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Local News
9:11 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Home Building In Albuquerque Is At Aggressive Pace

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Metropolitan Albuquerque is now seeing its most aggressive pace of home building since 2010.


The Albuquerque Journal cites (http://bit.ly/15oGC1r) figures from the housing-market monitoring service DataTraq that shows building permits for 125 new single-family homes were issued in January.


That's up 18 percent from the 106 permits a year earlier and almost double the 66 permits issued in January 2011.

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Local News
9:03 am
Mon March 4, 2013

NM Airport Official: Texans On Plane That Crashed

ANGEL FIRE, N.M. (AP) — An official at the airport in the northern New Mexico community of Angel Fire says a single-engine plane carried a family from Texas when it crashed while taking off.


The Federal Aviation Administration said there were four people aboard the plane that crashed Sunday, including two children, and New Mexico State Police said there were no survivors.


Cause of the crash is under investigation and identities of the victims haven't been released.

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Local News
9:01 am
Mon March 4, 2013

NM State Police Have New Home In Las Cruces

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — All of the officers and other personnel of the Las Cruces district of the New Mexico State Police can finally fit in the same place for a meeting.


The District Four staff has moved into a new $6 million facility with about four times as much space as the former facility that was built almost four decades ago.


The Las Cruces Sun-News (http://bit.ly/VYbjru ) reports that the old facility became too small around 1990, forcing some personnel to work at another location.

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Local News
9:31 am
Mon February 25, 2013

NM Senate Panel Rejects Social Promotion Bill

ALBQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico legislator says she'll try again next year now that a state Senate committee has rejected a bill to end promotion of third-graders whose reading ability isn't adequate.


The Senate Education Committee rejected the so-called "social promotion" bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Gay Kernan of Hobbs on a 5-4 party-line vote following a nearly four-hour hearing Saturday.


The legislation is a priority of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, but it's been repeatedly rejected by the Democratic-led Legislature.

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Local News
9:30 am
Mon February 25, 2013

NM Legislation Demands Title To Federal Lands

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Three New Mexico lawmakers have introduced legislation demanding that the federal government surrender control of millions of acres of public land.


Supporters of the bipartisan bill contend the state would do a better job of managing the land and would no longer have to share natural resource royalties with the federal government.


However, critics say the state would not be able to absorb the costs of managing more land or hiring the hundreds of employees that would be needed.

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Local News
9:28 am
Mon February 25, 2013

UNM Working To Increase Black Student Enrollment

Photo Credit: Juan Fidel Larrañaga

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The University of New Mexico has hired a recruiter to bring more black students to the university system.


KOAT-TV report (http://bit.ly/XWidKg) that UNM recruiter Jamila Clayton said this week she is working to get more African American students interested UNM amid low black enrollment numbers.


University shows show that black students make up less than 3 percent of the student body.


Around 38 percent of the school's 32,000 or so students are Latino while 40 percent are white.

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Local News
8:36 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Roswell Gun Store To Hold 'Coyote Hunt' Contest

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — A southeastern New Mexico gun store has announced that it is hosting a coyote hunting contest following a similar hunt by another gun store that sparked protests.


Larry's Discount Gun Shop and Sporting Goods is organizing a two-day coyote hunting competition starting Saturday. Under the rule of the contest, two-person teams will try to kill as many coyotes as possible with first-place winner getting a pair of semi-automatic rifles.

Local News
8:34 am
Thu February 21, 2013

House Set To Debate $5.9B State Budget

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico lawmakers are ready to tackle a must-do assignment for the 60-day legislative session.


The House is expected Thursday to debate a state budget proposal that will allocate nearly $5.9 billion next year for government programs and public education.


The measure will increase state spending by $239 million or slightly more than 4 percent.

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Local News
8:32 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Navajo Shares Policing Authority With Ariz. County

HOLBROOK, Ariz. (AP) — Law enforcement officers in northeastern Arizona are broadening their reach.


The Navajo County Sheriff's Office and the Navajo Nation have signed a cross-commission agreement that allows the agencies to police one another's territory.


Navajo President Ben Shelly says tribal members who report emergencies on the reservation can face long response times that can be shortened with a call to the sheriff's office.


The two-year agreement outlines the rules for enforcing the laws on the reservation and within Navajo County.

Local News
9:15 am
Wed February 20, 2013

US Asks Court To Dismiss Pueblo's Land Lawsuit

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The federal government is asking a court to dismiss an American Indian community's lawsuit seeking all the land within the boundaries of the 89,000-acre Valles Caldera National Preserve in northern New Mexico. A Justice Department filing in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque argues that the Jemez Pueblo surrendered rights to claim the land under a 1974 judgment.

Local News
9:06 am
Wed February 20, 2013

NM To Study The Jemez River Watershed


JEMEZ SPRINGS, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico water managers are planning to study the water quality of the Jemez River watershed.


The survey will include the Jemez River from its headwaters in northern New Mexico's Jemez Mountains down to the village of San Ysidro. A tributary of the Rio Grande, the river cuts through Valles Caldera National Preserve and Jemez Pueblo land.

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Local News
8:56 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Budget Includes Extra Money For Roads

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico lawmakers are proposing a financing boost for road projects across the state.


A nearly $5.9 billion budget proposal heading to the House includes $20 million for the Department of Transportation for major road projects.


The measure also allows the department to spend $35 million from its fund balances for road maintenance.


The department has told lawmakers the need for road and bridge maintenance and construction far exceeds its current budget.

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Local News
12:28 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

House OKs Tougher Penalties For Human Trafficking

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A proposal advocated by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez to increase penalties for human trafficking is heading to the Senate for consideration.

The measure would make it a first-degree felony for human trafficking if the victim was under the age of 16. Convictions could carry a basic sentence of 18 years in prison. That doubles the penalty because the crime is currently a lesser felony.

The proposal would triple the basic penalty — to nine years in prison — for human trafficking if the victim was 16 years or older.

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Local News
12:26 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Lujan Pushes To Continue Native Language Programs

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Efforts aimed at preservation of Native American languages would continue with the help of federal funding under legislation introduced by New Mexico Congressman Ben Ray Lujan.


The New Mexico Democrat says his bill would reauthorize the Esther Martinez Native Languages Preservation Act for another five years.


The original legislation was brought by former Republican Congresswoman Heather Wilson in honor of a Tewa storyteller and linguist who was known for her life's work of preserving her native language and traditions.

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Local News
12:24 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

NM State Engineer Allocates Water In Hard Hit Area

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District is getting 20,000 acre feet of water amid continuing drought.


Scott Verhines, the New Mexico State Engineer and Rio Grande Compact Commissioner for New Mexico, recently announced the water allocation to help farmers and water users in the area.

Local News
12:54 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Midway Through Session, Legislature Facing Up To Drought

Disappearing Rio Grande at San Marcial
Credit USGS

New Mexico lawmakers say all options need to be considered as the state grapples with a persistent drought, dwindling water supplies and legal pressure from neighboring Texas.

Numerous bills have been introduced, from revamping the state's water plan to boosting the number of judges who handle water rights and spending millions of dollars on infrastructure.

Senate Conservation Commission Chairman Peter Wirth says the bills don't provide a "silver bullet" but mark the start of an important discussion on the state's future.

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Local News
9:37 am
Wed February 6, 2013

New Mexico Chile Acreage Stabilizing

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's chile crop acreage has increased in the past two years since it hit a nearly 40-year low in 2010.


Experts speaking at the state's annual chile conference held Tuesday in Las Cruces reported that 9,600 acres were harvested in 2012. That's a slight increase from 2011.


According to the Las Cruces Sun-News (http://bit.ly/UWtIEk ,), New Mexico's acreage dropped from over 12,000 in 2009 to under 9,000 in 2010.


Acreage was over 20,000 as recently as 1998.

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Local News
9:32 am
Wed February 6, 2013

'Breaking Bad' Actor Wins School Board Seat In NM

Steven Michael Quezada

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An actor from the TV show "Breaking Bad" has won a seat on Albuquerque's school board.


Steven Michael Quezada plays federal drug agent Steven Gomez on the Albuquerque-based show.


He was running unopposed Tuesday for a seat on the city's west side District 5.


There's no incumbent in that district, and Quezada was the only candidate to file for the position.

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Local News
9:33 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Former NM Reporter Dies From Gunshoot Wounds In Phoenix

 A lawyer who died after being shot by a gunman in a Phoenix office was a former reporter with the Santa Fe New Mexican.

The paper reported (http://bit.ly/TlxKH2) that Mark Hummels left the Santa Fe New Mexican in 2001 to attend law school at the University of Arizona.

A publicist for his law firm said Friday that the 43-year-old Hummels died after being placed on life support. He was the second of three people hit by gunfire to die from in the attack.

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Local News
3:40 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

State Could Lose Tens of Millions in Special Education Funds From Feds

New Mexico may be spending too little on special education to qualify for perhaps as much as %93 million in aid this year from the federal government.

Legislators were recently told by state education officials that $43 million to $93 million in grants could be withheld in future years by the Feds.

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Local News
9:10 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Bill Would End 'Monuments To Me'

Manny Aragon Library

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico lawmaker wants to end what he calls the practice by public officials of creating "monuments to me."


Republican Sen. Mark Moores of Albuquerque says he has introduced a bill that would prohibit any public building from being named after a living person. He says the practice can turn embarrassing, as in the case of the Manny Aragon library at Lowell Elementary School in Albuquerque. Aragon is a former Senate leader serving time in federal prison for accepting kickbacks.

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Local News
8:09 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Bernalillo Judges Say No To Return Of Special Grand Juries To Investigate APD

Bernalillo County District Court judges are barring District Attorney Kari Brandenberg's office from using investigative grand juries to probe shootings involving police officers.

Chief Judge Ted Baca and another judge say in a letter to Brandenberg that there's an appearance of a lack of impartiality.

The judges' letter says that's because the investigative grand juries are used only in officer-involved shootings and only after there's been a determination that there's no probable cause for criminal charges against the officers.

Local News
9:23 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Walgreens Assures On Birth Pill Policy

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico advocacy groups say Walgreens won't allow individual pharmacists' personal religious beliefs to prevent customers from filling birth control prescriptions.


The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico announced Tuesday that Walgreens told the ACLU and the Southwest Women's Law Center that the company will take steps nationwide to make sure customers received prescriptions regardless of employees' beliefs.

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Local News
9:20 am
Wed January 23, 2013

NM Suspends Some Medicaid Payments To Hospitals

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is withholding some Medicaid payments to hospitals while the state tries to resolve a funding dispute with the federal government.


State Human Services Department spokesman Matt Kennicott says the quarterly payments suspended in December affect several categories of funding that add up to $250 million annually.


Those funding categories include hospitals that are the sole providers in their community and hospitals that treat more uninsured patients.

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Local News
3:03 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

NM High School Graduation Rate At 67.3%, 48th in Nation

The federal government reports that New Mexico's graduation rate for the 2009-2010 was 67.3 percent. That's below the national average of 78.2 percent. Only the rates in Nevada and Mississippi were lower. 

The so-called "average freshman graduation rates" indicate the percentage of 9th graders who go on to graduate within four years.

The rates are being reported by the National Center for Education Statistics, which is part of the U.S. Department of Education.

Local News
9:43 am
Fri January 18, 2013

UNM Hires New DC Lobby Firm At Twice The Cost

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The University of New Mexico has hired a new company to lobby on its behalf in Washington, D.C. — at nearly double the cost the school has paid in recent years.


The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/VaTYgJ) that UNM will pay Madison Associates, based in the nation's capital, $237,000 this year for its lobbying services under a one-year contract that could be renewed for three years.


President Bob Frank says the firm will have to earn "every cent we pay them."

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Local News
8:41 am
Fri January 18, 2013

New Computer System Skews NM Unemployment Claims

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A new computer system is skewing the data on unemployment claims in New Mexico.


The state's "fully integrated tax and claims system" launched Jan. 6. But because the switchover was done Jan. 1 to Jan. 6, those collecting unemployment were unable to re-certify or file new claims for unemployment from New Mexico during that time.


Because of the shutdown, the number of claims being reported to the federal government is way down.

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Local News
8:33 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Tax Break Proposed For Hiring Science Graduates

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Lawmakers are proposing a tax credit to encourage businesses to hire students receiving graduate degrees in science and technology from a New Mexico college.


The measure is to help stop the so-called brain drain of highly educated professionals leaving New Mexico for jobs in other states after earning a master's or doctorate degree in mathematics, engineering, technology, the sciences or a health-related field.


Employers could receive a tax credit of $5,000 for each qualified graduate that's hired for a full-time job with benefits.

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Local News
12:55 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Federal Reserve Says Farm Income May Drop In 2013

povertyOMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Federal Reserve says U.S. farm income could decline in 2013, but it depends upon whether the drought continues.


The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Mo., said Thursday that if drought conditions persist, prices of corn and other crops would remain volatile because of tight supply. But if normal weather conditions return, crop prices would decline and lead to lower farm incomes.

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Local News
12:48 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Group Hails NM On Providing Breakfasts At Schools

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A new report released by a nonprofit organization gives New Mexico a top ranking for providing breakfasts to low-income students at schools.


The report by the Food Research and Action Center says 70 percent of low-income students in New Mexico who receive lunch also got breakfasts during the 2011-2012 school year.


That's up from about 64 percent the year before.


The Albuquerque Journal (http://bit.ly/Uvkv4q ) says the report's rankings are the first since a new state law took effect.

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