The Associated Press


Local News
12:10 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Report Says State Slow To Start Child Visit Program

Credit Keoni Cabral via Flickr / Creative Commons License

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.

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Local News
12:00 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Navajo Nation To Improve 911 Service

Credit Tuzen via Flickr / Creative Commons License

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 telephone lines and just over half of the reservation has wireless coverage.

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Local News
11:53 am
Tue August 12, 2014

University Of New Mexico Cleaning Up After Flood Damage

Areas of Albuquerque, including at the main UNM campus experienced flash flooding after torrential rains drenched the area on August 1, 2014.
Credit Dave Barger via Flickr

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 those visits conclude.

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Local News
6:09 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Video: SWAT Officers Told Suspect To Drop Gun

Credit Curtis Gregory Perry via Flickr / Creative Commons License

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 custody when Albuquerque officers Anthony Sedler and Ramon Ornelas shot him Tuesday.

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Local News
5:00 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Violence Against Albuquerque Homeless Commonplace

Credit Tex Texin via Flickr / Creative Commons License

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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Local News
12:18 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Police Probe Other Attacks After Transients Killed In Albuquerque

Credit Tex Texin via Flickr / Creative Commons License

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.

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Local News
5:55 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Heinrich, Pearce On Border Migrant Crisis

Sen. Martin Heinrich speaks before the Senate Natural Resources Committee in 2013.
Credit / 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.

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Local News
5:50 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Rain Prompts Forests To Lift Some Restrictions

View of Albuquerque from Sandia Crest in the Cibola National Forest.
Credit mnchilemom via Flickr / Creative Commons License

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.

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Local News
6:47 am
Thu July 3, 2014

US Marshals Deputy Fatally Shoots Fugitive In NM

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.

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Public Health New Mexico
6:25 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Insurer To Acquire Lovelace Health Plan Customers

Credit Steve Burke via Flickr / Creative Commons License

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 self-funded employer plans, as well as its Medicare Advantage plans.

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Local News
12:12 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Biofuel Facility On Fire In Southern New Mexico

Authorities in southern New Mexico say a biofuel facility is on fire near the town of Anthony, and a half-mile area around the plant is being evacuated.

Dona Ana County officials say they've activated their emergency operations center and declared a hazardous materials emergency.

County spokesman Jess Williams says there's no word of any injuries so far, and the cause of the fire is not known. However, he says there has been a series of small explosions.

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Local News
12:01 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Teacher Retirements Increasing In Albuquerque

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Albuquerque's public school district is seeing a spike in teacher retirements and resignations.

School district data show a nearly 19 percent increase in retirement filings as of early May over last year and a 44 percent increase over the year before that.

Meanwhile, non-retirement departures are up by 13 percent from last year and 32 percent from the year before that.

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Local News
5:31 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Udall Calls For Investigation Of Albuquerque VA Hospital

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U.S. Sen. Tom Udall has called for federal authorities to broaden their investigation into alleged secret waiting lists at VA hospitals to include Albuquerque after whistleblower reports that the VA hospital in New Mexico's largest city is plagued with problems.

The Veterans Affairs Department is grappling with allegations of treatment delays, preventable deaths and a cover up by top administrators that were first reported in the VA system in Arizona.

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Local News
5:33 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

NM To Hold Meetings On Dairy Rule

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Environmentalists are taking aim at efforts to revamp rules that govern how the New Mexico dairy industry deals with waste water.

The Environment Department is planning the first of two meetings this Friday to address changes proposed by the industry, but a coalition of environmental groups claims the meetings are exclusive and may be a violation of state law.

State officials have said the meetings by the advisory committee will help flush out technical issues and other concerns before the matter goes before the Water Quality Control Commission later this year.

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Local News
7:38 am
Thu May 8, 2014

What's Next For Troubled Albuquerque Police?

  Outcry over recent police shootings continues to rattle New Mexico's largest city, spreading from street protests to rowdy demonstrations in government buildings.

Angry protesters took control of an Albuquerque City Council meeting this week, demanding the police chief's firing, shouting at council members and causing such a ruckus that the panel's president adjourned the meeting. Activists vow to return to Thursday's rescheduled gathering.

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Local News
8:12 am
Sun May 4, 2014

Democrats In Governor's Race Meet In Forum

Democrats running for governor directed a barrage of criticism at Republican incumbent Susana Martinez at a candidate forum rather than sniping at each other.

With the primary election a month away, Democrats assailed Martinez on Saturday for New Mexico being rated the worst in the nation for child well-being and for the economy's weak job growth.

All of the Democrats pledged support for raising the state's minimum wage to at least $10.10 an hour.

The wage rate has been $7.50 an hour since 2009.

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Local News
7:50 am
Sun May 4, 2014

Police Investigating Man's Death During Standoff

UPDATE Mon. 5/5 5:30a - Albuquerque police said Sunday that an officer shot a man during a long SWAT standoff, but it remains unconfirmed if that caused the man's death.

Police said that 50-year-old Armand Martin walked out of an Albuquerque home Saturday and fired two handguns.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that police said at a news conference that he fired at least 11 shots from inside and outside his West Side home before a SWAT team member fired a single shot that struck his chest.

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Local News
6:24 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Forecasters Warn Of Damaging Winds

Record winds in July 2013 downed huge trees in Albuquerque.
Credit Elaine Baumgartel

Forecasters with the National Weather Service are warning New Mexicans that it could be a windy weekend.

They say a strong cold front will be sweeping into the state late Saturday through Sunday, bringing with it potentially damaging winds for much of the area.

Snow in the northern mountains and below-normal temperatures are also possible thanks to the storm system.

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Public Health New Mexico
6:18 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Management, Safety Cited For Radiation Release At WIPP

Credit Public domain image.

Department of Energy investigators say a radiation release from the federal government's underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico was the result of a slow erosion of safety at the 15-year-old site.

In a report released Thursday, they also say the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad fails to meet federal standards for nuclear facilities and its employees bungled their response to the emergency.

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Public Health New Mexico
9:21 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Chief Has Few Answers On Latest Police Shooting


  UPDATE 4/23 1:45 p: Two days after Albuquerque police shot and killed a 19-year-old female who was suspected of truck theft, the chief of the troubled department says he has little information about the latest shooting.

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Local News
7:13 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Recordings Surface In New Mexico Governor Race

Democrats are calling on Republican Gov. Susana Martinez to apologize after a liberal publication released recordings in which she and aides used profanity and offensive names to describe political opponents.

Martinez said the tapes are stolen recordings of private debate prep sessions when she was running for her first term four years ago. She called their release by Mother Jones "the absolute height of desperation" by liberals trying to unseat her. But she does admit having "to fund the cuss jar a few times."

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Public Health New Mexico
6:04 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Officials Say Air Testing At Nuclear Dump Shows No Contamination

Workers lower equipment into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant to find out more about an underground radiation leak.
Credit US Department of Energy

UPDATE 3/10 7a: The U.S. Department of Energy says new air testing in the nation's only underground nuclear repository shows no detectable radioactive contamination from a leak last month.

Officials at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad said Sunday that instruments used to measure air quality and radioactivity were sent underground Friday and Saturday in the first step to resuming operations at the plant.

They say initial results indicate no contamination in the air or on the measuring equipment.

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Local News
2:53 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Samples Show Low Concentrations At Nuclear Site

Credit Randy Montoya

The results of new monitoring data show slightly elevated levels of airborne radiation at and around the U.S. government's nuclear repository in southeastern New Mexico.

The U.S. Department of Energy said Monday the results are from samples collected last week at numerous air monitoring stations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and in the surrounding area.

The results are consistent with the kinds of low-grade nuclear waste stored at the underground site, but both federal and state officials say there's no indication of any public health threat.

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Local News
5:56 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Officials Confirm Nuclear Waste Leak

Credit Public domain image.

UPDATE 7:20p 02/21:

Department of Energy officials say radiation levels detected in and around the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository are consistent with a leak at the southeastern New Mexico facility.

Carlsbad field office manager Jose Franco said Thursday that readings from sensors above and below ground indicate the radiation is coming from waste stored at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. But officials won't know what caused the leak until they can get underground to investigate. That could be weeks.

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Local News
12:32 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

DOE: Crews Monitors NM Nuclear Site For Radiation

Credit Public domain image.

The U.S. Department of Energy stressed Sunday that no surface contamination has been found after airborne radiation was detected underground at a southeastern New Mexico site where the government stores low-grade nuclear waste.

The department says that tests were taken at several sites around the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant after a monitor found radiation on underground levels late Friday night.

No workers were underground and no injuries or damages have been reported.

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Local News
5:26 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Senate Panel Rejects Gun Restrictions In Capitol

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A Senate panel has rejected a proposal to restrict firearms in the New Mexico Capitol.

The Rules Committee voted 4-2 Wednesday against a measure that would have banned firearms, except by law enforcement officers, in the Senate chambers, galleries and committee rooms.

A proposal to impose a similar ban in the House is pending.

Even if the restrictions were imposed, guns could be carried in certain parts of the Capitol including the rotunda.

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Local News
3:18 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Officials: Air In Underground Nuclear Waste Facility Is Safe, Fire Is Out

Transuranic waste being placed in the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southern New Mexico.
Credit Department of Energy

UPDATE 5:30p 2/6: Work has resumed at southeastern New Mexico's nuclear waste repository. But officials say they don't yet know what caused the truck fire that forced an evacuation of the underground site.

A spokesman says an investigation will be conducted at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, where low level waste from the nation's nuclear weapons plants is stored in salt beds.

The site was evacuated and six people were treated for smoke inhalation after a truck hauling salt caught fire Wednesday.

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Local News
9:57 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Drought Worsens In New Mexico

Credit Courtesy U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Drought conditions across the Southwest have gotten significantly worse over the last few weeks, including in New Mexico.

Take a look at the newest update of the U.S. Drought Monitor map, and you’ll see orange and red smears all across the southwest showing where the drought is impacting the country the most.

Albuquerque hasn’t had a drop of rain for 40 straight days. Chuck Jones is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

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Local News
7:10 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Teacher Who Stopped Roswell Shooter Had Participated In Active Shooter Training

Gov. Susana Martinez says a boy shot by a classmate at their middle school underwent a second surgery and a girl who was wounded is now in stable condition.

Martinez said at a press conference late Tuesday that the girl has been identified as 13-year-old Kendal Sanders. The wounded boy is in critical condition.

Authorities say the two were shot when a 12-year-old boy opened fire at Berrendo Middle School in Roswell Tuesday morning.

Martinez says the boy pointed the gun at a teacher, who talked him into dropping the weapon. The boy was taken into custody.

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Local News
6:59 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Newspaper: Records Withheld In Police Shootings

A screenshot from a lapel camera during the arrest of a suspect by Albuquerque Police in 2012.
Credit The Albuquerque Police Department

A newspaper reports that the Albuquerque Police Department is withholding numerous documents and other material requested in connection with officer-involved police shootings.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, the material requested under the state Inspection of Public Records Act in recent months but not provided includes documents, 911 calls and lapel camera videos.

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