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

Jul 11, 2019

Man struck on Phoenix freeway identified as Albuquerque manPHOENIX (AP) — Arizona authorities have identified a pedestrian killed when struck while running across Interstate 10 in west Phoenix early Wednesday morning as a New Mexico man.The Department of Public Safety said Thursday the man killed was 54-year-old Abelino Rudolfo of Albuquerque.Trooper Jonathan Montes told The Associated Press in an email that the DPS investigation into the incident continues and that authorities don't know why Rudolfo was on the freeway and whether he had been in another vehicle before being struck.The 4:41 a.m. incident resulted in the closure of westbound lanes, snarling traffic on the metro area's west side during the morning commute.The DPS said the driver of the pickup that struck Rudolfo remained at the scene and apparently would not face any criminal charges.


Presbyterian Hospital plans Albuquerque campus expansionALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Presbyterian Hospital is planning to expand its downtown Albuquerque campus with the construction of an 11-story tower.Presbyterian Healthcare Services announced Wednesday the $260 million project that will add 144 patient rooms, bringing the hospital's room total to 656.Hospital officials say the project that's expected to be completed in 2022 aims to cut down wait times and modernize patient rooms.All of the new rooms will be private.Officials say the expansion will double the size of the emergency room waiting area.The hospital also is building a new parking garage that will add 800 spaces to the campus. The hospital expects the structure to be completed next year.


Arizona woman accused of smuggling after Border Patrol stop(Information from: Las Cruces Sun-News, http://www.lcsun-news.com)COLUMBUS, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Border Patrol says an Arizona woman has been arrested after an agent stopped a van carrying 10 people suspected of entering the country illegally.The Las Cruces Sun-News reported Wednesday that 33-year-old Evelyn Limas of Casa Grande has been charged with felony smuggling following the stop last week near the New Mexico border town of Columbus.Limas' court-appointed lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the allegations.Court documents say the agent stopped the van after it was observed picking up a group of people who had crossed the border.According to the documents, Limas told the agent that she was an Uber driver and was taking the group to Ruidoso.The 10 passengers were arrested and taken to the Deming Border Patrol Station.___


FCC approves priority window for tribes to expand broadbandFLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The Federal Communications Commission has approved a priority filing window for tribes to obtain licenses that could boost internet service in rural communities.The commission voted 3-2 Wednesday in favor of the filing window for federally recognized tribes.The 2.5 Ghz-band of spectrum largely is unassigned in the U.S. West and is seen as key to expanding 5G access.The licenses could help tribes establish or expand broadband coverage in underserved areas. Tribally owned entities, including colleges and universities, also would be given priority for licenses.The filing window for tribes could open as early as December. The remaining spectrum would be auctioned off for commercial use.The FCC vote also removed the educational use requirement for the spectrum. The changes won't affect existing license holders.


Forest official upholds cancellation of grazing permitALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A regional official with the U.S. Forest Service has upheld the cancellation of a grazing permit belonging to a New Mexico rancher who killed an endangered Mexican gray wolf.Southwest Regional Forester Calvin Joyner outlined his decision in a letter last week.Craig Thiessen had appealed after the permit was revoked in November, saying he had no livelihood without his cattle grazing in Gila National Forest.Thiessen pleaded guilty last year to knowingly taking threatened wildlife. The 10-month-old wolf pup was fatally struck by a shovel in February 2015.Fish and Wildlife Service officials said the wolf died of injuries Thiessen inflicted.Thiessen stopped short of admitting to killing the wolf in his plea agreement.There are about 130 Mexican wolves in the wild in New Mexico and Arizona.


New Mexico land office predicts record-high revenueSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Revenues from development on state trust land over the last fiscal year are on track to surpass $1 billion.The New Mexico State Land Office announced Wednesday the total tally has yet to be calculated due to the nature of royalty payment collections but that conservative year-end estimates indicate a record high.Revenues reached $852 million for the 2018 fiscal year. If predictions hold, the 2019 fiscal year will mark a nearly 40% increase.Most of the revenue has come from the oil and gas boom, but the agency also reported increases in commercial lease payments and solar and wind energy leases.Money also is earned from grazing leases, rights of way easements, permits and other fees.The revenue earned from activity on state trust land helps to fund public education, hospitals and other institutions.


New Mexico official sets private prison transfer timelineALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The top prison official in New Mexico says a privately run lock-up that is expected to transfer to state control this year has continuously struggled to maintain staffing numbers.The comment from Corrections Secretary Alisha Tafoya Lucero during a legislative hearing this week comes as officials set Aug. 3 as the day when they and the GEO Group will begin the three-month process of transferring the Northeast New Mexico Detention Facility in Clayton to state management.A spokesman for GEO Group, a Florida-based company that currently operates three out of 11 prisons in the state, made the decision to end its contract to run the prison owned by the town of Clayton because of difficulties recruiting and retaining workers.Lucero told lawmakers that the facility was having "a difficult time maintaining safe and reasonable standards," but did not elaborate.


Wyoming warns livestock owners to watch for spreading virus(Information from: Wyoming Tribune Eagle, http://www.wyomingnews.com)CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming is warning livestock owners in the state to be on the lookout for an animal virus spreading in other states.The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports that the Vesicular Stomatitis Indiana serotype has recently been found in horses in Texas, New Mexico and Colorado.Wyoming State Veterinarian Jim Logan has implemented a 72-hour health certificate requirement on susceptible livestock.The requirement is effective immediately and covers animals imported from any county where VSV has been diagnosed in the previous 30 days.Officials say VSV can affect equine species, cattle, swine, sheep, and goats.Officials say the virus is spread by flies and midges, as well as direct contact with infected livestock.The virus can also spread indirectly through contact with contaminated equipment and tack.___