Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. MDT

Oct 17, 2019

Groups: Saving Mexican gray wolves requires new approachALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Dozens of environmental groups and scientists are asking U.S. wildlife managers to rethink how they plan to ensure the survival of Mexican gray wolves in the American Southwest.Following a loss in federal court, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working on crafting a new rule to guide management of the endangered predators in New Mexico and Arizona.The coalition says that rule should be based on "an entirely new approach" that incorporates the best science while acknowledging the recovery effort's past shortcomings.The groups on Wednesday sent a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and federal wildlife managers.They're asking that the process to revise the management rule be public and that a wide range of alternatives be considered since the program has faltered over the years.


Nevada seeks to restart lawsuit over US plutonium shipmentRENO, Nev. (AP) — Lawyers for Nevada and the Energy Department are accusing each other of contradicting their own past arguments as the state seeks to restart a legal challenge to force the government to remove weapons-grade plutonium it secretly shipped last year to a site near Las Vegas.The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused this summer to consider a request to force removal of the plutonium because Nevada hadn't originally sought such relief.Nevada has filed in federal court in Reno to add that request to the lawsuit. A federal magistrate in Reno is allowing the state to resume gathering evidence while that motion is pending.The Energy Department says Nevada's new bid defies its early claims that moving the radioactive material poses a threat to public health and the environment.


Chinle airport closed indefinitely due to asphalt problemsCHINLE, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Division of Transportation has closed Chinle Airport runway until further notice due to existing asphalt deterioration.Authorities say the division's Road Maintenance and Airports Management departments assessed the Chinle Community Airport on Monday.They say the assessment indicated that the south end of the runway has deteriorated significantly, large cracks exist, precipitation is leaking through the cracks into the subgrade and the existing pavement is raveling.Authorities say the runway is closed indefinitely while the Navajo Division of Transportation determines improvement plans.However, the airport's tarmac will remain open for helicopter medical transport.


Police: Ex-newspaper carrier stole newspapers, money(Information from: Gallup Independent, http://www.gallupindependent.com)GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — A former newspaper carrier in western New Mexico is facing charges after authorities say he pocketed payments and traded newspapers for personal gain.The Gallup Independent reports Randell Brown Jr. was arrested last week following an investigation by New Mexico State Police into alleged thefts at the Gallup newspaper.According to a criminal complaint, the 50-year-old Brown was fired in June after reportedly not returning newspaper payments to the Gallup Independent.The paper told authorities one customer reported that Brown traded an item from a store instead of payment for the newspapers.The Milan, New Mexico, resident was charged with two counts of larceny.No attorney was listed for Brown in court documents.___


New Mexico shares excess emissions data onlineSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Environment Department is sharing emissions data with the public on its website as it works on new regulations aimed at reducing pollution.The department says the data involves excess emissions of carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and other pollutants that are self-reported by oil and gas companies, pipeline and refinery operators and others.Environment Secretary James Kenney says self-reporting is helpful in understanding air quality impacts in communities around the state and that compliance with permits and regulations is expected by those communities where industry operates.The department says the pollutants make up a large part of the state's greenhouse gas emissions and are contributing to ozone levels in seven New Mexico counties.While excess emissions are not necessarily violations, officials say they present an opportunity for reductions.


Pot legalization plan subsidizes patients, pays policeSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico would use proceeds from recreational marijuana to eliminate taxes on medical cannabis and subsidize sales to low-income patients under a legalization proposal from an expert panel appointed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.The recommendations on Tuesday from a 23-member task force sets the stage for a new push to authorize the recreational use and sale of marijuana when the Legislature convenes in January 2020.Recreational marijuana is prohibited in New Mexico and bipartisan legalization legislation stalled in the state Senate earlier this year.Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis led efforts to outline a new regulatory framework that would not allow local governments to prohibit marijuana sales.Taxes on marijuana would go toward local law enforcement and help provide low-interest loans to small family cannabis businesses.


Congresswoman Torres Small continues to outraise GOP foesALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Democratic U.S. Rep. Xochitl (ZOH'-cheel) Torres Small continues to outraise her Republican opponents in southern New Mexico's closely watched U.S. House race.Federal election records show the Las Cruces Democrat pulled in $556,453 from July 1 to September 30 after winning the seat in November. Records show she had over $1.47 million cash on hand.Oil executive Claire Chase reported raising $510,790 in 35 days. She announced in August she would seek the GOP nomination. Her campaign reported to the Federal Election Commission having $474,825 cash on hand.Former state lawmaker Yvette Herrell reported raising $140,238 and had $390,422 cash on hand.Las Cruces businessman Chris Mathys raised $3,205 and had $200,123 cash on hand.


Rents in New Mexico's largest city appear to be risingALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Two studies show rents in New Mexico's largest city appear to be rising.The Albuquerque Journal reports the Texas-based company RealPage recently found rents around Albuquerque rose 5% in the past year. That's the 12th-largest jump among small metros during that same period.In addition, a study from Apartment List showed that more than half of Albuquerque renters spend at least 30% of their salary on rent. And that's a higher percentage than in famously expensive West Coast metros like Portland, San Francisco and Seattle.Other New Mexico areas also are seeing jumps in rent. Rental search engine Rent Jungle found that as of April 2019, average rent for an apartment in Hobbs is $1,188. The amount is a 16.5% increase from last year in the oil boom town.