Monday News Roundup: Judge To Decide Later On Horse Slaughter Plant

Jan 13, 2014

Judge To Decide Later On Horse Slaughter Plant  The Associated Press

A New Mexico judge will decide Friday whether a Roswell company can move ahead with plans for slaughtering horses.

State District Judge Matthew Wilson made the announcement after a hearing Monday on a request from Attorney General Gary King's office for a preliminary injunction against Valley Meat Co.

King has filed a lawsuit alleging the company's operations would violate state environmental and food safety laws.

The plant was blocked from opening last year after animal protection groups brought a federal lawsuit against the Department of Agriculture for issuing permits to Valley and two other companies, which would become the first domestic horse slaughtering plants in seven years. A federal judge threw out that lawsuit. King filed the state case after a federal appeals court declined to keep the plants shuttered.

City, County Settle NM 'Anal Probe' Lawsuit- The Assocaited Press

A city and county in southern New Mexico have settled a lawsuit filed by a man taken to two hospitals and subjected to anal probes over suspicion of hiding drugs.

Attorneys for David Eckert said Monday that Hidalgo County and the city of Deming recently settled their portion of a lawsuit for a total of $1.6 million.

The lawsuit was filed against police and sheriff's officials in Deming and Hidalgo County, which borders Mexico. It alleges Deming police sought a search warrant for Eckert because they thought he appeared to be clenching his buttocks when he got out of his car in January 2013.

Despite the body searches, no drugs were found.

Hidalgo County and Deming officials both declined to comment about the settlement.

A lawsuit against doctors and the hospital in the case is still ongoing.


NM Gas Co. Offering Rebates For Heating Bills - The Associated Press, The Albuquerque Journal

 Customers of a New Mexico Gas Co. will have a chance to lower their monthly heating bills this winter.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the Albuquerque-based utility is offering substantial rebates to homeowners who meet certain criteria.

The company says partial reimbursement is available to customers who pad their attics and roofs with additional insulation or install energy-efficient furnaces and water heaters.

Company spokeswoman Teala Kail says the assistance is covered by a rate rider that amounts to 1 percent of the average residential monthly bill.

Kail says as of last March, 16,000 customers have benefited.

She says many more of the 500,000 customers statewide can take advantage of the programs, which have been going on since 2009.

Albuquerque Water Use Drops to 30-Year Low - The Associated Press, The Albuquerque Journal

A new report says Albuquerque water use dropped seven percent last year amid an ongoing drought.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority says the percentage was the biggest one-year drop since 1997.

Officials say the community's total water use for the year, 32 billion gallons, was the lowest for the metro area since 1983. That comes despite the fact that the population in the utility's service area has grown 70 percent in the two decades since.

But officials say conservation efforts helped keep water usage down.

Albuquerque water use began dropping in May and June, even as drought left the Rio Grande nearly dry and Albuquerque gardens parched.

Ice Fishing Opens at Eagle Nest Lake - The Associated Press

Ice fishing has opened at Eagle Nest Lake in northern New Mexico.

The Game and Fish Department and State Parks Division started allowing anglers on the lake Saturday after determining that the ice was safe for foot traffic.

However, snowmobiles and other vehicles are prohibited from being on the ice.

State officials urged anglers to stay away from any open water and cautioned that the 2,200-acre lake could close if ice conditions become unsafe.

Doctor Shortage In New Mexico Expected To Worsen - The Associated Press

New Mexico officials say the state is facing its worst shortage of primary care providers at a time when thousands are expected to enroll in state and federal health insurance exchanges.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the federal government has designated every county statewide, except one, as having a shortage.

The latest figures show 219 primary physicians are needed, based on the population.