KUNM

NM Marks Record Year For Oil Production, Nominations Needed For Nuclear Worker Advisory Board

Mar 12, 2018

New Mexico Marks Record Year For Oil ProductionThe Associated Press

Oil producers have set a record for the number of barrels pumped in New Mexico last year, and industry experts say output from the Permian Basin is expected to double over the next several years.

Data from the U.S. Energy Information Association and an industry group that represents hundreds of producers in New Mexico show a record 172 million barrels of oil were produced in 2017.

That's double New Mexico's output in 2011 and more than the previous record of 147 million barrels set in 2015.

New Mexico Oil and Gas Association Executive Director Ryan Flynn says the record production is the result of more than $13 billion in investments that the industry began making last year.

The sustained rebound in oil prices and the investments also have helped New Mexico's revenues to recover.

Nominations Needed For Nuclear Worker Advisory BoardThe Associated Press & The Santa Fe New Mexican

The terms have expired for nearly all members of an advisory panel charged with making recommendations and providing guidance for a program designed to compensate workers who were exposed to toxic chemicals at U.S. nuclear weapons labs.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the Trump administration hasn't nominated any new members to the board despite many terms expiring last month.

Made up of scientists, doctors and other advocates, the board's recommendations have led to changes, including the repeal of a rule that made it more difficult for workers who had been injured in the past two decades to get compensation.

The U.S. Labor Department didn't respond to multiple requests for comment but indicated in a recent letter to a workers' group that nominations were still being reviewed.

Navajo Nation Rejects Attempt To Disqualify Water JudgeThe Associated Press

The Navajo Nation is opposing attempts to disqualify a state judge from oversight of a decades-old water dispute in the San Juan River Basin.

In court filings Monday, attorneys for the Navajo Nation said accusations are unfounded that Judge James Wechsler previously worked on behalf of the tribal government.

At stake is a major water-rights award in northwestern New Mexico to the Navajo Nation.

The Navajo Nation is seeking sanctions against attorney Victor Marshall for filing the motion against Wechsler.

On behalf of more than 20 community water districts, Marshall has highlighted Wechsler's prior work for DNA Legal Services in the 1970s as an unreported conflict of interest. DNA Legal Services is an independent, nonprofit law firm that at times has been at odds with tribal government.

Dallas-Bound Flight Makes Emergency Landing In AlbuquerqueThe Associated Press & KRQE

A Dallas-bound flight was diverted to the Albuquerque International Sunport after smoke filled the aircraft's cabin.

According to KRQE-TV , Southwest flight 3562 took off from Phoenix on Sunday night and was headed for Dallas Love Field Airport. The plane was forced to land in Albuquerque after what might have been an electrical fire.

The Albuquerque Fire Department tweeted that two people were taken to local hospitals. The extent of their injuries was not immediately known.

Several emergency vehicles could be seen on the runway after the plane landed.

Passengers were later placed on another flight to their original destination.

A Dallas Police officer aboard the flight tweeted that Dallas-based Southwest's flight attendants "did a great job!"

Criminals In Albuquerque Using Stolen Cars For Other Crimes – Associated Press

Authorities say criminals are using stolen cars while committing a host of other crimes ranging from armed robberies to drive-by gang shootings in Albuquerque.

Police used to view auto theft as a nonviolent crime often connected to the need for money to buy drugs.

Now, crime rates have skyrocketed across the board.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the city has seen more than a three-fold increase in auto theft since 2013 along with climbing rates of armed robbery, larceny and burglary.

There were 2,743 auto thefts in 2013. Last year, it was 7,684 and in 2016, 7,710 vehicles were stolen.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau ranked the Albuquerque metro area as having the highest per-capita rate of auto thefts in the country in 2016, with 1,114 vehicle thefts per 100,000 people.

Dallas-Bound Flight Makes Emergency Landing In AlbuquerqueAssociated Press

A Dallas-bound flight was diverted to the Albuquerque International Sunport after smoke filled the aircraft's cabin.

According to KRQE-TV, Southwest flight 3562 took off from Phoenix on Sunday night and was headed for Dallas Love Field Airport. The plane was forced to land in Albuquerque after what might have been an electrical fire.

The Albuquerque Fire Department tweeted that two people were taken to local hospitals. The extent of their injuries was not immediately known.

Several emergency vehicles could be seen on the runway after the plane landed.

Passengers were later placed on another flight to their original destination.

A Dallas Police officer aboard the flight tweeted that Dallas-based Southwest's flight attendants "did a great job!"

Preservation Group Acquires Chacoan-Era Site In New MexicoFarmington Daily Times, Associated Press

A national nonprofit group that focuses on the preservation of archaeological sites has just acquired property in northwestern New Mexico that includes a stone structure, a pair of kivas and roads that are believed to be part of the system that once linked Chaco Canyon's ancient civilization.

The Farmington Daily Times reports the site, located above Aztec Ruins National Monument, was donated to the Archaeological Conservancy by Charley and Kim Dein and has been named the Dein Ruin.

The property transfer was completed Tuesday.

The square, block-style great house contained 30 to 40 rooms and may have been two stories high. Archaeological Conservancy Southwest Regional Director Jim Walker says Chacoan elite likely lived inside the great house.

Roswell Officials Seek Increased Input On Air Force PlansRoswell Daily Record, Associated Press

Roswell officials are seeking for the Air Force to include area residents in discussions on its proposal to expand airspace use in southeast New Mexico.

The Roswell Daily Record reports area leaders met with Air Force officials this week, looking for the military branch to increase its dialogue with the public.

The Air Force announced last year that it was examining plans to possibly alter three Military Operations Areas in the state.

Some residents of southeast New Mexico have voiced concerns that altering the military's airspace could disrupt commercial flights, private aviation enterprises and air ambulance services.

The Air Force held public scoping meetings last year in Carlsbad, Truth or Consequences and Las Cruces, and it plans to hold additional hearings after the Environmental Impact Statement is drafted.

Families Say Hantavirus Strikes 2 Farmington-Area ResidentsFarmington Daily Times, Associated Press

Family members say two residents of the Farmington area of northwestern New Mexico are hospitalized and on life-support machines after being stricken by hantavirus, a rare and potentially fatal virus carried by rodents.

The Daily Times reports that 9-year-old Fernando Hernandez of Bloomfield is at Children's Hospital Colorado in Aurora, Colorado, and that 27-year-old Kiley Lane of Aztec is at the University of New Mexico hospital in Albuquerque.

Family members say both were diagnosed in February and that both are on machines that pump and oxygenate blood.

Hantavirus is often present in rodent droppings, urine and saliva. Humans can contract the virus when dust is stirred up.

Symptoms include fever, severe muscle aches and fatigue. Other symptoms include difficulty breathing, headaches, chills, and nausea.

New Mexico Rules Against Man On Juvenile Sentencing IssueAssociated Press

The New Mexico Supreme Court has denied an appeal challenging the sentence of decades in prison for a man who was convicted of committing rape and other crimes when he was 15.

Joel Ira was sentenced to 91½ years in prison and won't be eligible for parole until he serves at least 46 years when he's at least 62 years old but the New Mexico decision says that doesn't violate U.S. Supreme Court rulings that found mandatory juvenile life-without-parole terms unconstitutional.

The New Mexico high court's 3-2 ruling Friday says Ira at becoming eligible for parole will still have a "meaningful opportunity to obtain release by demonstrating his ... maturity and rehabilitation."

Ira pleaded no contest to aggravated battery, bribery or intimidation of a witness and criminal sexual penetration.

US Provides $16M For Track Work Along Southwest Chief RouteAssociated Press

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a $16 million grant to Colfax County in northeastern New Mexico to refurbish a freight railroad's tracks used by passenger trains serving Amtrak's Southwest Chief route.

New Mexico congressional delegation members who supported the application for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery funding announced Friday by the department say the work includes replacing 42 miles (68 kilometers) of 60-year-old bolted rail and replacing segments of crossties.

Most of the work will be on BNSF Railway tracks in New Mexico but some will be in Colorado and Kansas.

Two previous grants paid for work on other sections of the Southwest Chief route, which connects Los Angeles and Chicago.

Memoir By Former Border Patrol Agent Sparks Debate - By Anita Snow, Associated Press

Francisco Cantu said he joined the Border Patrol at age 23 to get an on-the-ground education in international relations.

Now 32, he says he didn't expect his new memoir examining some of the agency's uglier aspects would spark protests by far-left groups denouncing him for the work and forcing him to cancel some talks promoting the book.

He said he agrees with much of the criticism from the left, even though it caught him off guard.

Cantu said he wrote "The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border" to make sense of his time with the patrol and to share his experiences and self-examination with readers.

He's scheduled to appear this weekend at the Tucson Festival of Books.

Judge Approves Measures Against Wage TheftAssociated Press

New measures aimed at protecting workers from wage theft by employers in New Mexico have been approved by a district court judge.

Judge David Thomson on Friday approved a settlement stemming from a lawsuit by workers and advocacy groups against the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions.

The agreement is designed to make it easier for workers to recover unpaid wages and additional penalties from employers. It lifts a $10,000 limit on claims of missing wages and will allow workers to resubmit complaints that were improperly rejected in recent years.

The state will begin accepting wage-theft claims in remote communities through a network of more than 20 New Mexico Workforce Connection Centers under the settlement.

Victims of wage theft spoke of their travails at a court hearing in Santa Fe and endorsed the settlement. No one voiced opposition.

State Democratic Delegates Vote For Preferred CandidatesAssociated Press

New Mexico's Democratic candidates for governor and Congress are moving to shore up support from party activists at a statewide convention ahead of the state's June primary.

Delegates voted Saturday for their preferred candidates in heavily contested primary races for governor and two open congressional seats.

In the four-way governor's race, Congresswoman Michelle Lujan-Grisham got 67 percent of the votes with former media executive Jeff Apodaca a distant second at 22 percent.

Whoever wins the party's nomination for governor will face Republican Steve Pearce, who's running unopposed in the November general election.

Six Democrats are seeking the Albuquerque-based congressional seat currently held by Lujan Grisham.

Former Democratic Party chairwoman Debra Haaland got 35 percent of the vote Saturday and former law school assistant dean Antoinette Sedillo Lopez got 25 percent.

'68 Los Angeles School Protesters See Link To Parkland Teens - By Russell Contreras And Noreen Nasir, Associated Press

Participants of the 1968 Los Angeles school walkouts that sparked a wave of Mexican-American youth activism say they see similarities with Florida student activists today seeking to change gun laws.

Leaders and participants who were teenagers in March 1968 say they are proud that students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, are pushing for change.

The mass shooting at Parkland that left 17 people dead last month has sparked calls for walkouts, sit-ins and other actions on school campuses across the United States for tougher gun control laws.

The East Los Angeles walkouts forced officials in California to change poor school conditions and end physical punishments for speaking Spanish.

A national outcry ensued after police beat peaceful student protesters with clubs and threw them on the ground before corralling the bloody teens on buses. Latino students in New Mexico and Texas followed with their own walkouts that historians say helped create the Chicano Movement and encouraged Mexican-Americans throughout the Southwest to run for public office and push for change.

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