Local and State News

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has signed a budget solvency bill that would shore up the state general fund with money from stalled construction projects. The Republican governor signed a measure Friday that would shift almost $90 million to state operating reserves mostly from projects authorized in 2013 and 2014 that never broke ground. Some projects would be reauthorized with borrowings from severance tax bonds. Lawmakers approved a solvency package this month during a special session to help address a nearly $600 million operating budget deficit.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is up for the third straight month. The Department of Workforce Solutions reports that the September rate was 6.7 percent as nonfarm employment dropped by 2,000 jobs from September 2015. The state's unemployment rate was steady at 6.2 percent in March, April, May and June before rising to 6.4 percent in July and 6.6 percent in August. Of the 13 industries measured in the state's economy, six added jobs, six lost jobs and one was unchanged from September 2015.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Online voter registration has gained in popularity in New Mexico since the system pioneered at the start of the year. New Mexico Elections Director Kari Fresquez said Friday that about 108,000 people have gone online to register or update voter records this year in a state with nearly 2.1 million residents. More than 25,000 people used the online system in the last couple of days before the general election registration deadline. Democrats account for just over 49,000 of the people using the online voter registration system. Republicans account for nearly 30,000.

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy says it has finished cleaning up toxic waste at four northern New Mexico sites. The Los Alamos Monitor reports (http://bit.ly/2e7NjAE ) that soil at four locations on the south rim of the Los Alamos Canyon was contaminated with waste leftover from the Manhattan Project and early atomic Cold War research. The cleanup began in June and was conducted by private subcontractor TerranearPMC. The DOE said in early October that it had removed about 133 cubic yards of soil from the area and sent it to a waste disposal site in Utah.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Officials say the state attorney general's office will prosecute the man suspected of shooting and killing an Albuquerque police officer last year. Michael Lewis, a deputy district attorney in Bernalillo County, says the state case stemming from the 2015 shooting death of Officer Daniel Webster will be transferred to the attorney general's office for prosecution. Authorities say ex-convict Davon Lymon fatally shot Webster a year ago during a traffic stop.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on a pre-dawn crash that injured an Albuquerque police officer (all times local): ___ 10:30 a.m. Authorities say three carjacking suspects who were in a stolen vehicle that crashed into a police SUV are under investigation for a spate of violent crimes across Albuquerque in recent months. Officer Fred Duran says investigators also linked the suspects to those arrested in the drive-by shooting death of 18-year-old Aliyah Garcia this year. Duran says the suspects have known each other for a while, however, the nature of the connection remains unclear.

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — The Navajo Nation Council voted against a proposed 120-bed nursing home before ending its fall session. The Gallup Independent reports (http://bit.ly/2dtSNaW ) that the Navajo Nation Sihasin fund appropriated $8 million for the planning and construction of a new Chinle Nursing Home to care for Navajo elders on the reservation. The plan, however, needed at least 16 yes votes from the council to be approved. It failed with a vote of 14-6 after a long debate.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A number of professionals in Albuquerque's criminal justice system are criticizing a study that linked the city's crime rate with its jail population. The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/2dtu9HL ) that some legal professionals are calling the study, which found there was a strong inverse relationship between the declining jail population and rising automobile thefts in Albuquerque, overly simplistic.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities in Albuquerque say five carjacking suspects are in custody following a pursuit and a crash involving a police vehicle driven by an off-duty police officer. The Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department says the Friday morning incident began when a citizen reported being carjacked at gunpoint. The subsequent collision and crash occurred in northwest Albuquerque during a pursuit after the stolen vehicle was spotted.

ISLETA PUEBLO, N.M. (AP) — Tribal and federal officials will be gathering on the banks of the Rio Grande at Isleta Pueblo to celebrate the settlement of a dispute stemming from one of the diversion dams along the river. Officials said Friday the multimillion-dollar agreement grants the federal government easement for the dam for the next 100 years and resolves trespass issues associated with dam. The pueblo also will receive a lump sum payment as well as support for sediment management, restoration projects in the wooded area along the river and other environmental work.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The head of the National Endowment for the Humanities is visiting New Mexico to celebrate and study Native American culture. Chairman William Adams will be touring the School of Advanced Research's Indian Arts Research Center, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and the Institute of American Indian Arts while in Santa Fe. He'll also stop by the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and the University of New Mexico campus in Albuquerque, where he'll participate in a talk about the organization's Next-Generation Ph.D. program. Adams and U.S. Sen.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's director of elections is briefing state lawmakers on efforts to modernize an online campaign finance information system widely criticized for obscuring the complete sources and destinations of political spending. Elections Director Kari Fresquez of the New Mexico Secretary of State's Office is scheduled to brief a legislative technology committee Friday on the estimated $985,000 cost for the project.

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — This year's homecoming celebration at the New Mexico Military Institute is about more than just a football game. The school is marking its 125th anniversary. To celebrate, the Roswell Daily Record reports that (http://bit.ly/2dEMIak) cadets will be representing each decade of the institute's history by wearing uniforms from those decades. In 1898, 13 cadets made history by being the first women to enroll, including Edith Matthews. She'll be represented this weekend by her great-great-granddaughter, cadet Maddux Porter.

ACOMA PUEBLO, N.M. (AP) — Acoma Pueblo has launched a legal fight, arguing that a more than century-old federal law prevents local and state officials from collecting property tax on tribally-owned land even if it's located outside of the tribe's recognized boundaries. The tribe filed its lawsuit in federal court in Las Cruces earlier this month. New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Secretary Demesia Padilla and Cibola County Treasurer Geraldine Rael are named as defendants.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The family of a 4-year-old girl killed on a New Mexico highway during a road-rage dispute has marked the one-year anniversary of her death with a balloon release in downtown Albuquerque. Alan and Veronica Garcia and other members of their family gathered Thursday evening on Civic Plaza. That's a year to the day that Lilly Garcia was fatally shot on Interstate 40 in Albuquerque during a dispute between the girl's father and another driver. Lilly was sitting in the backseat of her father's pickup with her older brother when she was struck.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — The newest segment of a 500-mile recreation trail that will one day stretch the length of New Mexico from Colorado to Texas is being dedicated in southern New Mexico. Gov. Susana Martinez visited Las Cruces' La Llorona Park on Thursday to celebrate the addition of more than 4 miles to the Rio Grande Trail. The governor in 2015 signed legislation creating a commission charged with defining the best routes and reaching the necessary agreements with local governments and property owners to build the statewide trail.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Chaparral tax preparer has been sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay nearly $25,000 in restitution in a tax fraud case. Prosecutors say 62-year-old Maria Ramirez was accused of preparing false tax returns and failing to report or pay gross receipts tax on her tax preparation business. They say Ramirez pleaded guilty to 29 counts of tax fraud, which are fourth-degree felonies.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The town of Edgewood and other defendants are appealing a ruling that they must pay the widow of man killed by police for not giving her documents she requested quickly enough. Erin Noll, filed a civil complaint in Santa Fe District Court in November 2015 asking a judge to force the town, the Department of Public Safety and the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office to release records related to the shooting death of her husband, Ethan Noll. The sheriff's office was later dropped from the lawsuit. Ethan Noll was shot and killed by State Police in April 2015.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The family of a 4-year-old girl shot and killed on a New Mexico highway during a road-rage dispute plans to mark the one-year anniversary of her death with a balloon release in downtown Albuquerque. Veronica Garcia says the family will gather on Civic Plaza at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, a year to the day since her daughter Lilly Garcia was fatally shot on Interstate-40 in Albuquerque during a road-rage dispute between the girl's father and another driver. Lilly was sitting in the backseat of her father's pickup with her older brother when she was struck.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The federal government is planning an expanded review of public lands management in northwestern New Mexico to address concerns about oil and gas development surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park. A World Heritage site, Chaco includes the remnants of an ancient civilization whose monumental architecture and cultural influences have been a source of mystery for years.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Though freshman enrollment at the New Mexico State University keeps rising, freshman retention has dropped and university officials are looking to change that. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports (http://bit.ly/2e4vItz ) that this year, 71.3 percent of last year's freshmen returned to NMSU compared to 73.1 percent in the Fall 2015 semester, or about 40 fewer students returned. The slight decrease comes after the university has invested in programs to help guide freshman and sophomores through their programs.

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — A group of Las Vegas citizens are seeking to recall the city's first elected female mayor over allegations of broken campaign promises and refusal to protect animals. The Las Vegas Optic reports (https://goo.gl/F3KgDX) a group led by a former campaign volunteer of Las Vegas Mayor Tonita Gurule-Giron is gathering signatures to force a recall election. Manuel "Manny" Martinez says Gurule-Giron also is responsible for losing more than $4 million from stopped water projects and for terminating employees without providing explanations.

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — Roswell Republicans say hundreds of yard signs in support of Donald Trump have been stolen or vandalized in recent weeks, and the latest incident was caught on camera. The head of the Republican Party of Chaves County, Jason Perry, says surveillance video shows a woman getting out of a vehicle and struggling to dismantle a large Trump-Pence sign in front of a home early Tuesday before taking off with the sign. The Roswell Daily Record reports (http://bit.ly/2e7GUqf) that the surveillance video has been turned over to police.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A federal court jury has found an Arizona man guilty on marijuana trafficking charges in New Mexico. Prosecutors say 57-year-old John Wayne Hargrove, of Pearce, was convicted Tuesday after a two-day trial in Las Cruces. Hargrove and four Mexican nationals were arrested in February on a criminal complaint charging them with conspiracy and possession of nearly 298 pounds of marijuana. Border Patrol agents arrested Hargrove and another defendant near the Arizona-New Mexico border and seized six bundles of marijuana from their truck.

CLOVIS, N.M. (AP) — A state district judge is considering motions to dismiss charges against a New Mexico mother who is accused of having an incestuous relationship with her 19-year-old son. The Clovis News Journal reports (http://bit.ly/2elTgNH) Judge Drew Tatum is expected to make a decision Thursday in the case of 36-year-old Monica Mares. The woman appeared in court Wednesday, with her attorney arguing that it was a consensual relationship and Mares should be able to make her own choices without government interference.