US Senator Proposes Delisting Mexican Gray Wolf – Associated Press
A wolf that once roamed parts of the American Southwest and northern Mexico would be removed from the list of federally protected species under legislation proposed by U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake.
The Arizona Republican introduced the measure last week. He's a critic of the Mexican gray wolf recovery plan, calling it a regulatory nightmare for ranchers and rural communities.
The bill calls for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine if a population of fewer than 100 wolves has been established along the Arizona-New Mexico border. If so, the predator would be considered recovered and removed from the endangered list.
Environmentalists say it's an attempt to sidestep the Endangered Species Act.
According to the most recent survey, an estimated 113 wolves roam parts of Arizona and New Mexico.
Trump Seeks $18 Billion To Extend Border Wall Over 10 Years – Associated Press
The Trump administration has proposed spending $18 billion over 10 years to significantly extend the border wall with Mexico.
The proposal provides one of the most detailed blueprints of how the president hopes to carry out a signature campaign pledge.
A U.S. official with direct knowledge of the matter says Customs and Border Protection is calling for 316 miles (505 kilometers) of additional barrier by September 2027, bringing total coverage to nearly half the border.
The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the plan has not been made public.
The proposal, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, also calls for 407 miles (651 kilometers) of replacement or secondary fencing.
New Mexico State Eyes 'Fiesta' For 1st Bowl Win Since 1960 – Associated Press
The city of Las Cruces and New Mexico State University are slated to celebrate the Aggies' first bowl win since President Dwight Eisenhower was in office.
The Las Cruces Sun-News reports a celebration is scheduled for Jan. 20 at the Plaza de Las Cruces after New Mexico State's Arizona Bowl win last month.
City officials say the plaza festivities will include members of the team, coaching staff, marching band, and other New Mexico State dignitaries.
After years of struggling, the 26-20 overtime victory over Utah State was the Aggies' first bowl appearance in 57 years.
Las Cruces City Manager Stuart Ed said the team's win was "a great victory for New Mexico State, for the football team and for our community."
Elderly Roswell Woman Who Went Missing Month Ago Found Dead – Associated Press
The body of an elderly Roswell woman who went missing a month ago has been found in Chaves County near the Pecos River.
New Mexico State Police say a search team located 80-year-old Leotta Talbert on Friday afternoon.
Talbert was last seen Dec. 3 driving away from a Roswell hospital before she was to be formally discharged. Police say she had onset dementia.
State police, along with other agencies, have been conducting air and ground searches since then.
A New Mexico Game and Fish pilot doing a bird survey southeast of Hagerman spotted Talbert's vehicle on Thursday.
A ground search was initiated but suspended until the next morning.
Talbert's body has been turned over to the Office of the Medical Investigator.
Authorities do not suspect foul play.
Legislature Would Spend More On Public Schools – Associated Press
Leading New Mexico lawmakers are proposing a nearly 3 percent increase in state general fund spending that would go mainly to public school education, Medicaid health care, early childhood programs, courts and state police.
The Legislative Finance Committee on Friday announced a proposal to increase general fund spending by $178 million for the coming fiscal year to nearly $6.3 billion.
The plan from the lead budget-writing committee in the Democrat-led Legislature would devote an additional $51 million to public schools, which rely on state funding for a majority of spending.
The proposed increase includes new money for salaries of all full-time teachers and for a program that extends the school year for some young students. Childcare and prekindergarten programs also would get a major financial boost.
The state would devote an additional $35 million to Medicaid health care for the poor and disabled, a multibillion-dollar program supported mostly by the federal government. An average pay increase of 1.5 percent is proposed for state employees.
Sanctions Ordered For Attorney In Lawsuit Over Bail Rules – Associated Press
A federal judge has ordered an Albuquerque lawyer to pay costs and attorney fees to the New Mexico Supreme Court and other defendants in a lawsuit that unsuccessfully sought to block new state rules governing pretrial release of criminal defendants.
Senior U.S. District Judge Robert Junell's order Thursday says A. Blair Dunn should pay sanctions because the lawsuit that he and other attorneys filed on behalf of the Bail Bond Association of New Mexico and others contained groundless and frivolous claims.
Junell says the sanctions are needed to deter attorneys "from repeating this sort of conduct."
Dunn says the lawsuit did have a legal basis, that it's not clear why Junell singled him out for sanctions and that the sanctions order will be part of an appeal that's already underway.
University Launches Investigation Into Fetal Tissue Transfer – Associated Press
The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center is investigating the transfer of fetal tissue from a faculty member to a private medical research company in Michigan.
Health Sciences Center spokeswoman Alex Sanchez confirmed the internal investigation Friday after it was first reported by the Albuquerque Journal.
Sanchez said the inquiry began in the fall. She declined to provide details, citing a need to protect the integrity of the process.
According to documents obtained by the newspaper, officials suspended Robin Ohls' research duties in October after learning she had acquired fetal tissue for months from the Southwestern Women's Options abortion clinic and transferred it to Zietchick Research Institute LLC.
An internal memo indicates staff had concerns about possibly infringing on the university's policy to not buy or sell human tissue.
Air Force Personnel Honored For 2016 Combat Resupply Drop – Associated Press
The Air Force says two service members are being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for their roles in making a combat resupply drop of ammunition to ground forces in danger of being overrun during an enemy attack on a forward operating base in Afghanistan.
Officials at Cannon Air Force Base in eastern New Mexico say Capt. Charlotte A. Rabbe was a combat systems officer on a MC-130J special operations aircraft and Staff Sgt. Gary P. Bjerke the plane's loadmaster during the Jan. 5, 2016 engagement.
Award citations said enemy fire hit the aircraft multiple times as it successfully dropped the ammunition to a Special Forces team at the base.
Cannon officials say Rabbe is 29 and from Indian Harbour Beach, Florida, while Bjerke is 25 and from Waukesha, Wisconsin.