KUNM

Update

Court Overturns Mentally Disabled Man's Conviction The Associated Press

A federal appeals court has overturned a Navajo Nation resident's conviction in a sex-crime case, ruling that his confession to law enforcement agents was involuntary and shouldn't have been used during his trial.

Winds Fan 500 Acre Wildfire In Gila National Forest - KOAT-TV

Gusty winds are fanning the flames of a wildfire in the Gila National Forest north of Silver City near Signal Peak. 

KOAT-TV reports 100 firefighters are working to control the blaze that has grown to 500 acres.

A voluntary evacuation order has been issued for Pino Altos residents. 

Court Sides With NM Regulators Over Copper Rule   The Associated Press

The New Mexico Court of Appeals has rejected efforts by the state attorney general, environmentalists and a ranch owned by billionaire mogul Ted Turner to put on hold regulations that govern groundwater pollution by copper mines.

Attorney General Gary King and the others filed an appeal last fall to challenge the new regulations and sought to put them on hold pending the appeal.

Protesters Vow More Pressure Over Police Shootings  The Associated Press, Russell Contreras

Critics of the Police Department are promising to crowd another Albuquerque City Council meeting to protest recent police shootings just days after rowdy demonstrators forced city leaders to call off their discussions.

Nora Tachias-Anaya says protesters are planning to attend a rescheduled council meeting Thursday and will continue to criticize the Albuquerque Police Department.

No Fraud Charges Against Provider By New MexicoThe Associated Press

 Attorney General Gary King's office says investigators found about $34,000 in overbillings by a Santa Fe-based mental health provider but nothing to justify bringing fraud charges.

King said in a statement Tuesday there was "no actionable evidence of fraud" by Easter Seals El Mirador.

CEO Mark Johnson said he was not surprised, but he was "absolutely delighted that we've been exonerated."

City Council Eyes Ways To Select New Police Chief The Associated Press

The Albuquerque City Council is meeting to discuss whether the police chief should be chosen by the council or by voters.

Monday night's meeting comes just two days after a fatal police shooting and weeks after a U.S. Justice Department report faulted the Police Department over excessive use of force.

Albuquerque police have shot nearly 40 people since 2010.

Certain Shipments From Los Alamos Lab Halted - The Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Energy says the shipment of certain kinds of nuclear waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory to a storage facility in west Texas has been halted.

The agency made the announcement Friday, as investigators continue searching for the cause of a Feb. 14 radiation leak at the federal government's underground repository in southeastern New Mexico.

Certain Shipments From Los Alamos Lab Halted The Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Energy says the shipment of certain kinds of nuclear waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory to a storage facility in west Texas has been halted.

The agency made the announcement Friday, as investigators continue searching for the cause of a Feb. 14 radiation leak at the federal government's underground repository in southeastern New Mexico.

Crews Find Damaged Material In Nuke Dump The Associated Press

Crews searching for the source of a radiation release from the government's underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico have found damaged bags of minerals in the mine, but officials say they have yet to identify what caused the radiation leak.

EPA Moves Forward With Plan For NM Power Plant – The Associated Press

Federal regulators are moving forward with a proposal they say would target some of the oldest pollution in the country by closing part of a New Mexico coal-fired power plant.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed approving a plan they’ve negotiated along with Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's administration and the state's largest electric provider, PNM.

A 30-day public comment period kicks off today.

State warns Air Force on cleanup of Kirtland spill - The Albuquerque Journal, The Associated Press

New Mexico environmental regulators say the Air Force could face $10,000-per-dayy state fines if the service misses a June 30 deadline to start cleaning groundwater contaminated by a decades-old fuel spill.

A state Environment Department letter says the Air Force's current plan to use bacteria to break down the fuel could miss the June 30 date by up to a year.

Judge Denies Defense Request In Email Scandal Case - The Associated Press

A federal judge has dealt a potential setback to the defense strategy of Gov. Susana Martinez's former campaign manager who is charged with hijacking the campaign's email system after Martinez took office.

District Judge William Johnson on Thursday denied requests by Jamie Estrada's attorneys to force the prosecution to provide information regarding the Martinez administration's awarding of a lease that allowed a larger casino at the state fairgrounds.

Management, Safety Cited For Radiation Release At WIPP The Associated Press

Department of Energy investigators are blaming poor management, ineffective safety and maintenance programs, and a lack of proper oversight for a radiation release that contaminated 21 workers and shuttered the government's nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico two months ago.

Critical Report Expected On Nuke DumpThe Associated Press

The operators of the federal government's troubled nuclear waste dump are bracing for a scathing report on their response to a radiation release that contaminated 21 workers and shuttered the southeastern New Mexico facility two months ago.

The head of the Department of Energy's Accident Investigation Board is scheduled to present findings on the leak from the Waste Isolation Pilot Project during a weekly community meeting in Carlsbad Thursday evening. And no one expects it to be good.

Proposed Navajo Junk-Food Tax Fails At Council The Associated Press

An effort to resurrect a junk-food tax on the country's largest American Indian reservation has failed.

The Navajo Nation Council earlier this year approved an additional 2 percent sales tax on snacks high in fat, sugar and salt. Tribal President Ben Shelly vetoed the measure, saying it was unclear how the tax would be enacted and enforced.

A bill to override that veto came before tribal lawmakers Tuesday but fell three votes short.

Democratic Incumbent Legislator Bumped From Ballot  The Associated Press

A judge in Gallup has removed Democratic Rep. Sandra Jeff of Crownpoint from the June 3 primary election ballot.

District Judge Louis DePauli determined Monday that Jeff didn't have enough valid signatures on her nominating petitions to qualify as a candidate.

Jeff has broken Democratic ranks in the House and sided with Republicans and Gov. Susana Martinez on several high-profile legislative votes.

Legislative Report Touts Prekindergarten Benefits The Associated Press

A legislative committee report concludes that prekindergarten delivers a greater return on investment for New Mexico than taxpayer subsidized child care.

The Legislative Finance Committee staff report says prekindergarten's benefits outweigh the costs, although that's not the case for child care provided through registered homes and some state licensed programs.

Crews Find Suspected Area Of Radiation Leak - The Associated Press

More than two months after radiation leaked from the federal government's half-mile deep nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico, crews think they have identified the area where the release occurred.

The DOE's deputy recovery manager, Tammy Reynolds, told a community meeting in Carlsbad Thursday night that more trips need to made into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant to further investigate the accident. Officials say they hope to have a lot more information next week.

Recordings Surface In New Mexico Governor Race - The Associated Press

Democrats are calling on Republican Gov. Susana Martinez to apologize after a liberal publication released recordings in which she and aides used profanity and offensive names to describe political opponents.

Albuquerque Police Oversight Members Resign -  The Associated Press

Half of the members of Albuquerque's Police Oversight Commission have resigned, citing a lack of independence and inability to provide any real citizen oversight of the troubled department.

Researchers Find No Signs Of Radiation In Water Near WIPP - The Associated Press

Water samples from three reservoirs near the federal government's underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico show no signs of contamination after a radiation leak at the plant.

Waste Isolation Pilot Plant officials said Saturday that independent researchers found the samples had no trace amounts of radioactive particles.

Mayor: Wrong To Say Albuquerque Shooting Justified The Associated Press

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry says it was wrong for Police Chief Gorden Eden to say officers were justified in killing a homeless camper in the Sandia foothills. And Berry said Monday he wants to bring in outsiders to help investigate.

In a rare show of public displeasure with the city's troubled police department, Berry criticized Albuquerque's new police chief for making a "premature" judgment about the fatal shooting that left 38-year-old James Boyd dead.

New Mexico Sued Over Public School Financing The Associated Press

Parents of public school students have sued the state to increase funding for education and target more assistance to disadvantaged students who are living in poverty or learning English.

The lawsuit was announced Thursday by the Center on Law and Poverty, which filed the case on Wednesday in Gallup on behalf of parents of students in the Albuquerque and Gallup-McKinley school districts.

Another Radiation Release At New Mexico Nuclear Waste Dump - The Associated Press 

New air sampling data from southeastern New Mexico's troubled nuclear waste dump indicates there has been another small radiation release.

Department of Energy officials say a monitoring station picked up elevated radiation readings around the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad on March 11. That's nearly a month after a Valentine's Day leak contaminated 17 workers and shut the only repository for toxic waste from the nation's nuclear bomb-building program.

Utilities Sue Bernalillo County Over Fees The Albuquerque Journal and The Associated Press

Three utilities are asking a federal court to prohibit Bernalillo County from enforcing a new ordinance that imposes fees for using roads and other public rights of way for lines.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that New Mexico Gas Co., Public Service Co. of New Mexico and CenturyLink contend that the county is improperly imposing franchise fees to get more revenue to pad its budget.

Albuquerque Police Fatally Shoot Man In Foothills - The Associated Press

Police say a man shot by an Albuquerque officer during a confrontation in the foothills has died.

Albuquerque police spokeswoman Tasia Martinez said the man died Monday morning.

Police Chief Gordon Eden told reporters the man was shot Sunday night and was rushed to the University of New Mexico Hospital.

Report: Nuclear Waste Dump Truck Fire Was Preventable - The Associated Press

The truck that caught fire a half mile underground at a southeastern New Mexico nuclear waste dump was 29 years old, improperly maintained and operating without an automatic fire-suppression system.

Those are some of the conclusions of a report to be released Friday into the accident last month at the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP) near Carlsbad.

Governor Signs College Scholarship Program Fix - The Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez has signed a measure into law to shore up the finances of a college scholarship program that relies on lottery revenue.

The governor signed the bill Wednesday, which was the deadline for acting on measures passed by the Legislature.

The scholarship program will receive liquor tax money for two years starting in 2015. Until that happens, a newly enacted state budget provides extra money to keep the program solvent.

BLM Grants Peabody Lease To Expand NM Coal Mine The Associated Press

The Bureau of Land Management has issued a lease allowing for more than 9 million tons of coal to be mined in western New Mexico.

The federal agency said Tuesday it issued the 640-acre lease to Peabody Natural Resources Co. after considering an appeal that stemmed from a lease sale in August 2013.

The BLM says it weighed potential environmental effects and determined there would be no significant impacts.

Los Alamos Studying Alternatives For Toxic Waste -The Associated Press

With the nation's only underground nuclear waste dump shuttered by a mysterious leak, Los Alamos National Laboratory has begun looking at alternatives for getting toxic waste off its campus.

Lab spokesman Matthew Nerzig confirmed Tuesday that officials have begun looking at options if the Waste Isolation Pilot Project in Carlsbad remains closed indefinitely.

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