KUNM

The Associated Press

State health officials say a 5-year-old girl from Roosevelt County has been identified as the 36th victim of a salmonella outbreak in peanut butter and other nut products from eastern New Mexico.

The girl is from Roosevelt County, the area where the tainted products were processed. Health officials say the girl was never hospitalized and has recovered.

She is the first person in the state linked to the outbreak, which the Centers for Disease Control says has sickened 35 other people in 19 states.

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The New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled in favor of two oil companies in a multi-million dollar dispute over royalties owed for oil and natural gas production on state land.

At issue in Friday's ruling was how royalty payments should be calculated under decades-old lease provisions.

The high court upheld a district court decision in favor of ConocoPhillips Co. and Burlington Resources Oil and Gas Co.

Truth or Consequences/Sierra Co. Chamber of Commerce

TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M. (AP) — City commissioners in the southeastern New Mexico town of Truth or Consequences have approved a year-long moratorium on well drilling while experts study whether an increase in wells is causing the town's famed hot springs to dry up.

Craig D. Allen , USGS

 The U.S. Department of Agriculture has added a New Mexico county to its list of primary natural disaster areas due to drought and excessive heat.

Cibola County joins 39 counties in eight states in the latest designation Wednesday.

In all, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has declared nearly 1,300 counties in 29 states as disaster areas during the current crop year. Much of New Mexico and the Southwest is already on the list.

Jim Rorabaugh/USFWS

The public has two months to weigh in on a proposal to revise critical habitat for the endangered Southwestern willow flycatcher in six states.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has identified more than 2,100 stream miles in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico as part of the habitat proposal.

The agency says about 900 miles are currently being considered for exclusion from the final designation, while two more locations in Arizona could be added.

KUNM

More than 150 Chiricahua leopard frogs have been released into the Galiuros Mountains by Arizona officials.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department recently announced that the threatened adult and juvenile frogs were released at the new location where they haven't been seen since the 1990s.

Until the 1970s, Chiricahua leopard frogs lived in ponds and creeks across central and southeastern Arizona, but populations have declined significantly due to drought, disease, habitat loss and threats from other species.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is lifting all fire restrictions in New Mexico.

The lifting of restrictions slated for Tuesday comes after more areas in the state recently received rainfall or saw increased humidity levels.

This summer has been a busy season for firefighters in New Mexico who have battled the state's largest fire in its history in the Gila Wilderness and another massive blaze near Ruidoso.

BLM spokesman Stephen Baker says even though restrictions have been lifted residents should still be cautious on BLM land since the region is still dry.

Courtesy of Sen. Tom Udall

The recent rains brought some relief to New Mexico’s parched forests, but they also brought a rash of lightning-caused fires.

Firefighters are responding to several smoke reports in the Questa Ranger District, according to U.S. Forest Service officials. They expect no problems. However, more smoke reports are anticipated as temperatures increase and humidity decreases.

Laura Paskus

Corrales officials say a fire that burned more than 350 acres of the wooded area along the Rio Grande last month was most likely sparked by an electronic cigarette.

Village Administrator John Avila says an employee apparently dropped the device while patrolling on June 20. The employee realized the device was gone after ducking under a tree limb. The fire started soon after.

Credit The National Guard / Flickr - Creative Commons

AP UPDATE 7/3/12, 11:46 AM:

The military says six Air Force tankers are resuming firefighting flights after a deadly crash of one tanker over the weekend.

U.S. Northern Command says the flights will resume Tuesday.

The entire fleet of eight planes was grounded after a C-130 crashed Sunday while fighting a wildfire in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

The C-130 was from an Air National Guard wing based in Charlotte, N.C., and was carrying a crew of six. The crash killed at least two crew members and injured others.

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The majority of roads in the Santa Fe National Forest will now be closed to motorized travel, according to the Albuquerque Journal. But two environmental groups say the plan still leaves too much of the forest open to vehicle traffic.

The Record of Decision came after nearly six years of analysis and public comment. The Forest Service evaluated more than 7,000 miles of roads and trails and designated about 2,400 miles where motorized travel will be allowed. It also prohibited off-road motorized travel.

A wildfire burning on the western border of Carlsbad Caverns National Park has grown to 5,000 acres.

Fire officials said Sunday that the blaze was sparked Friday by lightning in the Lincoln National Forest around the New Mexico-Texas state line.

A helicopter battling the declining Little Bear Fire was diverted Saturday to the new fire, which is at 15 percent containment.

The Horse Canyon Fire is near the area burned in the Last Chance Fire in spring in 2011.

A New Mexico wildfire that destroyed 242 homes and businesses is now 95 percent contained as crews finish mopping up around the fire's perimeter.

Crews demobilized some equipment Friday as they restored containment lines around the 69-square-mile Little Bear fire to a more natural state. Firefighters were also able to take advantage of rain on the blaze's southern end.

The lightning-caused fire is burning near Ruidoso and started June 4.

Businesses in Ruidoso are open despite some road closures due to fire operations.

A state board led by Gov. Susana Martinez is being asked for emergency funding to help in wildfire recovery in southern New Mexico and prepare for expected flooding in fire-scarred areas.

The Board of Finance is scheduled Thursday to consider loan requests from the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the village of Ruidoso and Lincoln County.

The department wants $452,000 for a flood warning network, machines for filling sandbags and equipment for rescuing people caught in flood waters.

City commissioners in the southern New Mexico town of Truth or Consequences are proposing a moratorium on well drilling in the city.

Officials took the unusual step Tuesday night to enable a study of whether the number of wells tapping into the town's famed hot springs is harming the resource, considered by some to be sacred and medicinal. The thermal springs are the lifeblood of the town and its eclectic mix of inns and spas.

Rooth Dragon via Flickr

High fire danger has prompted officials to close the wooded area along the Rio Grande in Sandoval, Valencia and Socorro counties.

The closure will take effect Friday morning. The area will remain closed until further notice.

With a full closure, all paths and ditch roads near the bosque will be off limits.

Officials with the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District say law enforcement and fire agencies in the three counties will be working to enforce the closure order.

Conservationists are accusing state wildlife managers of trying to eliminate the black bear population in the mountains that border Albuquerque.

Sandia Mountain BearWatch contends state Game and Fish Department logs show the agency has trapped and either removed or killed 49 bears between 2010 and 2011.

The group accuses the agency of trying to remove the animals to reduce the number of nuisance calls.

The agency disputes the accusations, saying the number of bears removed or killed by vehicles stands at less than 20 for the two years.

The sentencing hearing for two cousins charged with accidentally causing the largest wildfire in Arizona history has been reset.

Caleb Malboeuf and David Malboeuf were scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday in Flagstaff.

Defense attorneys say they need more time to prepare arguments in support of probation with substantial community service.

The Malboeufs each face up to a year in jail and a $10,000 fine. The new sentencing date is Aug. 22.

Biologists are trying to save a threatened trout species in southwestern New Mexico, even as crews around the West struggle to contain blazes that have charred hundreds of square miles of forested countryside.

The concern is that after the fires, summer rains could choke waterways with ash, soil and charred debris. A team is using electroshocking devices to temporarily stun the Gila (HEE'-luh) trout. The fish are then scooped up and ferried to a hatchery in northern New Mexico for safe keeping.

On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new air quality standards to lower the amount of soot allowed from diesel trucks, buses, power plants and other sources.

The long-delayed rule responds to a court order that required the Obama administration to update air quality standards under the Clean Air Act.

photo: Dries Buytaert

LAS CRUCES, N.M.— A graduate student researcher at New Mexico State University has been awarded a National Science Foundation grant to help unravel the genetic mysteries of chile. 

photo: US Forest Service

Firefighters from around New Mexico continue to battle a 410 acre blaze caused by lightning in the Gila National Forest.

ISLETA PUEBLO, N.M. — Hundreds of community activists, social workers, tribal officials and police officers are slated to develop a plan aimed at attacking New Mexico's growing gang problem.

New Mexico Gang Task Force officials hope the meeting Thursday at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on the Isleta Pueblo will foster new ideas on gang prevention and eventually help gang members leave violent gangs.

photo: doug_wertman/ creative commons

New Mexico's largest electric utility, the state's transmission authority and Power Network New Mexico have filed a request with federal regulators that would clear the way for a new transmission line to funnel solar- and wind-generated power to western markets.

The Renewable Energy Transmission Authority and Power Network New Mexico are developing the $350 million project.

Fernando Tomas

New Mexico’s largest electric utility says even though it has not yet met a two-year old renewable energy requirement…it is on track to meet future goals

Under the state’s renewable portfolio standard, investor-owned utilities were supposed to get ten percent of their electricity from clean energy sources by 2010.  Of the state’s three such utilities, PNM is the only one not currently meeting that mandate.  The target jumps to 15 percent in 2015.

A federal judge has reversed a jury verdict clearing four Albuquerque police officers of excessive force in the arrest of a drunken man who was subdued using stun guns, bean bag rounds, and a police dog.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Bruce D. Black's ruling says upholding the October jury verdict in favor of the police and city would be a miscarriage of justice.

New Mexico Congressmen Ben Ray Luján and Martin Heinrich are calling on the federal government to take urgent action to clean up hundreds of abandoned uranium mines on the Navajo Nation.

In letters to the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and Indian Health Services, Lujan, Heinrich, Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva and four other House members say they are they deeply troubled by the federal government's failure to address the ongoing problem. They say the federal neglect is leaving future generations exposed to life-threatening radiation.

Officials at Bandelier National Monument in northern New Mexico are asking for the public's help in developing a management plan for dozens of archaeological sites that are separate from the main portion of the park.

The plan will focus on the Tsankawi unit, which is home to more than 150 sites that range from petroglyphs to stone pueblo structures. The plan is aimed at improving protection of the archaeological resources as well as visitor understanding of the area.

A 30-day scoping period began Monday. The public has until May 15 to submit comments.

General Motors will suspend production of its Chevrolet Volt electric car for five weeks amid disappointing sales.

A GM spokesman said Friday that the company will shut down production of the Volt from March 19 until April 23, idling 1,300 workers at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant.

"We're taking a temporary shutdown," said GM spokesman Chris Lee. "We're doing it to maintain our proper inventory levels as we align production with demand."

One of three officials accused of mismanaging the mortuary at Dover Air Force Base, Del., and of retaliating against three whistle-blowers, has resigned.

The Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal investigative agency, said Friday that Quinton Keel had resigned and that it is in touch with Air Force officials about their final decisions on disciplinary action against the two other accused officials.

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