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

May 15, 2019
  • New Mexico seeks federal reimbursement for immigrant care

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Local spending on humanitarian relief to asylum seekers in New Mexico would be reimbursed by the federal government under a proposal from the state's delegation to Washington, D.C.
Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich and New Mexico colleagues on Tuesday sent a letter to leaders of Senate and House appropriations committees including Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama requesting reimbursements to local and state governments, along with non-governmental groups.
The request links federal government policies to a humanitarian crisis along the border and notes that more than 4,000 asylum seekers have been released in Las Cruces since April 12 as they apply for asylum.
It seeks unspecified reimbursements through a multibillion-dollar disaster aid bill.

  • EMPLOYMENT-NEW ACCOUNTS

New Mexico launches new login system for job seekers
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico labor officials are requiring people to set up new accounts to access online services for job searches and unemployment benefits.
The new login system is launching Wednesday and will allow people to access both the workforce connection system and the unemployment claims system.
The Department of Workforce Solution says it has been working to simplify the login process so people don't have to remember multiple usernames and passwords for the two systems.
Officials say visitors to the site www.jobs.state.nm.us will be prompted to create a new single account to gain access to the online systems.
Users will need a valid email address that will be used for account management and security purposes.

  • VALLES CALDERA-HOURS

Hiring delays force New Mexico preserve to limit hours
JEMEZ SPRINGS, N.M. (AP) — A shortage of seasonal workers is forcing Valles Caldera National Preserve to delay the start of its summer hours.
Preserve officials said Tuesday that a backlog in government background clearances has pushed back the arrival of the seasonal staff needed to operate the extended hours.
Until the workers arrive, Valles Caldera will remain under the winter hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Officials also say access to the backcountry is limited since spring runoff washed out a culvert on the main road through the center of the northern New Mexico preserve, making it impassable by vehicle.
Preserve Superintendent Jorge Silva-Bañuelos says Valles Caldera has received emergency funding from the National Park Service to repair the road.

  • TROUBLED SCHOOL DISTRICT

Mill levy for troubled Mora Public Schools fails
(Information from: Las Vegas Optic, http://www.lasvegasoptic.com)
LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — A capital improvements mill levy for a troubled northern New Mexico school district has failed.
The Las Vegas Optic reports a mill levy for Mora Public Schools was defeated last week by nearly two-thirds of those who returned their ballots from a mail-in special election.
The defeat follows a string of bad news surrounding the school district.
Last year, the Mora Schools Board of Education voted to fire Superintendent Ella Arellano after no school earned higher than a C grade from the state.
Former Superintendent Charles Trujillo also pleaded guilty to a felony charge for falsifying credentials.
In November, the Las Vegas Optic reported Interim Superintendent Carla Westbrook-Spaniel once was arrested for public intoxication and accused of leaving two preschool-age children alone while she went to a nightclub.
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  • MAGDALENA-HOMICIDE ARREST

No bond for man suspected in a New Mexico homicide case
MAGDALENA, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State Police say a man suspected in a murder case in Magdalena is jailed without bond.
They say Jo Hill is being held on suspicion of an open count of murder.
It was unclear Tuesday if Hill has a lawyer yet who can speak on his behalf.
The Magdalena Marshals Office was dispatched to High Country Lodge on Monday afternoon on a call of a gunshot victim.
The man was pronounced dead at the scene and the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau was called to investigate the homicide.
They say Hill and the victim got into a physical altercation in the parking lot of the lodge.
Hill then reportedly shot the victim.
State Police say the victim's name won't be released until his relatives are notified.

  • MEDICAL MARIJUANA-NEW MEXICO-THE LATEST

The Latest: Survey indicates shortage of medical marijuana
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A survey of licensed medical marijuana producers in New Mexico indicates that a majority cannot meet customer demand.
The survey was commissioned by the Department of Health and obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday. It found that 55% of producers say they are unable to keep pace with patient demand for marijuana and related products.
Nearly all of the state's 34 medical cannabis producers say they have plans to expand operations. The number of patients enrolled in New Mexico's medical cannabis program increased by 39 percent during the year ending in March. Active patients now number over 72,000.
Regulators surveyed producers as the state reconsiders limits on how many plants each provider may grow at once and other provisions for ensuring adequate supplies to patients.

  • BORDER WALL

Border wall to go up in national monument, wildlife refuge
PHOENIX (AP) — The U.S. government plans on replacing barriers through 100 miles (161 kilometers) of the southern border in California and Arizona, including through a national monument and a wildlife refuge.
The Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday waived environmental and dozens of other laws to build more barriers along the southern border. It's already demolished refuge land in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
New barriers will go up at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a 513 square-mile (1,328-square kilometer) park named after the unique cactus breed that decorates it, and Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, which is largely a designed wilderness.
Funding will come from the Defense Department following the emergency declaration that President Donald Trump signed this year after Congress refused to approve more border wall funding.

  • IMMIGRATION-NEW MEXICO

Migrant surge prompts New Mexico city to declare emergency
(Information from: Headlight, http://www.demingheadlight.com)
DEMING, N.M. (AP) — Another New Mexico community has declared an emergency in response to the increasing number of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Deming City Council voted Monday to make the declaration after City Administrator Aaron Sera noted that federal authorities dropped off migrants in Deming last weekend.
The Deming Headlight reports that at last count, 170 Central American migrants have been released in the community.
Shelters in Las Cruces also have been overwhelmed and are running low on food. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's office recently paid to bus several dozen migrants to Colorado, and officials say more bus trips north are possible.
In April, Otero County declared an emergency over concerns that Border Patrol checkpoints in southern New Mexico were forced to close since agents were reassigned to help with the migrant surge.
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