Cleanup Begins Of Manhattan Project Waste, Folk Art Market Starts Friday

Jul 4, 2016

Fed Contractors To Start Cleanup From 'Manhattan Project' Los Alamos Monitor, Associated Press

U.S. Department of Energy contractors are scheduled to start removing toxic contaminated soil in northern New Mexico left over from the Manhattan Project and early atomic Cold War research.

The Los Alamos Monitor reports work is expected to begin this week on the south-facing slopes of Los Alamos Canyon.

Officials say the contaminated soils eventually will be shipped to a permanent area once tested.

The Los Alamos Canyon cleanup is one of many included in a 2016 consent order signed in last month between the New Mexico Environment Department and the U.S. Department of Energy.

During the Manhattan Project, Los Alamos scientists worked to develop the atomic bomb later dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The program also involved facilities in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and Hanford, Washington.

International Art Market To Draw Thousands To New Mexico  - The Associated Press

From fine embroidery to handwoven baskets, the 13th annual International Folk Art Market has something from every corner of the globe.

The market is already the largest of its kind in the world, and organizers say this year will be even bigger, with nearly 200 artists representing several dozen countries.

At a time of global strife, co-founders Judy Espinar and Carmella Padilla are aiming to bring people together to celebrate talent and tradition.

The festivities open Friday evening and run through Sunday on Santa Fe's Museum Hill. Some 20,000 visitors are expected.

About 850 folk artists from more than 90 countries have participated since the market's inception. Sales have totaled $23 million — nearly all of which has gone home with the artists to finance countless community improvement projects.

Second Fire In 40 Days Hits Albuquerque Route 66 Motel - The Associated Press & KOAT 

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A second fire in two months has struck an Albuquerque Route 66 motel and apartment complex made famous in the 2007 movie "No Country for Old Men."

KOAT-TV in Albuquerque reports firefighters were called Sunday to the blaze in a unit at the Desert Sands Motel. Investigators believe the fire may have been started by a homeless person who managed to get into the boarded up property for shelter.

A May 24th fire destroyed most of the complex's 63 units and forced residents out of their homes. A 37-year-old woman faces an arson charge in connection with that massive blaze.

No arrests were reported from the latest fire.

The hotel was the scene of a final shootout in the movie "No Country for Old Men" starring Oscar-winner Javier Bardem.

Mistrial In Case Against Former Las Cruces Police Officer Associated Press

The prosecution of a former Las Cruces police officer charged with beating a man in a holding cell has ended in a mistrial.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that a jury in Doña Ana County court deadlocked Friday after two days of deliberation in the case against Richard Garcia.

The ex-officer was charged with aggravated battery resulting in great bodily harm in the beating of 49-year-old Ross Flynn.

Surveillance video shows Garcia and ex-officer Danny Salcido entering the cell on Dec. 23, 2014 and pushing and slamming a cuffed Flynn against a wall.

Prosecutors say Flynn, who had been arrested for allegedly pointing a rifle at a neighbor, suffered a fractured skull.

Garcia's attorney says Flynn escalated the situation.

Salcido's trial begins July 18.

Ruidoso Downs Racehorse Euthanized For Equine Herpes Artesia Daily Press, Associated Press

Officials say a Ruidoso Downs racehorse that tested positive for Equine Herpes Virus has been euthanized.

The Artesia Daily Press reports the horse was euthanized late Friday and the barn where the horse was located at the racetrack is under quarantine. An adjoining barn is also under quarantine pending test results.

The New Mexico Livestock Board and New Mexico Racing Commission are working with Ruidoso Downs officials to ensure a horse-specific virus is limited to one racehorse.

Ruidoso Downs general manager Shaun Hubbard says because the virus was found in just one horse in one barn, racing will continue at Ruidoso Downs.

An EHV-1 outbreak in January led officials to shut down racing for several weeks at Sunland Park and quarantine at the track near the New Mexico-Texas border.

San Juan College Eyes Eliminating 3 Degree Programs Farmington Daily-Times, Associated Press

The board of San Juan College is set to vote on eliminating three degree programs due to low enrollment and low student job placement.

President Toni Pendergrass told The Daily Times last week board members will vote Tuesday on discontinuing the machining, renewable energy and outdoor leadership, education and recreation associate degree programs.

It will be the first time board members will have voted on eliminating any degree programs since Pendergrass started at the college in 2012. San Juan College currently has 164 degree and certificate programs.

Officials say staff at the Four Corners school looked at a variety of performance metrics, including a program's enrollment, return on investment and job placement in the community.

US Attorney Celebrates Ramadan With Albuquerque Muslims Associated Press

The U.S. Attorney for New Mexico is hoping a visit to an Islamic community center in Albuquerque will send a message against any anti-Muslim backlash.

U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez joined Muslims at the Islamic Center of New Mexico on Saturday night to celebrate the last few days of the holy month of Ramadan.

The ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan is observed by Muslims everywhere as a month of fasting from dawn until dusk.

Martinez's appearance is part of the U.S. Department of Justice's ongoing efforts to address threats against Muslims, Arabs and Sikhs in the wake of terrorism incidents involving perpetrators who claim to be following Islam.

Grant Helps Expand Business Accelerator Program Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

An Albuquerque organization that educates entrepreneurs on growing their businesses is sending its curriculum to North Carolina and Portugal.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Creative Startups is recruiting for the first North Carolina cohort.

The program is slated to debut internationally in Portugal.

Creative Startups offers a six-week course mostly online for business owners nationwide. The program culminates in-person with participants pitching businesses or ideas to investors and entrepreneurs.

Co-founder Alice Loy said Creative Startups is licensing all the intellectual material while each site in North Carolina and Portugal provides staff.

A $190,000 Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation grant helped set the program up for use in more locations.

The next Albuquerque program will be in September.

New Mexico Lawmakers, Forest Service Meet Over Water Access Artesia Daily Press, Associated Press

Two New Mexico lawmakers are hoping conversations with ranchers will convince the U.S. Forest Service to rethink federal water restrictions.

The Artesia Daily Press reports that U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce and state Rep. Jim Townsend met with Forest Service representatives and ranchers in Cloudcroft this week about water access and its impact on the economy.

Both are supporting ranchers in an ongoing dispute over water restrictions on national forest lands.

Townsend says the issue reached a "tipping point" with recent closures of portions of Lincoln National Forest to protect the habitat of the endangered New Mexico meadow jumping mouse.

The U.S. Forest Service has repeatedly defended its actions, saying it has responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act.

But agency officials say they will try to compromise with ranchers.

Rio Ranch Man Shoots Self After Standoff With Police Associated Press

Police say a Rio Rancho man shot his father and turned the gun on himself after an hours-long standoff.

Authorities say the 41-year-old suspect died at a hospital Sunday morning of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The suspect's 68-year-old father, who was shot in the chest, is in stable condition.

Officers responded to a residence where shots had been fired at 1:40 p.m. Saturday.

They saw the victim lying outside the front door while the suspect was visible inside holding a rifle.

Police were able to carry the victim to waiting paramedics.

Police negotiators then attempted to speak with the suspect for more than six hours.

Officers say the suspect then came out and shot himself with the rifle.

Police are not releasing either man's name pending family notification.

Navajo Nation Mulling Creating New Tribal Police Academy Farmington Daily Times, Associated Press

The country's first tribally controlled college wants to open a police academy for tribal law enforcement.

The Farmington Daily Times reports that Dine College on plans to outline plans to create a police academy.

The tribe has had no law enforcement training facility since the Navajo Law Enforcement Academy in Toyei, Ariz., closed three years ago.

Dine College Board of Regents President Greg Bigman said Friday the college will draft a memorandum of understanding with the Navajo Nation on establishing a facility and education services for officers in training.

Bigman says the college may have to form partnerships to offer services.

Supporters say the tribe is in dire need of more officers and a training facility closer to tribal lands.

Volunteers Help City Track Illegal Fireworks KOB-TV

The city of Albuquerque has set up a team of volunteers to field calls about illegal fireworks.

KOB-TV reports that the phones were already ringing steadily on Sunday night as booms and pops echoed across the city. Some of those fireworks are illegal and the city wanted to create an alternative to 911 lines.

For the first time this year, people can use the ABQ311 app to report illegal fireworks and they can also call (505) 768-2900