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New Mexico legislative leaders say talks are underway to try to forge a compromise on a funding bill for building work and other projects across the state.

The regular session ended without agreement on a capital outlay bill amid partisan finger-pointing, but the Santa Fe New Mexican reports that leaders of the Democratic-led Senate and the Republican-controlled House hope to reach an agreement.

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The Navajo Nation Supreme Court has settled the question of how to fund a belated presidential election.

The court says the tribe's controller can use money from a fund used to satisfy legal judgments and claims against the Navajo Nation.

The opinion came after the tribe's Department of Justice asked the court to clarify how $317,000 legally could be transferred to the election office.

Navajo Attorney General Harrison Tsosie said Tuesday that his office is evaluating the court's opinion.

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A duck at a national wildlife refuge in southern New Mexico has tested positive for a bird flu strain that's deadly to waterfowl and poultry.

The case is the latest in a growing outbreak of bird flu, especially the highly contagious H5N2 strain affecting poultry in multiple states. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the risk to people to be low.

New Mexico wildlife officials said Tuesday this marks the first time the highly virulent strain has been confirmed in the state.

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  LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Another Arizona-based nonprofit has confirmed it plans to cease providing Medicaid-funded mental health services in southern New Mexico.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that Tucson-based La Frontera plans a staggered transition to phase out its operations in Doña Ana County and several counties in southwestern New Mexico.

Bernalillo County commissioners did not vote on whether to approve a controversial development plan at a hearing Thursday, instead scheduling additional time for public comments later this year.

Developers say the Santolina Master Plan community could someday be home to as many as 90,000 people.

Opponents spoke at a hearing this week in an effort to convince commissioners to vote down the plan. Many said Santolina would take away needed water resources in Albuquerque's South Valley.

Screenshot from video provided by APD through an IPRA request

UPDATE 3:22 p.m.: This case will be presented during an open preliminary hearing, the date of which has not been determined.

Comment from Mayor Richard Berry's office: “We trust the judicial system will provide the family, our community and the officers a fair, transparent and unbiased opportunity to explore and present the facts as they relate to this tragic event. It is important for all of us to allow the process to progress without prejudice in order for our community to move forward.”

Democrat state Sen. Timothy Keller has been elected New Mexico state auditor.

Keller defeated Republican lawyer Robert Aragon on Tuesday in a race that centered on how the auditor's office should monitor government waste.

The Harvard Business School-educated Keller, currently the Senate majority whip, said he would work to uncover an estimated $900 million of unspent public money and redirect it to state programs. The 36-year-old also vowed to "shine the light" on billions of dollars lost in various tax breaks.

State auditor Hector Balderas, considered a rising star in the state Democratic Party, rolled to a win over Republican Susan Riedel in the contest for attorney general Tuesday after a race in which he touted his rise from poverty to the top levels of government and built a huge advantage in campaign cash.

Balderas had stockpiled more money than any other statewide office candidate — except Gov. Susana Martinez — early on and had a more than 8-to-1 cash advantage with three weeks to go.

Office of Congressman Ben Ray Lujan

Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan has won a fourth term with a victory over Republican Jeff Byrd.

Lujan, vice chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, has said making New Mexico more competitive will be at the top of his list when he returns to Washington.

The congressman has also called for the National Nuclear Security Administration to be restructured to better balance defense programs with other research. His district includes Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Santa Fe County Sued Over Mine Moratorium

Oct 18, 2014
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Proponents of a proposal to mine basalt on La Bajada mesa are suing Santa Fe County for imposing a 12-month moratorium on such developments.

Albuquerque landowner Buena Vista Estates and gravel company Rockology Limited are seeking to overturn the moratorium.

Rita Daniels

UPDATE 7/2 11:30a: The Associated Press reports a wildfire burning in northern New Mexico's Jemez Mountains continues to expand but officials say expected favorable weather may help.

Officials said Wednesday morning says the lightning-sparked Diego Fire has burned more than five square miles, an increase of about 400 acres since Tuesday.

However, the fire remained zero percent contained.

Still, some residents say they felt isolated and uninformed about the fire's dangers. And ranchers who have livestock roaming in the fire area are worried about their cattle.

Ken Piorkowski via Wikimedia Commons

  SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A new legislative report says New Mexico's state-run prison system has a $277 million backlog of needed infrastructure repairs.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the Legislative Finance Committee report released Thursday says prisons have holes in cell walls and floors, and flawed electrical, plumbing and sewer systems. The report says some of the problems could pose security threats to both inmates and correctional officers.

Limited state dollars and aging facilities are to blame.

  The Albuquerque Police Department have released new footage related to a March police shooting of a homeless man — a shooting that later sparked a violent protest and angry calls for reform.

Videos released late Wednesday show a number of officers surrounding 38-year-old James Boyd as police try to get him to surrender from his Sandia foothill camp site.

On one video, Boyd, who suffered from schizophrenia, is heard telling officers he doesn't want to come down because officers will shoot him. An officer responds, "no, we wouldn't."

Wikimedia Commons

  ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico environmental regulators are criticizing Kirtland Air Force Base's proposal for cleaning up a massive underground fuel leak, saying it would threaten Albuquerque's water supply.

Kirtland's plan centers on using a Kirtland water well to remove fuel-contaminated groundwater to keep it away from a neighborhood where municipal drinking wells are located. The contaminated water then would be treated to meet drinking water standards.

DOE Photo

  New Mexico's two U.S. senators want President Obama to change his proposed budget to ensure that there's money for work needed at the federal government's underground nuclear waste repository in Carlsbad.

The repository has been closed since February because of a radiation release.

Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced Wednesday that they're urging Obama to present Congress with an amendment to his proposed budget.

The two New Mexico Democrats said Obama needs to ensure that there'll be funding to implement recommendations of investigative panels.

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  Two major ride-sharing companies are taking different approaches when it comes to New Mexico regulatory processes for taxi services.

Both Uber Technologies and Lyft Inc. began operating in Albuquerque in April but only Uber has filed with the state Public Regulation Commission for a permanent certificate to operate.

Lyft disputes the commission's contention that the service needs authorization by the regulators to operate in New Mexico.

Veterans Health Administration

  Members of New Mexico's congressional delegation have lots of questions for officials with the New Mexico Veterans Affairs health care system, but the answers have been few.

And more concerns are being raised by U.S. Rep. Michele Lujan Grisham following revelations that thousands of veterans were left in limbo by being assigned to a doctor who didn't actually see patients.

The New Mexico Democrat has asked for the results of an internal review of the New Mexico VA, but local officials have yet to comply.

inlandwest via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Officials in Lea County want residents to help catch an oilfield company they say is dumping produced water on the side of the county roads.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports that the Lea County Soil and Water Conservation District announced last week it will give out a $1,000 reward for information on the water dumpers.

Produced water is a term used in the oil industry to describe water that is produced as a byproduct along with the oil and gas.

  The U.S. Justice Department says institutional reform is needed to curb the "patterns of excessive force" that were turned up by a civil investigation of the Albuquerque Police Department.

The federal agency said Thursday that Albuquerque officers need more training and tools to ensure they can protect the community without escalating potentially violent situations.

The agency found that officers too frequently used deadly force on people "who posed a minimal threat" and used a higher level of force too often on those with mental illness.

Marisa Demarco

Crews in Albuquerque are cleaning and repainting four police substations that were targets of vandalism, with red zigzags and other markings painted on exterior walls and windows.

The substations were tagged Tuesday morning.

It's not known whether the vandalism is related to protests over alleged civil rights violations and allegations of use of excessive force.

Public Domain via Wikimedia

  WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has turned down an appeal from a commercial photography business in New Mexico that objects to taking pictures of same-sex wedding ceremonies.

The justices on Monday left in place a state Supreme Court ruling that said Elane Photography violated a state anti-discrimination law when it refused to work for a same-sex couple who wanted pictures of their commitment ceremony.

Public Domain

  Supporters are rallying to the defense of Albuquerque police, who have been criticized for a recent series of fatal shootings.

Dozens gathered Sunday around noon on the steps of police headquarters for a rally sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Police.

The hour-long rally only saw two counter-protesters.

Albuquerque police are under a federal investigation over excessive force and possible civil rights violations. The department also has drawn criticism for 37 police shootings since 2010.

Alex Limkin


  ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A specialized Albuquerque police unit trained to defuse dangerous encounters with suspects battling mental illness was not used in the March 16 police shooting of a homeless man.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that Barri Roberts, executive director of the Bernalillo County Forensic Intervention Consortium, said the police's Crisis Intervention Team played no role during the long standoff with 38-year-old James Boyd.

Andy Lyman

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry is asking the U.S. Justice Department to complete its investigation of the city's troubled police department and help officials develop a reform plan.

Berry said he wrote a letter Wednesday asking the department to expedite its review and begin negotiations with the city.

On Tuesday a civil rights group filed what is the second lawsuit against the state of New Mexico, alleging that the public education system violates the constitutional rights of low-income children and those for whom English is a second language.


The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund brought the lawsuit on behalf of 51 plaintiffs made up of parents and students of 6 different school districts scattered across the state.


Screen Shot from the Daily Lobo's news show "The Howl"

 ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry said last night a 10-hour protest over recent police shootings has turned from peaceful into "mayhem," as officers in riot gear clashed with protesters.

The demonstrators blocked traffic, tried to get on freeways and shouted anti-police slogans. The Albuquerque Journal reports Berry said one officer was injured, rocks were thrown and at one point protesters trapped police in a vehicle and tried to break the windows.

The Albuquerque Police Department came under new scrutiny Wednesday after officers shot and killed a man outside a public housing complex in the second deadly encounter in the last 10 days.

Police said the man was killed after he opened fire on officers responding to a frantic call from a woman who said the suspect had pointed at gun at two girls.

The family of the man, identified as Alfred Redwine, however, insisted he was not armed and only had a cellphone in his hand.

A still from a neighbor's cell phone video of last night's shooting


   ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Just hours after hundreds took to the streets to protest the Albuquerque police killing of a homeless man, officials say a man was shot dead by officers after he opened fire on police.

Albuquerque Chief Gorden Eden said the suspect was shot late Tuesday. He said police had received a call to an apartment complex about a man holding a child at gunpoint.

Albuquerque police spokesman Tasia Martinez says the suspect, whose has not been named, died this morning at a nearby hospital.

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03/20/14 Update: Nuclear Waste From New Mexico Lab May Go To Texas - The Associated Press

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.

Public domain image.

  The Department of Energy says preliminary tests indicate 13 workers were exposed to radiation during a recent leak at the nation's underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico.

The DOE said in a news release Wednesday that it has notified the workers of the positive results and will do further testing. They declined to comment further on the extent of the possible exposure until a news conference Thursday afternoon.