- CHILE PEPPER WAR
New Mexico, Colorado get fired up over hot peppers
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The long-simmering battle between New Mexico and Colorado over which state grows the best chile is heating up.New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham went on the offensive Wednesday after Colorado Gov. Jared Polis proclaimed on Twitter that hot peppers from Pueblo were the best and would be stocked across a four-state region by a well-known grocery store chain.Polis went on to say stores in Lujan Grisham's state would be supplied with inferior New Mexico chile.Lujan Grisham fired back, saying New Mexico chile is "the greatest in the world" and she's ready for a chile duel.Researchers at New Mexico State University have explained that soil conditions, warmer temperatures, the right amount of water and a longer growing season result in the unique flavor of the state's chile.
- SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY-TRIBES
Tribes gain direct access to FBI sex offender registryALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Justice Department says dozens of tribes will gain direct access to the FBI's National Sex Offender Registry through a tool that has been developed for them.Federal authorities announced Thursday that the system will allow tribes the chance to seamlessly enter data about sex offenders. The information will be included in the FBI's registry.U.S. Attorney General William Barr says the change will help tribal law enforcement officials prevent sex crimes.More than 50 tribes that already are part of what's known as the Tribal Access Program, or TAP, will be able to have direct access to the sex offender database. TAP was started in 2015 and allows tribes to exchange data with national crime information systems.
- CHACO CANYON-DRILLING
Groups call for review of drilling permits near Chaco parkALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Environmental groups and some Navajo officials are calling on U.S. land managers to hold public hearings and conduct a more thorough review of several applications to drill in northwestern New Mexico's San Juan Basin.The groups have outlined their concerns in a letter to Bureau of Land Management state director Tim Spisak.They initially sued in 2015, saying the agency violated environmental and preservation laws in approving drilling permits.A federal appeals court dismissed the preservation claims but did rule that land managers conduct another environmental review for six of the permits. The court concluded the agency needed to consider the cumulative effects on water resources.Environmentalists contend the subsequent review also was deficient and only 10 days were allowed for comment. They're seeking hearings and a 60-day comment period.
- SANTA FE-FATAL SHOOTING
State employee among 2 people found fatally shot in Santa FeSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a state employee is one of the two people found dead in the downtown Santa Fe area.The name of the woman wasn't immediately released Thursday afternoon.Santa Fe police earlier said a man and a woman both appeared to have been fatally shot but didn't identify either person.Police say there isn't a suspect at large, which could mean the deaths resulted from a murder-suicide or double suicide.The Albuquerque Journal reports two bodies were found in an SUV parked near the New Mexico Supreme Court and state Public Education Departments buildings around 1 p.m.In a statement, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham called the incident "a horrific tragedy" and says the state employee "was tragically and violently taken from us too soon."
- SMUGGLING ARREST-IMMIGRATION
Arizona woman accused of smuggling after Border Patrol stop(Information from: Las Cruces Sun-News, http://www.lcsun-news.com)COLUMBUS, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Border Patrol says an Arizona woman has been arrested after an agent stopped a van carrying 10 people suspected of entering the country illegally.The Las Cruces Sun-News reported Wednesday that 33-year-old Evelyn Limas of Casa Grande has been charged with felony smuggling following the stop last week near the New Mexico border town of Columbus.Limas' court-appointed lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the allegations.Court documents say the agent stopped the van after it was observed picking up a group of people who had crossed the border.According to the documents, Limas told the agent that she was an Uber driver and was taking the group to Ruidoso.The 10 passengers were arrested and taken to the Deming Border Patrol Station.___
- HOSPITAL EXPANSION-ALBUQUERQUE
Presbyterian Hospital plans Albuquerque campus expansionALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Presbyterian Hospital is planning to expand its downtown Albuquerque campus with the construction of an 11-story tower.Presbyterian Healthcare Services announced Wednesday the $260 million project that will add 144 patient rooms, bringing the hospital's room total to 656.Hospital officials say the project that's expected to be completed in 2022 aims to cut down wait times and modernize patient rooms.All of the new rooms will be private.Officials say the expansion will double the size of the emergency room waiting area.The hospital also is building a new parking garage that will add 800 spaces to the campus. The hospital expects the structure to be completed next year.
- WILD HORSES-ADVISORY BOARD
Lethal measures off table for controlling wild horse herdsBOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Trump administration will not pursue lethal measures such as euthanasia or selling horses for slaughter to deal with what officials say is an ecological and fiscal crisis caused by too many wild horses on rangelands in the U.S. West.U.S. Bureau of Land Management Acting Director Casey Hammond told the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board on Thursday that those options are not on the table.The agency is preparing a report requested by Congress on potential solutions for the wild horse problem.Federal officials say the nearly 90,000 wild horses in 10 Western states are more than three times appropriate levels. Officials estimate that up to 18,000 foals are born each year.Another 50,000 wild horses are being held in corrals at a cost of $50 million annually.