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

Aug 24, 2019



SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is pushing forward with a multimillion-dollar effort to encourage participation in the U.S. census to preserve federal funding for schools, health care and various public benefits.The state launched its "I Count New Mexico" website Friday that includes a video message from Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham encouraging residents to participate in the national population count next year.The state is offering $2.4 million in grant money to county governments that can encourage traditionally undercounted communities to participate in the first census with online access.The state website estimates New Mexico would lose about $3,750 in annual federal spending for each person that goes uncounted. The state estimates that a 1% undercount would reduce annual federal Medicaid spending by $32 million and undercut health care services.


GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — A western New Mexico high school is making plans to become a tiny house factory to build affordable housing in a city near the Navajo Nation.The Gallup Independent reports that Hiroshi Miyamura High School in Gallup will begin a program to teach students about building tiny homes and the business behind them.Principal Jack McFarland says the program will provide real results and hands-on learning for students. He says the goal is to build around two tiny houses a year.The tiny houses will be sold at auction at the end of the year to help recoup the costs of the project and help plan for the following school year 


SANTA TERESA, N.M. (AP) — Work crews in Arizona and New Mexico are forging ahead with construction of taller border fencing being funded through a national emergency declaration by President Donald Trump.His hallmark campaign promise is taking shape along a 46-mile stretch of desert west of Santa Teresa, New Mexico, and on 2 miles of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona.At the New Mexico site Friday, about 20 workers placed rebar frames for concrete footers along the path of the wall.Environmentalists have sued over some of the construction contracts, saying the government unlawfully waived dozens of laws to be able to build on protected lands.They say more barriers would be detrimental to wildlife habitat and would block the migration of animals such as bighorn sheep and wolves.Two cases are pending before federal court.


WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation has settled claims against Wells Fargo accusing the company of predatory and unlawful practices.The tribe says Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $6.5 million, ending cases in federal and tribal court.The tribe had accused bank employees of routinely misleading customers into opening unnecessary accounts and pushing elders into buying products to meet quotas.The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the case this week.Wells Fargo has five branches on the reservation that stretches into New Mexico, Utah and Arizona, and 12 others close by.The company says the settlement demonstrates its commitment to improving sales practices.In December, Wells Fargo reached a $575 million settlement with state attorneys general and the District of Columbia that were investigating a string of dodgy practices.


ALBQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Albuquerque woman wants a judge to throw out a law against revealing details of a civil settlement with a state agency before a set period.The Albuquerque Journal reports Shani Madden filed the lawsuit this week seeking to overturn a 180-day gag order on settlements that have been interpreted differently by New Mexico governors.Her lawsuit is connected to her 7-year-old divorce case and a settlement filed under the state Inspection of Public Records Act against the General Services Department for failing to respond to a request for public records.Madden says she wants to be able to talk about the public records settlement.General Services Secretary Ken Ortiz said the department is committed to transparency on claims by the Risk Management Division "to the extent allowed by law." 


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico will limit licensed medical marijuana providers to 1,750 mature cannabis plants, a drop from the 2,500 plants allowed under an expiring emergency state rule.The Albuquerque Journal reported Thursday that the new rules adopted by state Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel take effect Tuesday.The changes also include an increase to the annual licensing fee for producers and the elimination of the $50 fee for replacing lost patient identification cards.Ultra Health CEO Duke Rodriguez says the plant limit will exacerbate a medical marijuana shortage and ultimately hurt patients.Ultra Health is one of 35 medical cannabis producers in the state.Department of Health spokesman David Morgan says the department has been transparent about the plant count and the proposed rule was published in June. 


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Police say multiple officers have fatally shot a man at a bus stop in Albuquerque.They say callers reported a man was waving a gun near a store Thursday afternoon.Police didn't immediately release details of the shooting and the name of the man who was killed hasn't been released yet.It's the second police shooting in Albuquerque this week.On Tuesday afternoon, a police officer shot and wounded a man who allegedly was driving erratically and waving a gun.


BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Attorneys general from a dozen western states want the Trump administration to halt a proposal by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that could allow the agency to charge for water drawn from reservoirs it manages.North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem (STEHN'-juhm) says the Water Supply Rule proposed in the waning days of the Obama administration usurps states' authority over their own water.Stenehjem and attorneys general from Idaho, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming sent a letter Thursday to the Trump administration asking that the proposal be withdrawn.Stenehjem says the proposed rule has "implications for all states" but would especially be harmful to the six reservoirs of the Upper Missouri River.