A proposed overhaul of Santa Fe County's pet licensing rules would require cat owners to license their pets and people who feed feral cats to get permits.
The draft proposal approved by the county commission on Tuesday also would significantly increase almost all fees and fines associated with owning pets.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the cost of licensing spayed or neutered dogs and cats would increase to $8 from $3 per year, while the cost of licensing an unaltered dog or cat would increase from $10 to $100.
An independent special audit shows McKinley County made about $240,000 in questionable payments to a business owned by the county commission chairman.
State Auditor Hector Balderas released the finding of the audit Monday. His office says the county violated the state procurement code and its own purchasing policies.
Balderas' office also says there are potential violations of the Governmental Conduct Act related to the county's contracts for plumbing, heating, air conditioning and other services with Dallago Corp. The company is owned by Chairman David Dallago.
The Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on a New Mexico peanut butter plant that had repeated food safety violations over several years, using a new authority to halt operations at facilities that may be producing unsafe food.
The Albuquerque Zoo has announced the name of its new baby rhino -- Chopper.
Zoo officials say the name was the overwhelming favorite of Facebook fans. The name was suggested in remembrance of Jimmy "Chopper" Abalos, a softball and little league leader in the community who died in 2010. Abalos sponsored multiple little league teams called the "Rhinos." He was inducted in the United States Specialty Sports Association Hall of Fame in 2003, and his adult softball team, also the Rhinos, was inducted in 2009.
County officials are asking the Legislature to require the disclosure of more property sales prices to help with tax assessments in New Mexico.
Currently, assessors are provided prices of residential property that's sold. They want to expand the disclosure requirement to vacant land as well as commercial property and agricultural land. The information would go to assessors but not be publicly disclosed.
Five members of the Los Alamos National Laboratory security force have been fired for an improper use of a live fire shooting range.
Los Alamos Monitor reports (http://bit.ly/UPMx7N) that the five employees of the lab security force, known as Securing Our Country, were fired last week for "inappropriate behavior" at Technical Area 72.
The lab said in a statement that the firings came after a preliminary inquiry.
However, lab officials declined to discuss the nature of the behavior that resulted in the firings.
A new study finds rustic home sites in the mountains east of Albuquerque and in rural Santa Fe County are adding to the number of people infected with plague.
The study co-authored by state public health veterinarian Paul Ettestad blames a trend that has seen affluent families building homes in areas rodents once had to themselves for changing the distribution of plague in New Mexico since the 1980s. The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/Tfka3I) the disease was previously most common in low-income communities in the northwestern part of the state.
Police are launching an aggressive campaign aimed at preventing theft at Albuquerque stores and shopping malls.
Albuquerque police announced Wednesday that uniformed and undercover police officers will be placed around malls this week to deter property crimes. In addition, bait vehicle and items will be placed to nab would-be thieves and shoplifters lurking around stores.
Police Chief Ray Schultz told reporters the massive operation will begin Friday and run through Christmas.
The Santa Fe group that organizes the annual Zozobra ritual is considering moving the event from Thursday to Friday nights.
The Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe's Zozobra director says the group is considering the day move. Ray Sandoval tells the Santa Fe New Mexican http://bit.ly/RSDKDX) its awaiting a change of officers at the Santa Fe Fiesta Council before making a final decision.
New Mexico Attorney General Gary King is urging Congress to continue tax relief for financially troubled homeowners who have part of their mortgage debt forgiven by a lender.
King and other state attorneys general sent a letter Tuesday asking congressional leaders to extend a tax provision that will expire at the end of December.
Under a 2007 law, homeowners don't have pay income taxes on mortgage debt that's canceled or forgiven because of a foreclosure, a loan restructuring or when the lender agrees to a short sale at a price less than the amount owed on a house.