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.
A federal judge in Nevada has temporarily banned the Bureau of Land Management from using helicopters to gather many of the hundreds of mustangs targeted in a roundup that's already under way about 150 miles northeast of Reno.
U.S. District Judge Howard McKibben granted part of a temporary restraining order late Wednesday. Horse protection advocates who sought the order say the BLM's own rules prohibit helicopter roundups during foaling season.
A state park in northeastern New Mexico is hosting a butterfly festival that was canceled last year because of a wildfire. Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton is holding its Bodacious Butterfly Festival on Friday through Sunday.
Visitors can take walks with local experts to identify butterflies, which should include silver-spotted Skippers, Clouded Suphurs and a local specialty called the Raton Mesa fritillary.
Emergency managers will have more time to warn residents living near the burn scar of a massive wildfire in southwestern New Mexico about flooding during the monsoon season.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service will be purchasing eight early warning systems that will be placed within the perimeter of the Whitewater-Baldy fire. The blaze, the largest in New Mexico's recorded history, has charred more than 464 square miles. It's 87 percent contained.
A state judge has ruled that the website of a former University of New Mexico president accused of helping run an online prostitution ring was legal.
The Albuquerque Journal reports District Judge Stan Whitaker ruled the website, an online message board and a computer account of former University of New Mexico President F. Chris Garcia did not constitute a "house of prostitution." He also said the website wasn't "a place where prostitution is practiced, encouraged or allowed."
Homeland Security Investigations agents have raided the homes of a Rio Rancho man and four Albuquerque residents in connection with a South Carolina-based scheme aimed at illegally obtaining New Mexico driver's licenses.
The five New Mexico residents were among 30 individuals named in federal indictments unsealed Tuesday.
According to the indictments, defendants used fake utility bills to get New Mexico driver's licenses. The state is one of two that allows illegal immigrants to obtain a driver's license.
Thieves have hit a historic Santa Fe church twice, and its pastor says the shrine is in dire need of a security upgrade. KRQE-TV reports that the Santuario de Guadalupe was robbed last week after a thief pried open a little wooden box that holds donations from the faithful and swiped the money inside. Someone also busted through rod iron bars in the back of the church, broke a window and stole two wooden crosses.
Governor Susana Martinez has directed workers in her administration to use only the state's email system when conducting government business.
The Republican governor's directive on Monday came a week after it was disclosed that the governor and administration officials had discussed state issues using email accounts connected to her political action committee. Critics said the practice was unacceptable, particularly for a governor who touted the need for more governmental transparency.
Investigators say they have evidence groups in China were paying a former Sandia National Labs scientist to travel to their country to share stolen research. KRQE-TV reports federal agents say they found proof that Jianyu Huang was getting reimbursed for hotels, airfare and other expenses for trips to China, according to a released search warrant.
The option to vote a straight party ticket is disappearing in New Mexico and won't be available when people head to the polls in November.
Voters historically could support a party's entire slate of candidates by making just one mark on the ballot or pressing a single button or level on a machine. But Secretary of State Dianna Duran has decided not to allow that in this year's general election because there's no provision in state law specifically authorizing it.
Anglers who fish in the San Juan River are calling on New Mexico officials to maintain natural gas service in the Four Corners region. The Farmington Daily Times reports fishermen from outside the state are behind a majority of complaints regarding the decision by New Mexico Gas Co. to cut off gas to dozens of customers below the Navajo Dam, including hotels and fly-fishing businesses.
Several fishermen say they will consider vacationing elsewhere if local businesses are forced to close or scale back services.
A Holloman Air Force Base commander says the Air Force will pay if sonic booms from training flights damage property in the surrounding communities. The Alamogordo Daily News reports Col. David Krumm met with mountain residents in Cloudcroft last week to discuss how the base is trying to lessen the impact of sonic booms.
Biologists are trying to save a threatened trout species in southwestern New Mexico, even as crews around the West struggle to contain blazes that have charred hundreds of square miles of forested countryside.
The concern is that after the fires, summer rains could choke waterways with ash, soil and charred debris. A team is using electroshocking devices to temporarily stun the Gila (HEE'-luh) trout. The fish are then scooped up and ferried to a hatchery in northern New Mexico for safe keeping.
Navajo and Hopi lawmakers soon are expected to decide the fate of a water rights settlement that could end years of litigation or send the tribes back to court. The settlement recognizes the rights of the tribes to groundwater within the Little Colorado River basin. The Navajo Nation also would get nearly three-fourths of surface water from the river.
Both tribes would waive further claims to the river system in exchange for groundwater delivery projects paid for by the federal government.
A campground at the Bandelier National Monument will remain closed for up to 10 days while authorities try to capture a black bear that scratched a young girl. New Mexico Game and Fish spokesman Dan Williams says the back of the girl's neck was grazed when the bear swatted the tent where she and her mother were sleeping Wednesday morning.
The bear ran off after the two came out with flashlights. But Williams says the bear will likely be euthanized if caught.
Senator Jeff Bingaman is sponsoring legislation to establish national historical parks in Los Alamos and the two other key sites where the atomic bomb was developed.
The legislation stems from the recommendations of a report from the National Park Service and the Department of Energy. The proposal would create the parks at Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Hanford, Wash.
The $2.2 billion Manhattan project operated from December 1942 until September 1945. At its peak it employed 130,000 workers, but was kept largely secret and out of public view.
Lawmakers are calling for the state Attorney General to investigate whether a list of non-union teacher email addresses that was compiled by public employees and sent to Governor Susana Martinez's political director constitutes a violation of the law.
New Mexico's investment funds grew by more than $2 billion during the first three months of the year because of strong investment returns.
The Legislative Finance Committee reports state permanent funds and the pension funds of the Public Employees Retirement Association and the Educational Retirement Board had combined asset values of nearly $36.6 billion at the end of March. That's up about $279 million from a year ago.
The PERA had a quarterly return of 8 percent and assets of $12 billion.
The ERB had a return of 7 percent and assets of nearly $9.6 billion.
Portales police have arrest two people involved in what authorities call a sophisticated ring that specialized in helping illegal immigrants obtain fraudulent New Mexico driver's licenses.
Ninth Judicial District Attorney Matthew Chandler announced Wednesday that Veronica Diaz and Jose-Luis Tirado were arrested this weekend for their roles in the scheme. Both are being held on $10,000 cash only bond.
Authorities believe hundreds of licenses have been fraudulently obtained through the ring over the last couple of years for illegal immigrants living outside of New Mexico.
As firefighters continue to battle massive blazes in New Mexico and Colorado, U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell is renewing his call to restore forests to a more natural state.
He says a combination of decades of vigorous fire suppression and the waning of the timber industry over environmental concerns has left many forests subject to the kind of super-fires that are now regularly consuming hundreds of homes and millions of acres.
A new online journalism organization called New Mexico In Depth has been established to publish investigative reports and articles on issues ranging from education and health care to politics and poverty.
The news outlet announced Wednesday it's receiving $525,000 over two years from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and plans to start publishing later this year.
Governor Susana Martinez said in a letter Tuesday that restrictions on fireworks are needed because of the state's drought and high winds. The state also is fighting two raging wildfires caused by lightning.
State law allows local jurisdictions the power to restrict the use of fireworks and to ban certain fireworks during droughts. However, local officials must hold a public hearing and issue a proclamation for a ban at least 20 days before a holiday for which fireworks can be sold.