KUNM News Update

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New Mexico Gov. Martinez Signs Capital Spending Bill – The Associated Press

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has signed a capital spending bill that includes around $45 million for needed highway infrastructure projects.

The Republican governor signed Wednesday the $294 million measure at St. Luke's Health Care Clinic in Las Cruces and said it would be seen as a "job-creation bill."

She vetoed around $1.1 million in projects — many she said weren't fully funded.

Mike Tungate via Flickr/Creative Commons License

Massive, Debated New Mexico Development Clears Major Hurdle -

By Russell Contreras, Associated Press

UPDATE 6:45p - A planned community west of Albuquerque that developers say could someday be home to as many as 90,000 people has cleared a major hurdle.

The commission in the state's most populous county voted 3-2 to approve Tuesday a master plan for a nearly 22-square-mile development known as Santolina. The development would rival some of New Mexico's largest cities once completed.

Intropin via Creative Commons

Santa Fe Deputies To Receive Naloxone TrainingSanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

By the end of this week, all 80 Santa Fe County deputies will be trained in how to use naloxone and will carry the overdose remedy in their patrol cars.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that it is the first law enforcement agency in New Mexico to train officers to administer naloxone, a powerful drug that can reverse the effects of opioid overdoses.

Conscious via Wikimedia / Creative Commons License

New Mexico Supreme Court Asked To Review 'Copper Rule' – The Albuquerque Journal, The Associated Press

New Mexico's attorney general and environmentalists want the state's highest court to review an appellate court's upholding of regulations that govern groundwater pollution by copper mines.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Sunday that Attorney General Hector Balderas and several watchdog groups are asking the state Supreme Court to weigh in on a previous ruling maintaining the "copper rule."

orangesparrow via Flickr / Creative Commons License

New Mexico Search, Seizure Laws Don't Apply At Border - The Associated Press

The New Mexico Supreme Court says the state's protections against search and seizure do not apply at international border checkpoints.

The court made the distinction Thursday in overturning a previous ruling made by an appeals court in a 2012 drug smuggling case.

According to court documents, Aide Sanchez was entering the Santa Teresa Port of Entry from Mexico in January 2012.

Keith Weller, Dept. of Agriculture, WikiMedia Commons

New Mexico Regulators To Hold Dairy Hearing – Associated Press

The New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission is planning a public hearing to consider changes to the state's dairy regulations.

The hearing will start Monday afternoon in Roswell. Officials say it's possible the proceeding could last all week and more meetings could be scheduled in other parts of the state.

Skarz via Creative Commons

DA: Albuquerque Police Sitting On Shooting Investigations – Associated Press

Albuquerque’s district attorney, who recently sought murder charges against two police officers, says police aren't sending her information on other shootings to review.

Kari Brandenburg sent Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden a letter this week asking about 13 investigations into police shootings her office is waiting to review. She says some of the investigations are 17 months old.

Atomicarchive.com via WikiMedia Commons

Trinity Test Site Opening To Face Protest From Residents – by Russell Contreras, Associated Press

Seven decades after an atomic bomb helped end World War II, families in New Mexico's Tularosa Basin want tourists to know nearby residents later suffered from health problems.

Protesters are planning a demonstration this weekend as the Trinity Test site opens to visitors.

Tina Cordova, co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders, says a bomb tested at the site later caused rare forms of cancer for many residents in the area.

inlandwest via Flickr

Labor Officials: New Mexico, West Texas Workers Underpaid The Associated Press

Federal labor officials say oil and natural gas workers in New Mexico and West Texas have been underpaid by more than $1.3 million.

The U.S. Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division made the announcement Monday. The findings stem from an enforcement initiative launched by the division last year.

Officials say overtime violations led to the underpayment of some 1,300 workers.

Courtesy Two Eagles crew

Pilots In Helium-Filled Balloon Land Safely In Mexico - Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

Two pilots in a helium-filled balloon landed safely off the coast of Mexico on Saturday after a nearly 7,000-mile long trip across the Pacific Ocean.

The pilots landed off Baja California about 300 miles north of Cabo San Lucas, greeted by a team of balloon enthusiasts who assisted with the landing. The pilots came in low and dropped thick trailing ropes into the ocean to help slow the balloon before setting down in a controlled water landing.

Difficult Conditions Reported On Some New Mexico Highways – Associated Press

Forecasters predict heavy snow in the mountains and a mix of rain and snow in lower elevations as a winter storm moves across northern and central New Mexico.

The New Mexico Department of Transportation reported difficult driving conditions Friday morning on some highways, including Interstate 25 between Rowe and Watrous. That stretch of I-25 is wet, snow-packed and icy in spots, and crews are out plowing, salting and cindering.

New Mexico Land Commissioner Puts The Brakes On SunZia – Associated Press

New Mexico Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn has put the brakes on a $2 billion transmission project that would carry electricity generated by renewable resources in New Mexico and Arizona to markets across the West.

Dunn announced late Wednesday that he was issuing a 60-day suspension after meeting with the developers. He says that will give his office time to review the project before any further development affects state trust lands.

Ajnagraphy via compfight

New Head Of New Mexico Child Welfare Agency Lists Priorities – Associated Press

New Mexico lawmakers want the new head of the state's child welfare agency to ensure federal dollars for services are used by the state rather than be returned.

Members of a Senate panel challenged Monique Jacobson, the incoming secretary of the Children, Youth and Families Department, during a meeting Tuesday.

bjmccray via Flickr

Lawmakers Concerned About New Mexico's Unbalanced Books – The Associated Press

New Mexico's top finance officials say the state's checkbook is out of balance to the tune of $100 million.

Department of Finance and Administration Secretary Tom Clifford testified before the Senate Finance Committee on Monday. He says that amount is his agency's best guess at the discrepancy between the state's general cash ledger and what it actually has in the bank.

Biagio Mannaggio via Flickr

Brewery Brotherhood Emerging In Albuquerque Area – The Albuquerque Journal, The Associated Press

Albuquerque breweries are brewing not only beer but budding friendships — with each other.

A majority of the owners of the city's breweries tell the Albuquerque Journal that the industry here is anything but cutthroat.

Christopher Goblet, executive director of the New Mexico Beer Guild, says the brewers are small business owners who want to see others succeed.

Chris Blakeley via Flickr / Creative Commons license

Arizona Mental Health Provider To Withdraw From New MexicoThe Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

More change is coming to New Mexico's network of behavioral health providers.

New Mexico Human Services Department spokesman Matt Kennicott confirms that an Arizona-based nonprofit will stop serving indigent patients in eastern New Mexico at the end of March.

Andrew Gustar via Flickr

New Mexico Attorney General Balderas Outlines Agenda

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Newly elected New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas says he is reviewing the practice of allowing private lawyers to file lawsuits on behalf of the AG's office.

Laura Paskus

In December, KUNM reported that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management was extending its public comment period for a proposed oil pipeline until January 30, 2015. The 130-mile long pipeline would run between Lybrook and Milan, N.M.

On December 31, the agency's Farmington Field Office announced additional public meetings on the pipeline.

bark via Flickr / Creative Commons license

US Calls For Improved Ventilation At Troubled Nuclear Dump The Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Energy says more needs to be done to improve ventilation for workers at the federal government's underground nuclear waste dump in southern New Mexico.

The contractor that operates the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant has already acknowledged that air filters used to remove particles following a radiation leak in February have restricted the airflow in the underground working area.

Arianna Sena

UNM Is Second School To Have Sexual Assault Policies Investigation By DOJ The Albuquerque Journal

The U.S. Department of Justice’s review of sexual assault policies at the University of New Mexico is just the second such investigation in the nation.

The Albuquerque Journal reports UNM officials say they still don’t have details on the complaints the DOJ says sparked the investigation.

davidsonscott via Flickr

Police: Albuquerque Cop Shot During Traffic Stop – The Associated Press

Albuquerque police say an officer was shot as he was attempting to conduct an overnight traffic stop, and a search is underway for the gunman.

Police spokesman Tanner Tixier says the driver of a car that was being pulled over at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday got out of the vehicle and began shooting at the officer. Tixier says the officer was shot twice but was able to return fire. He is expected to survive. It's not known if the gunman was struck.

National Park Service via Wikimedia Commons

Fort Union Monument To Get Resident Artist The Associated Press

Officials at Fort Union National Monument have teamed up the National Parks Arts Foundation as the nonprofit group works to expand its artist-in-residence program to parks and monuments across the country.

The application process started Friday. It will be up to a group of curators and advisers to choose the artist for Fort Union.

Bureau of Land Management via flickr.com

Water Table Drops As Drought Forces More Pumping The Associated Press

The Upper Rio Grande Basin has been struggling with drought for most of the past decade, forcing cities and farmers from southern Colorado to Texas' Hudspeth County to pump water from the ground to make up for the lack of snow and rain.

Experts tell the El Paso Times that has resulted in the groundwater levels dropping in the region as much as 200 feet in the past 10 years.

OpenThreads via Flickr

Task Force: New Mexico Water Supplies At Risk Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

Researchers from universities around the state say New Mexico is undoubtedly dealing with a dire situation thanks to a persistent drought and there's no telling when conditions will improve.

The task force of experts on Tuesday delivered their preliminary findings to lawmakers on the vulnerability of the state's water supplies.

yooperann via Flickr

Project Protects NM Forested Land From Development – The Associated Press

More than 11,000 acres that adjoin the Carson National Forest have been permanently protected from development through a conservation easement.

A conservation effort on the Upper Rio Chama River property in northern New Mexico began in 2009. The final and largest piece of the nearly 12-thousand-acre property became part of the easement Monday.

Larry1732 via Flickr

LANL Cuts Corners On WIPP Waste - The Santa Fe New Mexican

Los Alamos National Laboratory officials took shortcuts when preparing nuclear waste for shipment to the nation’s only underground nuclear waste storage facility. That’s according to an investigation by The Santa Fe New Mexican.

The paper reported this weekend that changes in the treatment of waste went undocumented and resulted in an explosive combination of toxic materials.

puroticorico via Flickr

New Mexico GOP Hopes To Win Legislative Majority - The Associated Press

Democrats have controlled the New Mexico House for the past 60 years, but the political landscape is giving Republicans hope for a breakthrough in the general election.

Republicans need a net gain of three seats to take control of the 70-member House. There are at least 10 competitive races, with Democrats and Republicans each holding five of those seats.

clevercupcakes via Flickr

Poll Shows Strong Disapproval Of Health Care Law - The Albuquerque Journal, The Associated Press

A newspaper's poll found that nearly half of New Mexico voters say the new federal health care law has been a failure.

The poll by the Albuquerque Journal also found that a majority of voters said Gov. Susana Martinez was right to take advantage of law by expanding the number of people eligible for Medicaid.

(nz)dave via Flickr

Eastern, Southern New Mexico See Ample Rain - The Associated Press

Parts of eastern and southern New Mexico avoided serious flooding this weekend but still received a pretty good soaking from heavy rains.

The National Weather Service said Sunday as much as 5 inches of rain has fallen since Thursday in the Guadalupe Mountains and in other parts of the region.

Meteorologists say between 2 and 4 inches of rain also fell in the last few days in Eddy County.

A flash flood watch was issued Friday and has since expired.

Will Montague via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Immigrant Rally Planned In Artesia Near Center The Associated Press

Advocates are scheduled to hold a march and prayer rally in Artesia aimed at calling for the release of detained immigrant women and children.

The Santa-Fe based Somos Un Pueblo Unido and a coalition of Catholic churches are slated to hold the rally Sunday.

Organizers say the event will take place outside a temporary detention center where the immigrants are being held.

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