This week, an American icon celebrates his birthday: Smokey Bear is turning 68.
He’s still a spry old guy, kept alive by the Ad Council and the US Forest Service. It’s New Mexico’s forests that have been taking a hammering. In 2011, the Las Conchas Fire was the largest in state history. Then this year, the Whitewater-Baldy Fire in the Gila National Forest doubled its record. This summer also saw the state’s most destructive wildfire, the Little Bear Fire near Ruidoso.
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has been tapped to speak at the Republican National Convention, a political honor that gives the first-term governor a national stage while putting to rest months-long rumors that she was on Mitt Romney's short list of potential running mates.
Martinez said, "The veep rumor is over. I've said it over and over and over and over, I don't have any interest in being the vice president. I have every interest in the world of staying in New Mexico and taking care of New Mexico business."
A New Mexico man is in federal custody after authorities seized more than 65,000 rounds of ammunition from his home. Authorities say 25-year-old Carlos Guadalupe Morales allegedly was buying large amounts of ammunition and shipping them to Mexican drug cartels.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents arrested Morales after executing a search warrant Tuesday at his apartment in Anthony. Agents reported finding 65,195 rounds of ammo, two ballistic vests and three Kevlar military helmets plus a semi-automatic rifle and pistol.
The New Mexico Land Office says it has earned more than $650 million from state trust lands in the most recent fiscal year.
State Land Commissioner Ray Powell attributes the record-setting revenue to higher oil prices and a thoughtful selection of tracts for lease. He says advances in technology have allowed larger volumes of oil to be produced from existing wells.
Renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, and commercial leases also contributed to the earnings.
The New Mexico Horse Council has sent Gov. Susana Martinez a letter urging her to support a proposed horse slaughterhouse in Roswell, saying the closing of domestic facilities five years ago has caused "needless suffering under the cruelest of conditions."
The council, which represents more than 200 horse owners and 30 horse clubs, said an informal survey of its members showed 94 percent favor humane slaughter to help with an overpopulation crisis that has left many horses starving and abandoned.
By The Santa Fe New Mexican & The Associated Press
Los Alamos National Laboratory is warning its employees to prepare for protests as the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb nears. The world's first atomic bomb was developed in Los Alamos during World War II and was dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945.
A legal battle over water in the lower Rio Grande has New Mexico accusing the federal government of trying to take control of the state’s groundwater.
In a filing in the Third District Court in Las Cruces recently, the Bureau of Reclamation said it should be able to pump groundwater when it needs to deliver water in the Rio Grande to downstream users, such as farmers.
That raised the hackles of New Mexico state legislators, and others, including the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer. That office controls the state’s groundwater.
Mosquitoes in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties have tested positive for the West Nile Virus.
Paul Ettestad of the state Department of Public Health says recent rain across New Mexico has created breeding sites for mosquitoes.
Officials are urging the public to use bug repellent when outdoors, especially during the evening and early morning hours when mosquitoes are most active. The city of Albuquerque operates a mosquito control program that also covers Bernalillo County.
Common symptoms of West Nile Virus include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches.
Social services advocates are urging Republican Governor Susana Martinez to support expanding Medicaid to provide health care to nearly 150,000 low-income New Mexicans.
A group representing working families, Organizers in the Land of Enchantment or OLÉ, delivered a plate of waffles to the governor's office on Tuesday, saying they want Martinez to "stop waffling" and back an expansion of Medicaid as proposed under a federal health care law.
President Barack Obama has signed a bill designed to expedite home building and energy development on tribal lands.
The law enables tribes to approve trust land leases directly, rather than waiting for approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Navajo Nation already has that authority.
The so-called HEARTH Act was sponsored by Democratic Rep. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico. It's expected to open the door to badly needed housing development on reservations, as well as wind and solar energy projects that tribes have been eager to launch.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that the drilling of monitoring wells at Kirtland Air Force Base has been delayed until later this year. The monitoring wells are being drilled in order to determine the extent of contamination from a leak of about 24 million gallons of jet fuel.
One of the two contractors drilling the wells has gone out of business.
KUNM Call In Show Thu. 8/2 8a: New Mexico's ranking for child welfare fell from 46th to 49th in the nation, according to the 2012 Kids Count report. What happened? What are advocacy groups and government officials doing to help kids in New Mexico? We'd like to hear from you! Email firstname.lastname@example.org, post your comments online, or call in live during the show.
Climate change is a threat to New Mexico’s natural environment and a new study argues that makes it a serious economic threat as well.
Tourism, the creative arts, agriculture, ranching, and the dairy industry all stand to lose millions of dollars, according to Demos, the public policy group that published “New Mexico’s Rising Economic Risks from Climate Change.” The report is authored by Robert Repetto, author of the 2011 book, "America’s Climate Problem: The Way Forward." He is a senior fellow in the United Nations Foundation’s climate and energy program.
When a young filmmaker from New York came up with the idea to shadow three Navajo students out on the Rez through their senior year of high school, expectations were moderate. But hundreds of hours of footage and editing later, a feature length documentary began to take Film Festivals by storm. Here, both the stars and filmmaker talk about their experience. The film screened in Albuquerque July 25th, 2012.
New Mexico has fallen to 49th in the country in an annual ranking of child welfare in the states.
Only Mississippi fared worse than New Mexico in the 2012 Kids Count Data Book released Wednesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Although this year's report says New Mexico has made a few gains in children's health, it says the state has a long way to go in improving the economic, education, and community-related well-being of kids.
Even after the flames have died down, the impacts of a wildfire persist. Without tree and grass roots to absorb rainfall and hold soil in place, flooding can be a big problem.
In the wake of the Whitewater-Baldy Fire—which burned almost 300,000 acres in southwestern New Mexico—officials in the Gila National Forest have been working to get ahead of the summer rains and next year’s snowmelt.
A New Mexico State University student has been awarded a fellowship to study dust storms on Mars.
Robert Edmonds is the second graduate student in the school's Department of Astronomy to receive NASA's Earth and Space Science Fellowship. The $30,000 NASA fellowship can be renewed for up to three years.
Edmonds will study connections between atmospheric gravity waves and dust storms. The waves convey momentum from low to high altitudes on Earth, causing shifts in wind speed and atmospheric turbulence.
By The Santa Fe New Mexican & The Associated Press
A judge has ordered Governor Susana Martinez's administration to remove the names of classified employees from an online database.
The Monday ruling from District Court Judge Valerie Huling came after members of a state employees' union challenged the practice. An attorney for the union had argued that posting the names of classified employees is prohibited by state law and raises security concerns.
Martinez had ordered the information to be put online last year as a way to increase government transparency.
In northern New Mexico, a sacred site has been returned to its indigenous community.
On July 14, the Taos Land Trust officially transferred the Ponce de León Hot Springs to the Pueblo of Taos.
Now, the springs will be protected from any future development and also remain open to the general public. “This kind of partnership is very rare in the conservation community,” says Patricia Quintana, executive director of Taos Land Trust.
The land trust had purchased the 44-acre parcel in 1997 to save the springs from private development and create a public park.
A study by the federal government shows that New Mexico is expected to see its population that uses the Colorado River Basin for water grow from nearly 1.5 million people today to between 2 million and 3 million by 2060.
That's according to the latest data from a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation study.
The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/OhHnQI) that New Mexico and the other states that depend on the Colorado River Basin for water face a growing gap between how much water nature provides and how much people want to use.