KUNM

New Animal Shelter Opening Next Year, Zinke Tours New Mexico To Review Monuments

Jul 22, 2017

Bernalillo County's Animal Shelter Set To Open Summer 2018The Associated Press & The ABQ Journal

Bernalillo County's first animal shelter is scheduled to be completed the by the end of summer 2018.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the shelter will be 17,140 square feet (1,600 square meters) and will have room for about 120 dogs, 67 cats and several other types of animals, including larger ones like horses.

It will also offer veterinary care, pet adoption, microchipping, spaying and neutering in addition to other services.

Misha Goodman, the animal care services director for Bernalillo County, says the county plans to have several other volunteer and recreational opportunities made available to residents, including a possible camp for children.

County Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada says the project will cost $7.8 million. It was approved by voters through bonds that were on the ballot in 2012, 2014 and 2016 general elections.

Zinke Tours New Mexico To Review MonumentsThe Associated Press

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke steered clear of a heavily attended public forum about the future of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in southern New Mexico, as he traveled the state in a nationwide review of 27 national monument designations by previous presidents.

The meeting at the Las Cruces Convention Center on Thursday evening was heavily attended by supporters of the nearby national monument as well as some critics.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reported that Zinke held closed-door conversations with local residents and officials. He did not overtly state support or opposition for reducing the size of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks monument.

Zinke is scheduled Friday to meet with supporters of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in northern New Mexico that is credited with boosting tourism.

New Mexico Judge Faces Criminal Complaint For Secret TapingsThe Associated Press

A criminal complaint has been filed against a suspended New Mexico magistrate court judge accused of secretly recording private conversations at a courthouse.

The New Mexico Attorney General's Office confirmed Friday the office filed a criminal complaint and summons against Connie Johnston in the Eleventh Judicial District Court in San Juan County.

The complaint accuses Johnston of six counts of reading or copying a telegraph or telephone communication of another and violating the Governmental Conduct Act.

The New Mexico Supreme Court suspended Johnston in 2015 from her position as an Aztec Magistrate Court judge.

In March, a district court judge found Johnston in contempt after she failed to provide recordings and transcripts of private conversations captured in the Aztec Magistrate Court building.

Johnston's attorney, Sean Olivas, did not immediately return an email from The Associated Press.

Water Troubles In Artesia May Not Be Over After E. Coli Find - The Associated Press Water problems may continue in a southeastern New Mexico community despite the lifting of a boil-water alert in the wake of the discovery of E. coli. The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports state experts say the chlorine flushing used to disinfect Artesia's water of E. coli could create even more concerns for the rural city's distribution system.That chlorination could cause poisonous levels of lead and copper to leach into the system. The city could be required to either stop the chlorine treatment, which could bring back the bacteria or find another avenue for treatment. Officials in Eddy County lifted a boil water advisory on Monday that was issued nearly 10 days after E. coli was found. Artesia Municipal Water System and Morningside Water Users Cooperative customers were affected. 

New Mexico Rebuffs 2nd Trump Voter Data Request- The Associated Press

New Mexico's secretary of state says she is refusing to release any personal information about voters in response to a second request for voter data from President Donald Trump's commission investigating alleged voter fraud.

Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said in a news release Thursday she will never release to the commission personal voter information that is protected by law such as social security numbers and birthdates. She says sharing the information likely would discourage voter registration.

The commission repeated its request for voter data first made in June after a federal court rejected a legal challenge by a privacy advocacy group.

Election officials in at least 17 states have refused to comply. Some say providing the data would undermine voters' privacy and worry the commission is politically motivated.

Gov. Martinez In Utah For Economic Development Fishing Trip- The Albuquerque Journal & The Associated Press

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has traveled to Utah in an effort to draw businesses to her state.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the Republican governor landed in Salt Lake City on Thursday for what her team described as an economic development fishing trip.

The two-term governor took similar trips last year to Chicago and California. The Governor's Office says a 2015 trip to California helped pave the way for Facebook to pick New Mexico for the site of a massive new data center.

Martinez spokesman Joseph Cueto says Martinez will meet with business leaders and executives with the Outdoor Industry Association while in Utah.

The Outdoor Retailer show, a twice-yearly expo that's tied to the Outdoor Industry Association, announced earlier this year it was leaving Utah due to disagreement over public land issues.

Another Democratic Lawyer Jumps In New Mexico Congress Race- The Associated Press

Another Democrat is jumping into an already crowded race for an open congressional seat in central New Mexico.

Annie Chavez, an attorney and Sandia National Laboratories government relations official, announced Thursday she will become the eighth Democrat to join a crowded primary to succeed U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Lujan Grisham is seeking the Democratic nomination for New Mexico governor.

Chavez served as an aide to former Sen. Jeff Bingaman and previously taught middle school.

She said in Congress she would seek to create new high-tech jobs.

Chavez is running against former U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez, former state Democratic Party Chairwoman Debra Haaland, Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis, physicist Dennis Dinge, Edgewood Mayor Pro Tem John Abrams, attorney Damian Lara and former law professor Antoinette Sedillo Lopez.

Attorney Michael Hendricks and former state lawmaker Janice Arnold-Jones are seeking the GOP nomination.

Water Troubles In Artesia May Not Be Over After E. Coli Find- The Carlsbad Current-Argus & The Associated Press

Water problems may continue in a southeastern New Mexico community despite the lifting of a boil-water alert in the wake of the discovery of E. coli.

The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports  state experts say the chlorine flushing used to disinfect Artesia's water of E. coli could create even more concerns for the rural city's distribution system.

That chlorination could cause poisonous levels of lead and copper to leach into the system.

The city could be required to either stop the chlorine treatment, which could bring back the bacteria or find another avenue for treatment.

Officials in Eddy County lifted a boil-water advisory on Monday that was issued nearly 10 days after E. coli was found.

Artesia Municipal Water System and Morningside Water Users Cooperative customers were affected.

Navajo Nation Lawmakers Approve Purchase Of Colorado RanchThe Associated Press

Navajo Nation lawmakers have approved the tribe's planned purchase of a large ranch in south-central Colorado for $23 million.

Tribal officials say a Navajo Nation Council committee's approval Tuesday was the final approval needed to implement a purchase contract for the 25.5-square mile (66-sq. kilometer) Wolf Springs Ranch in Huerfano and Custer counties.

Tribal President Russell Begaye requested the committee's action.

Begaye said in a statement that the purchase provides potential for development of parts of the ranch and for conservation of areas where a mountain sacred to the Navajo people can be viewed.

Begaye spokesman Mihio Manus says the committee's approval begins due-diligence periods for the tribe and the seller before the transaction takes place.

The purchase includes over 230 head of cattle and over 300 head of buffalo.

2 Protesters Accused Of Vandalizing New Mexico GOP Office – The Associated Press

The Republican Party of New Mexico headquarters has been hit with spray paint, and officials say two protesters are responsible.

New Mexico GOP spokesman Dominic Pacheco said Thursday a receptionist saw the demonstrators paint a red "A'' on the Albuquerque headquarters building sign before fleeing.

The protesters arrived Thursday afternoon and held signs accusing Republicans of promoting "hatriotism." The two female protesters told a reporter with The Associated Press they were from the group Betsy Riot.

The group's website says members are "neosuffragists and punk patriots" whose mission is the rescue the country from President Donald Trump. The group says it engages in "street theater, disruption, and creative acts of trumpculture sabotage."

No arrests have been made.

Betsy Riot didn't immediately respond to an email.

Zinke Tours New Mexico To Review Monuments- The Associated Press

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke steered clear of a heavily attended public forum about the future of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in southern New Mexico, as he traveled the state in a nationwide review of 27 national monument designations by previous presidents.

Supporters as well as critics of the nearby national monument heavily attended the meeting at the Las Cruces Convention Center Thursday evening.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reported that Zinke held closed-door conversations with local residents and officials. He did not overtly state support or opposition for reducing the size of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks monument.

Zinke is scheduled Friday to meet with supporters of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in northern New Mexico that is credited with boosting tourism.

Woman Returned For Children In Hot Car Over An Hour LaterThe Associated Press & The Eastern New Mexico News

A day care worker who is accused of leaving a baby and a toddler in a hot car for over an hour says she found the children after she went to fetch paperwork.

The Eastern New Mexico News reports 31-year-old Sandi Taylor and her 62-year-old mother Mary Taylor are charged with child abuse after a 22-month-old baby died and a 3-year-old is in the hospital, unresponsive and in critical condition.

The women operated a home daycare in eastern New Mexico. According to an affidavit for arrest warrant, the Taylors left the children in the car after returning from lunch at a park with 10 other children. About an hour and half later, Sandi Taylor returned to car and found the toddler slumped over toward the door.

Sandi Taylor's brother says it was a horrible accident.

Emily's List Propels Congresswoman's Bid For Governor- The Associated Press

The president of Emily's List says the advocacy group for Democratic female candidates who support abortion is determined to help Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham win the race for governor of New Mexico in 2018.

Emily's List President Stephanie Schriock said Wednesday during a visit to New Mexico that her organization already is helping to raise money for Lujan Grisham's campaign and providing strategic support.

Emily's List contributed $66,000 to New Mexico state legislative candidates and $100,000 to the Democratic caucus in 2016 elections as Democrats took back majority control of the Statehouse.

Schriock says the organization is backing Lujan Grisham in the Democratic primary as it seeks to increase the number of Democratic female governors beyond two, and ensure Democratic influence over the upcoming legislative redistricting process.

New Mexico Creates 'Film Residency Cards' To Ease Hiring- The Associated Press

New Mexico officials want to make it easier for film productions to hire residents from the state.

The New Mexico Film Office and the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department announced Wednesday the state will begin issuing "New Mexico Film Residency Cards" to ease the hiring process.

State officials say the card will help the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department verify residency and proof of taxpayer status.

New Mexico film industry residents will be issued a card, which can be presented to productions at the time of hiring or casting.

Cards will be valid for one year.

The move comes as New Mexico continues to struggle with the adoption of federally mandated Real I.D. requirements and a boon in film productions.

Sherman Alexie To Speak In Santa Fe After Intense Book Tour- The Associated Press

Native American writer Sherman Alexie is scheduled to speak in Santa Fe after announcing he was canceling a book tour from his new intense memoir about his mother.

The Seattle poet and novelist will speak tomorrow at the Institute of American Indian Arts as part of school's creative writing program's summer reading series. It is one of the few engagements he's keeping follow his public, heartfelt announcement.

Alexie had been on a book tour in the United States to promote his memoir, "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me." He had given a number of interviews in the U.S. and Canada, and often sobbed when recounting his tense relationship with his mother.

Earlier this month, he wrote in a Facebook post he was canceling the tour.

New Mexico Extends Surge In State Tax Revenues- The Associated Press

New Mexico state government is reporting a fourth straight month of increased tax revenues compared with last year.

Revenue figures published on Wednesday show the state's fiscal footing growing stronger in May. The Legislative Finance Committee says government income from taxes, fees and investments increased by 32 percent in May to $589 million over the same month last year.

The recent rebound in state revenues is being led by taxes, rents and royalties from the oil and natural gas industries, along with sales-style taxes on business receipts.

Revenues from personal and corporate income taxes have fallen as high paying oil oilfield jobs dissipate and the state gradually reduces corporate tax rates.

The state has struggled to avoid a budget deficit over the past year amid a stagnant economy.

New Mexico's AG Cracking Down On Medicaid Fraud, Elder AbuseThe Associated Press

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas has unveiled new public service announcements designed to crack down on statewide Medicaid fraud and elder abuse.

The AG's Office announced Wednesday that Balderas plans to contact state agencies and Medicaid providers regarding the new initiative and asking for the partnership of both the providers and agencies in the new initiative.

Balderas also will be reaching out to the community for information through two new public service announcements.

He says the new commercials will help New Mexicans better identify and report Medicaid fraud, and neglect and abuse in facilities.

Approximately 40 percent of New Mexicans access Medicaid benefits and Medicaid dollars pay for seven in 10 babies born in the state.

Private Jail Owner CoreCivic To Close Torrance County JailThe Associated Press & KOB

A private owner of a central New Mexico county jail says it's closing that detention center in two months.

The Nashville, Tennessee-based CoreCivic announced this week the company recently decided to shut down the Torrance County Detention Center on September 23 due to a declining inmate population.

The facility houses around 600 inmates, most of whom are federal prisoners.

Torrance County Sheriff Heath White told KOB-TV in Albuquerque news of the closure is a "huge bombshell" for the region that includes Moriarty, Clines Corner, and Mountainair.

Officials say the closure would mean the county would lose around $1 million a year.

CoreCivic says it is working to help employees transfer to other CoreCivic facilities.

The facility employs more than 200 people.

Estancia is 40 miles southeast of Albuquerque.

New Mexico Public Defenders Seek Supreme Court's HelpThe Associated Press

Public defenders are appealing to the New Mexico Supreme Court to ensure they have the manpower and financial resources to provide an adequate defense to poor defendants facing possible jail time.

The New Mexico Supreme Court plans to hear oral arguments Wednesday that could decide whether public defense attorneys are being overwhelmed by caseloads and limited funding.

The independent agency overseeing public defense attorneys across New Mexico is suggesting emergency measures such as dismissing cases involving relatively minor nonviolent offenses and the recruitment of volunteer attorneys.

Overburdened public defenders late last year declined or asked to withdraw from representing hundreds of indigent criminal defendants in the southeastern corner of the state. Chief Public Defender Bennett Baur says the problem won't go away without a new approach.

Air Force, Firm Looking To Hire 638 Fighter Jet MechanicsThe Associated Press & The Alamogordo Daily News

Holloman Air Force Base and engineering firm AECOM are hosting a hiring event to fill 638 fighter jets maintenance jobs.

The Alamogordo Daily News reports the workers will maintain two F-16 squadrons from the base in southern New Mexico.

AECOM, who was awarded the contract to maintain the planes, is looking to hire experienced fighter aircraft mechanics. Candidates with prior F-16 experience are highly preferred but candidates with any fighter experience will be considered for employment.

AECOM Senior Technical Recruiter Scott Cain says if the firm can hire about 100 people it would be a great start for its aircraft maintenance contract.

The event is running Tuesday-Thursday at the Tays Center.

More Mosquitoes Capable Of Transmitting The Zika Virus Found- The Associated Press

Authorities say mosquitoes capable of transmitting the Zika virus have been found in New Mexico's Otero and Hidalgo counties.

New Mexico Department of Health officials say there have not been any identified human cases of Zika virus in either county to date.

Ten cases of Zika virus disease were reported in New Mexico last year.

Aedes mosquitoes previously have been trapped and identified in eight counties around New Mexico.

Zika virus can be transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.

The mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus.

Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites.

The Latest: State Police: No Injuries In Shooting On I-25- The Associated Press

A New Mexico State Police spokeswoman says gunfire between an armed robbery suspect and law enforcement officers on Interstate 25 left a stolen truck and police vehicles shot up with bullet holes but that nobody was injured and the suspect is in custody.

Lt. Elizabeth Armijo says the suspect stopped on the freeway in Algodones after pursuing State Police and Santa Fe County officers returned fire when the suspect shot at police vehicles on southbound I-25 north of Albuquerque.

Armijo says the pursuit began when a sheriff's deputy in southern Santa Fe spotted a pickup stolen Tuesday morning during an armed robbery in southern San Miguel County.

The State Police spokeswoman says officers returned fire because the suspect was putting their lives and the public in danger and needed to be taken into custody.

New Mexico Adjusts Rules For Dark-Money Groups In Politics- The Associated Press

New Mexico campaign finance regulators are making some adjustments as they move forward with a proposal for more detailed financial disclosures from nonprofit advocacy groups that attempt to influence elections.

In response to public comments, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver on Tuesday released revised rules aimed at so-called dark money groups that can spend unlimited amounts to influence elections and ballot measures when acting independently.

Several conservative-backed groups with a statewide and national presence say Toulouse Oliver is overstepping her authority by requiring that independent expenditure groups disclose their contributors.

Toulouse Oliver says New Mexicans have a right to know who is paying for ads that attempt to influence their vote. Revisions rules would raise the spending threshold to $2,500 before independent expenditure groups must reveal their contributors.

Santa Fe Approves Major Grant To Arts Upstart- The Associated Press

The for-profit creator of a popular immersion art exhibit has been awarded a $1.1 million economic development grant from the city of Santa Fe and the state of New Mexico.

The Santa Fe City Council gave unanimous final approval Wednesday night to help Meow Wolf build a creative studio at an industrial warehouse, as the company prepares to expand its themed art entertainment into major cities.

Testimonials to the success and creative energy of Meow Wolf from company employees stretched late into the evening.

More than 500,000 people have flocked to Meow Wolf's art exhibit space since it opened in March 2016 at a converted bowling alley.

Larger New Mexico High Schools Continue To Struggle On PARCCThe Associated Press

New results show many high schools in New Mexico's four largest cities continue to struggle with upper-level math and reading tests.

An analysis by The Associated Press of data released this week on PARCC tests showed a majority of high school students in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Rio Rancho and Santa Fe combined didn't score proficient or better in math and reading in 2017.

And while some high schools in the four cities have proficiency rates above the state average, others have meager rates.

At Highland High School in Albuquerque, for example, only 20 percent of 11th graders tested proficient in reading.

Rio Rancho high schools had some of the best 11th-grade reading scores in the state, but around 75 percent still didn't test proficient in Geometry and Algebra II.

Optic Probe: Wagon Mound Schools Had Ineligible Board MemberThe Associated Press & The Las Vegas Optic

A northeastern New Mexico school district is locked in a legal battle with its superintendent after an ineligible board member voted on her contract.

A two-month Las Vegas Optic investigation found the Wagon Mound Public Schools board had two ineligible board members within the past three years, further complicating the ongoing court fight.

Wagon Mound Public Schools Superintendent Sheryl McNellis-Martinez recently sued the school district of roughly 70 students after the board voted to invalidate a previous board vote on her contract because of an ineligible board member.

The Optic discovered former board member Tammie Avent was never a registered voter in Mora County, where the district is located. Another former board member, Debbie Coca, was told she was ineligible to serve because she lived in another town.

Business Owned By Governor Candidate's Family Faces Lawsuit- The Santa Fe New Mexican & The Associated Press

A group of farm workers is suing a company owned by the family of a New Mexico Democratic candidate for governor.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the farm workers accuse the business, owned by the family of state Sen. Joseph Cervantes, of trying to manipulate a federal visa program and passing over American workers for foreign laborers.

Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, a nonprofit group that advocates for farm workers, says in the lawsuit that Cervantes' family business in southern New Mexico was part of a scheme that harms workers on both sides of the border.

Cervantes says his family had nothing to do with a recruiter's efforts to obtain temporary work permits for hired hands from Mexico.

Chile farmers in the area have long complained about a shortage of labor.

New Mexico To Get $18M From Volkswagen Emissions Settlement - The Associated Press

New Mexico is set to receive $18 million following a settlement connected to the Volkswagen smog device emissions scandal.

The New Mexico Environment Department announced Monday that the agency will disburse $18 million in settlement funds, most likely for projects that will reduce nitrogen oxide levels.

 Volkswagen Group of America acknowledges rigging 11 million of its vehicles with software used to cheat on vehicle emissions tests. Environmental regulators say some of the VW vehicles emitted up to 40 times the allowed levels of unhealthy nitrous oxides when on the road. The settlement also requires Volkswagen to invest $2.9 billion in an independently administered environmental trust for all 50 states. 

New Mexico Supreme Court Weighs Burden On Public Defenders- The Associated Press

The New Mexico Supreme court is considering whether public defense attorneys are being stretched too thin to provide an adequate defense to poor people confronting possible jail time.

The Law Offices of the Public Defender wants the court to help defense attorneys keep up with overwhelming case numbers by dismissing some nonviolent citations, recruiting volunteer attorneys and taking other emergency measures. Oral arguments take place Wednesday.

State and local prosecutors say the concerns are overblown. A district judge rejected attempts by defense attorneys to turn down cases in southeastern New Mexico.

The American Bar Association and other national advocacy groups warn that excessive caseloads deprive some poor defendants of a competent defense. Local defense attorneys say caseloads again are spinning out of control, this time in rural Lincoln County.

New Mexico Survey Highlights Surprise Medical Billing- The Associated Press

New Mexico health insurance regulators say nearly one-third of medical patients have received large surprise bills over the past two years for services that were outside an individual's insurance provider network.

Preliminary results of a statewide survey by the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance on surprise billing show that 31 percent of respondents were charged for medical care that they thought was in-network at more expensive out-of-network rates.

State Insurance Superintendent John Franchini says the federally sponsored poll highlights the need for consumer-protection reforms modeled after legislation in other states.

His agency will gather comments from consumer groups, medical providers and the insurance industry at a stakeholder meeting Thursday. A failed bill this year would have helped resolve charges for out-of-network medical care provided without a patient's consent.

New Mexico Student Reading Scores Up, Math Stagnant- The Associated Press

New results show New Mexico student reading tests scores across the state rose slightly, but math scores remain stagnant.

Numbers released Monday show around 29 percent of students tested this spring are proficient or better in reading, and about 20 percent are proficient or better in math.

That was a slight jump for reading scores in 2017 while math results fell .2 percentage points.

Still, the results revealed that since the introduction of assessments developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, less than a third of all New Mexico students are proficient.

The tests are designed to show how well schools help students meet Common Core standards.

State Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski says more than 15,000 students are reading and doing math at grade-level since the test was introduced in 2015.

30 People Evacuated From Homes Due To New Mexico FloodingThe Associated Press

Authorities say approximately 30 people in southern New Mexico were evacuated from their homes overnight due to flooding in the Hatch and Garfield areas of northern Dona Ana County.

County officials say a temporary shelter has been set up at the Hatch Community Resource center and that drones are being used to help assess damage to roads and structures.

Heavy equipment is being used to shore of the banks of several arroyos and additional sandbags have been  ordered to augment supplies at fire stations in the area.

Business Sued Over Tax-Refund-Anticipation LoansThe Associated Press & The Santa Fe New Mexican

In a federal class-action lawsuit, an Albuquerque law firm accuses a loan company with offices in Gallup, Farmington, Shiprock and Chinle, Arizona, of making predatory tax-refund-anticipation loans to people living in and around the Navajo Nation.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the lawsuit claims the plaintiffs representing the class were charged an "unconscionable" 385 percent annual interest rate on a $1,250 loan they obtained in November 2014.

The suit also accuses the defendants of violating the Truth in Lending Act, willful breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

According to the complaint, the three defendants in the case — T&R Market Inc., Tancorde Finance Inc. and T&R Tax Service Inc. — are all part of business venture that makes thousands of tax-refund-anticipation loans each year.

Navajo Nation Eyes Possible Purchases Of Colorado RanchlandThe Associated Press & The Gallup Independent

The Navajo Nation has created a committee to look into buying Colorado ranchland that's home to cattle, bison and two mountains the tribe considers sacred.

The price tag for the property — roughly 26 square miles (67 square kilometers) on the Wolf Springs and Boyer ranches in south-central Colorado — is $23 million.

The two sacred mountains are Big Mountain Sheep/Obsidian Mountain, or Mount Hesperus, and Sisnaajini, commonly known as White Shell Mountain or Blanca Peak.

Navajo Nation President Russell believes the purchase would make the tribe's citizens whole, The Gallup Independent reported.

Wolf Springs Ranch is described as one of Colorado's largest ranches, and it's nestled under the high peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

The ranch has 200 head of cattle and more than 300 head of bison that the tribe could use to expand its beef business and produce bison meat, which sells for about double the price of beef, Begaye said.

Canceled Kirtland Jet Fuel Spill Meeting Irks Activists- Associated Press

Environmental activists are expressing anger at Kirtland Air Force Base for canceling a meeting on the cleanup of a jet fuel spill in Albuquerque.

Advocates from Citizen Action New Mexico and the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice say they don't see why the air force base and state environmental officials canceled the meeting scheduled for Thursday aimed at giving residents an update on cleanup efforts.

Kirtland Air Force Base and the New Mexico Environmental Department announced last week they were canceling the quarterly community meeting so officials could review two reports. They say reports give more information on the extent of fuel contamination and an evaluation of exposure risk.

First detected in 1999, the fuel leak is believed to have been seeping into the ground for decades.

Acting Chief Justice For Navajo Nation To Resign Over Health- The Daily Times & Associated Press

The acting chief justice for the Navajo Nation is stepping down.

The Daily Times of Farmington, New Mexico, reports  the Navajo Nation Judicial Branch recently announced Allen Sloan is resigning at the end of July.

Sloan told the Daily Times that health concerns prompted his retirement.

Sloan, who is originally from Coalmine Canyon, Arizona, has worked with the branch for 28 years. He has been acting chief justice since July 2015.

Sloan's retirement leaves Associate Justice Eleanor Shirley as the only permanent member of the high court on the largest American Indian reservation in the country.

The Supreme Court consists of a chief justice and two associate justices.

Shady Deal? Santa Fe Shade Tents Chided For Lack Of Shade- The Santa Fe New Mexican & Associated Press

A shady deal in Santa Fe is drawing scrutiny because it's not a complete cover up.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports a $320,000-state-funded project that installed 94 prefabricated shade structures around New Mexico's capital is being criticized for not covering playground equipment or picnic tables. And depending on the time of day, the shade cast is minimal.

Resident Elisa Boyles says the tent-like, 12-foot by 12-foot tarps mounted on metal poles were useless. That's because she says the structures don't seem to provide much shade where the kids play as intended.

Santa Fe County commissioner Anna Hansen defended the shade structures and says they are "quite attractive" and do provide at least some shade when the sun is in the right spot.

Shooting Rampage Suspect Twice Tried To Escape From Jail- The Santa Fe New Mexican & Associated Press

Authorities say a man accused of killing five people in a shooting rampage in northern New Mexico last month has twice attempted to escape from the Rio Arriba County jail and also assaulted a guard.

County Sheriff James Lujan told the Santa Fe New Mexican authorities are hoping to get 21-year-old Damian Herrera transferred to a New Mexico Department of Corrections facility.

Lujan calls Herrera a danger and a menace to the county jail.

Herrera remains held without bond as he faces five open counts of murder.

He's accused of shooting his stepfather, younger brother and mother at their La Madera home and then fleeing in the family's vehicle.

Authorities say Herrera later fatally shot a Tres Piedras man and killed a man at a gas station in Abiquiu.

Business Sued Over Tax-Refund-Anticipation Loans-  The Santa Fe New Mexican & Associated Press 

In a federal class-action lawsuit, an Albuquerque law firm accuses a loan company with offices in Gallup, Farmington, Shiprock and Chinle, Arizona, of making predatory tax-refund-anticipation loans to people living in and around the Navajo Nation.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the lawsuit claims the plaintiffs representing the class were charged an "unconscionable" 385 percent annual interest rate on a $1,250 loan they obtained in November 2014.

The suit also accuses the defendants of violating the Truth in Lending Act, willful breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

According to the complaint, the three defendants in the case — T&R Market Inc., Tancorde Finance Inc. and T&R Tax Service Inc. — are all part of business venture that makes thousands of tax-refund-anticipation loans each year.

Monsoon Ends Fire Restrictions In Cibola National ForestAssociated Press

No fire restrictions remain in effect in the Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands as fire danger has been reduced due to monsoon precipitation.

Forest officials say restrictions that were in place on two ranger districts that include the Sandia and Manzano mountains near Albuquerque and its environs have been cancelled.

Fire Management Officer Anthony Martinez of the Mountainair Ranger District says most people have respected the fire restrictions and that there have been a few abandoned campfires.

New Mexico Marks Private-Sector Job Growth Associated Press

New Mexico labor officials are touting the largest gain in private-sector job growth in over a decade.

Figures released Friday by the Department of Workforce Solutions show a 3 percent increase in the private sector, representing 18,900 jobs.

Much of the growth was fueled by a boost in private service-providing industries, particularly the leisure and hospitality sectors. State officials say the increase of 4,300 jobs in those sectors from May to June was unusual.

Overall, 11 industries have added jobs since December 2014.

Officials say the uptick has put New Mexico at No. 7 in the nation when it comes to private-sector growth.

As for unemployment, the seasonally adjusted rate for June decreased to 6.4 percent.

The state has struggled with high unemployment numbers, only recently ending its stretch at the top of the nation's jobless rankings.

2 People Die In Separate Tubing Accidents In Colorado Associated Press

Authorities say two people have died in tubing accidents in Colorado this week.

Golden police say a 48-year-old woman, whose name has not been released, flipped off of her inner tube and went underwater Friday afternoon. She resurfaced downstream and was pulled from the water.

Firefighters and park rangers performed CPR, but the woman died at a hospital.

Meanwhile, The Durango Herald reports 31-year-old Manuel Gallegos, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was taken off of life support Thursday. Gallegos, who was not wearing a life jacket or helmet, was critically injured when he fell out of his inner tube at the Animas River Whitewater Park in southwestern Colorado on Sunday.

His death has been ruled an accident.

The Latest: Stabbing Suspect Paranoid About "Illuminati" Associated Press

Police say a man suspected of fatally stabbing a cab driver in Albuquerque believed he was being followed by the Illuminati.

Police say 46-year-old Victor Ortiz believed he was being watched and that someone was going to steal his money and drugs.

Ortiz then attacked the driver with a sword. Police haven't identified the victim.

They say a witness took the cabdriver to the hospital but that he died of his wounds.

New Mexico Hopes To Ease Transition For Children In Custody Associated Press

Teddy bears, blankets, crayons, games and a safe place to sleep.

New Mexico's top officials wanted to pack as much as possible into a new center designed to ease the trauma often experienced by children when authorities are forced to remove them from their homes and place them in state custody.

Gov. Susana Martinez and Children, Youth and Families Secretary Monique Jacobson on Friday toured the center in Albuquerque. They showed off a brightly-colored play area and separate rooms for sleeping, relaxing and playing.

Previously, social workers had few emergency options other than unaccommodating office space.

As many as 900 children a year require the services now offered at the center. Statewide, that number tops 2,600 and officials say improvements are being made at other locations.

The center in Albuquerque is outfitted thanks to donations from businesses and volunteers.

Democratic Attorneys General Urge Trump To Keep DACA Associated Press

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas has joined 19 other attorneys general to urge President Donald Trump to keep a program that gives temporary status to young immigrants who are in the country illegally.

The attorneys general sent a letter to Trump on Friday and it comes after 10 other attorneys general urged the president to end the program.

The new letter says the 800,000 immigrant students covered under the program have been a "boon" to universities and employers.

Earlier this month, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told Hispanic lawmakers that the program that protects young immigrants from deportation is likely illegal, though he is personally supportive.

The Obama-era Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrival Program, or DACA, gives hundreds of thousands of young people brought into the country as children protection from deportation and a work permit.

New Mexico Police Release Officer-Involved Shooting Details Associated Press

Santa Fe police say a man who was shot by an officer at an apartment complex had thrown homemade explosives at officers and stabbed a social worker during a standoff.

State police identified the man as 24-year-old Anthony Benavidez. Lt. Elizabeth Armijo said in a written statement he had recently been evicted from apartment complex he broke into on Wednesday. Officers had been negotiating with Benavidez before he threw the explosives. Armijo says two SWAT officers shot Benavidez after they entered the apartment to arrest him.

Benavidez and the caseworker were taken to the hospital, where Benavidez died. The caseworker was later released.

The names of the officers involved in the shooting were not released. Santa Fe Police Department Spokesman Greg Gurule says five officers have been placed on leave.

Forecasters: Flooding Likely In New Mexico Through Weekend Associated Press

Forecasters say flash flooding is likely in New Mexico through the weekend due to monsoon moisture and a weather disturbance moving westward across the state.

The National Weather Service says thunderstorms are expected over central and western New Mexico into Friday evening and then become more numerous Saturday, Sunday and into early next week.

According to the weather service, the likelihood of flash floods is strongest Friday in western New Mexico and across New Mexico from the southwest to the northeast Saturday.

The forecasters say there's also a possibility that multiple instances of flash flooding will occur across central and eastern areas on Sunday.

Also, the potential for flash flooding may linger over the south-central mountains and the eastern plains on Monday as the disturbance moves into Texas and Mexico.

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