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Associated Press

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A suburban Albuquerque teacher who told a black student that Santa Claus is white has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Rio Rancho school district spokeswoman Kim Vesely confirmed yesterday that the teacher is out of the classroom while the incident is being investigated.

The teacher's comments came after students at Cleveland High School were told they could come to class dressed as Santa, an elf or a reindeer.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Two bars in New Mexico have been fined and had their liquor licenses suspended for over-serving patrons who went on to cause fatal drunken-driving crashes.

The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department's Alcohol and Gaming Division announced the penalties yesterday.

The Blue Corn Cafe and Brewery in Santa Fe was fined $10,000 and had its liquor license suspended for 15 days spanning two weekends.

SANTA TERESA, N.M. (AP) — Border agents in New Mexico have seized nearly 400 pounds of marijuana at the Santa Teresa crossing.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations says officers seized 372 pounds of marijuana worth $297,600 Wednesday.

The drugs were found concealed in a pickup truck with the help of drug-sniffing dog named Murphy.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Prairie dogs are unpopular in some places, to the point that the burrowing rodents are considered target practice for ranchers and farmers.

Meanwhile, Santa Fe has spent $559,000 in the past 12 years to relocate prairie dogs from the northern New Mexico city to a federal conservation area.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the critters are flushed from their dens with a mild soapy solution and then given a bath. The city then fattens up the prairie dogs before they're sent on their way.

ALBQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Santa Fe's school district still has a shot at being awarded a $10 million federal grant but Albuquerque's district is out of the running for the $25 million grant it sought.

The Associated Press reports that Santa Fe's school system is among 31 finalists selected from among 200 applicants from 21 states.

At stake is a $120 million pot of federal money that will be divvied up in so-called "Race to the Top" grants.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State University is moving to standardize the approximately 200 security cameras on its campus and give the university police department real-time access to the images.

According to the Associated Press, the cameras include both ones inside and outside of buildings on NMSU's campus.

University officials say the cameras can help prevent and solve thefts and other crimes and also help police detect and respond to other emergency situations.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico livestock auction lot was used by a state agency to care for abused horses at a time when the proprietor faced animal cruelty charges.

The Associated Press reports that the Livestock Board hired Southwest Livestock Auction of Los Lunas to care for four abused horses for 13 days in September.

Proprietor Dennis V. Chavez at that time still faced unrelated animal cruelty charges dating from four emaciated horses that animal rights activists discovered on his property in 2012.

Paul Walker, the star of the "Fast & Furious" movie series, died Saturday in a car crash that killed one other person north of Los Angeles, his publicist said. He was 40.

Walker died Saturday afternoon, Ame Van Iden told the Associated Press.

A statement on the actor's Facebook page said he was a passenger in a friend's car, and that Walker was in the area to attend a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide.

"We ... are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news," the statement said.

Americans Eugene Fama, Lars Peter Hansen and Robert Shiller won the Nobel prize for economics on Monday for developing new methods to study trends in asset markets.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the three had laid the foundation of the current understanding of asset prices.

While it's hard to predict whether stock or bond prices will go up or down in the short term, it's possible to foresee movements over periods of three years or longer, the academy said.

Major League Baseball expanded its playoff format to 10 teams Friday, adding a second wild-card in each league.

The decision establishes a new one-game, wild-card round in each league between the teams with the best records who are not division winners, meaning a third-place team could win the World Series.

This is the only change in baseball's playoff structure since the 1995 season, when wild-card teams were first added.

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