KUNM

Voters To Select Democratic Nominee For Governor, Nearly 100,000 Early Votes Cast

Jun 4, 2018

Voters To Select Democratic Nominee For Governor's Seat- Associated Press

New Mexico voters will decide Tuesday which Democratic candidate will be the party's nominee for the open governor's seat. The winner will face the lone Republican contender.

Party nominations for two open congressional seats also are up for grabs.

Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians may participate in the state's closed major party primaries, though there were no competitive races for Libertarian candidates.

The polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Absentee ballots are due by 7 p.m.

The Latest: Some New Mexico Residents Allowed To Return Home- Associated Press

Some residents are returning to their homes, but evacuation orders in other areas remain as crews try to get a handle on a wildfire burning in northeastern New Mexico.

Authorities announced Monday that residents of Cimarron were being allowed to return to the village in four separate groups to minimize traffic.

The threat to Cimarron has been reduced but authorities say there are still some concerns as the fire is expected to burn for some time. The Ute Park area is still evacuated.

Forecasters expect the winds will change course and that could mean smoky conditions in the area. There's an air quality station in Cimarron that will monitor for potential hazards.

About 500 firefighters and support crew are assigned to the Ute Park Fire. It has charred more than 56 square miles since being sparked last Thursday. The cause is under investigation.

Jal Oks Resolution Against Interim Nuclear Storage Plan- Associated Press & Hobbs News-Sun

Another New Mexico community has voted to oppose bringing interim high-level nuclear waste storage in southeastern New Mexico.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports Jal City Council voted last week not to support a plan to temporarily store tons of spent fuel from U.S. commercial nuclear reactors in and around Lea County.

Holtec International has applied for a 40-year license with Nuclear Regulatory Commission to store thousands of metric tons of nuclear waste at the site.

Opponents of the project expressed concern about the safety of transporting the fuel across the country as well as the project's effects on the environment.

Albuquerque City Council also voted last week to oppose the plan.

GOP Congressional Hopeful Sues New Mexico State Over Firing- Associated Press, Albuquerque Journal 

A former Trump administration appointee running for Congress is suing New Mexico State University alleging wrongful termination and discrimination.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Gavin Clarkson, a candidate running in the Republican primary for southern New Mexico's open congressional seat, filed a lawsuit last week after the school canceled his leave of absence and fired him in late April.

Clarkson alleges racial and religious discrimination because he is a conservative pro-life Christian and a member of the Choctaw tribe.

A New Mexico State spokeswoman said the university does not comment on pending litigation.

Clarkson was ordered back to his New Mexico State University business professor job in April months after resigning from a Bureau of Indian Affairs position.

The Republican said he requested a leave of absence until January 2020.

American Airlines Plane Damaged By Hail Over New Mexico- Associated Press

An American Airlines plane made an emergency landing after hail damaged the windshield and caused some passengers to throw up.

One of the pilots said they could barely see through the windshield.

The airline says no injuries were reported after the Sunday night flight from San Antonio, Texas, to Phoenix ran into bad weather over New Mexico and turned south to land in El Paso, Texas. There were 130 passengers and 5 crewmembers on board. Another plane finished the trip to Phoenix a few hours later.

An airline spokesman said Monday that the plane was awaiting repairs for damage to the nose, windshield panels and a cockpit side window. He said the engines, including the fan blades, were not damaged.

Nearly 100,000 Cast Early Votes In New Mexico- Associated Press

New Mexico election officials are reporting robust turnout in early voting and through absentee ballots ahead of the state's primary election.

The New Mexico Secretary of State's Office reported that 97,917 people cast primary ballots during the early voting period ahead of Tuesday's primary. Early voting ended Saturday evening, and absentee voting continues until Tuesday at 7 p.m.

About 202,000 people in all voted in the 2014 primary elections. Two-thirds of votes in the November 2016 presidential election were cast by absentee ballot or early voting.

New Mexico voters are headed to the polls Tuesday to choose from three Democratic candidates for governor. Two congressional seats are wide open, as voting also decides who advances in statewide races for lieutenant governor, state auditor and public land commissioner.

New Mexico Firefighters Protecting Community From WildfireAssociated Press

Extensive burning operations designed to protect a northern New Mexico community from a wildfire have proven successful so far, but firefighters have been unable to contain flames that have blackened an estimated 36,000 acres authorities said Sunday.

The Albuquerque Journal reported thunderstorms on Sunday did improve firefighting conditions for the Ute Park Fire and the blaze was about 23 percent contained. But 2,200 people in Ute Park, Cimarron and Philmont Scout Ranch have been evacuated and 14 non-residential structures at the ranch have burned down.

The New Mexico Fire Information website said firefighters on the ground were being aided by helicopters dropping water and air tankers dumping retardants.

The website run by local and regional governmental agencies said firefighters on the ground are securing control lines and mopping up hot spots.

A community meeting is planned Monday at 4 p.m. at the Angel Fire Community Center.

New Mexico Closing 3 State Parks Due To Extreme Fire DangerAssociated Press

Three state parks in northern New Mexico are closing effective Monday because of extreme fire danger.

The State Parks Division of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department says the parks being closed until further notice are Fenton Lake, Hyde Memorial and Morphy Lake

Fenton Lake is between Cuba and Jemez Springs, Hyde Memorial is northeast of Santa Fe and Morphy Lake is in Mora County north of Las Vegas.

The parks division says the closures of the three parks will coincide with the Santa Fe National Forest's full public-access closure announced recently by the U.S. Forest Service.

Farmington Looks To Propel Local Food MarketFarmington Daily Times, Associated Press

Community agencies and the city of Farmington are looking for ways to boost the market for local food while revitalizing downtown.

The Farmington Daily Times reports Farmington and Silver City are the New Mexico cities chosen this year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Local Foods, Local Places program.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt says the goal of the program is to develop local food enterprises that "support local farmers, improve public health, protect the environment, and grow local economies."

The public is invited to provide input during a meeting June 12 at the Bonnie Dallas Senior Center in Farmington.

The Downtown Albuquerque Main Street Initiative used the program in 2017 for an economic revitalization project.

Dearth Of Jobs Sets Stage For New Mexico Governor RaceAssociated Press

The three Democratic candidates for New Mexico governor are offering economic solutions as the state looks to shake one of the nation's highest unemployment rates.

The contenders in Tuesday's primary are Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, state Sen. Joseph Cervantes and former media executive Jeff Apodaca.

The winner will take on Congressman Steve Pearce, the sole Republican candidate. Pearce previously ran an oilfield services company.

New Mexico has about 56,000 people who are seeking and can't find work. The state would have to add 16,000 new jobs to bring its jobless rate in line with the national average.

The three Democratic gubernatorial candidates are proposing solutions that include broadly legalizing marijuana, increasing the minimum wage and making greater commitments to renewable energy.

Rural, Independent New Mexico Seat Could Tip Us House Associated Press

A sprawling New Mexico congressional district that stretches from the U.S.-Mexico border to oil country near Texas is one of the many districts that could swing control of Congress.

The 2nd District's longtime Republican Congressman Steve Pearce is running for governor, giving Democrats their best opportunity to recapture a seat they haven't won since Barack Obama was first elected president in 2008.

It's the most Hispanic congressional district in the nation's most Hispanic state, and registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans.

But the district's conservative-leaning independents have intricate views on immigration, international trade and oil production, and that makes any election outcome difficult to predict.

The district backed President Donald Trump by roughly 10 percentage points in 2016.

Democrats and Republicans will select candidates Tuesday in the primary elections.

Latino Movie Producer Opens Theaters In Rural, Poor AreasAssociated Press

A Latino movie producer is opening theaters in poor, rural areas in the U.S. that lack basic entertainment options, giving unserved audiences a chance to dream.

Moctesuma Esparza opened his latest Maya Cinemas theater last month in Delano, California.

The movie theater is the fifth that Esparza has opened in rural areas with majority Latino populations. Esparza says residents in rural towns and cities often have to travel more than an hour to watch a movie since many small theaters have closed.

Rural communities in Appalachia, the American Southwest and the Mississippi Delta have seen small theaters close due to the high cost of technology updates and to economic downturns that discourage investors.

New Mexico is pushing an initiative to revitalize downtown districts in isolated, small towns by rehabilitating aging, historic theaters.

Esparza produced the 1997 movie "Selena."

New Mexico Farmers Face Consequences As Drought PersistsSanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

Farmer Matt Romero doesn't have far to travel to see a stark reminder of the ongoing drought affecting New Mexico and parts of the West.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that when Romero looks over the bridge that crosses Embudo Creek just outside his home in northern New Mexico, he sees no water and it has been that way for about a month.

Romero grows greens and other crops on his small farms in Dixon and Alcalde. Like many farmers in the region, Romero has been forced to cut back on water use and reduce what he grows.

Olivia Romo, a director of the New Mexico Acequia Association, says farmers are negotiating water delivery schedules, and some are being selective about their crop choices or choosing not to irrigate

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