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Headlines: Gov. Says NM Competitive For Tesla Plant, Flash Flood Watch Parts Of NM, And More...

Sep 5, 2014

Credit Tesla Motors

Governor: New Mexico Competitive For Tesla PlantThe Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez says New Mexico offered a competitive economic development package to electric car maker Tesla Motors but the company gave a priority to locating a planned $5 billion battery factory in a state close to Tesla's headquarters in California.

There was no reporting on why the Governor had not been notified of the decision by Tesla as it was being widely reported in advance of the official announcement.

Tesla selected Nevada for a factory that could eventually employ up to 6,500 workers.  The governor of Nevada says he'll ask legislators to approve tax breaks and other incentives worth up to $1.3 billion dollars dollars over 20 years to secure the Tesla plant.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry made a series of appearances on Albuquerque’s local TV news outlets saying he was proud of the incentives his administration had mustered to lure Tesla.  

Flash Flood Watch In Effect In Parts Of New Mexico - The Associated Press

A flash flood watch is in effect for parts of east-central New Mexico and the state's southeastern plains as storms move across the state on Friday.

The National Weather Service says heavy rainfall is forecast in the watch area in amounts ranging from 2 to 5 inches.

Forecasters also say locally heavy rainfall of up to nearly 2 inches is possible across the central and southwestern mountains late Friday.

According to the weather service, the possibility of heavy rainfall and flash flooding will continue across the southeastern plains and south-central mountains on Saturday.

Nuke Dump Cleanup Plans Expected In 2 Weeks - The Associated Press

Officials working to reopen the federal government's troubled nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico say they are making significant progress and will detail their recovery plans in two weeks.

Tammy Reynolds, who is leading the effort at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, told a community meeting last night that there are more than 7,000 pieces to the plan for cleaning up radiological contamination and resuming operations after a mysterious February leak that contaminated 22 workers.

Officials say it could be three years before WIPP completely reopens.

It's still unclear exactly what caused the leak from a barrel of waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory.

WIPP is the government's only permanent repository for legacy waste such as contaminated gloves, tools and clothing from decades of nuclear bomb building.

Counties Warned They May Be Sued Over Detentions - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

Attorneys for people who have been detained in New Mexico jails at the request of federal immigration agents pending status checks are putting counties across the state on notice that they might be sued over the practice.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that counties receiving letters include Bernalillo County, which recently changed its policy that previously allowed for detaining inmates without a court order.

Albuquerque attorneys Ryan Villa and Olsi Vrapi say they are looking into allegations of false imprisonment and other violations arising from immigration holds of people who otherwise would be released.

A lawyer for the New Mexico Association of Counties says numerous counties have received letters about potential litigation centering on immigration.

Association General Counsel Grace Phillips also says many counties have already changed their policies.

New Mexico Sheriff Wants US Office Taken Off Case - The Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

A New Mexico sheriff accused of roughing up a motorist is asking a judge to disqualify the U.S. Attorney's Office for New Mexico from prosecuting him in the civil rights case.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, a motion filed Thursday on behalf of Rio Arriba County Sheriff Tommy Rodella says U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez has a personal vendetta against Rodella.

A federal indictment issued last month accuses Rodella of conspiring to violate a motorist's civil rights during the March encounter. He was pleaded not guilty.

The motion says Martinez and his assistants have conflicts of interest because Rodella's defense plans to question Martinez about threats he allegedly made against Rodella.

Martinez's office says it'll respond to the motion in court.

Edgewood Man Sentenced For Selling Eagle Feathers - The Associated Press

A New Mexico man faces more time behind bars after being sentenced for selling feathers from federally protected eagles.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for New Mexico says 60-year-old Dale N. Smith of Edgewood has been in custody in April and was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Albuquerque to time already served.

However, the office says Smith will remain in federal custody until Dec. 9 for violating his parole.

Smith previously pleaded guilty to violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by selling or offering to sell bald eagle feathers.

Prosecutors say Smith was caught through an undercover investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

League Of Women Voters Plans Candidate Forum - The Associated Press

A forum for candidates for attorney general and secretary of state is planned by the League of Women Voters of New Mexico.

The group says the forum will be held Sept. 16th from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Santa Fe Community College. A Santa Fe radio station, KSFR, will broadcast the event live.

Democrat Hector Balderas and Republican Susan Riedel are running for attorney general.

Republican Dianna Duran is running for re-election as secretary of state and is being challenged by Democrat Maggie Toulouse Oliver, the Bernalillo County clerk.

Candidates are to make opening and closing statements and answer written questions from the audience.

23-Year-Old Komodo Dragon Dies At Albuquerque Zoo - The Associated Press

Officials at the Albuquerque Bio Park say a 23-year-old Komodo dragon has died.

They say the aging lizard named Sid was euthanized after zoo keepers observed a sharp decline in its health and veterinary exams confirmed it.

BioPark officials say Sid was one of the first successful Komodo dragons to hatch in the U.S. as part of a breeding program at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

He arrived at the ABQ BioPark in 1993.

Komodo dragons are the world's largest lizards and males can grow to be 10 feet long and weigh 250 to 300 pounds.

Sid was about 8 feet long and was one of the oldest Komodo dragons in the country.

The species has an average life expectancy of 30 years.

Number Of Cattle Down, But Value Of NM Farmland Up - The Associated Press

There may be fewer cattle in New Mexico than a few years ago, but federal agriculture statistics show farmland values in the state are on the rise.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's statistics service says the average real estate value of farmland in New Mexico is $540 an acre. That's an increase of 8 percent over the previous year.

The average values of irrigated cropland and pasture land were also up.

The figures released this week also show New Mexico remains in the top 10 when it comes to overall milk production.

Between 2008 and 2012, New Mexico produced an average of nearly 8 million pounds of milk a year. The state also led in milk production per cow with more than 24,000 pounds between 2009 and 2012.

NMSU Pete Domenici Archives Set To Open - The Associated Press

New Mexico State University is set to celebrate the opening of the Pete Domenici Archives.

The school has scheduled a ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday to unveil the collection of the state's former senator. Officials say the archives will span 3,000-linear feet.

The collection includes unique artifacts and memorabilia from Sen. Domenici's extensive career in New Mexico. A photo exhibit will also highlight the senator's work in Washington.

Domenici, a Republican, served in the U.S. Senate from 1972 to 2009. He is the ongest serving senator in state history.

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