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6:43 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Storm Dumps Snow, Leaves 1 Dead In New Mexico, 7 Others Dead Across West

Cold temperatures harken winters arrival.
Credit National Weather Service

UPDATE Mon 6:30a: Snow accumulation with gusty winds are expected today as wintry weather tapers off through tonight.

 

Snow showers crossing into New Mexico will continue through much of the morning. Local accumulations could reach 1-2"

 

North winds will develop over the northeast plains in the wake of the departing storm system this afternoon, with gusts expected to reach 50 miles an hour. 

 

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Local News
8:59 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Albuquerque Abortion Ban Rejected In Record Special Election

An opponent of the Albuquerque abortion measure attends a rally in August, 2013.
Credit Carrie Jung

The measure to ban abortions at 20 weeks has been defeated by Albuquerque voters. 

With 48 of 50 vote centers reporting, 54 percent of voters rejected the ordinance. Forty-five percent of voters supported it. 

Turnout in the city's special election surpassed turnout in the recent mayoral race and early voting played a large part. Nearly 44,000 voters cast their ballots early while over 33,000 voters went to the polls on election day. 

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Local News
1:26 pm
Sat November 16, 2013

NM Experiencing Shortage Of Medical Marijuana

Credit eggrole via Flickr

The demand for medical marijuana in New Mexico has outpaced production, leaving some patients to ration their supplies while others are being turned away.

A survey commissioned by the state Department of Health shows producers licensed under the program have turned away thousands of patients in recent months.

The 65-page report detailing the survey was provided to the Albuquerque Journal in response to a public records request.

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Local News
1:22 pm
Sat November 16, 2013

PED To Move Forward With New Teacher Eval System

Credit Alegri

Gov. Susana Martinez's administration says it will move forward with implementation of its teacher evaluation system despite opposition from some teachers and Democratic lawmakers.

Two state senators had asked Public Education Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera this week for more time to acclimate to the new rating system.

But The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the administration signaled it will not budge.

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Local News
5:19 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Mental Health Providers Paying NM For Overbilling

Credit kevinspencer via Flickr

State officials say two of the behavioral health providers under investigation for possible fraud have agreed to pay New Mexico more than $4 million for the overbilling of services.

The Human Services Department announced Monday it is recovering $4 million from Presbyterian Medical Services and $240,000 from Youth Development Inc. in Albuquerque.

The settlements will clear the way for the state to restore Medicaid payments to the companies for mental health and substance abuse services they provide to needy New Mexicans.

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Local News
11:37 am
Tue October 22, 2013

LISTEN: NM Supreme Court Hears Arguments On Same-Sex Marriage

The New Mexico Supreme Court heard oral arguments on same-sex marriage cases on October 23, 2013. It was the first time the state's highest court allowed a live broadcast of their proceedings. KUNM broadcast the oral arguments live. You can listen to them here. 

During the first hour, the justices heard arguments relating to the state's marriage statutes.

The second hour of arguments examined the constitutionality of same-sex marriage.

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Local News
2:24 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Curry County Commissioners Will Consider Electronic Cigarette Ban

Vaping Equipment
Credit Lauri Rantala / Flickr

Curry County commissioners are considering a ban on electronic cigarettes.

The proposal is set to go before the commission early next month.

The Clovis News Journal reports that the proposal unveiled this week has drawn mixed reactions.

County manager Lance Pyle says it mirrors other bans adopted by cities and counties in the state. Violations would come with a $500 fine.

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Local News
1:54 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Cloud Of Chile Powder Causes New Mexico Hazmat Situation

Habaneros
Credit Kristian Høgsberg / Flickr

A cloud of habanero chile powder sent one woman to a hospital and hazardous materials crews to a Las Cruces industrial park.

Workers called 911 around 7:45 p.m. Wednesday complaining of irritated eyes, sore throats and bloody noses.

New Mexico State Police say a hazmat crew and emergency personnel responded to the scene.

Officials determined that habanero chile particles lingered in the cold evening air after employees finished their work, then went into ventilation systems.

A company in the Santa Teresa Industrial Park grinds chile pods into powder.

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Local News
10:17 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Berry Wins Second Term As Albuquerque Mayor

Credit cabq.gov

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry was elected today for a second term. The Republican won more than 50 percent of the vote, avoiding a runoff election with one of two challengers.

Berry had 73 percent of the vote among early and absentee ballots Tuesday and 68 percent of the total vote.

Former Deputy City Attorney Pete Dinelli had 27 percent of the vote and retired police sergeant Paul Heh had 3 percent.

Early and absentee votes represent about 40 percent of the total number of votes estimated to have been cast in this year's election.

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Local News
2:19 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Southern NM Police Chief Accused In Drug Ring

Credit by Andrew Goff

A former trustee of a New Mexico border town says his former police chief collected more than $2,000 a month from the Juarez Cartel and allowed its members to use the city's police cruisers.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that former Columbus village trustee Blas "Woody" Gutierrez testified Wednesday that former Police Chief Angelo Vega received $1,500 each time he allowed the cartel members to use village vehicles, including police cruisers, for drug and guns smuggling.

Gutierrez faces 10 years in federal prison for his guilty plea linked to a border gun smuggling ring.

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Local News
2:00 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Jury: APD Officer Did Not Use Excessive Force

A still image from the officer lapel camera video released by APD.
Credit The Albuquerque Police Department

A former Albuquerque police officer charged with beating a surrendering man has been found not guilty.

A jury acquitted Connor Rice of battery and aggravated battery on Thursday after deliberating more than three hours.

Connor Rice testified Wednesday that he was reacting to the suspect's efforts to resist arrest when he hit the 20-year-old in May 2012. Some of  the incident, including video of another officer putting his boot on the suspect's head, was recorded on the officer's lapel camera.  

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Local News
1:29 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Stipends For Teacher Transfers Stir Controversy

Credit Alegri

Some New Mexico teachers are bristling at a new state program that offers a $5,000 stipend for those who agree to transfer from top-graded schools to low-graded ones.

Teacher union officials say the initiative by Gov. Susana Martinez's administration will be both ineffective and disruptive.

Meanwhile, an administration spokesman says the program is about helping students in struggling schools.

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Local News
11:21 am
Sun September 22, 2013

Forecast: 'Strong To Severe' Storms Sunday

Large hail is possible from severe storms today, especially in north western New Mexico.
Credit National Weather Service

Some areas of storm-weary New Mexico may see more severe weather.

The National Weather Service says northwestern and north central New Mexico could see "strong to severe" thunderstorms Sunday.

Forecasters say the storms could produce severe hail and strong wind gust up to 58 mph.

The storm comes as a strong low pressure system quickly advances toward the Four Corners region, including parts of Arizona, Colorado, and Utah.

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Local News
4:50 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Land Office OKs Wind Farm Lease In Central New Mexico

The State Land Office has approved a proposal for a large wind energy project in central New Mexico that officials say could generate as much as $40 million for the state over 45 years.

Land Commissioner Ray Powell announced Thursday that Iberdrola Renewables of Portland, Ore., has won the right to lease nearly 34,000 acres of state trust land in Torrance County to develop a wind farm that ultimately could generate about 1,000 megawatts of electricity. That's enough to supply up to 400,000 homes.

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Local News
4:47 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

2 National Monuments Reopen After Flooding

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.
Credit karenandbrademerson via Flickr

Two of New Mexico's popular tourist destinations are open again as many parts of the state continue to clean up after heavy rains, unruly runoff and flooding.

Officials say there's still much work to be done in the Gila National Forest in southwestern New Mexico, but the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument reopened Thursday and a few dozen visitors have already stopped by.

Monument volunteer Dave Young says the dwellings are accessible, but the visitors' center remains closed while officials inspect the safety of a bridge that leads to the building.

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Local News
7:28 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Heavy Rain Helping Out Some Farmers

The recent heavy rain and flooding in New Mexico were at least helpful to some farmers.

The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports that last week's flood waters that flowed into Brantley Reservoir, where the Carlsbad Irrigation District stores water to send to farmers, turned out to be a boost.

Some Carlsbad-area will get an additional four-tenths of an acre-foot per acre for farmers in the Carlsbad Irrigation District.

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Public Health New Mexico
7:24 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Open Government Group Sues To Force Audit Release

Credit Rrrodrigo via Flickr

The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government has filed a lawsuit seeking public disclosure of an audit that identified potential overbillings and fraud by providers of mental health and substance abuse services.

The Human Services Department has frozen payments to more than a dozen behavioral health providers because of the fraud allegations.

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Local News
10:26 am
Sat September 14, 2013

Airlift To Mogollon Cancelled, Supplies To Be Walked In

Dark Green = Flash Flood Watch, Bright Green = Flood Warning.
Credit National Weather Service

UPDATE 12p: A planned emergency airlift of food, water and other supplies for a tiny New Mexico town isolated after weekend flooding has been called off.

New Mexico Department of Homeland Security spokesman Estevan Lujan said Tuesday that state authorities and the National Guard will deliver supplies by foot to residents of the privately run ghost town of Mogollon. Lujan says there was not enough space to land a helicopter.

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Local News
2:49 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

NM Man Sentenced In Election Fraud Case

A New Mexico man convicted of conspiring to steal money intended for voter education efforts has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

A federal judge also ordered Joseph Kupfer of Rio Rancho to pay restitution to the state and the Internal Revenue Service.

The 50-year-old Kupfer and 65-year-old Armando C. Gutierrez of Corpus Christi, Texas, were found guilty in January.

Prosecutors say the two men conspired to get more money than they were due out of New Mexico's Help America Vote Act funds.

The indictment charged $2.5 million in fraud.

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Local News
4:47 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Governor Inspects Flood Damage, Flash Flooding Still Possible

Jemez River, September 13th.
Credit Glen Thamert

UPDATE 9/16 6p: New Mexicans remain on high alert to possible flash flooding as rain is expected to continue during the next few days.

Gov. Susana Martinez is traveling to three communities to inspect damage from flooding since last week, when heavy rains inundated what had been a drought-parched state.

Among her stops is Santa Rosa in eastern New Mexico, where officials are seeking a disaster declaration because flooding washed out roads and buckled pavement.

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Local News
9:27 am
Sat September 7, 2013

NM High Court To Hear Gay Marriage Case Next Month

Credit Wikimedia Commons

New Mexico's highest court has scheduled a hearing next month in a case that could resolve whether gay marriage is legal in the state.

The state Supreme Court on Friday set the hearing for Oct. 23.

The five-member court took the step a day after New Mexico's counties and county clerks statewide filed a petition asking the justices to decide whether a judge in Albuquerque was correct in declaring it unconstitutional to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

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Public Health New Mexico
9:14 am
Sat September 7, 2013

5 Insurers Offer Health Plans Through NM Exchange

Credit Kaiser Family Health Foundation

A new national study says the cost of medical plans available through New Mexico's health insurance exchange likely will be lower than in many other states.

New Mexico's top insurance regulator said uninsured individuals also will find more insurance options through the exchange than currently are available in the private market.

Insurance Superintendent John Franchini said people who qualify for federal subsidies can expect to buy their insurance through the exchange at costs lower than current market rates.

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Local News
2:19 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Counties Ask NM High Court To Decide Gay Marriage

Credit Wikimedia Commons

  A group representing New Mexico counties is asking the state's highest court to decide whether gay marriage is legal.

The Association of Counties and clerks statewide filed a petition Thursday with the state Supreme Court. They're seeking clarity in a legal dispute that's been rapidly changing in the past two weeks since a county clerk in southern New Mexico independently began issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

Since then, seven other counties followed — some because of court orders.

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Local News
5:04 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

BLM To Limit Drilling Leases Near NM's Chaco Park

Credit Tim Brown Architecture via Flickr

Federal land managers have proposed limiting the number of parcels to be leased for oil and natural gas development near the Chaco Culture National Historical Park in northwestern New Mexico.

The Bureau of Land Management on Tuesday released its environmental assessment for the lease sale that will take place in January. The agency has proposed cutting the number of available parcels to just four.

The industry initially nominated 38 parcels totaling more than 19,000 acres. One of those was less than a quarter-mile from the park's boundary.

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Local News
5:40 am
Fri August 23, 2013

NM Game Commission Votes Again On Valles Caldera

Credit Lightning_Todd via Flickr

The New Mexico Game Commission has voted again in opposition of federal legislation that calls for transferring management of the Valles Caldera National Preserve to the National Park Service.

The commission voted unanimously Thursday after taking public comment during its meeting in Grants.

Its initial vote in May was challenged by the New Mexico Wildlife Federation. The group accused the commission of violating New Mexico's open meeting law by not including the issue on the agenda.

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Local News
11:00 am
Tue August 6, 2013

GAO Studies Challenges In Indian Housing Programs

Housing on the Navajo Nation.
Credit quinn.anya via Flickr

Investigators are looking into challenges that American Indian tribes face in administering federal housing funds.

Representatives from the U.S. Government Accountability Office are visiting the Navajo Nation this week as part of the study mandated by Congress.

American Indian tribes or their designated housing entities receive some $650 million a year in Indian Housing Block Grant funding under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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Local News
5:26 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Court Dismisses Appeal In Behavioral Health Case

Credit SalFalko via Flickr

Behavioral health providers under investigation for possible overbillings, mismanagement and fraud have lost an appeal of a court ruling that allows New Mexico to continue to withhold Medicaid payments.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on Monday dismissed the appeal by eight nonprofit providers.

A federal judge in Albuquerque last month denied the providers' request for an order stopping the state from freezing payments for mental health and substance abuse services.

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Local News
4:19 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

New Mexico Eyes Opening Deadly Prison Riot Site As Museum

The old state penitentiary in 2009.
Credit Denisse ~*~ via Flickr

  New Mexico may open as a museum the site of the 1980 bloody prison riot.

State Corrections Secretary Gregg Marcantel says strong public interest in tours of the closed "Old Main" prison offered during last year's New Mexico centennial celebration sparked the idea for a permanent museum.

Old Main was closed in 1988, eight years after the February 1980 riot in which inmates killed 33 fellow prisoners in a violent clash that included beheadings, amputations and burned bodies.

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Local News
4:58 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Owner Of Horse Slaughterhouse Seeks Bond For Injunction Damages

Credit nicodeux via Flickr

UPDATE 8/5 4p:  A federal judge in Albuquerque has postponed until Thursday a bond hearing for the animal rights groups who won a temporary ban on domestic horse slaughter.

The Humane Society of the United States, Front Range Equine Rescue and others on Friday won a temporary restraining order that blocked plans by companies in Roswell, N.M., and Sigourney, Iowa, to start slaughtering horses this week.

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Local News
11:18 am
Sat July 27, 2013

Another Severe Storm Hammers Albuquerque

A ponderosa took down power lines in southeast Albuquerque Friday night.
Credit Elaine Baumgartel

  Residents are cleaning up and authorities are working to fix traffic lights after a powerful storm swept through the Albuquerque area.

The storm Friday evening brought heavy rain and strong winds that caused power outages to thousands and sparked street flooding.

Albuquerque Emergency Management officials urged residents early Saturday to avoid major roadways and thoroughfares as worker clean up the aftermath.

Albuquerque police say the severe weather knocked down trees, utility lines and flooding roadways.

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