Local and State News

SUNLAND PARK, N.M. (AP) — Federal authorities say an eight-month investigation into a New Mexico drug ring has netted heroin trafficking charges against 10 people. Authorities say the drug syndicate led by 67-year-old Raymundo Munoz distributed heroin in Dona Ana County, which is situated along the U.S.-Mexico border. He and suspects Juan Francisco Rivera, of El Paso, Texas, and Blanca Elias Tovar were arrested Monday by the Drug Enforcement Administration after authorities say Tovar crossed the border and was driven by Rivera to a meeting with Muñoz. The U.S.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — It will likely be up to the nation's highest court to settle a dispute between Texas and New Mexico over management of water from the Rio Grande. Officials in both states have been waiting for nearly a year for a recommendation on the handling of the case that could dramatically curb groundwater pumping in some of New Mexico's most fertile valleys and force the state to pay as much as $1 billion in damages. Now, a special master assigned by the U.S.

Deadline Nears for Navajos in National Land Buyback Program WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Deadlines are nearing for thousands of Navajos considering offers to sell off land interests as part of a nationwide program. The U.S. Department of the Interior has made offers worth more than $260 million to about 26,000 Navajo landowners. The buyback program is the second phase of the $3.4 billion Cobell class-action lawsuit over royalties the federal government held in trust for American Indians.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson is wasting no time in courting backers of Bernie Sanders after the Vermont senator endorsed former rival Hillary Clinton. Johnson appeared Tuesday in a new YouTube video to urge people who are still "feeling the Bern" to consider the Libertarian Party option. The former two-term New Mexico governor is urged Sanders supporters to "google Gary Johnson" in the video highlighting Johnson's civil rights score card from the ACLU and Clinton's positions on the Iraq War and the bombing of Libya.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State University president Garrey Carruthers says he will unveil details about the school's budget problems which will include jobs cuts. Carruthers said he will give details Wednesday about the elimination of 89 open positions and 37 jobs currently held by employees. He says the moves are needed for the long-term fiscal health of the school. Carruthers says the university will try to find jobs for those who will be laid off. The university saw a $9.1 million reduction in its $690.5 million operating budget for fiscal year 2016.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say two cases of human tularemia have been confirmed in Bernalillo County. They are the first two laboratory confirmed human cases in New Mexico so far this year. Albuquerque's Environmental Health Department, the New Mexico Department of Health and the Bernalillo County Health Protection Section say the cases involve a 74-year-old man and a 71-year-old woman. Authorities say the woman is currently hospitalized but is improving. The man has fully recovered. They say one of the two likely was exposed in the Rio Grande bosque area.

(Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com) ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A wildly popular new game has University of New Mexico's campus crawling with players using their smart phones to hunt for virtual creatures. James Walker, a marketing assistant with UNM residence life, told the Albuquerque Journal that UNM's lack of traffic has made it popular with Pokemon Go players, especially at night. The UNM campus is also home to several so-called "Pokestops," real-world landmarks that show up in the game's virtual world.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Italian-born nun who once challenged Billy the Kid and later opened New Mexico hospitals and schools will soon be the subject of a TV series. An Albuquerque production company is scheduled Wednesday to announce a new project about Sister Blandina Segale. Saint Hood Productions will oversee the production "At the End of the Santa Fe Trail" just as the Roman Catholic Church is examining the 19th-Century nun for possible Sainthood.

(Information from: Hobbs News-Sun, http://www.hobbsnews.com) HOBBS, N.M. (AP) — Former long-time Hobbs News-Sun editor Gil Hinshaw has died at the age of 89. The Hobbs News-Sun reports that Hinshaw died Saturday. No cause of death was listed. An editor at the paper for nearly two decades, Hinshaw started in journalism at his high school newspaper in Tennessee. He joined the Army, serving during the Korean War, and later enlisted in the Air Force and worked in journalism and public affairs overseas.

BOSQUE DEL APACHE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, N.M. (AP) — Firefighters are making progress against a blaze that has charred more than a square mile at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Officials say the fire was 50 percent contained Wednesday thanks to work done on the west side of the Rio Grande. There are still active flames on the east side of the river that are keeping crews busy. Chris Leeser with the refuge says officials have reopened the northern end of the tour loop to visitors and the visitor center will resume normal hours Thursday.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The director of an office overseeing supplementary food and financial assistance within the New Mexico Human Services Department has been reassigned amid state and federal inquiries into that office's handling of benefit applications. The secretary of the Human Services Department announced in an email to agency employees that Marilyn Martinez is no longer director of the income support division and will instead oversee the agency's financial services bureau. Martinez could not immediately be reached.

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Leaders with the nation's most expansive American Indian reservation have culled a team of experts from around the country to serve as economic advisers. The Navajo Nation says its new advisory council will be made up of a senior fellow from the Harvard Business School, a Ford Foundation professor and co-director of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, former Navajo President Peterson Zah and others. The advisers will provide objective, analytical advice on economic policy for the remainder of Navajo President Russell Begaye's term.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — It was called the "Mother Road," a vital highway bridging Chicago and Los Angeles through the Southwest that represented unlimited possibilities in 20th Century United States. Black travelers for decades, however, needed a guide known as the Green Book to help locate the few motels and restaurants that would serve. Now a writer is hoping to bring attention to the businesses along the historic Route 66 that once provided safe havens for black travelers who braved the road for simple family vacations.

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — Carlsbad police say two people been arrested in a fatal drive-by shooting that stemmed from an earlier fight. Police say 33-year-old Robert Vargas was arrested on suspicion of murder, conspiracy, tampering with evidence and other crimes related to the fatal shooting early Tuesday of 41-year-old Eric A. Florez. It could not be immediately determined whether Florez has an attorney who could comment on the allegations. Police also arrested a 17-year-old boy on suspicion of murder and other crimes.

IRVINE, Calif. (AP) — Two Catholic hospital chains are merging to create the nation's third-largest nonprofit health system, with more than 100,000 employees in seven states. Providence Health & Services of Irvine, California, is merging with St. Joseph Health of Renton, Washington, to create Providence St. Joseph Health. The new entity has 50 hospitals in Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington state. The merger was approved by California's attorney general last month. The agreement required Providence St.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools has announced that he is leaving the district for a private education company. Superintendent Joel Boyd vowed to turn the city's public schools around within five years and told he school board two months ago that he planned to finish out his contract. He withdrew his name from consideration for the top job in another district. But Boyd he said Tuesday that he will resign after four years to become senior vice president of the San Francisco-based education software company BrightBytes.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A 44-year-old New Mexico man is charged with violating a migratory bird law by allegedly trying to sell hawks without federal permission. Wayne Martin of the Cochiti (COH'-cheh-tee) Pueblo in Sandoval County pleaded not guilty Wednesday in federal court in Albuquerque. The indictment accuses Martin of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act on Feb. 29, 2012. The law makes it illegal to possess, offer for sale, or sell migratory birds or parts or products of migratory birds.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico district court is scheduled to begin hearing testimony from state lawmakers on accusations that former Sen. Phil Griego used his public office to profit from the sale of a state-owned building. Griego has pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud, bribery and tampering with public records. Four days of evidentiary hearings are scheduled to start Tuesday at a courthouse in Albuquerque to decide whether the case warrants a trial.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — U.S Sen. Martin Heinrich plans to introduce legislation that would prohibit items considered sacred by Native Americans and protected by U.S. laws from being exported to international markets. The legislation also proposes stiffer penalties for stealing and trafficking tribal religious and cultural objects, while setting an amnesty period for people to voluntarily return cultural items collected in violation of existing laws. Heinrich, a Democrat from New Mexico, and tribal leaders plan to discuss the legislation Monday in Albuquerque.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a $500,000 grant to Santa Fe to help its airport add direct flights to Phoenix. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said last week Santa Fe was one of nine small communities to win a portion of $5.15 million in grants to help improve local air service. Santa Fe Municipal Airport will receive the money over two years for marketing an American Airlines flight to Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport. The grant is part of the Small Community Air Service Development Program.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Much of New Mexico remains abnormally dry or under moderate drought. But one area saw record rainfall last month. The National Weather Service says Clines Corner sets a June record with 5.09 inches of rain. The central New Mexico unincorporated community in Torrance County sees on average around 1.3 inches of rain in June. Most New Mexico cities saw below average rainfall last month. For example, Albuquerque saw only .17 inches when the city usually sees around .66. Raton received 1.21 inches and typically gets around 2.28.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a 13-year-old girl has died in an all-terrain vehicle accident in southeastern New Mexico. New Mexico State Police say in a news release that Zoe Carr of Marlton, New Jersey was critically injured in the Sunday night accident in Malaga and pronounced dead at a hospital. Officers had responded to the crash to find that an ATV carrying Carr and a 13-year-old boy had rolled over. Police say the boy sustained minor injuries. Authorities say Carr had not been wearing a helmet. The incident remains under investigation.

RUIDOSO DOWNS, N.M. (AP) — Ruidoso Downs has lifted its 14-day equine herpes quarantine of one barn after a horse was euthanized for the virus. Officials said last week there have been no positive tests in that barn or any other stable at Ruidoso Downs since and racing has not been affected. The horse was euthanized June 18. The New Mexico Livestock Board and New Mexico Racing Commission worked with Ruidoso Downs officials to ensure a horse-specific virus is limited to one racehorse.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a man suspected of drunken driving crashed into an SUV carrying a family of six in Artesia, leaving three people critically injured, and then fled the scene. Blake Bollema was arrested after the Friday incident and charged with aggravated DWI, great bodily harm by vehicle and other crimes. New Mexico State Police spokeswoman Elizabeth Armijo says Bollema ran through a stop sign in his pickup truck and collided with the SUV.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — From fine embroidery to handwoven baskets, the 13th annual International Folk Art Market has something from every corner of the globe. The market is already the largest of its kind in the world, and organizers say this year will be even bigger, with nearly 200 artists representing several dozen countries. At a time of global strife, co-founders Judy Espinar and Carmella Padilla are aiming to bring people together to celebrate talent and tradition. The festivities open Friday evening and run through Sunday on Santa Fe's Museum Hill.