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Local News
9:54 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Navajo To Appeal Ruling On Religious Sites Access

The Navajo Nation is challenging a decision in a federal case involving property rights and access to religious sites.

The tribe and its Hopi neighbor agreed in 2006 not to interfere with each other's religious practices when they ended a decades-long land dispute.

The Hopi Tribe sued after the Navajo Nation cited a Hopi religious practitioner for trespassing, alleging breach of the compact.

The Navajo Nation says it cannot grant access to so-called allotted land that is similar to private property on the reservation.

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Local News
9:52 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Santa Fe Archdiocese Incorporating Many Parishes

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe of the Roman Catholic Church has incorporated dozens of its parishes as nonprofits, a move that an attorney who has represented victims of clerical sexual abuse says could be an attempt to protect church assets.

Attorney James Stang of Los Angeles says incorporating parishes as separate entities allows them to argue they have no responsibility for abuses at other parishes.

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Local News
9:50 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Suspect In NM Police Shooting Identified

The motorist who refused to stop during a northern New Mexico police chase on Interstate 25 and was later shot by state police has been identified.

New Mexico State Police said Monday that the motorist was identified as 72-year-old Albert Urban, of Hamburg, N.Y.

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Local News
9:48 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

DOJ To Hold Meeting On Albuquerque Police Probe

The U.S. Department of Justice is set to hold an invite-only meeting with community activists over its pending investigation into the Albuquerque Police Department.

Federal authorities have scheduled the closed-door gathering Tuesday in Albuquerque after the number of shootings by officers jumped at the end of 2013.

Advocates say federal officials are expected to give an update on the year-long investigation amid allegations of high-profile abuse cases. The Justice Department launched the probe at the end of 2012.

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Local News
9:45 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Santa Fe Adds 13,200 Residents With Annexation

Santa Fe officials say the northern New Mexico city's population now stands at approximately 82,000 following a major annexation.

Santa Fe officials say 13,200 people became city residents when the latest phase of annexation added 4,100 acres on Thursday.

The annexation effort began in earnest in 2006 and is expected to continue for five more years.

City employees say businesses in the newly annexed areas must now charge the city's gross receipts tax and must pay their employees the city's minimum or living wage.

Local News
6:32 am
Wed December 25, 2013

NM White Christmas? Not So Much

Credit Photo via www.freefoto.com

Much of New Mexico is missing out on a White Christmas.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque say a weak storm is moving across the northern edge of New Mexico, bringing some extra clouds, colder temperatures and only mountain top flurries.

Once the system passes, New Mexico will be in for warmer weather the rest of the week. Starting Thursday, daytime temperatures are expected to be above average.

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Local News
11:16 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Navajo Council Tables Proposal Related To Mine

Members of the Navajo Nation Council tabled a proposal that would let disputes over a northwestern New Mexico coal mine that's being bought on behalf of the nation be settled in state courts rather than tribal courts.

The Farmington Daily Times reports that the decision to table the proposal on Monday stemmed from discussion over whether it required a super majority for passage.

Delegates will revisit the Navajo Mine proposal Friday.

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Local News
11:13 am
Tue December 24, 2013

NM Officials Eye Vaccines For Pneumonia Illness

Credit Univ. of Melbourne - public domain

State health officials are encouraging adults to get vaccinations against a pneumonia-related illness hitting New Mexico.

The New Mexico Department of Health said this week that the vaccines for pneumococcal disease are now available at many doctors' offices.

Officials say so far this year, around 300 people in New Mexico have been diagnosed with severe pneumococcal disease and 47 have died from their infection.

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Local News
12:48 pm
Sun December 22, 2013

Court Asked To Mull NM's Teacher Evaluation Plan

Credit Photo via www.modoc.k12.ca.us

Teachers unions and some state lawmakers who are opposed to the New Mexico Public Education Department's teacher evaluation system are asking the state Court of Appeals to reconsider its contention that the program is invalid because it violates state laws.

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Local News
12:43 pm
Sun December 22, 2013

NM To Get Federal Grants For School Meals

New Mexico is among several states that will share $11 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for improving the quality of school meals.

The funding will help schools purchase needed equipment to make preparing and serving healthier meals easier and more efficient.

In addition to New Mexico, 13 states as well as the District of Columbia and Guam were selected to receive grants based on free- and reduced-price participation in the National School Lunch Program.

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Local News
12:31 pm
Sat December 21, 2013

PNM Files Plan For Replacing Lost Coal-Fired Power

San Juan Generating Station and San Juan Mine
Credit San Juan Citizens Alliance/EcoFlight

New Mexico's largest electric utility has a plan for replacing power that will be lost with the proposed shuttering of two units at a coal-fired power plant in northwestern New Mexico that has long been a target for environmentalists.

PNM filed its plan with state regulators late Friday.

While the utility isn't requesting a change in rates now, it's seeking permission to recover costs that will be associated with closing part of the San Juan Generating Station.

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Local News
11:49 am
Thu December 19, 2013

NM Supreme Court: Same-Sex Marriage Is Legal In New Mexico

Credit Wikimedia Commons

New Mexico's highest court legalized same-sex marriage today, unanimously declaring it unconstitutional to deny a marriage license to gay and lesbian couples.

New Mexico joins 16 states and the District of Columbia in allowing gay marriage.

"The important thing is," said Peter Simonson, the Executive Director of the ACLU-New Mexico, "from this moment on, right now, same-sex couples can walk into any County Clerk's Office in the state of New Mexico and be sure that they will be married. That's their choice."

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Local News
5:02 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

New Mexico Officer Fired In Van Shooting To Appeal

A screenshot from the dash camera video of the incident that was posted to YouTube and broadcast around the world.
Credit New Mexico State Police

Gov. Susana Martinez says she supports a decision by New Mexico State Police to fire an officer who shot at a minivan full of children during a chaotic October traffic stop.

Martinez said Monday the actions of Officer Elias Montoya were unacceptable and he should not have used deadly force.

No one was hurt in the shooting.

Montoya was fired Friday following an internal investigation and a disciplinary hearing. His attorneys say he plans to appeal.

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Local News
8:41 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Difficult Driving On Some New Mexico Highways

Credit cobalt123 via Flickr

Winter weather continues to produce difficult driving conditions on New Mexico highways and delays affecting public services.

Crews are plowing Interstate 40 between Clines Corner and Santa Rosa and Interstate 25 between Rowe and Raton.

Delayed openings Friday include state offices in Santa Fe. Schools with delays include Santa Fe Community College and Albuquerque's east mountain schools.

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Local News
5:25 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Lawsuit: NM Woman's Genitals Hit With Pepper Spray

Credit Image is in public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

A lawsuit says a New Mexico corrections officer used a "chemical agent" on a woman's genitals after authorities found a plastic baggie protruding from her vagina.

The federal lawsuit filed last week by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico says the Bernalillo County corrections officer sprayed the chemical agents twice on the woman's genitals during a strip search in Nov. 2011.

ACLU officials say the chemical agent was pepper spray and was used to "punish" the woman.

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Local News
11:31 am
Tue November 26, 2013

NM Ski Areas Opening Early Due To Storm's Snowfall

Credit Flickr Creative Commons

New Mexico's ski season is starting early because of the big snowstorm last weekend.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that ski areas planning to open Thanksgiving Day include Ski Santa Fe, Taos Ski Valley and Ski Apache near Ruidoso.

Ski Santa Fe has 15 inches of new snow, adding up to a 27-inch base.

Taos Ski Valley marketing director Adriana Blake says the resort got 26 inches of snow since Friday and she expects a 35-inch base.

Ski Apache reports 10 inches of new snow and has its snow-making machines going.

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Local News
11:21 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Groups Press EPA On Kirtland Fuel Spill Cleanup

Two New Mexico citizen groups are repeating demands for the federal Environmental Protection Agency to conduct an independent review of the Kirtland Air Force Base groundwater contamination.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the Albuquerque-based Citizen Action and the environmental group Amigos Bravos sent a letter last week calling on the EPA to conduct its own preliminary assessment.

Dave McCoy of Citizen Action complained that the Air Force and state Environment Department are not pursuing cleanup "in any meaningful way."

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Local News
11:51 am
Sat November 23, 2013

Watchdog Sues For Sandia Nuke Safety Records

Credit Public domain image.

  A watchdog group has filed a lawsuit seeking the release of nuclear safety records for Sandia National Laboratories.

The suit filed Friday in federal court in Albuquerque alleges the National Nuclear Security Administration has withheld documents and work papers for more than two years about whether nuclear reactors at Sandia have experienced shutdowns, accidents or violated safety regulations.

It also alleges a continuing pattern and practice of wrongful delay by the NNSA to violate the Freedom of Information Act.

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Local News
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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