Local and State News

9:59am

Fri March 21, 2014
Local and State News

Top Water Officials Briefed on Rio Grande

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Top water officials from New Mexico, Colorado and Texas are indicating a willingness to work together as severe drought continues to hammer the region's water supplies.

Still, there was tension Thursday as officials with the Rio Grande Compact Commission gathered in Santa Fe for an annual meeting focused on management of the river.

New Mexico State Engineer Scott Verhines told his fellow commissioners he was disappointed the fight over the lower Rio Grande continues.

Texas officials say they're trying to defend their water rights.

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9:57am

Fri March 21, 2014
Local and State News

State Police Fired Albuquerque Officer in Shooting

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An officer in Sunday's fatal Albuquerque police shooting was hired by the department shortly after he was fired from New Mexico State Police in connection with a double-dipping scandal.

Detective Keith Sandy, a seven-year veteran with Albuquerque police, was fired by New Mexico State Police in 2007 following allegations a private contractor paid him for teaching classes while state police paid him to take classes.

Sandy never faced criminal charges in connection with the allegations.

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9:56am

Fri March 21, 2014
Local and State News

Dealers Sue New Mexico Over Auto Inspection Rule

ALBUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico automobile dealers are suing the state attorney general over a new rule requiring inspections and damage disclosures for used vehicles before they're sold to the public.

Attorney General Gary King's office says his office now faces three separate lawsuits filed by the New Mexico Independent Automotive Dealers Association, the New Mexico Automotive Dealers and multiple individual dealers over the rule his office enacted.

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9:55am

Fri March 21, 2014
Local and State News

New Mexico Man Pleads Guilty To Threatening Obama

Obama and is facing up to five years in federal prison.

Prosecutors say Tracy York White, of Las Cruces, entered into a plea agreement Thursday in a Las Cruces court.

White remains in federal custody pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

He was arrested last October, days after making the threats.

A criminal complaint alleged that White threatened Obama during an Oct. 24 telephone conversation with an employee of the Social Security Administration in Ohio.

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9:53am

Fri March 21, 2014
Local and State News

Landfill Search for 'E.T.' Video Game Halted

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico environmental regulators are blocking two companies from digging up an Alamogordo landfill in search of a rumored cache of what some consider the worst Atari video game of all time.

The Alamogordo News reports "E.T. The Extraterrestrial" game cartridges were rumored to have been dumped in the landfill in the 1980s.

New Mexico Environment Department spokesman Jim Winchester says an approved waste excavation plan is needed before any dig.

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9:52am

Fri March 21, 2014
Local and State News

Nuclear Waste from New Mexico Lab May Go To Texas

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The operator of the nation's troubled nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico wants to temporarily store waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory in rural West Texas until it reopens.

Waste storage at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad is halted because of a Feb. 5 truck fire and a Feb. 14 radiation leak that contaminated 17 workers.

Nuclear Waste Partnership says it and the Department of Energy propose to ship Los Alamos waste to a Waste Control Specialists site in Texas' Andrews County.

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9:11am

Thu March 20, 2014
Local and State News

Gov. Highlights Tax Help for New Mexicans

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Low income residents and senior citizens in New Mexico can get their taxes prepared for free.

Gov. Susana Martinez was in Albuquerque Tuesday to highlight Tax Help New Mexico, which offers free tax preparation for anyone over 65 and New Mexicans with an annual income of less than $52,000.

Last season, Tax Help New Mexico prepared 31,478 returns that resulted in $19 million in refunds and saved New Mexicans more than $4 million in tax preparation fees.

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9:09am

Thu March 20, 2014
Local and State News

New Mexico Enrolls 103K in Medicaid Since October

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez's administration reports that about 103,000 low-income New Mexicans have enrolled in Medicaid since the state expanded who qualifies for the health care program last year.

Human Services Department spokesman Matt Kennicott said the state is on track to meet projections that about 130,000 people will gain medical coverage during the first year of the Medicaid expansion.

Enrollment opened in October and services started in January. Medicaid provides health care for nearly 30 percent of the state's population.

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9:08am

Thu March 20, 2014
Local and State News

New Mexico Seeking To Avoid Past Tesla Mistakes

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — State officials are hoping to avoid the mistakes of six years ago after Tesla Motors opted not to build an auto manufacturing plant in New Mexico.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that New Mexico officials are discussing a variety of options in an effort to lure Tesla into building a lithium-ion battery factory in the state.

New Mexico is one of four states identified as finalists for a lithium-ion battery factory that would supply the company's Fremont, Calif., assembly plant. Others are Arizona, Nevada and Texas.

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9:06am

Thu March 20, 2014
Local and State News

Officers in Albuquerque Police Shooting Identified

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The officers in a fatal Albuquerque police shooting of a man in the city's foothill have been identified.

Albuquerque police spokeswoman Tasia Martinez says officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez are linked to the fatal shooting Sunday.

Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden told reporters the man was shot Sunday night and was rushed to the University of New Mexico Hospital. The man, who has not been identified, later died.

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9:05am

Thu March 20, 2014
Local and State News

Democrat Staying in State Treasurer's Race

Democrat staying in state treasurer's race

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The secretary of state's office says former Bernalillo County Treasurer Patrick Padilla has secured a place on the June primary ballot as a Democratic candidate for state treasurer.

Padilla turned in additional nominating petition signatures Tuesday to continue his candidacy after failing to win a place on the ballot at the Democratic pre-primary nominating convention earlier this month.

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8:51am

Wed March 19, 2014
Local and State News

2 New Mexico Tribes Considering Opening Casinos

(Information in the following story is from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Two New Mexico tribes have approached the governor about gambling compacts, making for a crowded field in the world of Native American gambling operations.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that officials with Zuni Pueblo and Jemez Pueblo said Friday that fewer federal and state funds and the economy's downturn factored into their decision.

Both tribes sent letters to Gov. Susana Martinez in January expressing their interest.

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8:49am

Wed March 19, 2014
Local and State News

Report: New Mexico Leans on Oil, Gas Revenue

(Information in the following story is from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.sfnewmexican.com)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A new report detailing New Mexico's reliance on oil and gas shows diversifying the state's economy could prove challenging.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the New Mexico Tax Research Institute found even counties where there is little oil and gas development have benefited from those industries.

According to the institute, $1.7 billion of $5.5 billion of the state's general fund last year was from oil and gas revenues.

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8:48am

Wed March 19, 2014
Local and State News

Santa Fe Man Convicted in 2012 Party Killings

(Information in the following story is from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.sfnewmexican.com)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A man accused of fatally shooting two men at a Santa Fe-area Christmas party in 2012 has been found guilty of the slayings.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports a jury convicted 19-year-old Joe Rivera on Saturday of one count each of second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter.

Prosecutors say Rivera shot 23-year-old John Griego and 29-year-old Nicholas Baker outside of Griego's home on Christmas Day.

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8:42am

Wed March 19, 2014
Local and State News

National Science Foundation Gets New Director

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — An internationally recognized astrophysicist with ties to New Mexico has been tapped to serve as the next director of the National Science Foundation.

The nomination of France Cordova was approved by the U.S. Senate this week.

Cordova, a Santa Fe resident, is a former president of Purdue University. She's also on the governing board of the Smithsonian Institution and she worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory between 1979 and 1989.

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall says he looks forward to working with Cordova.

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8:41am

Wed March 19, 2014
Local and State News

ABQ Biopark Zoo Welcomes Tiny New Dove To The Nest

(Information in the following story is from: KRQE-TV, http://www.krqe.com)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Feathers are getting ruffled by a new member of the Albuquerque zoo's family.

KRQE-TV reports that the ABQ Biopark Zoo is caring for a new tiny bird known as the Socorro Dove.

Zoo officials say the breed is extinct in the wild and only a hundred exist in captivity.

The zoo currently houses 25 Socorro Doves as part of its special breeding program to increase the bird's population.

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3:39pm

Tue March 18, 2014
Local and State News

New Mexico Special Session for Tesla Eyed

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez says a legislative special session to help the state win a Tesla Motors facility is a possibility.

New Mexico is one of four states that Tesla's Fremont, Calif., assembly plant has identified as finalists for a battery factory. Others are Arizona, Nevada and Texas.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, Martinez says her office is evaluating whether a special session is necessary to complete a package of economic incentives being crafted to help make New Mexico more appealing to Tesla.

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3:38pm

Tue March 18, 2014
Local and State News

More Bats Found in Cave at N.M. National Monument

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — Researchers report finding twice as many bats hibernating in a cave at a national monument in in northwestern New Mexico and they say that may be the result of fewer human visitors.

The Gallup Independent reports that researchers found 180 bats hibernating in Junction Cave at El Malpais National Monument near Grants during a winter count.

That's up from between 80 and 90 in the past.

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3:37pm

Tue March 18, 2014
Local and State News

Albuquerque School Bus Driver Arrested

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A school bus driver in Albuquerque is accused of unsafe driving.

Bernalillo County sheriff's Sgt. Aaron Williamson says callers reported that the bus had cut off a motorist and applied its brakes without regard for the safety of kids on the bus or of other motorists.

Williamson says there weren't any kids on the bus when it was pulled over in southwest Albuquerque Monday afternoon. He says they'd already been dropped off.

He says 51-year-old Linda Barreto was arrested on suspicion of child abuse and possession of dangerous drugs.

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3:36pm

Tue March 18, 2014
Local and State News

Advocates To Hold Protests Targeting Pearce

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Immigrant advocates are preparing for another string of demonstrations targeting the lone Republican of New Mexico's congressional delegation.

The group Somos Un Pueblo Unido announced this week that activists will hold at least three protests in the district of Congressman Steve Pearce. He represents the state's border region and its most Hispanic congressional district.

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