Associated Press

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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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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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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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.

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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The New Mexico peanut butter plant linked to a salmonella outbreak remains idle as officials wait for federal approval to reopen.

Sunland Inc. spokeswoman Katalin Coburn declined Monday to estimate when operations at the country's largest organic peanut processing plant may resume, saying only that officials are awaiting a response from the Food and Drug Administration.

 

A bipartisan commission will meet next month in Albuquerque to consider applicants for three vacancies on the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court.

The Judicial Nominating Commission will make recommendations to Republican Gov. Susana Martinez for possible appointments to the 19-member court.

The vacancies will occur in January because three Metro Court judges were elected to the district court in the 2nd Judicial District of Bernalillo County — Judges Christina Argyres, Benjamin Chavez and Briana Zamora.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Nearly a third of the 112 members of Legislature will be new to the House and Senate when lawmakers convene in January, and that could end up helping Republican Gov. Susana Martinez and her push to end driver's licenses for illegal immigrants.

There will be at least 15 new senators and the election appears to have added more supporters of the governor's license proposal, which has been a centerpiece of her legislative agenda.

Santa Fe didn't meet its goal of doubling its recycling tonnage over the past year, but the amount of recyclable materials delivered to a regional processing facility is rising.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports (http://bit.ly/ZezLWj) that city leaders have been focused on getting more businesses to recycle and to distribute more recycling bins to residential customers.

Since July, the city has signed up 24 businesses for recycling collection and has a goal of adding a new account every week.

The policy on plastic bins used for residential recycling has changed.

Authorities say the origin of a substance that led to the evacuation of an industrial park near the New Mexico-Texas state line and sickened about 200 people remains unknown.

Capt. Rich Libicer of the New Mexico State Police tells the Las Cruces Sun-News (http://bit.ly/Sep8MW) that investigators are trying to pinpoint a possible location for where the substance may have come from at the complex of factories and warehouses in Santa Teresa, N.M., near the Mexican border just northwest of El Paso, Texas.

Gov. Susana Martinez has signed an order to support the deployment of New Mexico resources to northeastern states that need help in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

Friday's executive order makes $200,000 available to the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to coordinate the deployment and support of New Mexico resources for relief efforts.

The storm made landfall on the East Coast on Oct. 29 and has caused an estimated $50 billion in damages.

Government leaders in the United States and Mexico are close to signing a pact to add areas south of the border to Colorado River water sharing agreements involving seven Western U.S. states.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials said Friday that final documents are circulating among the 15 water agencies and state officials in Nevada, Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the Southern Nevada Water Authority and Colorado River Commission of Nevada will consider it next week.

Bernalillo County officials say there may be as many as 1,000 people being held at the chronically overcrowded Metropolitan Detention Center who don't need to be there.

The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/Rp9rnZ) that officials plan to take around 400 from behind bars and put them in programs where they can be monitored and get help.

The plan is to expand the 2nd Judicial District Court's pretrial services program and the county's Community Custody Program, which would cover some defendants awaiting trial and others already sentenced.

The state and the University of New Mexico have unveiled a new attraction for Lobo basketball fans, a "Heart Gallery" featuring portraits of children up for adoption.

Gov. Susana Martinez was at the university Thursday to announce the gallery, which will display pictures of foster children from the Children, Youth, and Families Department.

CYFD says it has a temporary display ready for the Monday's basketball season home opener at The Pit. A permanent gallery will follow.

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Government leaders in the United States and Mexico are close to signing a pact to add areas south of the border to Colorado River water sharing agreements involving seven Western U.S. states.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials said Friday that final documents are circulating among the 15 water agencies and state officials in Nevada, Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the Southern Nevada Water Authority and Colorado River Commission of Nevada will consider it next week.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Officials at Los Alamos National Laboratory say the estimate for fixing the new but inoperable security system at the nation's bomb building lab has doubled.

Lab officials Friday confirmed a report in the Albuquerque Journal that it could cost an additional $41 million and take six months to fix the $213 million system, which has been under construction for seven years and was supposed to be complete this summer.

That is double what officials estimated a few weeks ago, when problems with the security system were first reported.

A petition aimed at removing post-traumatic stress disorder as a qualifier for medical marijuana in New Mexico has been rejected.

The New Mexico Medical Cannabis Advisory Board unanimously ruled Wednesday to reject the petition by an Albuquerque psychiatrist who said there was a lack of scientific evidence proving medical marijuana helped those with PTSD.

The board voted 7-0 to recommend that interim Health Secretary Brad McGrath reject the petition despite the claims.

About 3,300 New Mexicans used a PTSD diagnosis to qualify for a license.

Gov. Susana Martinez, whose appointee to the Court of Appeals lost his seat in Tuesday's election, will get another shot at putting a Republican on the bench.

Court of Appeals Judge Celia Foy Castillo is retiring in December.

A bipartisan commission will consider applications for the position and then forward a list of candidates to the governor.

Judges then run in a partisan election if they want to keep their job. If they win, they face periodic nonpartisan retention elections.

Voter turnout dropped in New Mexico and unofficial returns indicate about 62 percent of registered voters cast ballots in this year's presidential race.

That's down from nearly 70 percent in 2008, and it's the lowest turnout rate since the 2000 presidential election when 61 percent of eligible voters participated.

About 772,000 votes were cast in the presidential race. That's 7 percent lower than in 2008, but is 2 percent higher than in 2004.

New Mexico was a battleground state in the 2008 and 2004 presidential contests, but not this year.

Organizers of a massive get-out-the-vote campaign that targeted Native American communities across the country are considering their efforts a success.

The National Congress of American Indians led the push. The group pointed Thursday to U.S. Senate races in Montana and North Dakota, as well as a voter identification ballot initiative in Minnesota, where it says the Native American turnout made a difference. The Minnesota voter ID requirement failed.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez, whose appointee to the Court of Appeals lost his seat in Tuesday's election, will get another shot at putting a Republican on the bench.

Court of Appeals Judge Celia Foy Castillo is retiring in December.

A bipartisan commission will consider applications for the position and then forward a list of candidates to the governor.

Judges then run in a partisan election if they want to keep their job. If they win, they face periodic nonpartisan retention elections.

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — New voting systems triggered long voting lines and a shortage of voting machines in some polling sites in New Mexico.

In Rio Rancho, some voters found themselves Tuesday in three-hour lines and continued waiting into early Wednesday morning. The long lines sparked a visit by Governor Susana Martinez who passed out water to those waiting.

Delays were blamed on high turnout and a switch from precinct polling sites to centralized voting centers.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and her Republican allies appear to have lost ground in the state House of Representatives in the general election but gained seats in the Senate, including ousting a pair of Democratic leaders.

The GOP had hoped to knock off enough Democrats to take control of the House for the first time in nearly 60 years, but unofficial returns suggested the party went the other direction and lost seats.

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