Monday News Roundup- Tests: 4 More Workers Contaminated At NM Nuke Dump

Mar 31, 2014

Tests: 4 More Workers Contaminated At NM Nuke Dump - The Associated Press

The Department of Energy says tests show four more workers were contaminated with low levels of radiation during a leak at federal government's underground nuclear waste dump.

Officials also said Monday that they're planning to get a crew underground Tuesday for the first time since the Valentine's Day accident at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico.

The DOE says a total of 21 workers received low doses of radiation, all well below levels deemed unsafe.

On Tuesday, the DOE said it plans to send a team of team of eight experts into the half-mile deep mine to begin setting up bases from which they can start investigating what caused the leak.

The dump is the nation's only permanent underground repository for low-level radioactive waste from nuclear weapons facilities.

Hourslong Protest Turns To 'Mayhem' In Albuquerque - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque's mayor says that a more than 10-hour protest over recent police shootings turned from peaceful into "mayhem," as officers in riot gear clashed with hundreds of protesters who blocked traffic, tried to get on freeways and shouted anti-police slogans.

Albuquerque Journal reports that Mayor Richard Berry says one officer was injured, rocks were thrown and at one point protesters trapped police in a vehicle and tried to break the windows.

Protesters took to the streets in the early afternoon and stayed out late last night after authorities declared an unlawful assembly. The group eventually dispersed after APD released about a dozen canisters of tear gas.

The protests come after Albuquerque police's involvement in 37 shootings, 23 of them fatal since 2010. Critics say that's far too many for a department serving a city of about 555,000.

The U.S. Justice Department has been investigating the police for more than a year, looking into complaints of civil rights violations and allegations of excessive use of force.

New Mexicans Face Insurance Enrollment Deadline - The Associated Press

New Mexico officials are making a final push to enroll individuals in health insurance plans before a looming deadline under President Barack Obama's health care law.

Open enrollment through a federal online marketplace ends at midnight Monday.

New Mexico is using the federally operated website to sign up individuals.

The state's health insurance exchange and advocacy groups hosted enrollment events during the weekend and more were planned on Monday to encourage people to begin an enrollment application before the deadline.

The Obama administration has said it will give extra time for some people to sign up for taxpayer-subsidized health coverage. That includes those who've started an application, but weren't able to finish before Monday's deadline.

About 15,000 New Mexicans had signed up for health plans through the end of February.


New Mexico Officials To Discuss Wildfire Season - The Associated Press 

 This year's wildfire season will be on the agenda as Gov. Susana Martinez and other officials gather in the dry wooded area along the Rio Grande.

They are meeting Monday at the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park to kick off wildfire awareness week and to address fire danger across the drought-stricken state.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service had issued fire weather watches through the weekend for most of northern and central New Mexico due to strong winds and low humidity levels.

New Mexico's most populous county — Bernalillo County — has already approved a resolution banning and restricting smoking, campfires and open burning outside of Albuquerque's city limits.

Hazardous fire conditions have also been declared in Santa Fe County due to a lack of winter precipitation.


Hacked Albuquerque Police Website Back Online - The Associated Press

The Albuquerque police website is back online after authorities say a cyberattack took it down for hours.

The department couldn't immediately be reached for comment Sunday evening, but said earlier that the site was breached. It was visible late Sunday afternoon after going down in the early afternoon.

Police spokesman Simon Drobik said earlier that the disruption was due to a cyberattack but didn't know the source of the hack.

The attack comes days after a YouTube video emerged threatening retaliation for a recent police shooting that left a homeless man dead. The video that bore the logo of the computer hacking collective Anonymous warned of a cyberattack on city websites and called for a protest march.

Hundreds of protesters were marching Sunday to protest recent police shootings.


Proposals Needed To Control Wild Horses - The Associated Press

Federal officials are seeking ideas on how to control the populations of wild horses and burros in 10 western states, including New Mexico.

The Bureau of Land Management recently announced it is seeking research proposals on controlling the wild populations that roam on public lands.

The agency wants experts who have project proposals aimed at creating new or improving existing techniques and establishing protocols for the contraception.

The request for applications is opened to veterinarians, scientists, universities, pharmaceutical companies and other researchers.

According to BLM estimates, more than 40,000 wild horses and burros roam on rangeland in 10 western states managed by the bureau.