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

Jun 12, 2019

US Air Force base gets upgrade for 'space defense'(Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com)ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Air Force has begun construction on a facility at Kirtland Air Force Base that officials say will play a role in the proposed "space defense."The Albuquerque Journal reports the Air Force Research Laboratory's $12.8 million Space Control Laboratory will consolidate efforts on the New Mexico base.The new facility will include office and lab space for 65 civilian and military contractors. It will contain a 5,000 square-foot (1,524 square-meter) high-bay laboratory space and more than 5,000 square feet (1,524 square meters) of secure office, laboratory and meeting space.Air Force Col. Eric Felt says space is now "a war-fighting domain."President Donald Trump has proposed creating a new U.S. Space Force — a plan that has hit widespread resistance on Capitol Hill.___


Man arrested in Albuquerque killing of Native American womanALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque police have arrested a man in the 2017 killing of a Native American woman who was fatally stabbed and found decapitated in a ditch.Police and court records say 31-year-old Andrew Garcia Jr. was arrested Monday and remained jailed Wednesday on suspicion of murder in the killing of 39-year-old Audra Wills.Her death stirred concern among advocates for the homeless and Native American community in Albuquerque.Police say two friends of Garcia, 30-year-old Eric Emerson and 33-year-old Damaris Marquez, were arrested on suspicion of tampering with evidence. They're accused of disposing of Willis' body.Court records don't list defense attorneys who could comment on the allegations.Deputy Police Chief Art Gonzalez said the arrests capped "a long and arduous investigation" and he credited the lead detective for persevering.


Flood warning issued for San Juan River in New MexicoBLOOMFIELD, N.M. (AP) — A flood warning is in effect along the San Juan River in rural northwestern New Mexico due to releases of runoff from Navajo Dam.The National Weather Service said Wednesday its warning is in effect between Navajo Dam and Bloomfield in San Juan County until Thursday evening.According to the weather service, that river was cresting Wednesday morning but was expected to gradually fall below flood stage.The county Office of Emergency Management says there's a possibility of minor flooding that "it is not expected to be a great impact."The office says it is discouraging recreational activities on the river due to swift flows, debris and impassible bridges.The dam is 55 miles (65 kilometers) east of Farmington.


18-year-old convicted in shooting to be sentenced as adult(Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com)ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Albuquerque man who was convicted for his role in a deadly drive-by shooting that occurred when he was 15 will be sentenced as an adult.The Albuquerque Journal reports the ruling Tuesday by Judge Daniel Ramczyk means 18-year-old Carlos Alires will not be sentenced under the juvenile system where he could have been released when he turns 21.The judge said he does not believe that Alires will receive "some kind of magic bullet treatment" to turn him into a "law abiding, safe, functioning individual" within the next two year.Alires and others were convicted in the death of 18-year-old Aliyah Garcia.Alires' attorney, David Serna, says the ruling was a disappointment and a shock. He plans to file an appeal.___


Records: Unused Route 66 bus stops cost Albuquerque $300K(Information from: KOAT-TV, http://www.thenewmexicochannel.com/index.html)ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Unused bus stops for a delayed rapid transit system along Route 66 in Albuquerque are costing the city hundreds of thousands to maintain.KOAT-TV reports records show the city of Albuquerque spent more than $300,000 to maintain the empty bus stops. The money was used to pick the garbage, power wash and for electricity at 19 bus stops.Albuquerque's bus system spokesman Rick De Reyes says the city has an obligation to keep the empty stops clean.The multimillion-dollar Albuquerque Rapid Transit, known as ART, was supposed to be running by the end of 2017 but it has yet to launch.The city recently shipped more than a dozen electric buses back to the manufacturer after Albuquerque officials said they weren't working properly.___


Groups sue to force federal protections for prairie chickensWASHINGTON (AP) — Three conservation groups are suing the federal government to force it to protect the lesser prairie chicken and its habitats.The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia by the Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians.The lawsuit alleges that the U.S. Interior Department's Fish and Wildlife Service has not done enough to protect the bird. The groups want the agency to determine whether the lesser prairie chicken is a threatened or endangered species.The Interior Department said it cannot comment on pending litigation. The bird was listed as threatened in 2014 but a federal court overturned the designation.The bird roams parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado, but the groups said fewer than 38,000 remain.


New Mexico city famous for UFO event trademarks new logoROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico city known for its proximity to arguably the most famous UFO event in the United States has trademark protection for its alien-inspired logo.The city of Roswell said Tuesday it received its requested trademark certification from the New Mexico Secretary of State's Office.The new bright green logo includes the silhouette of a flying saucer within the letter "R."The trademark will be in effect for 10 years and can be renewed when it nears expiration.Officials say the logo is protected from unauthorized use by other entities or individuals. That will ensure it remains unique to Roswell, providing an identifiable graphic that people will associate with the city.The site of a supposed UFO crash in 1947, Roswell has an annual extraterrestrial festival that draws thousands.


New Mexico rural airports get $14M in federal grantsCARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — Rural airports in New Mexico have been awarded nearly $14 million to federal grants for needed upgrades.Sixteen regional airports across the state will receive the money from the Federal Aviation Administration for maintenance and safety measures.In Carlsbad, The Cavern City Air terminal was awarded about $789,000 for fiscal year 2018 to solve a bottleneck where its two runways intersect with the taxiway.The Lea County Regional Airport in Hobbs, New Mexico, was awarded $2 million to improve the Runway 21 safety area.Statewide, funding includes nearly $5 million for runway reconstruction for the Jetport at Santa Teresa and nearly $3.5 million to reconstruct runway safety areas at Four Corners Airport in Farmington.