Associated Press

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A coalition of border sheriffs is opposing a plan to designate scenic mountainous areas in Dona Ana County as a federal monument.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that in a letter to New Mexico's two Democratic senators, Dona Ana County Sheriff Todd Garrison says the group believes plan will leave the land vulnerable to illegal activity.

U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall have introduced legislation that calls for designating about 780 square miles near Las Cruces as the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico officials say the state is facing its worst shortage of primary care providers at a time when thousands are expected to enroll in state and federal health insurance exchanges.

The Associated Press reports that the federal government has designated every county statewide, except one, as having a shortage.

The latest figures show the state has 1,429 active primary physicians but another 219 are needed, based on the population.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A new report says Albuquerque water use dropped seven percent last year amid an ongoing drought.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority says the percentage was the biggest one-year drop since 1997.

Officials say the community's total water use for the year, 32 billion gallons, was the lowest for the metro area since 1983. That comes despite the fact that the population in the utility's service area has grown 70 percent in the two decades since.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A homeless man has been sentenced to more than four years in federal prison for robbing an Albuquerque bank last March.

Prosecutors say 56-year-old Sheldon David Weisman received a 51-month prison term yesterday.

Weisman was arrested March 15 on a criminal complaint alleging he robbed a Wells Fargo Bank branch earlier that day.

Authorities say Weisman entered the bank and handed a note to a teller demanding money.

Weisman left with a bag of cash and a bank employee saw him drive away in a vehicle with a Texas license plate.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A Rio Rancho couple has been sentenced to two years' probation and ordered to pay nearly $75,000 in restitution for embezzling money from a New Mexico casino.

Federal prosecutors say 43-year-old John Hoffman and his wife, Michelle Fischer, were sentenced yesterday.

Hoffman pleaded guilty in March to a charge of embezzling money from the Santa Ana Star Casino.

At the time, Hoffman worked in the casino's marketing department.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A hearing officer is recommending that the New Mexico Environment Department deny a wastewater permit for a Roswell company that wants to slaughter horses.

The hearing officer cited what she called the company's record of "willful disregard" of the state's environmental laws.

Valley Meat Co. and the groups trying to block its opening now have 15 days to respond to the report before the environment secretary decides whether to renew the company's permit. The permit doesn't impact whether Valley can slaughter horses, but rather how it disposes of waste.

MORIARTY, N.M. (AP) — A man who has barricaded himself in a home outside the small community of Moriarty and shot at law enforcement officers and a police helicopter is dead.

Torrance County Sheriff's officials confirmed the death last night, but it's still unclear if he was shot by authorities or took his own life.

The man's name hasn't been released yet.

Deputies had cordoned off the rural area with the help of New Mexico State Police after the standoff started yesterday afternoon.

TAOS, N.M. (AP) — Federal officials are taking initial steps to develop a management plan for one of New Mexico's newest national monuments.

The Rio Grande del Norte National Monument was designated by presidential proclamation last March. It covers nearly 380 square miles in northern New Mexico.

The Bureau of Land Management says it will be accepting public comments through Feb. 18. The agency is looking for suggestions on what issues and concerns it should consider as it develops the plan.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham says a deteriorating school on Albuquerque's Kirtland Air Force Base is getting much needed help.

The Democrat announced Monday that Wherry Elementary School is getting a $16.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense's Office of Economic Adjustment.

The school was ranked 11th on the deputy secretary of defense's priority list for public schools on military installations that need improvement.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — President Barack Obama's nomination of a federal prosecutor to be the next U.S. attorney for New Mexico is now pending in the U.S. Senate.

The previously announced selection of Albuquerque native Damon Martinez is included among numerous Obama nominations that the White House announced Monday.

The appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.

U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced Obama's selection of Damon Martinez in November. The two had recommended Martinez for the post in April.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Attendance at the New Mexico State Fair was down and so was revenue.

Unaudited figures provided by Expo New Mexico's chief financial officer indicate that revenues totaled $4.7 million during the Sept. 1-22 fair.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, that compares with $5.2 million during the 2012 fair.

Year-to-year attendance dropped 4 percent.

Fair manager Dan Mourning says the 2013 fair was hampered by record rainfall during the beginning of the 12-day run.

The stakes were high and the vote was close as Boeing production workers agreed to concede some benefits in order to secure assembly of the new 777X airplane for the Puget Sound region.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Boeing hailed Friday's vote, which proponents said solidifies the aerospace giant's presence in the Seattle area.

"Tonight, Washington state secured its future as the aerospace capital of the world," Inslee declared.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque has settled two lawsuits that alleged three people were mistreated during alleged "secret" arrests.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the $150,000 settlement was reached in connection with 2010 detentions of a woman and her two adult sons. They were detained during an investigation into an officer-involved shooting of a suspect in a 2008 shooting.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A Raton company has filed a lawsuit accusing the New Mexico Racing Commission of working to "sabotage" its plans for a $50 million racino in favor of a rival casino operator.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque says commissioners let the license for La Mesa Racetrack and Casino expire after the project faced a number of delays. The lawsuit also accused former commissioner Marty Cope of intentionally blocking the racino project because she was a friend of a rival.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A Las Cruces woman is in custody for allegedly driving while impaired and running over someone following an argument.

Dona Ana County Sheriff's officials say 33-year-old Rachel Miranda is being held on suspicion of aggravated DWI.

They say their investigation is ongoing and additional charges are possible.

Sheriff's deputies responded to the scene in the early morning hours of Jan. 1 after receiving a call that a woman had been hit by a car.

Authorities say Miranda allegedly got into a physical altercation with a 39-year-old woman.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Dona Ana County authorities say a man is dead, another hospitalized and two others in jail following a home invasion in the Las Cruces area.

The Sheriff's Department says four men forced their way into a home early Wednesday because of what's called an "unresolved issue" from an earlier altercation New Year's Eve in Las Cruces.

Investigators say the man at the house fought back when the four men entered the home and that a person in the home called 911.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Santa Fe-area woman and her three young children were found in good condition after they got lost in the Santa Fe National Forest.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, Denise Lee and her children ended up several miles off course after they got turned around during their outing Wednesday afternoon on the Bear Wallow Trail.

State Police and Atalaya Search and Rescue responded to a call for help, and searchers found the family about two hours later Wednesday evening.

Lee is a daughter of Santa Fe Public Schools board president Linda Trujillo.

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A busy highway was closed for several hours yesterday as Rio Rancho police investigated a suspicious death.

Highway 528 between Barbara Loop and Hilltop Plaza was closed after authorities received a report of a man lying in the road around 7:30 in the morning. The victim was taken to a local hospital, where he died.

Officer Janet Garcia says the man sustained some type of trauma to his body, but investigators are trying to figure out exactly what happened.

The man's name has not been released.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Bernalillo County Treasurer Manny Ortiz is facing a recall petition.

Ortiz's office has been the subject of a state audit, and the county commission recently voted no confidence in Ortiz.

The petition filed last week in state court accuses Ortiz of mismanaging county investments and other malfeasance warranting his removal from office.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the petition was delivered to Ortiz on Friday. It seeks court approval to circulate a petition that could force the treasurer into a recall election.

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — The Navajo Nation Council has approved a measure that would let disputes over a northwestern New Mexico coal mine that's being bought on behalf of the tribe be settled in state courts rather than tribal courts.

The council voted 17-5 in favor of the measure during a special session Friday in Window Rock, Ariz.

The Farmington Daily Times reports that a number of tribal delegates, attorneys and risk management experts met for about an hour in executive session before the vote.

PLACITAS, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State Police say one suspect is dead and two others are in custody following a crime spree that stretched from Albuquerque to the village of Placitas.

Lt. Emmanuel Gutierrez says it began late Friday when Albuquerque police began pursuing shoplifting suspects in a stolen vehicle.

The chase headed north on Interstate 25, with Albuquerque police tracking the vehicle by helicopter. A state police officer then began following the speeding vehicle.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The former head of the state Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management's Intelligence and Security Bureau is accusing his bosses of retaliation.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Richard Clark filed his lawsuit earlier this month in state district court. It names cabinet Secretary Gregory Myers and Assistant Secretary Anita Tallarico Statman.

Clark is suing under laws protecting whistleblowers and members of the armed services.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — City engineers will seek an exception under historic preservation rules to demolish and replace a deteriorating bridge in Santa Fe's downtown district.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the engineers believe the Defouri Street Bridge is becoming unsafe and that the city can't do any more work to extend its life.

Officials say it would be a hardship for drivers for the city to let the bridge remain in its current condition.

The bridge that sits over the Santa Fe River was originally built in the late 1930s and then reconstructed in 1959.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Several university leaders in New Mexico are supporting Gov. Susana Martinez's plan to funnel $7.5 million into a state fund to recruit new college professors, scientists and researchers.

The Associated Press reports that Martinez's plan would allow the state's universities to compete for competitive grants, instead of being divvied up by colleges based on a set formula, as has been the practice in the past.

Funding decisions would likely be made by a committee of state officials, though details are still being worked out.

AMARILLO, Texas (AP) — Cold-weather clues have helped police in the Texas Panhandle track a burglary suspect through footprints in the snow.

Amarillo police say Collin Thomas Ferguson was being held Monday on four burglary counts and a charge of possession of a controlled substance. Online Potter County jail records don't list an attorney for the Bloomfield, N.M., man, whose bond was set at $6,000.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Police departments and sheriffs' offices across New Mexico are battling shortages of officers and deputies amid retirements and low pay.

From Albuquerque police to small rural agencies like the Torrance County Sheriff's office, departments are reporting staffing shortfalls and say it may get worse next year.

Officials say the shortages hurt agencies' ability to fight crime and often require officers to work many shifts.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Albuquerque man is facing child abuse charges after police say he stabbed his 12-year-old stepson during an argument.

Avelino Chavez was booked a charge of child abuse with great bodily harm stemming from the stabbing Friday night.

A criminal complaint says the 45-year-old Chavez stabbed the boy after the boy said he wanted to stay home and watch a movie instead of going to Chavez's parents' house.

According to police, the boy suffered a punctured lung and a lacerated liver.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal energy experts say New Mexico's petroleum and natural gas production make the state the third largest net energy supplier to the nation and there's substantial potential when it comes to solar, wind and geothermal energy.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration updated the state's energy profile this week.

The agency says New Mexico is second only to Wyoming in the number of producing mineral leases on federal lands.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez has proposed spending $9.5 million on two high-tech research and development initiatives.

The governor says the aim is to attract top faculty members to New Mexico's colleges and universities and to fund innovative projects that have the potential to contribute to the state's economic growth.

Martinez unveiled her proposals during visits Thursday to the University of New Mexico and New Mexico Tech.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque's two city animal shelters are full and the lack of space means some people who want to surrender their pets are temporarily turned away

The shelters have accepted fewer animals and also euthanized fewer but it's been keeping the animals it gets longer in hopes of them getting homes.

To cope with the current shortage, officials are urging owners to keep their pets or find new homes for them on their own.