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Local News
8:10 am
Thu November 22, 2012

Plan Calls for Reforestation of NM Wildfire Scar

Forest officials are proposing to plant hundreds of thousands of seedlings as part of an effort to reforest areas charred by last year's Las Conchas blaze.

The Santa Fe National Forest is looking for public comments on its plan. The 30-day comment period starts Saturday.

The fire exploded across the southern edge of the Jemez Mountains on June 26, 2011, after being sparked by a falling power line.

It burned through hundreds of square miles of tinder dry forest, destroyed dozens of homes and threatened one of the nation's premier government laboratories.

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Local News
8:09 am
Thu November 22, 2012

Lieutenant Governor To Hold Office Hours Around NM

Lt. Gov. John Sanchez is traveling the state next week to meet with New Mexicans on what he calls a "mobile office day."

Sanchez will visit Santa Rosa, Tucumcari, Clovis and Portales next Tuesday.

He'll stop in Hobbs, Carlsbad, Artesia and Roswell next Wednesday.

Sanchez said he wants to meet with New Mexicans and hear about the problems and issues confronting them.

Information on Sanchez's visits is available on the lieutenant governor's web site at http://www.ltgovernor.state.nm.us/ .

Local News
8:08 am
Thu November 22, 2012

Albuquerque Police Unveil Holiday Crime Crackdown

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.

Local News
8:05 am
Wed November 21, 2012

Organizers Mull Moving SF's Zozobra To Fridays

Credit Rvaldez4108

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.

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Local News
8:02 am
Wed November 21, 2012

Albuquerque Schools Bans Rosaries At High School

Credit Aprilwine

An Albuquerque high school is requiring students who wear rosaries to conceal them in an effort to curb gang activity.

The revised school dress code at Atrisco Heritage Academy high school prompted rumors among students who thought the school was banning rosaries outright.

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Local News
7:46 am
Wed November 21, 2012

King Favors Extending Mortgage Forgiveness Relief

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.

Local News
7:41 am
Wed November 21, 2012

NM To Get Ready For More Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Credit Andreas Geick

New Mexico has been awarded $500,000 in federal funding as part of a national project that aims to get states ready for more alternative fuel cars and trucks.

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Local News
7:37 am
Wed November 21, 2012

Santa Fe Forest Working On Buckman Restoration

The Santa Fe National Forest is starting a restoration project along the Rio Grande near the old town of Buckman.

Forest officials say the project involves recreation enhancement and habitation restoration, including the removal of non-native species such as salt cedar and Russian olive trees on 34 acres.

Trailheads will also be designated.

The decision to move forward with the project stems from years of collaboration with the Bureau of Land Management and the New Mexico Wildlife Federation.

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Local News
8:54 am
Tue November 20, 2012

NM Negotiates With Tribes Over Slot Machine Wagers

Credit Jeff Kubina

Regulators in New Mexico are negotiating with eight pueblos and two tribes over whether slot machine wagers started with "free play" or "bonus point" credits should be included when the casinos report their total quarterly wagers.

The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/UczmS9) that Gaming Control Board officials maintain the tribal casinos are paying the state less than they should by not adding the value of "free" or "bonus" play to the total amount of cash wagered and reported to the state.

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Local News
8:51 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Christmas Trees Available In NM National Forests

Credit Zereshk

New Mexicans can buy permits to cut Christmas trees on national forest land in the state.

The permit prices vary depending on the forest, but are available through Dec. 24.

The Gila and Lincoln national forests are selling $5 permits, and the tags are free for pinon trees in the Gila.

The permits are $10 in the Santa Fe and Cibola national forests for trees up to 10 feet.

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Local News
8:44 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Notah Begay Foundation Releases Obesity Report

A foundation backed by professional golfer Notah Begay III has identified New Mexico as "ground zero" for finding better ways to address obesity and diabetes in Native American children.

In a report released Monday, Begay's foundation pointed to New Mexico's large Native American population and what it describes as dramatic health and educational disparities.

The foundation has spent the past year discussing with tribal leaders, health experts and others the challenges of dealing with obesity and diabetes. More than 250 stakeholders participated in the discussions.

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Local News
8:42 am
Tue November 20, 2012

ACLU To Push Teen Maternity Leave In NM

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico says it plans to push for a new state law that would give pregnant teenagers maternity leave from school.

KRQE-TV reports (http://bit.ly/SJPPtp) that ACLU of New Mexico says it will push for the proposal in the next legislative session in January. In addition under the proposal, pregnant and parenting students, boys and girls, would get up to 14 days of absences a semester. Currently, students typically get up to 10 days per semester.

Local News
10:49 am
Mon November 19, 2012

New Mexico Dairies Request Federal Help in Fighting Drought, High Feed Prices

PORTALES, N.M. (AP) — Dairy farmers are hoping for federal help after severe drought and high feed prices have closed around 40 dairies in New Mexico.

The Portales News-Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/SZdS7U) that experts believe the U.S. Farm Bill could give dairy farmers relief by ending old price support systems.

New Mexico State University Extension Dairy Specialist Robert Hagevoort (HAYG'-vohrt) says the proposal would create a regulated producer-paid insurance program. He says the program would make sure that if margins are upside down, insurance will pay out.

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Local News
9:01 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Sipapu Kicks Off NM's Ski Season, Others This Week

Credit C. Jung

New Mexico's ski season kicked off Saturday with the opening of the Sipapu resort and at least two more resorts are expected to open later this week.

Taos Ski Valley and Red River Ski Area are expected to open by Thanksgiving Day. Ski Santa Fe officials say they won't open until after the Thanksgiving weekend but could open within 48 hours of significant snowfall.

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Local News
8:48 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Wild Horse Advocates In NM Call For Gentle Tactics

Credit GerardM

A federal agency's proposal to use helicopters to gather hundreds of wild horses in northwestern New Mexico has drawn criticism from animal advocates who are urging the government to use gentler tactics.

The Bureau of Land Management office plans to round up more than 270 wild horses off the Jicarilla/Carracas Mesa area near Navajo Dam.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports (http://bit.ly/TTmvCe) that the federal agency's preferred option includes using helicopters.

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Local News
8:39 am
Mon November 19, 2012

NM Launching Online System For Jobless Benefits

Jobless New Mexicans will be able to apply online for unemployment benefits under a new state system that will be launched in early January.

The Workforce Solutions Department said the computer system also will help employers by allowing them to electronically submit required wage reports as well as pay taxes and track their accounts.

The system will be launched Jan. 6, and is intended to eliminate the use of mail for much of the business involving unemployment compensation.

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Local News
8:38 am
Mon November 19, 2012

NM Coyote Contest Winds Down With No Problems

Credit marya

A coyote hunting contest organized by a New Mexico gun shop that set off protests from animal rights activists has ended without problems.

Gunhawk Firearms business manager Rick Gross says the hunt ended at noon Sunday and all hunters had checked in with the shop's owner by 2 p.m. Gross didn't have a count for the number of coyotes taken. But he says the last count he had from Saturday was 23 and he expected no more than 60 would be shot in all.

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Local News
8:21 am
Fri November 16, 2012

Lujan Advances In Hispanic Caucus Leadership

Credit Office of Congressman Ben Ray Lujan

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico has moved up in the leadership of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

The caucus announced Thursday in Washington, D.C. that Lujan was elected first vice chair for the next congressional session.

Lujan, a Democrat, represents the 3rd Congressional District of northern New Mexico and has been the second vice chair of the caucus.

New Mexico's newly elected member of Congress, Michelle Lujan Grisham, will be caucus whip.

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Local News
8:18 am
Fri November 16, 2012

Commercial Coyote Hunters Banned From State Land

Credit marya

New Mexico's state land commissioner says participants in a commercial coyote killing contest run by a gun store in Los Lunas won't be allowed to use state trust land.

Commissioner Ray Powell says in a letter to the owner of Gunhawk Firearms that a permit or lease is needed for commercial use of the state lands and none has been issued. The letter obtained by the Santa Fe New Mexican (http://bit.ly/QLFIZw ) on Thursday says anyone participating in the hunt who kills coyotes on state land will be considered a trespasser.

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Local News
8:10 am
Fri November 16, 2012

Spaceport Supporters Push For NM Legislation

Credit AllenS

Republican Governor Susana Martinez has pushed unsuccessfully for two years for legislation to protect spacecraft manufacturers from legal liability.

She'll now have help from the Save Our Spaceport Coalition, a group of aerospace-related companies and business associations.

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Local News
8:07 am
Fri November 16, 2012

Conservative Group Criticizes NM's GOP Governor

A conservative political group is criticizing Governor Susana Martinez for deciding to establish a state-run health insurance exchange.

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Local News
8:37 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Bonuses Aim to Attract More Albuquerque Cadets

A new initiative has been launched aimed at getting more recruits into the Albuquerque police academy.

Mayor Richard Berry and Albuquerque Police Chief Raymond Schultz announced Wednesday an initiative that will give each cadet a $5,000 bonus for completing the academy and $500 for city employees who refer qualified candidates. The city has also launched a new campaign aimed at attracting more recruits.

Local News
8:33 am
Thu November 15, 2012

US Postal Service Looks to Hire in NM

Credit Johan Burati

The U.S. Postal Service says it's looking for a few good men and women.

Postal officials say dozens of long-time employees are expected to retire so they're accepting applications for various positions at mail facilities around New Mexico.

The jobs are described as transitional and postal support positions. None of the jobs offer benefits, but some come with the potential of permanent employment with the agency.

The pay ranges from $12.38 to $16 per hour.

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Local News
8:31 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Income Inequality Continues to Grow in New Mexico, the Nation's Poorest State

A new study says the gap between wealthy households and low-income families in New Mexico continues to grow, and it is now the widest in the nation.

The report was released Wednesday by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute. It says that from 2008 to 2010, the richest 5 percent of New Mexico households had average incomes nearly 17 times higher than the bottom 20 percent of households.

That's a jump from two years earlier, when the gap was around 14 times higher.

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Local News
4:03 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Martinez Moves Forward with Health Exchange Plan for Uninsured

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez's administration is moving ahead to establish a state-run clearinghouse to help small businesses and tens of thousands of individuals find affordable health insurance they currently lack.

However, a fight over the health insurance exchange could break out in next year's Legislature. Attorney General Gary King's office is reviewing whether new legislation is needed to implement an exchange or whether it can be done as the Martinez administration plans without a change in current law.

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Local News
8:30 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Bernalillo Co. to Post Workers' Names and Pay

The Bernalillo County Commission has voted to post the names and salaries of all its workers online as a transparency measure.

The commission voted 3-2 Tuesday evening to adopt the online postings as part of an openness and transparency measure.

Bernalillo County has been posting public salaries but not along with the workers' names.

Measure sponsor Commissioner Wayne Johnson says in a statement that transparency in government is the foundation for good government and allows citizens to hold public workers and elected officials accountable.

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Local News
8:24 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Lowe's to Add 300 Jobs at Albuquerque Call Center

Credit Ildar Sagdejev

Lowe's plans to expand its New Mexico call center and add 300 jobs in the next year.

The home improvement giant says it will expand its current operations in Albuquerque by taking over an adjacent 32,000-square-foot building.

The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/SnyKoO ) that the customer support center will employ 900 people after the jobs announced on Tuesday are added. The call center opened last December.

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Local News
8:20 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Judges in Santa Fe to Seek More Funding

Some of New Mexico's top judges are trying to make a case for more court funding.

Albuquerque television station KOB-TV reports (http://bit.ly/RSIsCS) that judges came from across New Mexico on Tuesday to testify before the Legislative Finance Committee in Santa Fe.

The downturn in the economy has meant leaner government budgets and the courts are among affected. The judges are pushing for about a 3 percent increase in funding for the next budget year.

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Local News
9:43 am
Tue November 13, 2012

State Police officer alleges retaliation in suit

Credit Chris

A New Mexico State Police sergeant who complained about a lack of diversity among leaders of the State Police and Department of Public Safety has claimed in a lawsuit that he was retaliated against.

The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/ZBlZMq) that Henry Trujillo filed a lawsuit against DPS in state court in Santa Fe last week that alleges the agency violated laws against racial and age discrimination and retaliated against him.

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Local News
9:39 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Business-related bankruptcies drop in New Mexico

New Mexico's business-related bankruptcies dropped to a six-year low during the 12 months ending with September.

The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/ZlyT1V) that petitions were filed for 185 bankruptcies in which the majority of the debt was from business activities.

That's a 19 percent drop from 229 petitions with mostly business debt over the same federal fiscal year period in 2010-11.

Business-related bankruptcies across the country dropped about 16 percent over the same period.

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