KUNM

Update

Court Upholds PRC's Energy Efficiency Decision - Associated Press

The New Mexico Supreme Court is upholding a decision by state regulators to allow Public Service Company of New Mexico to earn a profit on operating expenses related to the utility's energy conservation programs.

The court issued its ruling Thursday, saying the decision by the Public Regulation Commission was consistent with state law.

King: 2004 Same-Sex Marriage Licenses Remain Legal - Associated Press

Attorney General Gary King says marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples in 2004 in Sandoval County remain valid.

King said Wednesday that licenses issued by a county clerk are "presumptively valid" unless voided by a court.

King delivered the non-binding advice in a letter to the current Sandoval County clerk, who found that some of the 2004 licenses recorded in the clerk's office were labeled as void or invalid.

3 More NM Counties To Issue Same-Sex Licenses  - Associated Press

Three more New Mexico counties say they plan to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The clerks in San Miguel, Valencia and Taos counties said Tuesday they would begin issuing the licenses, joining Bernalillo, Santa Fe and Dona Ana counties.

NM County Prepares For Same-sex Marriages Hearing - The Associated Press

The clerk for New Mexico's most populous county has a supply of new forms ready in case a court orders her to issue licenses for same-sex marriages.

A judge in Albuquerque has scheduled a hearing Monday afternoon on a request by a couple from Pojoaque  to have their marriage recognized. Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver says she's had 1,000 licenses printed.

AG Won't Challenge Same-sex Marriage Licenses - The Associated Press

New Mexico Attorney General Gary King says he will not challenge a move by the Dona Ana County clerk to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

King told reporters Wednesday that he didn't believe state laws prohibiting same-sex marriage were constitutional.

He also said he would not challenge any other county clerk who issued licenses.

NM Court Asked To Expedite Gay Marriage Ruling - Associated Press

A same-sex couple from Santa Fe wants the New Mexico Supreme Court to streamline the handling of lawsuits seeking to legalize gay marriage in the state.

The couple's lawyer, Rep. Brian Egolf, said Tuesday the justices are being asked to consolidate all cases involving the gay marriage issue and assign them to a district court judge in Santa Fe.

The goal is to get a quick lower court decision and clear the way for an expedited ruling by the state's highest court.

Deadline Past For Oct. 8 Vote On Abortion Measure - Associated Press

The passing of a deadline means a proposal to implement new abortion restrictions in Albuquerque won't be placed on the city's Oct. 8 election ballot.

State law requires that election measures be published at least 50 days before an election and the deadline for the measure to get on the Oct. 8 election passed Monday.

Salmonella Outbreak Linked To NM Poultry Hatchery- Associated Press

State health officials say a national outbreak of salmonella has been linked to an eastern New Mexico hatchery that sells live baby poultry by mail and supplies them to feed stores.

The Department of Health said Monday a strain of salmonella that's infected more than 300 people in 37 states was found in a duck pen at Privett Hatchery in Portales.

Feds To Fund 12 Energy Efficiency Projects In NM - Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it will be funding a dozen projects in New Mexico that are geared toward improving energy efficiency on farms and at rural businesses.

The projects were announced Thursday by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The New Mexico projects are among more than 630 across the nation that are being funded by the agency.

Gov. Martinez Unveils River Protection Plan-Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez has unveiled a plan aimed at protecting the state's rivers and watersheds amid drought and wildfires.

Martinez and other state officials gathered along the Rio Grande in Bernalillo on Thursday to talk about the New Mexico River Stewardship Program.

The governor says she will pursue $1.5 million in state capital outlay funds for projects that will include clearing vegetation, replanting native species and installing erosion control.

Albuquerque Mayor Announces Run For Re-Election - Associated Press

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry says he has a passion for the city and he's going to run for re-election.

Berry and challengers Pete Dinelli and Paul Heh filed their paperwork with the city clerk on Tuesday, officially kicking off the mayoral race.

Later this week, their names will be drawn to determine the order in which they will appear on the ballot.

Election Day is Oct. 8. If no candidate gets 50 percent of the vote, a runoff election will be held Nov. 19.

NMSU-Led Biofuel Research Gets Federal Funding - Associated Press

Research into the potential of algae-based fuel is getting a $5 million boost from the U.S. Department of Energy.

New Mexico State University recently announced the funding, saying it will go to a research effort aimed at improving fuel that's compatible with existing refineries.

NMSU is working on the project along with Los Alamos, Argonne and Pacific Northwest national laboratories, Washington State and Michigan State universities and four companies.

US Attorney Gonzales Resigns, To Take Judge Oath - Associated Press

U.S. Attorney Ken Gonzales of New Mexico has resigned and is scheduled to take the oath as a federal judge.

Gonzales stepped down Thursday as the 44th U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico. He is slated to take the oath Friday.

Gonzales was appointed to replace retiring U.S. District Judge Bruce Black of Santa Fe. But the seat will be moved to Las Cruces because of high caseloads in southern New Mexico.

GAO To Issue Report On Navajo Uranium Cleanup - Associated Press 

The investigative arm of Congress is looking into how federal agencies carried out a plan to clean up uranium contamination on the Navajo Nation.

About 4 million tons of uranium ore were mined from the reservation from 1944 to 1986, leaving a legacy of death and disease.

Federal agencies in 2008 began implementing a 5-year plan to address the contamination.

Nearly 300 NM Towns Face Water CrisisAssociated Press and The Albuquerque Journal

A state review says around 300 New Mexico community water systems are vulnerable to drought, dropping water tables and aging infrastructure.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that a state task force review to be made public Wednesday says towns or villages often depends on a single water source making them unguarded to drought and contamination.

Raton Declares Disaster Due To Rain, Flooding- Associated Press

Raton city commissioners have declared a disaster because of recent heavy rains and flooding.

Mayor Bobby Ledoux describes pot holes around the northeastern New Mexico community as immense and says some streets have been destroyed.

Ledoux estimates it would take close to $5 million to repair the city's streets. He says that's money Raton doesn't have.

Albuquerque Police Get Interim Chief - Associated Press

The state's largest city has a new police chief — at least for now.

Former Albuquerque Deputy Chief Allen Banks is now leading the department as interim chief. The department's eight-year long chief Ray Schultz retired last week.

Banks will lead the department until after Mayor Richard Berry chooses a new leader following a national search. Berry says he will make a decision after the mayoral election later this year.

Weekend News Roundup

Aug 5, 2013

Cleanup Continues Following Severe Weather - The Associated Press

It's been a week since communities around New Mexico were slammed with strong winds, heavy rain and flooding, and the cleanup continues.

The American Red Cross has been working in Columbus in southern New Mexico to provide drinking water, tarps and air mattresses, while the Roadrunner Food Bank has been bringing in fresh produce and ready to eat meals.

Judge To Decide Whether To Block Horse Slaughter - Associated Press

A federal judge in Albuquerque is expected to decide Friday whether companies in New Mexico and Iowa can begin slaughtering horses next week.

The Humane Society of the United States and others are requesting a restraining order to block Valley Meat Co. of Roswell, N.M., and Responsible Transportation in Sigourney, Iowa, from opening their slaughterhouses as planned on Monday.

Groups Launch Campaign To Defeat Abortion Measure - Associated Press

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico and several other groups are launching a campaign to defeat a proposed late-term abortion ban in Albuquerque.

The alliance of community organizations and women's advocacy groups is holding a press conference Thursday to announce the launch of "Respect ABQ Women."

NM Governor Issues Emergency Assistance Order - Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez is making emergency assistance available in areas of New Mexico damaged by recent storms and flooding.

The governor issued an executive order on Tuesday that provides $500,000 to the state Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for a wide range of aid, including for emergency shelter, food and health care.

Martinez also directed the New Mexico National Guard to provide any needed assistance to local authorities.

Straw Mulch Dropped On Tres Lagunas Fire Area - Associated Press

A helicopter firm hired by the Forest Service is dropping large amounts of straw mulch in the area of the Tres Lagunas Fire north of Pecos to help with rehabilitation.

The Forest Service says the mulch will help hold moisture in place, which slows water flow and helps seeds sprout.

The drops began Monday and are expected to run through this week.

The operation involves approximately 10 tractor-trailer loads of straw daily.

NM Transmission Project To Be Decided In September - Associated Press and The Alomogordo Daily News

The developers of a $1.2 billion electric transmission system in New Mexico say they will end the project if their preferred route is rejected by the federal government.

Court Asked To Safeguard NM Mental Health Audit - Associated Press

The attorney general's office says an agreement has been reached for State Auditor Hector Balderas to have access to an audit that identified potential overbillings and fraud by behavioral health providers.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Al Lama said Thursday a state district judge in Santa Fe has been asked to issue an order making clear the audit report will be protected from public disclosure once it's provided to Balderas.

Ex-Astronaut Reappointed To NM Spaceport Authority - Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez has reappointed two members of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, including a former astronaut who's the veteran of two space flights.

Former astronaut Sid Gutierrez of Albuquerque and Truth or Consequences banker Jerry Stagner will serve four year terms expiring in 2017.

The nine-member authority is responsible for the state's commercial spaceport in southern New Mexico.

New Mexico Gets $12M Federal Education Grant- Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez says New Mexico will receive an additional $12.5 million in federal money over four years to improve early childhood education. The money is on top of $25 million the U.S. Department of Education awarded the state last year through the national "Race to the Top" competitive grant program. Martinez said the money will be used to help improve early reading skills of students and ensure children are ready to learn when they enter elementary school.

NM Attorney General Not Defending Gay Marriage BanThe Associated Press

New Mexico Attorney General Gary King says a state prohibition on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

King told the state Supreme Court on Monday in written arguments that it should invalidate the gay marriage ban if the justices agree to consider a lawsuit filed by two Santa Fe men who were denied a marriage license.

Santa Fe National Forest Lifts Fire RestrictionsThe Associated Press

A northern New Mexico national forest that experienced several major wildfires in June is lifting fire restrictions that have been in effect for much this summer.

The Santa Fe National Forest's announcement of its lifting of the restrictions effective Friday morning says increased moisture from monsoon rain in the past several weeks has dramatically the danger of wildfires.

Thursday Evening Roundup

Jul 18, 2013

NM To Auction Unclaimed PropertyThe Associated Press

A gold bar and coins are among the valuables and other objects that the state of New Mexico plans to auction.

Gov. Susana Martinez on Thursday announced that the state Taxation and Revenue Department will hold an unclaimed property auction July 27 in Albuquerque.

That auction will feature nearly 800 lots of items, including a 7-pound gold bar, more than 220 U.S. and foreign gold coins, nearly 1,900 U.S. silver dollars and a number of pieces of American Indian art.

Tuesday Evening News Roundup

Jul 16, 2013

Cibola Lifts Fire Restrictions In Sandia DistrictThe Associated Press

Thanks to much-needed rain over the past few weeks, forest officials are reopening popular hiking areas in the Sandia Mountains east of Albuquerque. And the city is reopening most of the Rio Grande bosque.

Forest Supervisor Elaine Kohrman says moisture levels in vegetation have increased to the point to be able to limit the spread of wildfires.

Kohrman also says the long-range weather forecast predicts cooler weather and more rain for the area.

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