Friday News Roundup: No Contamination Found On 2nd Trip Into Nuke Dump

Apr 4, 2014

No Contamination Found On 2nd Trip Into Nuke Dump The Associated Press

Crews investigating a radiation leak at the federal government's underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico have turned up no contamination during a second trip farther into the half-mile-deep repository.

The Department of Energy says Friday's trip at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant allowed crews to establish a base where they can safely remove and store their clothing and equipment if it becomes contaminated before returning to the surface.

The crews also set up more air monitors and tested communication equipment.

A third trip to find the leak's source is expected next week.

The repository has been closed since mid-February, when the leak sent low levels of radiation into the air and contaminated 21 workers.

Samples from the repository's salt deposits are being sent to a federal lab in Idaho to begin testing decontamination techniques.


Senate panel OKs Damon Martinez For US Attorney - The Associated Press  and Albuquerque Journal

The Senate Judiciary Committee has voted to approve Damon Martinez to become New Mexico's next U.S. attorney.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the committee voted Thursday to send the nomination to the full U.S. Senate for confirmation.

The Albuquerque native has served as an assistant U.S. attorney since 2001 and currently supervises the organized crime and gang section in Albuquerque. He has also worked on national security, anti-terrorism, immigration and narcotics cases.

Before joining the U.S. attorney's office, Martinez served as an assistant state attorney general.

Martinez would replace Kenneth Gonzales, who left the position last year to assume a federal judgeship.


Immigration Protest Planned In ClovisThe Associated Press

Immigration rights activists are planning a protest Saturday in Clovis.

Somos Clovis, an affiliate of the statewide immigrant rights organization Somos Un Pueblo Unido, says it will hold a march to demand that Congress pass immigration reform now.

The group says families in Curry County have seen an increase in detention, deportation and separation of families over the past year. They blame what they say has been a heightened collaboration between local jail administrators and immigration enforcement agents.

The protest will be held in conjunction with dozens of groups across the country as part of a national day of action to stop deportations.


Pecos Canyon Recreation Areas To Reopen - The Associated Press 

The New Mexico Game and Fish Department will be opening two popular recreation sites in Pecos Canyon following last year's wildfires.

The Bert Clancy and Tererro fishing and recreation areas along state highway 63 have been closed since last summer. They will open to anglers and wildlife viewers April 18.

Officials say anyone accessing these areas must have a valid hunting, fishing or trapping license or a Gaining Access into Nature permit. Visitors also must purchase a $4 Habitat Management & Access Validation.

Workers began stocking rainbow trout in the Pecos River and its tributaries this week.

The department also plans to stock other areas of the river throughout the summer, and will stock the Bert Clancy and Tererro wildlife management areas after they are opened to the public.


Bernalillo County's Chief Of Corrections Resigns - The Associated Press

The chief of corrections for the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center has quit the job.

County officials announced Thursday that Ramon Rustin has tendered his resignation, effective Monday.

Rustin says he will now take time to meet personal and family obligations.

He has been corrections chief since 2011.

Before coming to Bernalillo County, Rustin has been warden of a correctional facility in Allegheny County, Pa., since 2004.

There is no immediate word from county officials on who will replace Rustin.


New Mexico Revises Out-Of-State Lawyer Licensing - The Associated Press 

The state Supreme Court has agreed to a new procedure that will allow experienced lawyers from other states to practice in New Mexico without taking its bar exam.

The court announced Thursday that the new reciprocity licensure system will take effect June 1, 2015, and said a majority of other states follow similar procedures.

The change also will allow New Mexico attorneys to be admitted to practice in other states with similar reciprocal agreements, eliminating the need for them to take another bar exam in some other state.

Under a rule adopted by the court, out-of-state lawyers will have to complete a court-approved course that addresses unique matters of New Mexico law, including "Indian law, New Mexico community property law and professionalism."


New Mexico Clears Way For Atari Games Dig -The Associated Press and Alamogordo Daily News

A planned dig into a New Mexico landfill for a rumored cache of what some have deemed the worst Atari video game of all time is one step closer to happening.

The Alamogordo Daily News reports state environmental regulators have approved the excavation of an Alamogordo landfill that reportedly was the dumping ground for "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" game cartridges in the 1980s.

New Mexico Environmental Department officials say the three companies organizing the dig must notify them five business days before any work begins.

Officials also say companies who plan on removing anything from the site must register as certified or commercial haulers of waste with the state.

"E.T." the video game, inspired by the hit 1982 movie, was a commercial dud said to have contributed to Atari's decline.