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  • State Police: Ruidoso fire claims two lives

    Olivier Uyttebrouck Albuquerque Journal, Syndicated content|Updated Jun 20, 2024

    Authorities have recovered the remains of two people killed as the growing South Fork wildfire edged toward the Village of Ruidoso this week, a New Mexico State Police spokesman said Wednesday. One of those killed was Patrick Pearson, 60, who died Monday evening while trying to walk away from a Ruidoso hotel where he had lived since 2021, said his daughter, Hilary Mallak of Rio Rancho. On Tuesday, just before noon, State Police officers were called to a scene less than a mile away, south of Alto. They found a person located...

  • Governor: One dead in Ruidoso fires

    Olivier Uyttebrouck Albuquerque Journal, Syndicated content|Updated Jun 20, 2024

    Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has declared a state of emergency in Lincoln County and the Mescalero Apache Reservation and deployed additional National Guard to the area in response to the South Fork and Salt fires that began Monday outside Ruidoso. The Governor's Office said at least one person has died in the fires, but didn't have any additional details. Residents of Ruidoso remained under an evacuation order Wednesday, as wildfires continued to threaten property and buildings in the southern New Mexico resort community....

  • Environment department gets $18.9 million for PFAS study, cleanup

    Albuquerque Journal|Updated May 25, 2024

    New Mexico’s Environment Department is getting $18.9 million in federal dollars to help the state deal with PFAS and other emerging contamination in public water systems, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday. New Mexico is the first state in the region to receive this funding, said EPA Region 6 Administrator Earthea Nance. The funds can be used for studying PFAS contamination, cleaning up contamination and investing in new technologies, said New Mexico Environment Secretary James Kenney. “These forever che...

  • Camera footage in fatal shooting of State Police officer detailed in court

    Albuquerque Journal, Syndicated content|Updated Apr 7, 2024

    ALBUQUERQUE -- The body camera worn on the chest of New Mexico State Police Officer Justin Hare the early morning of March 15 captured the image of a stranded motorist on Interstate 40 who wanted a lift into town. The NMSP-issued device recorded the sound of the first gunshot, causing the 35-year-old Hare to slump over in his patrol vehicle, an FBI agent testified Tuesday in federal court. The video footage showed the assailant come around to the driver’s side, “briefly pausing as a semi-truck passed by,” and then shoot...

  • Federal judge allows release of NM voter information

    Albuquerque Journal, Syndicated content|Updated Apr 2, 2024

    The Secretary of State’s office has lost a battle to keep New Mexico voter information from being published online by a national conservative organization after a judge on Friday ruled the information is public under federal law. The 329-page ruling by U.S. District Judge James Browning of Albuquerque found that Voter Reference Foundation LLC was entitled to information from New Mexico voter registration rolls and that the Secretary of State’s office, or SOS, violated a federal election transparency law in denying the fou...

  • Forbes: Albuquerque has worst drivers

    Albuquerque Journal, Syndicated content|Updated Mar 12, 2024

    Say it ain't so. Albuquerque has the worst drivers. That's according to Forbes magazine, anyway. There is plenty of bad driving and traffic issues in other, more crowded cities. With unending traffic jams and chaos in Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, New York or Miami, it's hard to think the Duke City can compare. So why Albuquerque? Forbes Advisor released its findings about Albuquerque last month after collecting and analyzing data that compared the 50 most populated U.S. cities across five key metrics. Those metrics, which...

  • Roundup of key bills set to cross governor's desk

    Albuquerque Journal, Syndicated content|Updated Feb 17, 2024

    SANTA FE — That's a wrap on the 2024 Legislature. Here are some key bills that are law or have a chance to become law as of Friday morning. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed three bills into law. At the end of the session at midday Thursday, nearly 70 bills sit on her desk awaiting her signature. Any legislation Lujan Grisham doesn't sign by March 6 is pocket vetoed. The effective date for signed legislation without an emergency clause or specified date is May 15. Signed by the governor HB1, Feed Bill — Annual adm...

  • Budget clears state Senate with bipartisan support

    Albuquerque Journal, Syndicated content|Updated Feb 13, 2024

    SANTA FE — The state's enormous budget of more than $10.19 billion passed the full Senate on Monday afternoon with bipartisan support. Agreement on both sides of the aisle can be a rare occurrence when talking about how to set aside dollars for all of state government. Senators voted 31-10 to move the budget to its next step, which is the House. If approved by the House, the legislation goes to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who has the power to veto individual line items. The Senate amendments added $31.6 million to the H...

  • Paid Leave Act heads to full Senate

    Albuquerque Journal, Syndicated content|Updated Feb 6, 2024

    SANTA FE — Daniel Melgar's mother died in 2020. So too did his father-in-law. In 2021, his father died, and his mother-in-law died. He needed time off for bereavement. Yet the bills kept coming in. So his employer at Cafe Castro paid for him to take time off every time. Cafe owner Alma Castro took it out of her profit, something she said is already running on a slim margin. With what she paid to cover Melgar's time off, she said she could've paid for an entire year of a paid leave program that lawmakers are trying once a...

  • Lawmakers send education bills to House

    Albuquerque Journal, Syndicated content|Updated Feb 3, 2024

    SANTA FE — After a lively Senate welcomed special guests — actress Jennifer Garner and former Maryland legislator Mark Shriver — to the Roundhouse Thursday morning, lawmakers sent along two educational measures to the House. Senate Bill 137 would modify rules for school boards, including mandated training hours and updated campaign finance reporting requirements, and Senate Bill 153 would add another $95 million to the early childhood education and care program fund in fiscal year 2025. Both measures passed with simil...

  • High school grad reform heads to House

    Albuquerque Journal, Syndicated content|Updated Feb 3, 2024

    SANTA FE -- The state House of Representatives on Thursday passed high school graduation reform legislation, known as House Bill 171, sending the measure to the Senate side of the Roundhouse. While keeping the total number of units students would need to graduate at 24, HB 171 would afford high schoolers more choice in the classes they take, said bill sponsor Rep. G. Andrés Romero, D-Albuquerque. "We're at a time when our attendance is very low amongst our students," he said. "We need a way to engage them, and the way to...

  • New Mexico weighing legal challenges to Trump eligibility for office

    Albuquerque Journal, Syndicated content|Updated Jan 2, 2024

    New Mexico is one of more than a dozen states weighing legal challenges to Donald Trump’s eligibility for office because of his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Two states have made historic decisions to remove Trump from their primary ballots after state officials found his actions violated the anti-insurrection clause in the 14th Amendment. In New Mexico, attorneys are waiting for a ruling from a federal judge following a Nov. 28 hearing in U.S. District Court of New Mexico. John Anthony Castro, a l...

  • Remembering Pearl Harbor and NM's role in the war

    Albuquerque Journal, Syndicated content|Updated Dec 9, 2023

    Imposing headlines blazed across the top of the Dec. 8, 1941, Albuquerque Journal and other state newspapers, reporting the devastating Japanese attack the day before on the United States Naval Base at Pearl arbor in Hawaii. Another story high up on front pages that day told how members of New Mexico’s National Guard, as well as Air Force units that had been stationed in Albuquerque, were in the war zone in the Philippines. One article noted the New Mexico guardsmen had been in the Philippines about two months. “Despite the...

  • Xcel appoints area manager for Corporate Economic Development

    Albuquerque Journal, Syndicated content|Updated Dec 2, 2023

    Xcel Energy, the national company that services eastern and southeastern New Mexico with electricity, has appointed its first manager for Corporate Economic Development in the company’s Texas-New Mexico service area. Tonya Tyler, a longtime employee of Xcel, will fill that role, the company said. In her new position, she will help promote the company’s support for regional economic development in the area. “Tonya has spent her career building relationships in our communities and assisting our customers with every need,” Brad...

  • Opinion: Crime-fighters need help from state lawmakers

    Albuquerque Journal, Syndicated content|Updated Nov 11, 2023

    In a state often lacking statesmanship, two crime-fighters are emerging who are giving us hope. Listening to Bernalillo County District Attorney Sam Bregman and Attorney General Raúl Torrez talk about crime, you wouldn’t know they’re Democrats. Or Republicans, or independents or anything else for that matter. Few New Mexicans outside law enforcement likely knew that police officers had been prosecuting shoplifting cases in Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Court. And their conviction rates were abysmal, only about 15%. Bregman said...

  • Balloon Fiesta attracts record crowds

    Albuquerque Journal, Syndicated content|Updated Oct 31, 2023

    ALBUQUERQUE -- Picturesque weather and an annular solar eclipse helped the 51st Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta reach new heights. The nine-day event attracted a record-setting 968,516 guests from across the world. "Whether it was a Wednesday or a Sunday — all the different days — we had huge crowds just about every day," said Sam Parks, the executive director of the Balloon Fiesta. "It was just one of those great events where the weather cooperated. ... And it just seemed like everyone wanted to come out and be a p...

  • Agencies hoping to change prescription price reporting

    Albuquerque Journal, Syndicated content|Updated Oct 14, 2023

    A coalition of New Mexico consumer protection agencies and health advocacy groups is drafting legislation that would change the way drug manufacturers report their prices, in an effort to increase transparency as some prescription prices skyrocket around the U.S. Drugs that cost more than $400 for a month's supply or have increased costs by 10% in the past year would be required to report certain information, including the introductory price of the drug when it first came on the market, how much revenue it made over the past...

  • Albuquerque zoo completes addition

    Albuquerque Journal, Syndicated content|Updated Oct 7, 2023

    ALBUQUERQUE -- Dreaming big is paying off for the ABQ BioPark Zoo. The Albuquerque institution completed its largest addition to the zoo since 1996 when the Asia habitat opened to the public last week. "There's nothing like it," said Allyson Zahm, guest experience manager. "What we've managed to do is give visitors a 360 degree way of viewing the animals." The $33 million project took more than three years to finish. The animals have spent the last five weeks getting acclimated to their new homes. The habitat was transformed...

  • Former governor Bill Richardson had big dreams for state

    Albuquerque Journal, Syndicated content|Updated Sep 5, 2023

    No one ever accused Bill Richardson of not thinking big - and dreaming bigger. Of all those thoughts and dreams, New Mexico sports were a prime beneficiary. To the mind-bending prospect of a National Football League franchise someday making Albuquerque its home, Richardson said (in effect), why not? Let's at least look into it. To the far more realistic hope of Albuquerque hosting an annual college bowl game, Richardson said, let's make it happen. To the formation of a...

  • More than 30 arrested on federal, state charges

    Albuquerque Journal, Syndicated content|Updated Aug 5, 2023

    Law enforcement officers arrested more than 30 people in southeast New Mexico last week on federal and state criminal charges. A spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service said 31 people were taken into custody during an operation that involved numerous agencies. There were a range of charges, including kidnapping, armed robbery, felon in possession of a firearm and possession with intent to distribute. The Eddy County Sheriff's Office, the Carlsbad Police Department, the Artesia Police Department, the Pecos Valley Drug Task...

  • Judge: SoS has authority to block referendum

    Albuquerque Journal, Syndicated content|Updated Jun 10, 2023

    SANTA FE — A state judge on Thursday rejected a challenge to Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver’s authority to determine whether New Mexico laws targeted for repeal are exempt from referendum under the state Constitution. The ruling by 13th District Court Judge James Noel represents a setback for a coalition of groups who have sought to annul six laws passed this year by the Democratic-controlled Legislature via the rarely used referendum process. Several of those laws, which deal with abortion, elections and gen...

  • ENMU basketball players file lawsuit

    Albuquerque Journal, Syndicated content|Updated May 1, 2023

    Three former athletes on the women’s basketball team at Eastern New Mexico University contend in a new federal civil rights lawsuit that their coach repeatedly coerced them to submit to “treatments” by her volunteer trainer husband, who sexually assaulted them. While complaints to ENMU athletics director Paul Weir allegedly went ignored for more than a year, two school trainers realized the women had been assaulted and finally reported the abuse to the university’s human resources department, states the 30-page lawsuit...

  • Baldwin attorneys allege political motives

    Albuquerque Journal, Syndicated content|Updated Mar 25, 2023

    Attorneys for actor Alec Baldwin last week continued to slam the former special prosecutor in the "Rust" movie shooting case, now suggesting that she used the role to advance her political career. A motion filed Tuesday by Baldwin's attorneys cited a New York Times report about a private email the former special prosecutor, Andrea Reeb, sent in June suggesting that the high-profile post could help her bid for the state House of Representatives. Reeb was named special prosecuto...

  • Governor announces wellness check plan

    Albuquerque Journal, Syndicated content|Updated Mar 21, 2023

    SANTA FE — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday announced a sweeping plan to conduct in-person wellness checks on the thousands of adults who receive care as part of the Developmental Disability Waiver program in New Mexico. The interviews, which began last week, have already started to identify more cases of possible abuse. The announcement came in the wake of a client with developmental disabilities being seriously injured while under the care of a service provider. Though details of the client’s injuries haven’t been made...

  • Opinion: Proposed tax bill will cripple many state businesses

    Albuquerque Journal, Syndicated content|Updated Mar 11, 2023

    It seems as if everywhere you go in New Mexico these days, businesses have “help wanted” signs, or reduced hours and services, or both. Many New Mexicans had hoped lawmakers would offer meaningful business tax relief during the 60-day session underway, given that the state is flush with $3.6 billion in “excess revenues,” primarily from oil and gas proceeds. But the omnibus tax package that emerged Monday will only make it harder for businesses to stay open in New Mexico, and the state’s greedy largest cities and the New M...

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