- BEAVERS-DESERT FUTURE
Environmentalists push for changes in New Mexico on beavers(Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.santafenewmexican.com)SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Environmental advocates in New Mexico are pushing for the state to change its policies around beavers — pesky animals they say provide ecological benefits for river and stream.The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that WildEarth Guardians and other groups want New Mexico wildlife officials to rethink how it manages beaver populations, including policy revisions on beaver removal and relocation.The push comes two months after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham appointed seven new members to the State Game Commission, which is responsible for creating regulations regarding fish and wildlife in the state.The Department of Game and Fish doesn't have current data about how many beavers are in New Mexico, but an agency document from about eight years ago estimated there were around 6,000 in the state.___
- MIGRANT CHILDREN DRAWINGS
Migrant child drawings depict jail-like scenes of detentionMCALLEN, Texas (AP) — The American Academy of Pediatrics has released photographs of drawings made by migrant children who were asked to depict their time spent in Border Patrol custody.The canvas drawings are stark images of jail-like settings. One shows stick figures sleeping on the ground under blankets watched by other figures with hats. Another picture has frowning stick figures behind what appears to be a chain-link fence.The release of the pictures comes after stark warnings from a government watchdog about overcrowded South Texas facilities holding migrant families.The pediatricians' organization says a staff member photographed the artwork that was sketched last week. The three pictures were made by two 10-year-old children and one 11-year-old at a McAllen, Texas, temporary shelter. Two of the children were Guatemalan.
- CHILD ABUSE DEATH-SURRENDER
Man accused in abuse death of young son surrenders to policeRUIDOSO, N.M. (AP) — A southern New Mexico man awaiting trial in the 2018 death of his 2-year-old son and more recently charged with perjury has surrendered to authorities.Prosecutors who Friday issued a statement saying 34-year-old Ricardo Soto was a wanted man and missing later said he surrendered to the Ruidoso Police Department.According to prosecutors, officers who went to a residence to arrest Soto on a June perjury indictment were told he had moved out in June.A year earlier, Soto fled the area before police could interview him in connection with his son's death because of alleged child abuse. He was arrested June 9, 2018, as he attempted to re-enter the United States from Mexico.Prosecutors attempted to have him jailed pending trial in the child death case but courts refused.
- NEW MEXICO-GUNS-WALMART
Walmart plans to cease gun sales at New Mexico storesSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Walmarts in New Mexico plan to stop selling guns later this month after a new state law expanded background checks to nearly all gun purchases.The law that took effect this week requires background checks on private sales between neighbors or friends. It also allows federally licensed gun sellers to offer to conduct checks for these sales.Walmart spokeswoman Tiffany Wilson says the stores are not equipped to conduct checks for private sales.She says employees and customers could be put at risk by people bringing in guns seeking checks on private sales.Walmart plans to end gun sales on July 22. The stores will continue to sell ammunition.Walmart and other gun sellers already perform federal background checks on their firearm sales.
- OBIT-JUDGE SARAH SINGLETON
Singleton, New Mexico judge who ruled over major cases, diesSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says a retired judge who presided over multiple landmark cases in New Mexico has died.Lujan Grisham announced Judge Sarah Singleton's death in an email Friday. A spokesman for the courts confirmed she died on Thursday.The governor said she was "incredibly saddened by Singleton's passing," and called her a "dedicated jurist."Singleton had been a judge in New Mexico's First Judicial District, which handles cases from Santa Fe, Rio Arriba and Los Alamos counties.Singleton was remembered by the governor as being the first New Mexico judge to rule in favor of gay marriage in 2013.Last year, Singleton ruled that New Mexico was not meeting its constitutional obligations to provide an adequate education.
- OBIT-RICHARD BENKE
Veteran AP newsman, author Richard Benke diesALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Veteran journalist and author Richard Benke is being remembered for his tenacity and for his dedication to accuracy during a career that spanned decades in newsrooms in California and New Mexico.Benke died June 18 of Parkinson's-related dementia at an assisted care facility in Nevada, his family said. He was one day shy of his 77th birthday.His passion for reporting and editing was born from an early love of writing. After growing up in Southern California, he majored in creative writing at Northwestern University before returning to work at the Pasadena Star-News.He was hired by The Associated Press in 1975, starting a long career with the news organization that saw him cover everything from breaking news in Los Angeles to illegal immigration along the southern New Mexico border.
- OIL BOOM-WATER SUPPLIES
National lab to study water in San Juan Basin(Information from: The Daily Times, http://www.daily-times.com)FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — Federal land managers are partnering with researchers from Sandia National Laboratories to study how oil and gas development could affect water supplies in northwestern New Mexico's San Juan Basin.The Farmington Daily Times reports the study recently started and that similar work has been done in the Permian Basin in southeastern New Mexico.Thomas Lowry with Sandia Labs says researchers will monitor water wells in portions of the San Juan Basin that are likely to see increased oil and gas development near them.He says the team is also partnering with the U.S. Geological Survey to monitor two wells in Chaco Culture National Historical Park.Lowry says tests will help show the availability of water and how it's being used. He anticipates the results will be available in September 2020.___
- CHILD CARE AID
New Mexico postpones hearing on child care proposalSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's child welfare department is reversing course on a proposal that would have tightened income requirements for families to begin receiving child care assistance.The state Children, Youth and Families Department says a public hearing scheduled Monday in Santa Fe on the proposal to increase the program's minimum qualifications has been postponed.The income threshold for aid recently became 200% of the federal poverty level after the agency agreed as part of a class-action lawsuit to raise the amount. Under the settlement agreement, the agency must hold public hearings before changing income requirements.Officials have not said when a new rulemaking hearing will be scheduled.The agency initially proposed increasing the eligibility requirements after it did not get the legislative funding needed to keep a higher limit in place.