Local and State News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque police say a mother remains in critical condition after a crash that killed her 14-year-old daughter. Authorities released a statement Thursday identifying the girl as Shaylee Boling. Her 3-year-old brother was also in the vehicle at the time of the Wednesday crash but was not seriously injured. Police say events began Wednesday morning when officers spotted a stolen vehicle and tried to stop it, but discontinued their attempt because of "reckless actions" by the driver.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Dr. Leonard D. Thomas has been named permanent area director for the Indian Health Service in Albuquerque. The agency says Thomas has been acting Albuquerque area director since March and before that was the area's chief medical officer since July 2005. The area has four hospitals, 12 health centers, six health stations and several other facilities to serve more than 86,000 Native American patients.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico has announced a lawsuit against Japanese manufacturer Takata and a long list of auto makers in connection with the sale of cars with dangerous air bag inflators. Attorney General Hector Balderas' office argues that the manufacturers had a duty to ensure their products were safe and that concealment of air bag defects amounted to unfair, deceptive and unconscionable trade practices under New Mexico law.

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — A California couple has been rescued after being stranded in their van for days on a muddy forest road in a remote part of western New Mexico. New Mexico State Police say Kimberly and David Duran of Whittier were trying to take a scenic route home Saturday but ran into snow-covered, rutted roads. Rescuers reached the couple Wednesday after David Duran called 911 from a ridgetop where he found cell service. The couple told authorities they had food in their van and melted snow to drink. Authorities had been searching since family members reported them missing Monday.

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — There will be no elevator service at Carlsbad Caverns National Park for 10 days next month due to scheduled safety maintenance. Park officials say the secondary elevator system will be taken out of service to replace steel hoist cables. Both secondary elevator cars have eight cables, used to raise and lower the elevator cars in and out of the cavern. The cable replacement on each car will require at least five days of work. Officials say there will be no elevator service on Feb. 6-10 and Feb. 13-17. They say the elevators are scheduled to be back in service on Feb.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on funding difficulties in the New Mexico judiciary (all times local): 11:40 a.m. The chief justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court says funding cuts to the judiciary are threatening the constitutional rights to a speedy trial and along with basic court services. Chief Justice Charles Daniels addressed a joint session of the Legislature on Thursday. He described a judiciary that is "on life support" and said emergency funding is needed in the coming months for state courts to avoid furloughs and meet obligations to compensate jurors and witnesses.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque is going to study the feasibility of having a 10,000-seat stadium for a men's professional soccer team. A resolution approved by the City Council and signed by Mayor Richard Berry approves spending $15,000 on the feasibility study. According to city officials, the Albuquerque Sol Football Club needs to own or be primary tenant of a 10,000-seat stadium to seek entry into the United Soccer League. The team now belongs to a development league.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Though the number of homicides in Albuquerque has increased, the number of cases solved by police has gone down. KOAT-TV reports (http://bit.ly/2jcSz6U ) that Albuquerque Police saw 61 homicides in 2016, the most on record in 20 years, but the department's homicide clearance rate dropped to 65 percent. APD spokeswoman Celina Espinoza says the department's homicide clearance rate had previously been around 80 percent for several years. Espinoza says the department is close to closing multiple homicide cases from 2016.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Hundreds of New Mexico residents are headed to Washington, D.C., this week to attend festivities surrounding President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration. The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/2k7aJeu ) that Gov. Susana Martinez and Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry are scheduled to attend the swearing-in ceremony and many other members of New Mexico's delegates at the Republican Convention and others who got tickets through the state's congressional delegation.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The spotlight will be on funding difficulties in the judiciary as the chief justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court gives a speech to lawmakers. Chief Justice Charles Daniels is scheduled on Thursday to delivers his State of the Judiciary address to a joint session of the Legislature. Funding to the judiciary was cut by 3 percent in October, as lawmakers struggled to fill a budget hole. The Administrative Office of the Courts says it will run out of money in early March to compensate jurors and witnesses.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Albuquerque-based wildlife group has gathered hundreds of petition signatures in support of halting plans to develop New Mexico's share of the Gila River. The New Mexico Wildlife Federation is delivering the petition signatures to Gov. Susana Martinez's office on Thursday. The group contends the project would be a burden on taxpayers and lead to environmental damage. Under the Arizona Water Settlements Act, New Mexico is entitled to about 14,000 acre-feet of water a year from the river, or about 4.5 billion gallons.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — The president of the National Education Association is coming to southern New Mexico to help launch a new "community school." Lily Eskelsen Garcia is scheduled to visit Lynn Middle School in Las Cruces on Thursday to celebrate the opening a school the union says is a multipurpose center. Community schools are usually jointly operated through a partnership between the school and at least one lead community agency. The union president is slated to attend a student rally and speak at a presentation.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Oklahoma-based American Indian tribe is accusing the National Indian Gaming Commission of shirking a federal court order to reconsider an earlier decision that prohibited the tribe from conducting gambling on its land in southern New Mexico. Attorneys for the Fort Sill Apache filed a motion Tuesday, calling for the commission to be held in contempt. A previous order required the commission to reconsider its 2015 decision as part of a settlement process after receiving an opinion from the U.S.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico lawmakers are diving into efforts to close a lingering budget gap for the current budget year on the second day of their legislative session. Lawmakers begin deliberations Wednesday on a package of solvency bills designed to close a $69 million budget deficit for the fiscal year ending June 30. The plan would replenish state operating reserves to more than 2 percent of annual general fund spending. That would mark a significant step toward safeguarding the state's credit rating and low borrowing costs.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Albuquerque police say a crash has killed a passenger in a vehicle that collided with a stolen vehicle and that police are searching for two people who fled from the scene. Police say officers had spotted the stolen vehicle and tried to stop it Wednesday morning but discontinued their attempt because of what police called "reckless actions" by the driver of the stolen vehicle. According to police, officers then found the stolen vehicle after it was involved in a crash with the second vehicle.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The University of New Mexico has told its College Republicans organization it must pay a security charge for a scheduled campus appearance by far-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos (yuh-NAH'-poh-lihs). The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/2j9lJnx ) that the school's College Republicans have been ordered to pay $3,400 for the Jan. 27 event. UNM College Republicans President Marina Herrera called the charge a "free speech fine" and accused to university of attempting to censor the controversial speaker.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A new lawsuit says the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions isn't investigating claims of "wage theft." The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Santa Fe District Court on behalf of four workers and various advocacy groups says the agency is refusing to look into claims and doesn't hold employers liable for wage violations In addition, court documents accuse the Department of Workforce Solutions of not investigating or taking any enforcement action on wage claims that go back more than one year.

SHIPROCK, N.M. (AP) — The father of an 11-year-old Navajo girl who was abducted and left to die on the Navajo Nation is suing the tribe for failing to have an emergency notification system that he claims would have saved his daughter's life. The Farmington Daily Times reports (http://bit.ly/2izf3CO) that Ashlynne Mike's father, Gary Mike, has filed a civil complaint against the tribe. He's demanding a jury trial. Ashlynne was found dead May 3, the day after she was abducted near her school bus stop. An Amber Alert wasn't issued until around 2 a.m. the morning after her disappearance.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico lawmakers are proposing a change to the state constitution that would automatically provide voter registration through driver's license records unless individuals chose not to participate. Several Democratic lawmakers and the state's top elections regulator announced the proposed constitutional amendment Wednesday at the state Capitol. New Mexico currently provides voter registration services at Motor Vehicle Division offices, placing the onus on individuals to fill out an additional form.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Several storm systems are expected to blow across New Mexico starting Thursday and continuing into the weekend, producing strong winds, colder temperatures, rain in lower elevations and significant snowfall in high country. The National Weather Service says the state will be under an unsettled weather pattern into at least early next week. Forecasters say high temperatures will fall Friday and Saturday, starting the weekend with temperatures 5 to 15 degrees below average.

HOBBS, N.M. (AP) — A southeastern New Mexico sheriff has died in an apparent car crash. The Lea Country Sheriff's Office said Sheriff Steve Ackerman was killed Tuesday in a crash and was pronounced dead at the scene. No other injuries were reported. The office says New Mexico State Police is handling the investigation. It is believed that Ackerman may have been heading to Santa Fe for the start of the New Mexico Legislative session. Ackerman was elected in 2014. No other details were available.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The trial of a 22-year-old man accused of killing two teens over a drug debt is underway. Attorneys made opening statements Tuesday in the trial of Ricardo Martinez, who is accused of killing 18-year-old Venancio Cisneros and Cisneros' 13-year-old girlfriend Anamarie Ojeda in 2014. The victims' bodies were found Oct. 25, 2014 in a car parking on a residential road off State Route 14, south of Santa Fe. The girl had been shot once and Cisneros had been shot three times in the head.

PHOENIX (AP) — The federal government has reached another settlement for cleanup work at abandoned uranium mines across the Navajo Nation. The U.S. Justice Department, Environmental Protection Agency and tribe announced a settlement agreement Tuesday with two affiliated subsidiaries of Freeport-McMoRan for the cleanup of 94 abandoned uranium mines on the vast reservation. The mining operations stretched from western New Mexico into Arizona and southern Utah. The last uranium mine shut down in 1986. Under a proposed consent decree filed in U.S.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — ExxonMobil could become one of southeast New Mexico's top oil producers after announcing plans to acquire 275,000 acres of oil leases in the Permian Basin, which also covers parts of western Texas. The Albuquerque Journal reported (http://bit.ly/2jWWYuW ) Tuesday that ExxonMobil is paying $5.6 billion to the Bass family of Fort Worth, Texas, to acquire the family's lease acreage and operating entities. Daniel Fine with the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy at New Mexico Tech says ExxonMobil is likely to begin drilling in the area by the end of the year.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico lawmakers are diving into efforts to close a lingering budget gap for the current budget year on the second day of their legislative session. Lawmakers begin deliberations Wednesday on a package of solvency bills designed to close a $69 million budget deficit for the fiscal year ending June 30. The plan would replenish state operating reserves to more than 2 percent of annual general fund spending. That would mark a significant step toward safeguarding the state's credit rating and low borrowing costs.