KUNM

The Associated Press

Dr. Randal J. Schoepp via Army Medicine / Creative Commons

Gov. Susana Martinez has directed the state Department of Health to coordinate an Ebola preparedness plan in case the disease is diagnosed in any New Mexico patients. Martinez's office says the Health Department will work with other state agencies, local governments and hospitals across New Mexico to ensure officials are prepared. Martinez says that despite the low risk, she wants to reassure residents that the state would be able to respond quickly if an Ebola case emerges.

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A federal judge has refused to referee a legal fight over whether two New Mexico counties can put nonbinding questions about marijuana and taxes on the November general election ballot. U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Molzen Thursday said the court lacks jurisdiction in the dispute between Secretary of State Dianna Duran and Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties. The counties have approved advisory ballot questions to ask voters whether they support decriminalizing marijuana. But Duran contends state...

National Weather Service

Heavy rains are expected to strike the state this week thanks to remnants of Tropical Storm Odile. The National Weather Service said severe weather from the Odile will move across most of northern and central New Mexico bringing possible flooding and thunderstorms Flash flood watches already are in effect through Tuesday evening in parts of northern and central New Mexico along the Rio Grande and in the state's southwest mountains. Forecasters say the storms will be capable of producing 1 to...

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Democratic gubernatorial challenger Gary King's campaign manager has resigned after holding the job about two months. Keith Breitbach was King's third campaign manager. King announced the resignation on Monday and in a statement thanked Breitbach for the "positive impact" he had on the campaign. Breitbach said in an interview he had "no hard feelings with Gary or anyone on the campaign." He acknowledged that King's campaign faced difficulty because it's struggled to raise money and has been...

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New Mexico's top election official says she won't place nonbinding questions about marijuana penalties on the November general election ballot for voters to decide in two counties. Secretary of State Dianna Duran said in a statement Wednesday that state law doesn't authorize ballot questions that only ask voters their opinions on issues such as lessening penalties for possessing marijuana. Santa Fe and Bernalillo county commissioners approved proposals this week to poll voters about their...

Marisa Demarco

The acting U.S. Surgeon General was in New Mexico Tuesday to talk about ways schools and parents can work together to prevent skin cancer. Boris Lushniak and New Mexico Health Secretary Retta Ward met with school officials, parents and students at Bandelier Elementary School in Albuquerque. Lushniak said there used to be a time when a tan was a good thing. " Kids, it's 2014! We've learned so much!" he told Ivan Reeves' 5th grade class. "Tanned skin is damaged skin and what we're trying to...

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Commissioners in New Mexico's most populous county have approved a measure that would allow voters to voice their opinion on decriminalizing marijuana. Bernalillo County commissioners voted 3-2 on Monday on a proposal that would place the marijuana question on the November ballot. The results of the ballot wouldn't be binding or change any policy. The questions would poll public opinion. Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry last month vetoed a measure that would have allowed voters to decide...

Albuquerque Police Department

Albuquerque authorities have released new video footage related to a fatal police shooting but it doesn't show the shooting or the events leading to the deadly encounter. The lapel camera footage released this week connected to the July shooting of 33-year-old Jeremy Robertson shows little new information except officers walking around the scene. Albuquerque Police Department spokeswoman Janet Blair says no lapel video of the shooting exists. Albuquerque police said agents with the Bureau of...

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The most abundant types of forest in New Mexico are made up of p iñon and juniper trees. A five-year inventory of the state's forested lands shows the popular trees cover more than 13.6 million acres. The inventory also shows piñon woodlands that are old enough to produce harvest-worthy quantities of pine nuts occupy about 8 million acres in New Mexico. Officials say the inventory is the most comprehensive collection of forest health trends in the state's history. It's based on the work of...

EcoFlight / http://ecoflight.org/

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking comment on a proposed permit for a northwestern New Mexico power plant. The operator of the Four Corners Power Plant near Farmington plans to upgrade two units at the coal-fired plant to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. The EPA says the installation of what's known as selective catalytic reduction technology will result in an increase in sulfuric acid emissions. That increase means the power plant is required to get a permit from the EPA...

Court Eyes Tossing Charges In NM Van Shooting

Aug 26, 2014
New Mexico State Police

A proposed state appeals court order would dismiss charges against a Tennessee woman whose van was chased and shot at by a New Mexico State Police officer during a chaotic October traffic stop. The Albuquerque Journal reports that a New Mexico Court of Appeals judge proposed Monday tossing the criminal case against Oriana Farrell. Last year, a New Mexico State Police officer shot at Farrell's van carrying her five children after she twice sped off and was stopped by another officer for...

National Weather Service

Parts of central and western New Mexico are under a flash flood watch as heavy rains are expected through Wednesday. The National Weather Service says scattered storms may strike throughout the region Tuesday, bring potential flooding. Forecasters say parts of the state could see up to two inches of rains. Drier weather is expected later Wednesday. Last month, heavy rains brought flooding to towns in eastern New Mexico and Albuquerque. The National Weather Service says last month was the...

Lawsuit Argues Medicaid Evaluations Hurt Disabled

Aug 25, 2014
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Family members of developmentally disabled New Mexicans suing the state say a Medicaid assessment system puts recipients of services at risk. The Albuquerque Journal reports attorneys for eight families asked a judge Wednesday to halt a new method for evaluating recipients to determine their level of services, which can include 24-hour residential care as well as occupational and speech therapy. The lawsuit was filed in January to restore the services lost by individuals and stop Gov. Susana...

Survey Finds Little Gain From Exchange Campaign

Aug 25, 2014
@BeWellNM on Twitter

A survey commissioned by New Mexico's health insurance exchange has found that a campaign to publicize the online marketplace for buying coverage is having little success so far. The Albuquerque Journal reports that the survey of uninsured New Mexicans found that three of five don't even know what an insurance exchange is. The survey also found that respondents had little memory of television advertising to encourage visits to the exchange's website and that few had heard of events where...

Snake Sightings On The Rise In Southern New Mexico

Aug 25, 2014
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Officials in southeastern New Mexico say sightings of one of the most lethal rattlesnakes appear to be on the rise. The Carlsbad Current-Argus reported Saturday that the Eddy County Sheriff's Department says more snakes have been spotted in yards this year, including the Mojave rattler. The New Mexico Game and Fish Department says the snake is a type of pit viper that has fangs infused with a neurotoxin that is more potent than some other rattlesnakes. Treatment for a bite from a Mojave...

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More heavy rain is expected to strike New Mexico this week. The National Weather Service says up to two inches of rain could hit the central and western parts of the state through Wednesday. Southwestern New Mexico is expected to get the heaviest amount of rain and is an area still struggling with extreme and severe drought. Last month, heavy rains brought flooding to towns in eastern New Mexico and Albuquerque. The National Weather Service says last month was the fourth wettest July on...

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A new financial forecast estimates about $285 million will be available in the next budget year for spending increases on state government programs, public education and to offset potential tax cuts. Officials in Gov. Susana Martinez's administration outlined the revenue projections Monday to the Legislative Finance Committee during a meeting in Las Vegas. If the Legislature and governor agree to put all $285 million into programs and services, that would allow a 4.6 percent increase in...

Robbie Howell via Flickr / Creative Commons License

A government report shows that traffic deaths in New Mexico have increased about 20 percent this year. According to preliminary figures from the Department of Transportation, 204 people have died in traffic accidents from January through July. That's up from 170 fatalities during the first seven months of last year, but down from 224 in 2012. The department said law enforcement agencies have launched a Labor Day holiday weekend crackdown that will target drunken drivers. State, local and...

Gov. Martinez Has Sizeable Lead Over King

Aug 18, 2014
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Gov. Susana Martinez has a sizeable lead over Democrat Gary King in her re-election campaign, according to a new poll. Results from an Albuquerque Journal poll released Sunday show that about 50 percent of voters surveyed say they plan to vote for the Republican governor. About 41 percent say they would vote for Attorney General King. Nine percent remain undecided. Overall, Martinez leads King in most regions of the state. Martinez also has backing from one in five Democrats polled and leads...

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Republican Gov. Susana Martinez and Democrat Gary King will speak at New Mexico State University next month but it's not a joint candidate forum. Martinez will speak on Sept. 18 at 8:15 a.m. and King's appearance is at 12:45 p.m. at a public policy conference by the university's Domenici Institute. The university said Wednesday that Martinez was moved to the morning because of a scheduling conflict. Martinez and King are to appear at a candidate forum Sept. 22 in Albuquerque hosted by the New...

Report Says State Slow To Start Child Visit Program

Aug 12, 2014
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A new evaluation says New Mexico's embattled child welfare agency has been slow to set up home visiting services two years after winning a federal grant. The Albuquerque Journal reports that the evaluation found the state had set up home visiting services for children at only two of the four communities planned as pilot sites. The Children, Youth and Families Department received the two-year $2.65 million grant in September 2011 to set up pilot programs at sites in Luna, Quay and McKinley...

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Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly has signed an executive order aimed at improving 911 service and emergency communications across the reservation. The order calls for collaboration between various tribal departments and private communication providers. Shelly says no one should have to worry about their call going unanswered. Tribal officials say the need to improve the existing communications system is evident. According to tribal statistics, 60 percent of homes on the Navajo Nation lack...

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The University of New Mexico is scrambling to clean up and make repairs in the wake of flood damage from last week's rainstorms. KRQE-TV reports that nearly 40 buildings were damaged. University officials say classrooms will be open for the beginning of fall classes on Monday. However, physical plant Director Mary Vosevich says some repairs will still be underway. Insurance adjusters are checking conditions on campus and the university expects to know more about the costs of repairs once...

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UPDATE 7/24: A newly released video shows Albuquerque SWAT officers yelling at an armed man several times to drop his gun before he was fatally shot. Videos made public Thursday showed two tactical officers running after a fleeing 33-year-old Jeremy Joe Robertson before at least two shots are heard. Another video shows what police say is a witness who was held at gunpoint by Robertson prior to his encounter with officers. Albuquerque police said the ATF was seeking to take Robertson into...

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UPDATE from The Associated Press: Violence Against Albuquerque Homeless Commonplace The brutality of the killings on two homeless men shocked residents of New Mexico's most populous city, but homeless people and advocates for homeless services say violence is commonplace for those who live on the street. Three teens are accused of killing two men whose heads were smashed with cinder blocks, and police say one of the three told police that they'd previously attacked other homeless people....

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Albuquerque police are investigating whether three teenagers suspected of beating two homeless men to death with cinder blocks, bricks and a metal fence pole are responsible for dozens of other attacks on transients in recent months. Police say 18-year-old Alex Rios, and two boys, ages 16 and 15, are being held in Bernalillo County detention facilities. A criminal complaint said one of the teens told police that they had attacked more than 50 people in recent months. Officers found two bodies...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qYGYgRfmbQ / U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich

Senator Martin Heinrich discussed the Central American migrant crisis along the U.S./Mexico border Wednesday on the Senate floor in Washington, D.C. "We have a human crisis at our southern border that requires immediate but compassionate response," the New Mexico Democrat said. He called on his Republican colleagues in the Senate to work with President Obama to deal with the crisis and demand that House Republicans bring the Senate’s immigration bill to the House floor for debate. Heinrich...

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Three national forests in New Mexico have decided to lift some fire restrictions thanks to recent rains. The Gila National Forest in southern New Mexico says it will be lifting its fire restrictions Tuesday morning. That means forest visitors will be able to have campfires again in undeveloped areas across the forest. Forest Supervisor Kelly Russell is still urging visitors to ensure their campfires are cold to the touch before leaving their camp or retiring for the night. On the Cibola...

The U.S. Marshals Service says a deputy has fatally shot a fugitive in southwest Albuquerque while trying to serve a federal arrest warrant. They say deputy U.S. Marshals and task force officers from the District of New Mexico weren't injured in Wednesday's incident. Details of the shooting weren't immediately released. KOB-TV reports Albuquerque police responded to the scene on reports of a possible dead body along with the Office of the Medical Investigator. Officials with the Marshals...

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New Mexico's largest commercial health insurer is expanding. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico announced Wednesday it has obtained final regulatory approval for its acquisition of Lovelace Health Plan and Lovelace's Medicare Advantage contract. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico has 400,000 members, and the insurer says it'll pick up nearly 100,000 additional members from Lovelace Health Plan. The Lovelace members include ones belonging to individual, small and large group, and...

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