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Local and State News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Winter weather conditions are forecast across much of New Mexico this weekend. The National Weather Service says an upper level trough will cross the state overnight, with accumulating snow and strong wind expected Saturday night and Sunday morning. Forecasters say mountains of northern New Mexico will get up to several inches of snow, with the San Juan and Tusas mountains expected to receive 8 to 12 inches above 10,000 feet. Wing gusts of 50 to 5 mph are possible in areas east of the Continental Divide, especially east of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A spokesman for the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office says an armed man has taken his own life after being confronted by law enforcement in the Rancho Viejo area on the southern outskirts of Santa Fe. Sheriff's Office spokesman Juan Rios said an armed man took his life in an open field near the Santa Maria de la Paz church on Friday evening at about the time the sun was setting. Deputies had shut down roads in the area as they responded to a report of a distraught, armed man.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Officials with the New Mexico Tourism Department say the state spent $40,000 to sponsor the wrong film festival in Santa Fe. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports (http://bit.ly/2guvU5v ) that state officials say the accidentally gave the funds to the Santa Fe Film Festival in 2015 instead of the similarly named Santa Fe Independent Film Festival. The Tourism Department also paid the Independent Film Festival $40,000. Santa Fe Film Festival chairman Omar Hamid says the group spent the money on the festival's expenses and therefore cannot give it back.

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to shooting and killing two people. The Las Vegas Optic reports (http://bit.ly/2guAWyS ) that 46-year-old Donald Valdez was sentenced Monday to the maximum amount allowed under his plea agreement with prosecutors. Prosecutors say Valdez fatally shot Fred Montoya and Bernadine Garcia inside a mobile home in Cleveland after an argument in October 2015. Amanda Miera was also shot in the left shoulder and survived.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on a 15-year-old Wisconsin girl reported missing in Albuquerque (all times local): 11:35 a.m. Albuquerque police say a 15-year-old Wisconsin girl who had been reported missing while visiting in New Mexico has been found safe. Spokesman Fred Duran says Synderelia Trujillo was found Friday with friends. Duran previously said the girl was at her grandfather's house Thursday morning when she didn't return after going to the family vehicle. Her hometown wasn't provided. 4 a.m.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal authorities and police are investigated reports of vandalism at three Starbucks locations in Albuquerque. FBI spokesman Frank Fisher said suspicious devices were placed at the coffee shops after midnight and that one of them caused minimal damage. The shops were closed at the time, and no one was injured. Fisher did not provide any details about the devices Friday but noted that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was investigating along with the FBI and Albuquerque police.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The University of New Mexico has released a promotional video as part of a $2 million rebranding campaign. The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/2fcTgzr) that the video is part of a broader effort to recruit more students and promote the school's offerings. Enrollment and tuition dollars have been down at the university in recent years. Officials say a 1.5 percent increase in enrollment can translate to nearly $3.5 million in new revenue.

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — Investigators say an apparent equipment failure is likely to blame for a fire that shut down an oil production site in northwestern New Mexico in July. Tulsa, Oklahoma-based WPX Energy announced the findings of a three-month review on its website this week. The company says the investigation included interviews with a dozen people. Officials say evidence suggests the fire started a transfer pump that was used to move oil between temporary storage tanks that were on site for the startup of new oil wells.

CLOVIS, N.M. (AP) — An Albuquerque man was killed in a one-vehicle traffic accident in Clovis when he crossed an intersection at a high speed, lost control and struck a utility pole. Police say 25-year-old Edward Altieri died as a result of injuries suffered in Thursday's collision.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The telegenic Hispanic mayor of the nation's oldest state capital has become a public face of "sanctuary cities" following Donald Trump's presidential victory. Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales sat down with Fox and CNN anchors last week to denounce Trump's renewed vows to deport millions of immigrants and his campaign promises to withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities that defy immigration authorities. Santa Fe isn't the typical U.S. sanctuary city.

SILVER CITY, N.M. (AP) — Western New Mexico University has entered another agreement with an entity south of the border. The school announced this week it has signed a letter of intent with the Mexican state of Sinaloa on research projects and student exchanges. Officials say the agreement is the first step on future collaborations with Sinaloa around academic, science and culture for the secondary and higher education institutions in the Mexican state. Western New Mexico University also committed to offer in-state tuition rates to students from Sinaloa.

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — Police say a man wanted in connection with a northern New Mexico candy store heist has been arrested. The Las Vegas Optic reports (https://goo.gl/zj2uc5) 54-year-old Ramon Lucero recently was taking into custody for burglarizing the Ulibarri Farms Candy Shoppe in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Authorities say Lucero took about $300 in cash from the register and $50 worth of candy, including a jar of Squirrel Nut Zippers, Assorted Taffy and Bit O Honey. An affidavit says police were able to identify Lucero from video surveillance footage.

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — State regulators have fined a troubled water utility $1 million and ordered that it immediately provide safe drinking water to residents in a Farmington-area subdivision. The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission unanimously approved the order against AV Water Co. LLC during a meeting Wednesday. The Farmington Daily Times reports (http://bit.ly/2fsTRez) it's possible the fine could be waived. Commissioners said they included the option of waiving fines to prevent discouraging another entity from taking over the water system. AV Water Co.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on an arson investigation at an anti-abortion organization in Albuquerque (all times local): 7:27 p.m. The FBI has released images showing a white car seen near the Project Defending Life office that was set on fire. The driver is seen exiting the car and returning several minutes later. The FBI says the person is not a suspect but rather could be a witness.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A conservation group says the federal government hasn't been transparent about its removal of a Mexican gray wolf from the wild this month. The wolf is an endangered species and only there are only 97 of them in Arizona and New Mexico, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. The organization says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service captured a gray wolf in east-central Arizona in response to the killing of cattle on nearby land.

TAOS, N.M. (AP) — The Taos County Sheriff's Office says a 35-year-old man is dead after crashing his car near San Cristobal on Wednesday. The sheriff's office says a deputy spotted a crash scene down an embankment off the side of State Road 522, north of San Cristobal early on Wednesday morning. The deputy then spotted Jose Herrera of Questa, who had been ejected from the car. Police are still investigating the crash and believe alcohol may have been a factor.

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — Police say are investigating the killing in Roswell of a 35-year-old who man was fatally shot on Wednesday. Police say several residents reported hearing multiple shots fired before officers responded and found Jeremy Ridens, who had been shot during what appears to be a fight with one or more people in the yard of a Roswell home. Ridens made his way to another house after being shot and collapsed. Police haven't identified any suspects and are still investigating.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque police say a man robbed at knifepoint shot the alleged robber and then fatally shot the wounded man in the head as he lay on the ground cursing, waiving his knife and making threats. Police say 19-year-old Damian Hidalgo faces an open count of murder in the incident that occurred Tuesday in a parking lot where Hidalgo went to purchase marijuana. According to police, another man got into Hidalgo's car, demanded Hidalgo's wallet at knifepoint and then started running.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn says his proposal to boost early childhood education funding has a better chance of approval with the election of Donald Trump as president. Dunn is seeking support from state and federal lawmakers to transfer federal mineral rights underneath private lands to the state of New Mexico. The State Land Office would lease the subsurface holdings to oil and natural gas developers and deposit revenues in a trust fund for early childhood education.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Portland, Oregon-based general contractor for Facebook's planned data center in New Mexico says it's important to both it and Facebook to hire local subcontractors for the project. Fortis Construction Inc.'s statement Wednesday responds to criticism from New Mexico construction industry leaders that subcontractor restrictions likely will disqualify many local companies from the project in Los Lunas. Fortis Executive Vice President David Aaroe says the company's vetting process for primary subcontractors requires them to have a plan in place to hire locally.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Democrats in New Mexico will be able to get new leadership as the head of the party has announced she will not seek a second term. Democratic Party of New Mexico state Chairwoman Debra Haaland said Tuesday that she will step down in April, when the party will elect a new state leader. On Tuesday the party's 24-year-old vice chairman, Juan Sanchez of Belen, declared his interest in the position.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico regulators are now considering a proposal by the U.S. Department of Energy to close part of the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository due to safety and contamination concerns. The plan was first announced in October but officials with the New Mexico Environment Department confirmed this week that they recently received the federal government's written request. It's unclear when a decision will be made. State regulators must also conduct a site inspection in the coming weeks as the federal government looks to reopen the troubled facility.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez says law enforcement across the state is stepping up patrols over the holiday season to crack down on drunken driving. She says state police officers will be placed every 20 miles along Interstate-40 over the Thanksgiving weekend to patrol for drunken drivers, and to catch other traffic violations. The boost in officers on the highway is part of a nationwide project that other state highway patrols and police in the U.S. are participating in. She says that during last year's "holiday superblitz," officers in the state made almost 300 arrests.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An early morning fire has caused heavy damage to a luxury condo complex under construction in Albuquerque's Nob Hill district. The Fire Department says the cause of the Wednesday morning fire at "The Carlisle" is under investigation but that there were multiple ignition points / Department officials say the complex is likely a total loss due to fire and water damage. Responding firefighters saw flames and smoke coming from the building. The firefighters kept the fire from spreading to nearby buildings and the fire was contained to the complex.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez wants incoming state lawmakers to know that the state's land grant permanent fund should be off-limits from efforts to resolve a budget deficit. Martinez and other members of the State Investment Council that oversee the investment of $20.8 billion in state assets discussed Tuesday ways to inform newly elected legislators that the State Land Grant Permanent Fund is an endowment and not a rainy-day fund for use in lean budget years.

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