Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MST
- UNSOLVED SERIAL KILLINGS
Authorities vow to never give up on unsolved killingsALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The remains of 11 women and an unborn child were discovered buried more than a decade ago in the desert on the edge of Albuquerque. Authorities on Wednesday marked the 13th anniversary of the beginning of what Police Chief Harold Medina called the largest homicide case in the police department's history. Investigators said they have "more than a few" suspects but no arrests have been made. Authorities said they're not giving up on solving the case. The first human bone was discovered in 2009, but it was a few years earlier that a detective noticed women with ties to drugs and prostitution had been vanishing from Albuquerque.
- EDUCATION NEW MEXICO TESTING
New Mexico to test K-12 students for 1st time in 2 yearsSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's education secretary says the state will test K-12 students this year after skipping testing for the past two springs semesters of the pandemic. Kurt Steinhaus assured state senators at his confirmation hearing Wednesday that the Public Education Department would carry out testing. He says districts have also been required to submit internal testing data throughout the school year to make up for the lack of testing. New Mexico hasn't had a clear record of student achievement since 2018 because of changes in testing in 2019, and a lack of testing during the pandemic.
- EDUCATION FUNDING NATIVE LANGUAGE
Indigneous language speakers could get teacher salariesSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Legislature has advanced that would increase the minimum salaries of some fluent Indigenous language speakers who teach the languages to children in schools but are not state certified teachers. The instructors who speak Navajo, Zuno and various dialects of Keresan sometimes work for school systems at non-teaching jobs. They are paid much less than teachers despite their work teaching languages to students. About 100 people in New Mexico have Indigenous language certificates approved by their tribes and administered by state education officials. The bill would provide state funding to cover those certificate holders with minimum salary protections of middle-tier licensed teachers who make about $50,000 annually..
With one senator absent, Biden and Democrats' agenda at riskWASHINGTON (AP) — The Democrats' fragile hold on the Senate majority has become even more tenuous with the sudden illness of New Mexico Sen. Ben Ray Luján. Word of the senator's stroke sent shock waves through the party. Luján's office says he is expected to make a full recovery, but the senator is expected to be out for at least a month. With Luján's absence, Democrats no longer have full working control of the evenly split Senate unless they pick up votes from Republicans. Already some routine confirmation proceedings have ground to a halt, threatening President Joe Biden's potential Supreme Court nominee and already lagging legislative agenda.
- NEW MEXICO-WATER CHIEF
New Mexico governor appoints new top water officialSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has appointed her recently named water adviser to now serve as the state engineer. As New Mexico's top water official, Mike Hamman will oversee water rights and will serves as secretary of the Interstate Stream Commission. The panel manages interstate water compacts and long-term water planning. Hamman will replace John D'Antonio, who retired in December after citing a persistent lack of financial support to protect the state's water resources. Hamman told lawmakers earlier this week that one priority will be completing the governor's 50-year water plan as the state aims to be better prepared for a more arid future.
- WINTER WEATHER-NEW MEXICO
Storm expected to worsen driving conditions in New MexicoALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Forecasters say driving conditions were expected to worsen and cause road closures Wednesday in northern and central New Mexico due to snowfall from a major storm forecast to intensify into the night. The National Weather Service reported poor road conditions from the storm were expected to hamper Albuquerque's evening commute and said a winter storm warning would be in effect for much of the state until noon Thursday. Schools were closed Wednesday in Santa Fe and mountainous areas on Albuquerque's eastern outskirts, and officials said schools in Las Cruces on Thursday will shift to remote learning due to the potential for icy road conditions
- HANFORD CLEANUP
Hanford begins 1st large-scale treatment of nuke tank wastesSPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation have started the first large-scale treatment of radioactive and chemical wastes from large underground storage tanks, a key milestone in cleaning up the site. Hanford for decades made plutonium for the U.S. nuclear arsenal and is the most radioactively contaminated site in the nation's nuclear weapons complex. It was created by the Manhattan Project and made the plutonium for the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, at the end of the World War II. Officials for the U.S. Department of Energy on Wednesday called the new $130 million cesium removal system a major milestone. The newly operational system removes radioactive cesium and solids from waste stored in huge underground tanks at Hanford.
Winter storm packing snow, freezing rain moves across USCHICAGO (AP) — A winter storm is bringing a mix of rain, freezing rain and snow to the central U.S. Airlines canceled thousands of flights, officials are urging people to stay off roads and schools are closed. Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan are seeing freezing rain, sleet and snow. The heaviest snow is expected in Indiana and Illinois. The central Illinois town of Lewiston has already gotten more than a foot of snow and the northeastern Missouri city of Hannibal has nearly a foot. Significant ice accumulation is expected in an area from Louisville, Kentucky, to Memphis, Tennessee.