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

Nov 26, 2019

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque officials say they're launching a new operation that will target the 15 most violent criminal offenders in the city.The "Metro 15 Operation" announced Tuesday will be conducted by Albuquerque police in conjunction with state and Bernalillo County prosecutors and investigators from multiple agencies.According to the announcement, an apprehension team will go after offenders on a continuously updated list prepared by the Bernalillo County District Attorney's Office.Mayor Tim Keller said the operation is intended to focus on "the worst perpetrators of violent crime" with a narrowly targeted approach to reduce crime in the city.Participating agencies also include investigators from the state Attorney General's Office, the state Office of Superintendent of Insurance and the state Office of Probation and Parole.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — About 15,000 Rio Grande silvery minnows are now swimming in the river as part of a decades-long effort to keep the tiny fish from disappearing.Staff from Albuquerque's BioPark released the latest batch of fish last week. In all, more than 800,000 minnows have been released since 2000 as part of a partnership with an endangered species collaborative.The minnow had a chance this year to rebound since the river got a boost from healthy snowmelt in the higher elevations.The favorable flows resulted in spawning so no captive-bred fish were needed to augment the wild population.Still, some environmentalists are concerned that without changes in the way the Rio Grande is managed, the minnow won't have a chance to make it on its own without continued human intervention.


ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) — A former New Mexico foundation director has pleaded guilty to tax evasion after authorities say he didn't include more than $1 million allegedly embezzled on his taxes.Alamogordo Daily News reported that 65-year-old former Robert W. Hamilton Foundation director Marion Ledford entered his plea Monday in Las Cruces federal court.The Internal Revenue Service says Ledford filed tax returns for 2011 to 2016 but did not report an additional $1,785,300 allegedly embezzled through more than 60 personal checks.Ledford agreed to pay the foundation restitution for the embezzled funds.Authorities say the plea agreement requires Ledford to pay the IRS about $629,000 in lost tax revenue. He faces up to five years imprisonment.The Robert W. Hamilton Foundation provides scholarships to Otero County high school graduates.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has convoked a second meeting of legislators and law enforcement officials in response to the August mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.In a statement on Monday, the first-year Democratic governor described a meeting with the state attorney general, state House speaker and U.S. Congressional delegation on possible action to decrease the risk of home-grown terrorism in New Mexico.Lujan Grisham says the discussion centered on access to weapons, possible tougher penalties for "domestic terrorism" and more robust data tracking. She stressed the importance of evidence-based reforms.The Aug. 3 shooting at an El Paso Walmart killed 22 people and took place within 10 miles (15 kilometers) of New Mexico. The state Legislature convenes in mid-January to consider possible safety reforms.


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State University is getting a grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to study how to make cattle ranching more sustainable.The $8.9 million grant has been awarded to NMSU's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.The work is geared toward improving the sustainability of beef production in the southwestern U.S., where environmental conditions are driving up the cost of raising cattle.The researchers will be looking at cattle genetics, the use of sensors and technology to more accurately understand what's occurring on the range and options for marketing Southwest beef.The grant will support research for the next five years and involve as many as 50 people from 12 institutions. That includes five cattle ranches located in New Mexico, Utah, California and South Dakota.


LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) — Los Alamos National Laboratory says it's committed to breaking down gender barriers and making equality a reality when it comes to nuclear policy.The northern New Mexico lab made the announcement last week, saying it's the first national laboratory to make an official pledge.The lab joined the national Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy group, a leadership network that brings together heads of organizations working in nuclear policy.Lab Director Thom Mason says nuclear policy, like many technological fields, has long been a male-dominated space and as a result, woman in the field have too often been marginalized.With the commitment, Mason says the lab will work to bring more women into the field and foster a culture of respect.About one-third of the lab's 12,000 employs are women.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico residents are throwing their financial support in the presidential race primarily behind candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.An analysis of campaign contributions by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics shows the two notably progressive candidates for the Democratic nomination have raised more dollars from individuals in New Mexico than other candidates. The estimates do not include recent donations of under $200.Campaign committees for Sanders have raised at least $379,000, trailed closely by Warren. Pete Buttigieg raised at least $239,000 locally. That's more than twice the tally for former Vice President Joe Biden.Former Democratic National Committee chairman Fred Harris says New Mexico is closely tracking national trends in fundraising.Warren last week tapped U.S. Rep. Debra Haaland of Albuquerque as a co-chairwoman of her presidential campaign.


FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Native American tribes in northern Arizona overwhelmingly oppose proposals to dam the Little Colorado River for hydropower.Phoenix-based Pumped Hydro Storage company is seeking preliminary permits from the federal government to study the sites east of Grand Canyon National Park.Company manager Steve Irwin has touted the potential economic benefits, including paved roads, tourism and jobs.The Navajo Nation owns the land and the projects won't move forward without the tribe's OK.The tribe wrote in comments posted online Monday that the projects could negatively impact the tribe's land, water, wildlife and cultural resources.The Navajo community closest to the proposed projects already has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to deny the permits.The Hopi, Hualapai and Havasupai tribes say they're also concerned about the possible impacts.