. KOAT-TV reports (http://bit.ly/2fopqUI ) that leaders on Thursday talked about combining county and city resources into one public safety department that would collapse all law enforcement and firefighters into one umbrella department. Supporters of the proposal say it would eliminate jurisdiction issues and enable more public safety officers to work in the area.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The state Public Education Department is taking over the finances of the Espanola school district after finding a number of budget irregularities. In a letter to Espanola Public Schools' board members on Thursday Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera said the district has repeatedly failed to account for spending, has awarded contracts that may violate state law and has submitted inaccurate financial data to the state.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Thirty Navajo youth have traveled from their reservation in Arizona to San Francisco to protest a federal decision that they say would allow a massive coal-fired power near their homes to bypass strict pollution-control regulations for the next several decades.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A decision to raise ticket prices and eliminate some free-entrance days at New Mexico's world renowned state museums and historic sites has provided a boost in revenue to the state's cash strapped culture agency since the start of July. The changes also have been accompanied by a drop in ticketed attendance at a network of eight state museums and eight cultural sites that are an engine of the state tourism economy, where more than a million people flock each year learn about Billy the Kid and admire international folk art, oil paintings and space rockets.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A federal judge has appointed a court appointed "special master" to help ensure federally funded benefits are administered properly by the New Mexico Human Services Department. A U.S. District Court judge appointed Thursday a veteran of the Texas Department of Human Services named Lawrence Parker who has overseen that state's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The Human Services Department proposed the oversight arrangement as an alternative to a more far reaching request by advocates for aid recipients that a federal receiver implement administrative changes.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court has upheld the first-degree murder conviction of a man in the 1991 death of an Albuquerque woman. State Attorney General Hector Balderas announced Thursday that the court affirmed last year's conviction of Anthony John Morris. Albuquerque police investigators renewed efforts in 2011 to solve the cold case of 23-year-old Mary Dupris. Although she appeared to have been run over by a car, medical examiners determined Dupris also was shot in the head. Blood was found under Dupris' fingernails and on her shirt.

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — Police say a Roswell man wanted in the fatal shooting of his uncle is in custody. A warrant was issued Nov. 9 for 35-year-old Cody Hairston in the shooting of 56-year-old Ernest Ray Allen. Police say Hairston was arrested Thursday at a friend's home on Roswell's west side. The warrant accuses Hairston of first-degree murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm. It's unclear if Hairston has a lawyer yet. Police say Allen was found shot at his home just before midnight on Nov. 8. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn has granted permission for developers of a planned $2 billion transmission line between Arizona and New Mexico to survey state trust land. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports (http://bit.ly/2fln1K4 ) that the right-of-entry approval allows the developers of the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project to survey 89 miles of state trust land, the nest step toward the power line.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's superintendent of insurance is saying an audit into his office's failure to collect some $190 million in back taxes from insurers was based on incorrect data. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports (http://bit.ly/2flhLGu ) that in a letter Tuesday to state Attorney General Hector Balderas, Superintendent of Insurance John Franchini asked Balderas to review whether the accounting firm that performed the audit did all the work it was required to do under its contract.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico state officials who began issuing new driver's licenses this week that meet increased federal security standards are defending their efforts from criticism by civil rights groups. Advocacy groups for immigrants and the ACLU have described a chaotic rollout for the state's two new driving IDs and say the Motor Vehicle Division has asked some for documents and fingerprints that are not required. The groups set up an telephone hotline Wednesday to provide information on state requirements.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — High wind expected to sweep across Albuquerque have prompted city officials to issue a dust advisory for the city. The city's Environmental Health Department issued a health alert for people with respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory and heart diseases, saying they should avoid outdoor exercise and limit time spent outdoors. The advisory is in place in through 7 p.m. Thursday, with officials saying children and older adults may also be affected by the pollution.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Prosecutors have dropped remaining charges against a former Albuquerque jail guard who was accused of raping inmates. Earlier this month jurors found Torry Chambers not guilty of three counts of criminal sexual penetration but they could not come to a unanimous decision on three additional charges of criminal sexual penetration. The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/2fkKYRV ) that those remaining charges were dismissed Monday.

DENVER (AP) — Autumn snow has been scarce in the Rocky Mountains, forcing some ski areas to push back opening day and causing some nervousness about how much water will be available next spring for the Colorado River. But the first big storm of the season is expected to blow into Colorado and Utah Thursday. Forecasters say it could bring up to 10 inches of snow at higher elevations. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the Colorado snowpack is off to its worst start in more than 30 years. At least eight ski resorts in Colorado and New Mexico have postponed their opening day.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Top budget officials for the state of New Mexico are placing a high priority on rebuilding state reserves that have been depleted amid a sustained downturn in the oil and natural gas sectors. Finance and Administration Secretary Duffy Rodriguez said her agency has set a goal of restoring state reserves to 5 percent of the state's annual general fund appropriations. Rebuilding reserves would shore up the state's credit rating to ensure low-interest borrowing and provide a buffer against economic volatility. It is unclear how the state might set aside the money.

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