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Local News
9:33 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Woman killed when struck by Rail Runner train

A woman walking along the railroad tracks south of Santa Fe has been struck and killed by a Rail Runner Express train.

Rail Runner spokeswoman Augusta Meyers says the woman was walking along the tracks about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and apparently decided to cross the tracks just ahead of the train.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the woman was then struck by a southbound train. She has not been identified.

Rail traffic has resumed but the incident stalled trains in both directions for a couple of hours.

Local News
8:35 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Ranchers see increase in grass thefts amid drought

Some ranchers have started cutting neighbors' fences or leaving gates open so their cattle can graze on greener pastures amid an extreme drought that has caused a spike in hay prices.

Ranchers from Missouri to Texas and west into New Mexico have sold off huge portions of their herds this year because the worst drought in decades dried up their pastures and they couldn't afford to buy food for their animals.

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Local News
7:24 am
Tue October 2, 2012

NM game officials consider hunting proposals

American pronghorn
US Department of the Interior, BLM

The New Mexico Game and Fish Department is considering a proposed agreement with private landowners that would expand public hunting opportunities for deer and Barbary sheep.

The department says the agreement would open some private lands to hunting in southeastern New Mexico in exchange for closing areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

The department has had these types of agreements involving state trust lands for more than 20 years. It's now proposing expanding the agreements to include BLM lands.

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Local News
7:11 am
Tue October 2, 2012

NM forests prep for prescribed fires

Two national forests in New Mexico are planning prescribed fires this week that are designed to clear out hazardous fuels from hundreds of acres.

Officials with the Santa Fe National Forest in northern New Mexico plan to treat more than 200 acres east of Santa Fe as long as the weather cooperates.

The treatment is focused on improving the health of Santa Fe's watershed.

Smoke will likely be visible from Santa Fe, Pecos, Los Alamos and as far south as Albuquerque.

Local News
10:38 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Lab's $425M in design spending falls short

The Los Alamos National Laboratory has spent about $425 million on designs for its proposed new plutonium facility without reaching the level of confidence needed to prepare a reliable budget or begin building.

The proposed Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear has been delayed at least five years under President Barack Obama's budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins Monday. The budget cut funding for the program.

Local News
10:36 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Santa Fe group mulling plastic grocery bag ban

Amanda Wills, Earth911.com

An emerging push to ban plastic grocery bags in Santa Fe will get its first public airing this week.

A city advisory committee is considering an ordinance calling for a prohibition on plastic carryout bags at stores in the city. The new law also would impose a fee stores must collect if they provide paper bags.

The idea is already facing lobbying against it from the plastics industry representatives and large-scale retail operators.

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Local News
10:34 am
Mon October 1, 2012

NM school district gets funds for counseling

A northern New Mexico public school district has been awarded a federal grant to bolster guidance and counseling programs for students.

The funding from the U.S. Department of Education will go toward addressing high rates of behavioral referrals, violence, suspension and drops outs at El Rito and Ojo Caliente elementary schools.

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan announced the funding. The New Mexico Democrat says getting students on the right track at a young age is critical to helping them avoid negative conduct in school.

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Local News
10:34 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Regents meeting may reveal NMSU president's fate

AllenS

Monday's meeting of the New Mexico Board of Regents may end a week of speculation as to why the president of one of the state's major universities is on leave.

New Mexico State University President Barbara Couture has been on leave since early last week. Couture's unexpected absence and the silence it has brought from the Regents stoked speculation on the Las Cruces campus and criticism about an apparent lack of transparency.

Board members have told the media that they will discuss Couture at a public meeting on Monday.

Local News
10:32 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Group raises $283K to promote NM bond issue

The private fundraising foundations of colleges and universities are bankrolling a general election campaign for voter approval of bond financing for $120 million in higher education construction projects.

Campaign finance reports show a political committee backing the bonds has raised about $283,000. Most of the money comes from foundations for the colleges, universities and other schools with projects to be funded by the general obligation bonds.

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Local News
10:30 am
Mon October 1, 2012

UNM sees rise in students taking online courses

University of New Mexico has seen a nearly 50-percent increase over last year in the number of credit hours that its students are taking in online courses.

The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/PFGQsH) that university leaders say the spike is a sign that the school is becoming more accessible.

Students at the university this fall are taking 30,728 credit hours of online courses.

Online course registrations have more than quintupled in the past decade, and the university expects they will keep growing.

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Local News
10:28 am
Mon October 1, 2012

NM Health Secretary Catherine Torres resigning

Catherine Torres is resigning as secretary of the New Mexico Department of Health after serving in the position for the last 18 months.

Her resignation was announced Monday and is effective Oct. 15.

Gov. Susana Martinez named the Las Cruces pediatrician as secretary of the Health Department in January 2011.

Torres says in a written statement that she is proud of her work with the health department but decided it was time to move on after the death of her mother.

She says also she wants to spend more time with her family.

Local News
9:37 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Feds rounding up 3,500 horses, burros

"Healthy Horses on Healthy Ranges." http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/whbprogram/herd_management.html
U.S. Dept. of Interior-BLM

Federal officials say they will round up thousands of wild horses and burros across six Western states starting Monday.

The roundups will take place through February on drought-stricken range lands in Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

Contractors for the Bureau of Land Management will use helicopters plus bait- and water-trapping methods to corral a total of 3,500 wild horses and burros.

Other horses will be given birth control injections and returned to the range lands.

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Local News
9:29 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Lab's $425M in design spending falls short

The Los Alamos National Laboratory has spent about $425 million on designs for its proposed new plutonium facility without reaching the level of confidence needed to prepare a reliable budget or begin building.

The proposed Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear has been delayed at least five years under President Barack Obama's budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins Monday. The budget cut funding for the program.

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Local News
10:27 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Rio Grande farmers sue irrigation district

A group of Rio Grande valley farmers who say the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District illegally cut their water supplies during dry years are suing the district.

The group says the district is failing to follow the state Constitution's mandate that water rights are allocated from oldest to newest in lean times. They argue that means during dry years those with the earliest rights gets first crack at the water.

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Local News
1:31 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Salazar in NM to dedicate 2 national refuges

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says New Mexico is making some history.

He made two stops in the state Thursday to dedicate a pair of new national wildlife refuges, including the first urban refuge in the Southwest. Salazar says this marks the first time two refuges have been dedicated in one state on the same day.

The public helped choose the name of the urban refuge — Valle de Oro, which is Spanish for Valley of Gold. It's located along the Rio Grande on the southern edge of Albuquerque.

Local News
8:49 am
Sat September 22, 2012

Ex-NM environment official to head EPA region

A former top New Mexico environmental official has been appointed head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency region that includes some of the nation's biggest oil- and gas-producing states.

Ron Curry will assume his post Monday. He succeeds Al Armendariz, who resigned in April after Republicans lambasted him for using the word "crucify" to describe how he would go after companies that violated environmental laws.

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Local News
10:09 am
Wed September 19, 2012

Cleanup of uranium continues on Navajo Nation

Three areas of the Navajo Nation that are contaminated with uranium mining waste are being cleaned up.

The work starts in Cove, where uranium ore was stockpiled before trucks took it to a nearby mill for processing. The so-called transfer stations still contain some waste, which will be consolidated and sealed until a permanent disposal site is found.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it will put up fencing and monitor air quality to make sure residents in the area are protected from dust.

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Local News
9:04 am
Mon September 17, 2012

DOT to sell surplus equipment

The state Department of Transportation plans to sell surplus equipment ranging from bulldozers and snowplows to cars, mini-vans and four-wheel drive sport utility vehicles.

An auction is scheduled September 29th from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the department's District 5 office, which is on the south side of Santa Fe.

The agency says more than 1,000 items will be sold, including dump trucks, pickup trucks, road graders, trailers, mowers as well as office furniture and electronics.

Money from the auction will go into a state fund that pays for the department's operations.

Local News
9:01 am
Mon September 17, 2012

Forest Service to do controlled burns

Controlled burns planned in two areas of the Santa Fe National Forest could send smoke into canyons and make it hard for those with health issues to breath.

The burning operations are planned starting Monday in the forest's Jemez and Coyote ranger districts.

The Jemez operations include burning near Ponderosa Camp and near the Valles Caldera's northwest corner.

The burning planned on the Coyote district will likely be seen from the communities of Espanola and Abiquiu.

The fires are being set to reduce hazardous fuels and restore forest health.

Local News
8:58 am
Mon September 17, 2012

2 West Nile cases reported in San Juan County

Alvesgaspar

Two West Nile virus cases were reported last week in San Juan County.

The Farmington Daily Times reports that the county now has had three West Nile cases so far this year.

A 32-year-old woman and a 70-year-old woman from San Juan County were reported to have the virus last week.

Both women have developed encephalitis and meningitis.

Health officials say there have been 26 cases statewide, including one resulting in a death.

Authorities said last week that a 76-year-old man from Bernalillo County died from the virus.

Local News
9:25 am
Tue September 11, 2012

Feds take search for refuge name online

Last September, Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar and Bernalillo County Commissioner Art De La Cruz toured Price's Dairy.
Tami A. Heilemann-DOI Office of Communications

Federal wildlife managers are stepping into uncharted territory and are asking social media users for help in naming what will be one of the nation's newest urban wildlife refuges.

The refuge in New Mexico has yet to be formally established, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Southwest Region is getting a jump on things by asking people to suggest names on its Facebook page.

Voting started Friday and the list of suggestions has grown.

The favorites include Valle de Oro — Spanish for Valley of Gold — National Wildlife Refuge.

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Local News
9:12 am
Tue September 11, 2012

Government proposes prescribed burn near Santa Fe

The U.S. Forest Service is proposing a prescribed burn in the Pecos Wilderness near Santa Fe to reduce the possibility that a wildfire could severely damage the city's watershed.

The Espanola Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest has scheduled a meeting Sept. 20 to gather public comments and provide more information about the proposal to burn 2,900 acres in the wilderness area upstream from McClure Reservoir, which is east of Santa Fe and stores water for the city.

Local News
10:04 am
Mon September 10, 2012

Group seeks protection for relocated prairie dogs

Gunnison prairie dogs
Flikr/Andrew Holander

Animal conservationists are worried that hundreds of Gunnison's prairie dogs relocated from the city of Santa Fe to the El Malpais National Conservation Area in west-central New Mexico could become targets for shooters.

The nonprofit environmental group WildEarth Guardians is asking the Bureau of Land Management to consider restrictions on recreational shooting in the prairie dog relocation spot.

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Local News
9:54 am
Mon September 10, 2012

UNM gets grant for middle school science program

University of New Mexico professors and researchers have been awarded funding from the National Institutes of Health to implement a science enrichment program for several middle schools in rural New Mexico.

The funding will be doled out over five years and will target both tribal and predominantly Hispanic schools.

The university says there's a steady decline in the number of American Indian and Hispanic students graduating with science and engineering degrees.

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Local News
10:03 am
Thu September 6, 2012

Groups ask NM regulators for clean energy standard

New Mexico regulators are set to consider a petition filed by a coalition that is pushing for a voluntary program aimed at curbing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

The Public Regulation Commission is meeting Thursday in Santa Fe.

Western Resource Advocates filed the petition on behalf of 33 environmental groups.

WRA chief counsel Steve Michel says the proposal would allow utilities to voluntarily opt to reduce carbon emissions from their generating stations by 3 percent a year starting in 2014.

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Local News
7:19 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Black bear captured blocks from Santa Fe Plaza

Conservation officers with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish have captured a black bear that wandered into the center of Santa Fe.

Albuquerque television station KOB-TV reports the bear was first spotted at about 6:30 a.m. Sunday.

The Santa Fe New Mexican posted this video.  

A few hours later, the bear was found along the Santa Fe River, two blocks from the city's historic plaza.

Local News
9:41 am
Fri August 31, 2012

NM Quickly Reverses Decision to Drop Trail Funding

New Mexico has reversed its decision to pull out of a program that provides money to build, improve and maintain recreational trails.

The New Mexico Department of Transportation had informed the Federal Highway Administration on Wednesday that it was opting out of the Recreational Trails Program.

A day later, Transportation Secretary Alvin Dominguez wrote to the FHA saying he had reconsidered and would accept grant funds this year.

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Local News
9:36 am
Fri August 31, 2012

Construction of Casino at NM Fairgrounds Delayed

Soil issues have caused a delay in construction of a new 65,000-square-foot casino for the Downs of Albuquerque.

General manager Darren White says the building now will open about a month later than planned, early in the second quarter next year. He says engineers had found some areas where soil was not compacted deeply enough to meet specifications.

The construction also is expected to impact parking at the upcoming New Mexico State Fair.

Local News
9:33 am
Fri August 31, 2012

Fewer weeks of jobless benefits to be offered

Fewer weeks of unemployment benefits will soon be available to jobless New Mexicans and the Department of Workforce Solutions says it's because of a change in federal law.

A maximum of 54 weeks of unemployment compensation will be offered with claims effective Sept. 2. That's down from 60 weeks currently.

The department says New Mexicans eligible for 60 weeks of benefits before Sept. 2 can continue to receive payments for up to that amount of time during a phase-out period.

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Local News
9:22 am
Fri August 31, 2012

Independent tests confirms drug use in horses

Three trainers whose horses tested positive for an exotic painkilling drug could face suspensions, fines and criminal charges.

New Mexico Racing Commission executive director Vince Mares says independent lab tests have confirmed that nine horses had been drugged with dermorphin.

He tells the Albuquerque Journal that the cases are being forwarded to the state Attorney General's Office for possible criminal prosecution.

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