Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. MDT

Jun 28, 2019

Judge weighs new DOJ policy keeping asylum seekers locked upSEATTLE (AP) — A federal judge in Seattle is hearing a challenge to a new Trump administration policy that keeps asylum seekers locked up while they pursue their cases.Attorney General William Barr announced the policy in April. It affects immigrants who have recently entered the U.S. without permission and have demonstrated a credible fear of persecution or torture if returned to their home country.The ACLU and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project say that for 50 years the government has granted asylum seekers hearings where they can show they are not a flight risk and pose no threat to the public. They say the new policy will keep thousands of immigrants in custody without due process.U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman hears arguments in the case Friday.


Four Corners hospital layoffs 5% of staff amid cuts(Information from: The Daily Times, http://www.daily-times.com)FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — A hospital in the Four Corners has announced it will lay off 5% of its staff to cut costs and increase bill collections.The Farmington Daily Times reports San Juan Regional Medical Center said Thursday the cuts will impact about 78 employees as part of a larger plan to trim spending.San Juan Regional Medical Center spokeswoman Laura Werbner says she did not have information about how many of the jobs were full-time positions.Hospital officials say its nurse-to-patient ratio for inpatient care will not be affected.The 194-bed hospital is a nonprofit acute-care facility with a Level 3 trauma center and the only hospital in New Mexico's San Juan County. It operates a nonemergency clinic and offers a variety of health care services including behavioral health and a new specialty clinic in Durango, Colorado.___


Navajo authorities search for missing boySHIPROCK, N.M. (AP) — Navajo authorities say they are searching for a missing 1-year-old boy in the Shiprock area.The Navajo Nation police say that Kyron Kelewood, who is 21 months, went missing Thursday, and volunteers and authorities searched for him through the night.Police have not said what they believe led to the boy's disappeared, saying that remains under investigation. They have not said who reported him missing.A community search was underway for the child Friday. Police say they are receiving assistance in the search from volunteers, and local, state and county law enforcement.Shiprock, a town on the Navajo Nation near the northwest corner of New Mexico, is home to nearly 9,000 people.


Santa Fe OKs change to allow 'casitas' amid high rentsSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Santa Fe City Council has approved a proposal aimed at making it easy for residents to rent out casitas or guesthouses amid rising rents in the state's capital.Councilors voted late Wednesday to back a proposal to allow two rental homes on single-family lots.The most controversial change drops an existing requirement that a property owner must reside on the lot before a second unit like a casita can be rented out.Proponents of the changes say it was needed to address the city's housing shortage and high rents.Opponents say it would lead to the commercialization of residential neighborhoods, increase traffic and create parking issues.


New Mexico horses test positive for virus; under quarantineALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal authorities say two horses in New Mexico have tested positive for Vesicular Stomatitis Virus.U.S. Department of Agriculture officials say the Sandoval County property were the horses were located has been placed under quarantine.New Mexico is the second state to report VSV this year.Authorities say two Texas counties — Kinney and Tom Green — each have a quarantine premise.The virus can affect horses, cattle, sheep, goats, swine, alpacas, llamas and deer species.


Private company plans to end contract for New Mexico prisonALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A private prison company says it will no longer manage a corrections facility in a remote corner of New Mexico starting in the fall, citing troubles recruiting and retaining workers in the area.A GEO Group spokesman said Thursday that the decision comes after the company managed the Northeast New Mexico Detention Facility for 10 years.A spokeswoman for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says her administration is negotiating to take over management of the facility in Clayton, a town of about 3,000 people where Census Data from the 2017 American Community Survey show the annual per capita income is about $21,000.The governor's office says the state will host a hiring event for prison employees in Clayton on July 17 and July 18.


Navajo cancer center will cut tribal members' travel timeTUBA CITY, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation has opened a cancer treatment center on the reservation that it says will significantly cut down on travel time for patients.The Tuba City Regional Health Care Corp. in northeastern Arizona recently welcomed its first patient. It is funding the new center with hospital profits, grants and donations.Cancer treatment is considered specialty care under the federal Indian Health Service, which partially funds the hospital. Patients previously had to get a referral to be seen elsewhere, often an hour or more from home.Hospital chief executive Lynette Bonar says the treatment center is the first of its kind on any Native American reservation, though some facilities offer screenings and other services.It will serve Navajos, Hopis and San Juan Southern Paiutes in its service area.


The Latest: US senators look to end nuclear waste stalemateALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The chairwoman of a powerful U.S. Senate committee says the federal government's failure to find a permanent solution to the nation's growing stockpile of spent fuel from nuclear power plants is costing taxpayers more than $2 million a day.Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska led a hearing in which experts testified Thursday on legislation aimed at ending the decades-old stalemate over what to do with the waste.While the legislation is similar to past proposals, Murkowski says it's meant to get the conversation going again.Industry officials say the path forward needs to include both interim storage options and plans for permanent disposal.Environmentalists say a process is needed for ensuring consent from communities where the waste would be taken and that would have to be intertwined with shared regulatory responsibility among the federal government and states.