Federal officials say continued dry conditions and high fire danger have prompted them to toughen up fire restrictions for lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management in parts of central and western New Mexico.
The agency announced the new restrictions Thursday. They prohibit all off-road travel through BLM lands in Bernalillo, Catron, Cibola, McKinley, Sandoval, Socorro and Valencia counties.
The restrictions will take effect Friday morning. Campfires, fireworks and smoking outdoors are already prohibited.
The University of New Mexico is seeking funding to expand its medical school to battle the university's well-documented lack of space.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that school officials are seeking a $30 million expansion and will ask lawmaker for more funding next year. The university also is hoping to procure a private donor and get voters to approve bonds.
Governor Susana Martinez is continuing her push to overhaul how New Mexico handles capital improvements and is ordering state agencies to develop five-year master plans for setting priorities for the financing of projects.
Martinez has issued an executive order requiring the new planning process for capital improvements by agencies under the governor's control.
City commissioners in the southern New Mexico town of Truth or Consequences are proposing a moratorium on well drilling in the city.
Officials took the unusual step Tuesday night to enable a study of whether the number of wells tapping into the town's famed hot springs is harming the resource, considered by some to be sacred and medicinal. The thermal springs are the lifeblood of the town and its eclectic mix of inns and spas.
By The Associated Press and The Santa Fe New Mexican
Governor Susana Martinez's administration and American Indian officials are at odds on a proposal to redesign Medicaid. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that both sides sparred Monday over how thoroughly the state consulted with New Mexico's 22 Indian tribes on possible changes.
One criticism of the proposal tribal officials raised is that the state would discontinue the payment of medical bills in the three months prior to an individual's enrollment in Medicaid, as is currently done.
The state Canvassing Board has ordered recounts in razor-close primary election races for two state Senate seats. The board on Tuesday certified election results for the June 5 primary election, except for the races requiring recounts.
State law requires automatic recounts when the difference between the top two candidates is less than one-half of 1 percent.
A former state senator from Albuquerque is trying for a political comeback as an independent candidate for the Legislature. Former Republican Sen. Joseph Carraro filed Tuesday to run against Republican Sen. John Ryan of Albuquerque in the November general election.
Carraro said he switched from being a Republican in 2008 after losing the party's nomination for the 1st Congressional District. Ryan drew no Democratic opponent this year and would have been unopposed in the general election if Carraro hadn't filed as a candidate.
A dispute over who should run Albuquerque's public access cable TV channels resulted in a lock out this week.
Members of Quote... Unquote, Inc., the company that has run two of the city's channels for decades, were locked out of the station's studios on Tuesday as they prepared to remove the company's equipment. The City recently awarded the contract to run the stations to a new company, but Quote... Unquote's contract wasn't set to expire until the end of the month.
ByMegan Kamerick and The Carlsbad Current-Argus and The Associated Press
The U.S. Department of Energy is eying two sites in Eddy County to store 10,000 metric tons of mercury (about 22 million pounds). A site in West Texas was DOE’s preferred storage spot, according to the Carlsbad Current-Argus. But now the federal agency is exploring two locations near the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad.
Jody Knox, president of the Carlsbad Department of Development, said her board supports the proposal.
On Thursday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will be hosting a public meeting about a proposed uranium deconversion plant near Hobbs, N.M.
In 2009, International Isotopes submitted an application to the NRC, which oversees the nation’s nuclear power plants and other nuclear facilities. At the proposed Fluorine Extraction Process and Depleted Uranium Deconversion Plant, depleted uranium hexafluoride will be “deconverted” into fluorine products for commercial sale.
Governor Susana Martinez says she never supported an Arizona-style crackdown on undocumented immigrants in New Mexico but understands the "frustration felt by Arizonans" due to the lack of federal action on immigration reform. Martinez issued the statement Monday in response to the Supreme Court decision throwing out provisions of the Arizona law.
Governor Susana Martinez says state laws aimed at fighting prostitution are outdated and need to be fixed to help authorities go after online sites that promote prostitution. Martinez told The Associated Press on Monday that she will ask state lawmakers to pass new legislation making online sites linked to prostitution illegal.
Her comments come just days after a state judge ruled that a website linked to a former University of New Mexico president accused of helping run an online prostitution ring was legal.
If you missed live analysis of the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Arizona's SB1070 immigration law on Monday, check out our two-week archive to stream the program again. The special was produced by the Fronteras Changing America Desk public media collaborative and included reactions from Arizona officials and a look at national impacts.
The US Supreme Court issued its decision Monday, striking down most of its provisions but upholding immigration status checks.
By The Associated Press and The Albuquerque Journal
Santa Fe has extended an agreement with a security company for its city buildings despite the firm's higher cost. The Albuquerque Journal reports the Santa Fe City Council recently voted 5-1 to renew a contract with Chavez Security for a second year even though the deal will cost half a million dollars more than bids from other companies.
Chavez Security is charging the city about $517,000 per year, a rate of $136,000 more than another competitor offered. That amounts to at least $540,000 over the course of the four-year contract.
Plutonium from a former nuclear weapons complex in South Carolina is leaving for a federal storage site in New Mexico. The Augusta Chronicle reports that a shipment of plutonium from old nuclear weapons is leaving the Savannah River Site this week for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad.
New Mexico's two U.S. senators are pushing legislation that would make it easier for residents affected by wildfires on federal lands to take advantage of flood insurance administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Senator Jeff Bingaman introduced the measure last week. Senator Tom Udall is a co-sponsor.
Gov. Susan Martinez has challenged leaders of the state's colleges and universities to develop a plan to fix schools' remedial programs.
Martinez made the challenge Monday to university leaders at the Central New Mexico Community College-Workforce Training Center just days after a new report said New Mexico colleges were some of the most underperforming nationwide.
Martinez said she wanted administrators to develop a new plan by the end of the year aimed at creating stronger remedial programs to prevent students from dropping out of college.
Corrales Mayor Pro Tem Mick Harper says partying teens may have been behind last week's Bosque fire that charred about 360 acres. KOAT-TV reports Harper says the village's fire department closed the Bosque entrance near where the fire began two weeks ago, partly because of the partiers.
Sudan releases woman slated for stoning, Hillary Clinton pushes for reproductive rights at UN conference, study finds links between IVF and cancer, Michigan female lawmakers protest with Vagina Monologues
A state board led by Governor Susana Martinez has approved money for security equipment for a new district courthouse in Santa Fe but not for other furnishings needed for the building to be occupied in January.
The Board of Finance agreed Thursday to an $87,000 loan to the First Judicial District Court for security equipment but the court had asked for an additional $740,000 for furniture and computers.
The New Mexico Racing Commission is adopting new regulations for drug-testing horses. The commission on Thursday unanimously approved standards modeled after the Association of Racing Commissioners International. The new rules will go into effect July 31.
Commission officials say the new regulations will call for heavier penalties than what the state has enforced when it comes to drug cases and that they were already considering changes in drug policies before the New York Times published a story describing New Mexico as having the worst horse safety record in the United States.
One year after the massive Los Conchas fire scorched more than 240 square miles in northern New Mexico, threatening the town of Los Alamos and its premier nuclear facility, federal officials have announced plans to build a permanent Interagency Fire Center in the heart of the area's fire country.
Los Alamos National Laboratory is letting go of some of its workers. The Los Alamos Monitor reports lab director Charlie McMillan said 80 contractor positions would be eliminated. McMillan made the announcement Wednesday in a memo sent to all employees.
The lab terminated 60 employees in April and 557 others left the lab in March as part of a voluntary separation program. McMillan has scheduled a meeting on June 27 to discuss the lab's workforce with all employees.
New Mexico Attorney General Gary King's office has joined a probe into McKinley County.
The Gallup Independent reports (http://bit.ly/Axbadj) that the attorney general's Government Accountability Division requested last week county documents dating back to Jan. 2007 in connection with the county's business dealings with Board of Commissioners Chairman David Dallago's company, the Dallago Corporation.
The office of New Mexico State Auditor Hector Balderas is looking into possible conflicts of interest and the high dollar amount billed to the county by the Dallago Corp.