Local News
9:23 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Tuesday News Roundup: Medical Marijuana OK'd For Injured Worker

Medical Marijuana OK'd For Injured Worker  The Associated Press

The New Mexico Court of Appeals has ruled that a worker's employer and its insurer must pay for medical marijuana for treating the employee's chronic pain from a job-related back injury.

The court upheld a decision by a workers' compensation judge that medical marijuana was "reasonable and necessary medical care" from a health care provider under terms of workers' compensation law.

The worker had a 99 percent permanent partial disability.

An automotive repair shop and its insurer appealed after being ordered to reimburse the worker for medical marijuana expenses.

The court rejected the employer's argument it would be required to violate federal law by paying for the marijuana.

New Mexico started its medical marijuana program began in 2007, although pot remains illegal under federal law.

 New Mexico: 500 Barrels Of Questionable Nuke WasteThe Associated Press New Mexico environment officials say more than 500 barrels of waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory were packed with the kitty litter suspected of causing a chemical reaction and radiation release at the government's underground nuclear waste dump.

Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn Tuesday gave the U.S. Department of Energy and the contractor that runs the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico until Friday to detail plans for permanently sealing the underground rooms where more than 300 barrels of the potentially dangerous containers of waste are stored.

In addition to 369 containers at the dump, environment officials say 57 more are still at Los Alamos and more than 100 are in storage in West Texas.

The waste was packed with kitty litter to absorb moisture. Officials are investigating whether a switch from inorganic to organic litter is to blame for a leak in February that contaminated 22 workers.

  

ABQ City Council Passes Police Chief Hiring Reform The Associated Press

The Albuquerque city council has voted to approve a measure that would allow councilors to have more say on the hiring of a police chief.

Councilors last night approved a measure that requires councilors to confirm a police chief selected by the mayor, and the council could remove the chief by two-thirds of the vote.

The measure now goes before voters who must approve the changes to the city charter in a referendum.

The move comes as Albuquerque faces more protests from police critics who are angry that officials aren't doing enough as the process begins to implement reforms recommended by the U.S. Justice Department.

Earlier this month, demonstrators packed the council chambers, demanded that Police Chief Gorden Eden face a citizen's arrest and forced councilors to abruptly end the meeting.

Medical Marijuana OK'd For Injured Worker The Associated Press

The New Mexico Court of Appeals has ruled that a worker's employer and its insurer must pay for medical marijuana for treating the employee's chronic pain from a job-related back injury.

The court on Monday upheld a decision by a workers' compensation judge that medical marijuana was "reasonable and necessary medical care" from a health care provider under terms of workers' compensation law.

The worker had a 99 percent permanent partial disability.

An automotive repair shop and its insurer appealed after being ordered to reimburse the worker for medical marijuana expenses.

The court rejected the employer's argument it would be required to violate federal law by paying for the marijuana.

New Mexico started its medical marijuana program in 2007, although pot remains illegal under federal law.

Smoke From Arizona Wildfire Headed To Albuquerque The Associated Press

An air quality alert has been issued for the Albuquerque area due to smoke from an Arizona wildfire.

The city's Environmental Health Department's Air Quality Program issued the alert due to smoke causing elevated levels of particulate matter.

Satellite imagery showed smoke from the Skunk Fire in eastern Arizona heading toward the Albuquerque area yesterday afternoon.

Health officials say the smoke could linger in the Albuquerque area through the morning.

The Environmental Health Department recommends that all individuals take precautions when outdoors during hazy conditions.

People most sensitive to particulate pollution include young children, adults age 65 and up, pregnant women, and those with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illness.

Containment Of New Mexico Fire Reaches 75 Percent The Associated Press

Containment of a wildfire that has burned 9 square miles in southwestern New Mexico has inched upward to 75 percent.

The latest report on containment of the Signal Fire burning in grass and timber about 10 miles north of Silver City is up from 70 percent late Sunday.

Approximately 700 firefighters and other personnel are assigned to the fire. Aircraft also are on hand to drop retardant and water on the fire.

Crews are mopping up hot spots as they keep an eye out for burning embers being blown out of the fire area.

The human-caused fire started burning on May 11.

Game Agency Considers Deer Hunting Reduction The Associated Press

The state Game and Fish Department is seeking public comment on possible changes in hunting rules, including a proposal to reduce the number of licenses for hunting deer.

Meetings are scheduled today in Roswell at the agency's office and tomorrow at the department's headquarters outside of Santa Fe. Both meetings start at 6 p.m.

The agency is encouraging sportsmen to offer their views on possible rules changes for deer, elk, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope as well as turkey and migratory game birds for hunting seasons from 2015 through 2019.

The department said it's considering a reduction in deer hunting licenses because of declining deer populations.

Other proposals include a reduction in sandhill crane hunting permits and the potential for more bighorn sheep ram hunts in northern New Mexico.

Award Ends Lawsuit On 'Billy The Kid' RecordsThe Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

A New Mexico court has awarded an author $100,000 in punitive damages in a lawsuit she brought over records on legendary outlaw Billy the Kid.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that District Judge George Eichwald last week awarded author and amateur historian Gale Cooper the punitive damages in a lawsuit she brought against the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office. Cooper had sought records relating to the outlaw's 1881 death.

The award brings to an end a legal battle of more than seven years that has left Lincoln County taxpayers on the hook for nearly $300,000 in fees and damages.

In 2007, Cooper and a weekly newspaper sued for access to documents related to the investigation, launched by a Lincoln County sheriff and two deputies more than a decade ago.

Jal Police Chief In Sex Tape Flap Eyes Judge Seat The Associated Press and Hobbs News-Sun

A police chief in a small, southeastern New Mexico city who was suspended for having sex in the back of an ambulance says he will continue his run for a magistrate judge seat.

Jal Police Chief Larry Burns told the Hobbs News-Sun last week that he embarrassed the public and the city after a secretly recorded tape of him was released to Albuquerque news stations. But he does not intend to stop his campaign for the magistrate judge seat.

Two television stations aired portions of a video of Burns having sex with a female companion inside a Jal ambulance parked where the city's ambulances are kept.

Interim City Manager Bob Gallagher says he handed Burns a two-week suspension without pay in part because of the video.

Union Pacific Plans May 28 Event In New Mexico The Associated Press

Union Pacific Railroad plans a May 28 grand opening event for its new rail facility in southern New Mexico.

The Santa Teresa event planned by the Omaha, Nebraska-based freight railroad marks completion of a 2,200-acre facility that includes ramps to transfer freight between trains and trucks. It also includes fueling facilities and crew-change buildings.

Union Pacific says dignitaries scheduled to participate in the event include New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and U.S. Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall.

Construction began in 2011.

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