Update

National Nuclear Security Administration / Wikimedia Commons

New Mexico Lobbying To Be Storage Site For Nuclear Waste - The Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

A rural area of southeastern New Mexico is being touted as an interim storage site for the country's high-level nuclear waste.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Gov. Susana Martinez reached out to the Obama administration earlier this month to consider the 1,000-acre parcel as a place for storing spent radioactive fuel rods from power plants.

Smithsonian Institution via flickr.com

New Mexico Democrats Choose Haaland As New Party Chair - The Associated Press 

A Democratic activist and tribal administrator from Albuquerque is the new leader of New Mexico's Democratic Party.

Debra Haaland became the first Native American to lead a state party in New Mexico on Saturday following a Democratic State Central Committee meeting at a high school gym in Albuquerque.

The 54-year-old, who ran for lieutenant governor last year, beat Santa Fe County party chairman Richard Ellenberg by a vote of 214 to 168.

Meredith Nierman / WGBH News

Boston Marathon Winner Rotich To Get Santa Fe Parade - The Associated Press

The city of Santa Fe is holding a parade for a Santa Fe resident who won the Boston Marathon.

Officials announced this week the city and other groups will sponsor a parade on Monday in honor of Caroline Rotich.

Rotich, who has lived and trained in Santa Fe for about five years, used a late kick to bust through the tape first among the women runners in the 119th running of the prestigious event.

Garrett Heath of SA Flavor via Flickr / Creative Commons License

New Mexico Regulators Adopt New Rules For Lyft, Uber - The Associated Press

State regulators have approved new rules to allow ride-booking services Lyft and Uber to operate in New Mexico.

The Public Regulation Commission voted 4-1 Wednesday on new regulations that clear the way for the companies to operate under guidelines separate from those that govern traditional taxi services.

Commissioners were divided on drug testing requirements for ride-booking drivers and voted 3-2 to require testing only after accidents.

Russell Begaye on YouTube

Tribal Businessman Upsets Former Navajo President In Race - Felicia Fonseca, The Associated Press

Russell Begaye easily beat a former Navajo Nation president Tuesday for the top post on the country's largest American Indian reservation.

Begaye led Joe Shirley Jr. by about 10,000 votes, according to unofficial results.

Begaye's victory came nearly five months after the original election was scuttled amid court battles sparked by a candidate's ability to speak fluent Navajo.

Kirtland AFB Bulk Fuels Facility Spill Project

Kirkland Fuel Spill Plume Seems To Bypass Albuquerque Wells - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

A fuel spill that officials worried might pollute Albuquerque drinking water seems to be bypassing the city's wells.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that leaders of the Kirtland Air Force Base jet fuel spill cleanup team say the plume appears to be headed north rather than northeast.

The direction means the fuel will likely bypass two of three nearby wells. It is unclear whether it will pollute the third.

Photo: inkknife_2000 via Flickr

Navajo High Court Says Voters Will Choose President Tuesday – The Associated Press

The Navajo Nation Supreme Court has overturned a lower court's ruling that called for Tuesday's presidential election to be canceled.

The high court justices issued the brief order Monday and said they would elaborate on their decision later.

Window Rock District Judge Carol Perry had granted a request last week to halt the election, saying a referendum on language requirements must be held before Navajos choose their next leader.

Navajohistory via Wikimedia Commons

Court: Navajo Presidential Election Cannot Be Held Tuesday The Associated Press

A Navajo Nation judge says election officials cannot move forward with Tuesday's presidential contest.

Window Rock District Judge Carol Perry says the law is clear that a referendum vote on language requirements for the presidency must be held before Navajos choose their next leader.

Calls to election officials went unanswered late Friday, and their attorney didn't immediately respond to messages. An appeal to the tribe's Supreme Court is likely.

Screenshot from video provided by APD through an IPRA request

Private Attorney To Prosecute NM Officers In Fatal Shooting - The Associated Press

The prosecutor removed by a New Mexico judge from the case of two Albuquerque police officers charged in the shooting death of a homeless man last year has tapped a private attorney to handle the case.

Randi McGinn has agreed to prosecute officers Dominque Perez and Keith Sandy, who were charged earlier this year with murder in the March 2014 death of James Boyd during an hourslong standoff.

DOE Photo

Los Alamos Radiation Release Could Have Been PreventedThe Associated Press

Investigators say officials could have prevented the poor management and lapses in safety that led to radiation contamination inside the federal government's only underground nuclear waste repository.

The shortcomings were outlined in a final report released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Energy's Accident Investigation Board.

Investigators spent more than a year looking into the cause of the radiation release at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

jsj1771 via Flickr

Allegations Against Albuquerque Police Officers Investigated - The Associated Press

Allegations of excessive use of force by two Albuquerque police officers are the subject of a New Mexico State Police investigation.

The State Police said its Investigation Bureau is investigating a March 20 incident and that details will be released at the conclusion of the investigation.

The State Police didn't release any additional information but city officials said the two officers are on paid leave.

photo: US Forest Service

Wetter Weather Tames Wildfire Fears In New Mexico Somewhat - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

An expected wetter-than-normal spring and possible more active summer monsoons have some fire managers hoping for a calm fire season in New Mexico this year.

The Albuquerque Journal report the predictions of less wind than usual also have fire managers hopeful that the state can avoid large wildfires but they say those conditions can change rapidly.

APS

Albuquerque Schools Names California Educator As New Leader - The Associated Press

The Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education has named a California educator as superintendent.

The board picked Luis Valentino for the superintendent's job on Saturday from three finalists for the job. The district has nearly 88,000 students

Heath Haussamen / New Mexico In Depth

Martinez Approves Majority Of Bills Passed In Legislature The Associated Press

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez has wrapped up action on about 190 bills passed during the recent legislative session.

Martinez approved nearly 160 bills by a Friday noon deadline, signing several of them during public appearances in Albuquerque. She vetoed about a dozen bills outright and did not take action on about 20 others, resulting in pocket vetoes.

Martinez signed the key $6.2 billion budget Thursday.

Rita Daniels

Court Takes Albuquerque Prosecutor Off Police Shooting Case - The Associated Press

A judge has removed the prosecutor from the case of two Albuquerque police officers charged in the shooting death of a homeless man last year.

Defense lawyers wanted prosecutor Kari Brandenburg disqualified because they believe she has a conflict of interest.

Second Judicial District Court Judge Alisa Hadfield agreed in a ruling Thursday. A special prosecutor will be appointed to handle the case of officers Dominque Perez and Keith Sandy.

Michael Dorausch / michaeldorausch.com

New Mexico Gov Signs Bill To Ban E-Cigarette Sales To MinorsThe Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez has signed legislation banning the sales of e-cigarettes and nicotine liquid containers to minors in New Mexico.

Sen. John Ryan's bill also requires those containers to be sold in child resistant packaging and prohibits online sales to minors.

The Los Ranchos de Albuquerque Republican says the products are dangerous.

He says nicotine is "addictive and harmful" and can be the "gateway to a lifelong addiction."

Dick DeMarsico / World Telegram & Sun, Wikimedia Commons

Efforts To Rename Hobbs Street After MLK Hits SnagThe Associated Press and Hobbs News-Sun

Despite vocal support a Hobbs official says the southeastern New Mexico city has not received any formal request to rename a portion of a busy street in honor of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports that Hobbs development director Kevin Robinson made the announcement this week at a city commissioners meeting, putting the future of the renaming in doubt.

Courtesy San Juan's Citizen Alliance

Albuquerque Withdrawing Support For San Juan Plan - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

The Albuquerque City Council has withdrawn its support for a plan to replace part of an aging coal-fired power plant in northwestern New Mexico.

The resolution passed last night states the city supports an agreement reached by federal officials, Gov. Susana Martinez's administration and Public Service Co. of New Mexico to shut down part of the San Juan Generating Station in an effort to reduce haze-causing pollution.

Atomicarchive.com via WikiMedia Commons

Thousands Visit Trinity On Anniversary Of Bomb Explosion - The Associated Press and Alamogordo Daily News

Thousands of visitors converged Saturday on the New Mexico site where the first nuclear bomb was detonated nearly 70 years ago.

The Alamogordo Daily News reports White Sands Missile Range officials say more than 5,500 people attended the first of two tours being offered at the Trinity Site this year.

Visitors came from all over the U.S. and included several documentary crews.

hugovk via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Fired Albuquerque Officer Faces Excessive Force Lawsuit - The Associated Press

A former Albuquerque police officer, who fatally shot a 19-year-old woman last year and was fired for insubordination, is being sued for excessive force in another case.

Lawyers for Dennis Shoemaker filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque last week against Jeremy Dear stemming from a 2013 arrest.

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.

artotem via Flickr / Creative Commons License

New Mexico Nuclear Enrichment Plant OK'd For Expansion – Associated Press

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has given its approval for URENCO USA to expand its nuclear enrichment facility east of Eunice.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports that the panel gave the OK last week on URENCO's most recent license amendment application.

That means URENCO can double its capacity over the course of two more phases beyond the current three-phase $4 billion facility.

Steve Terrell via flickr

New Mexico Governor Has Until April 10 To Sign BillsThe Associated Press 

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez has until April 10 to act on bills passed during the just-concluded 60-day legislative session.

The bills she doesn't sign by then will be considered pocket vetoed.

Martinez had signed five and vetoed one as of Friday afternoon.

New Mexico lawmakers passed 191 bills during this session. The Albuquerque Journal reports that's the lowest number for a 60-day session since 1949.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

NM Officials: Flu Sickened More This Year; Season Not OverThe Associated Press

New Mexico health officials are warning that the flu season is not over.

Officials say more people have been hospitalized in the state this season than in many years.

According to the state Department of Health, the virus hospitalized 40 people per 100,000 this flu season as compared with 29 per 100,000 during 2012-13.

Children under 5 and the elderly are particularly vulnerable.

Arianna Sena

Transparency Bills A Casualty In NM Legislative Session - The Associated Press

Open government advocates say it wasn't a good legislative session for boosting transparency as lobbying disclosure and campaign finance bills failed.

Of about a dozen bills — from requiring independent groups to disclose campaign donations to a two-year break for legislators who turn lobbyist — only a couple of measures made it to Gov. Susana Martinez's desk.

Jim Clark / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / public domain

Partisan Fighting Also Killed New Mexico 'Kendra's Law' - The Associated Press

Lost in the partisan bickering of the New Mexico Legislature's final moments was a measure aimed at helping some residents with severe mental illness.

Since lawmakers failed to pass the bill, New Mexico remains one of only a handful of states without a "Kendra's Law."

It would have allowed judges in some counties to order patients to take medication and undergo treatment if they are deemed a danger to themselves and their community.

Randy Montoya

Report: Feds To Exceed Costs For Cleaning Up Nuke Waste – The Associated Press

A government watchdog says work to clean up radioactive waste at one of the federal government's premier nuclear laboratories is costing more than expected.

The Government Accountability Office says by the end of the last fiscal year, the National Nuclear Security Administration spent about $931 million to remove contaminated equipment and soil from Los Alamos National Laboratory.

That's $202 million more than the agency's 2006 estimate.

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