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5 Fatally Shot In Northern NM, Fire Crews Still Battling NM Blaze

Jun 16, 2017

5 Fatally Shot In Northern New Mexico; Gunman ArrestedThe Associated Press & The Santa Fe New Mexican

Authorities have arrested a man who they say fatally shot five people in New Mexico on Thursday.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports sheriff's deputies arrested 21-year-old Damian Herrera in connection with the shootings across Taos and Rio Arriba counties.

District Attorney Marco Serna says his office will be charging Herrera with five counts of open murder and will request the court hold him without bond.

Authorities have not yet released a motive and say there doesn't appear to be links between the victims.

The newspaper reports three people were killed in Vallecitos, a small community north of Ojo Caliente; another person was killed when the shooter went to nearby Tres Piedras; and the final victim was found in the village of Abiquiú.

Fire Crews In New Mexico Brace For Hot, Dry WeatherThe Associated Press

Firefighters are facing hot, dry conditions as they try to get a handle on a wildfire that has forced evacuations and the closure of a highway through one of northern New Mexico's popular mountain ranges.

Smoke blanketed much of the Jemez Mountains on Friday as the flames marched to the south and east.

Fire officials say crews are feeling good about the safety of the neighborhoods that were evacuated Thursday but they're watching for any changes in the wind direction.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

As many as 200 residents had to leave their homes as the fire spread Thursday to more than a square mile near the boundary of the Santa Fe National Forest and Valles Caldera National Preserve.

The preserve remains closed, and Sandoval County sheriff's deputies are escorting residents into the evacuated area to collect pets and gather belongings.

New Mexico State Court Agrees To Consider Veto ChallengesThe Associated Press

A judge has agreed to consider whether 10 bills vetoed by Gov. Susana Martinez this year should become law anyway.

New Mexico state district court Judge Sarah Singleton on Friday said state lawmakers can move forward with their challenge of the vetoes.

A Democratic-led panel of legislators says Martinez failed to explain her objections to the bills in a written message as required by the state constitution. Lawmakers say the explanations are crucial to the legislative process.

Singleton directed attorneys for the governor to submit a response and prepare for a hearing.

The bills in question would allow high school students to count their computer science classes toward core math credits needed for graduation and open the way for research program for industrial hemp, among other measures.

As Many As 200 Evacuated Due To New Mexico FireAssociated Press, KOB-TV

A fire burning in northern New Mexico has grown to 700 acres so far and forced the evacuation of about 200 people.

Santa Fe National Forest spokeswoman Julie Anne Overton says the cause of the fire first reported Thursday morning is under investigation.

She says the blaze is in the Jemez Mountains west of Los Alamos and about 300 structures could be at risk.

The Cajete Fire is about 20 miles away from Los Alamos and burn scars from previous fires in the area may keep it from hitting the city. KOB-TV reported there is no containment so far. NM Highway 4 is closed between NM Highway 501 and the La Cueva fire station.

Overton says about 100 firefighters are on the scene along with three heavy air tankers, six engines and a helicopter with more ground crews arriving by Friday.

Gov. Susana Martinez has activated the state emergency operations center to help with a coordinated response to the fire.

No Evidence Of Tampering In New Mexico ElectionsAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

State officials do not believe New Mexico was one of the states hit by Russian hackers during last year's presidential election.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Thursday officials in the Secretary of State's Office have reviewed internal systems and found no evidence indicating New Mexico was one of the reported 39 states impacted by the cyberattacks during the summer and fall of 2016 in efforts to interfere with the election.

State Bureau of Elections Director Kari Fresquez says the state's paper ballot system and an internal voter database that is not connected to the internet provide safeguards from hackers.

A report by the National Security Agency claims hackers obtained information from a software company that had contracts to manage voter registration in at least eight states.

5 Fatally Shot In Northern New Mexico; Gunman ArrestedSanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

Authorities have arrested a man who they say fatally shot five people in New Mexico on Thursday.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports sheriff's deputies arrested 21-year-old Damian Herrera in connection with the shootings across Taos and Rio Arriba counties.

District Attorney Marco Serna says his office will be charging Herrera with five counts of open murder and will request the court hold him without bond.

Authorities have not yet released a motive and say there doesn't appear to be links between the victims.

The newspaper reports three people were killed in Vallecitos, a small community north of Ojo Caliente; another person was killed when the shooter went to nearby Tres Piedras; and the final victim was found in the village of Abiquiú.

No other information about the victims was released.

New Mexico Health Insurer Proposes 80 Percent Premium HikeAssociated Press

All four health insurance providers on New Mexico's state-run exchange have submitted rate proposals for the coming year, despite uncertainty about key federal subsidies.

New Mexico Health Connections CEO Martin Hickey said Thursday his cooperative is proposing a nearly 80 percent premium increase for individuals. The proposal may be lowered in July.

Heather Widler of the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance says detailed descriptions of proposed rate increases will be made public later this month.

Insurance providers have been left to guess whether the federal government will continue to pay subsidies for out-of-pocket expenses such as copayments and deductibles for lower-income patients. Requirements that taxpayers maintain coverage or pay a penalty also are in limbo.

Hickey says young, healthy consumers increasingly are leaving the New Mexico exchange.

Border Patrol Raids Aid Camp, Arrests 4 Men From MexicoAssociated Press

U.S. Border Patrol released a statement saying agents served a search warrant at a southern Arizona humanitarian aid camp and arrested four men suspected of being in the country illegally.

The federal agency says agents tracked the men walking north before the four entered the camp run by No Mas Muertes, an organization that provides care for migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Border Patrol says agents reached out to camp representatives Thursday but the talks were unsuccessful.

No Mas Muertes released a statement Thursday saying a helicopter, 15 trucks and 30 armed agents arrested four people receiving medical care.

Border Patrol says the four men were Mexican citizens.

Camp officials say the heavy presence of law enforcement has deterred people from accessing critical humanitarian assistance during this deadly hot weather.

Gas Pipeline Project Expected To Cause Delays On NM 68Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

utility company will be realigning a six-mile stretch of natural gas pipeline along New Mexico State Road 68, causing traffic delays in the height of the Rio Grande tourist season.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Wednesday New Mexico Gas Co. plans to spend $14 million relocating pipeline from what has proven to be a geologically unstable route along the west side of the Rio Grande to a new alignment on the N.M. 68 right of way east of the river.

Gas company spokesman Tim Korte says motorists might experience delays of 15-30 minutes during the construction period.

Construction is scheduled to begin Aug. 1 and will run through November.

Albuquerque Public High Schools To Carry Overdose RemedyAlbuquerque Journal

A board committee of Albuquerque Public Schools approved a plan to make a drug that counteracts overdoses of opioids available in high schools.

The Albuquerque Journal reported schools will stock naloxone and nurses will be trained on how to use the remedy, which is given via injection or a nasal spray.

APS has not yet had any opioid overdoses in schools according to the district’s director of counseling, but New Mexico has had high rates of overdose deaths for years.

Rio Rancho Public Schools also keeps naloxone in its middle schools and high schools.

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