Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. MDT

Aug 8, 2019

National forest planning spurs worries for Hispanic ranchersALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Hispanic ranchers in New Mexico are asking President Donald Trump and top federal officials to ensure the latest round of forest management planning considers traditional values and land uses that date back centuries.The Northern New Mexico Stockman's Association contends local managers have been unwilling to address their concerns about a proposed management plan for the Carson National Forest.They're pushing for the president to intervene, citing a long history in which they claim the federal government has ignored the property rights of Hispanic ranchers in the Southwest.U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a recent letter to the ranchers that forests in New Mexico have acknowledged the region's unique history and its traditional and cultural ways of life.Meetings on the plan are scheduled for the coming weeks.


New Mexico denies ICE request for access to workforce dataSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico has denied repeated requests by federal immigration authorities for direct access to an employment-records database.New Mexico Workforce Solutions Department Secretary Bill McCamley said Thursday that he has twice notified officials at Immigration and Customs Enforcement that the state will not provide direct, complete access to an unemployment database with extensive records about employees and employers throughout the state.McCamley says the state will consider requests by the federal immigration authorities for specific information about employers that include an explanation and justification.In email correspondence, an ICE investigative assistant based in El Paso, Texas, said that access to New Mexico's workforce database was needed to quickly fulfill requests by case agents.An ICE spokeswoman had no immediate comment and the investigative assistant did not return calls.


Autopsy shows FBI agent shot man 8 times in Albuquerque(Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com)ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An autopsy report indicates that an off-duty FBI agent shot a Utah veterinarian eight times when he entered an Albuquerque brewery with a gun.The Albuquerque Journal reported Wednesday that the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator report shows 43-year-old Cody Wrathall was shot in the chest, arms and back on June 8.The FBI has released little information about the brewery shooting, saying it's still under investigation.FBI spokesman Frank Fisher declined to discuss the case Wednesday.The state report says Wrathall had sat at a table with two agents and later exited the brewery.The report say he went back inside, brandished a gun and possibly fired it before he was shot.___


Smokey Bear, fire prevention icon in US, to turn 75CAPITAN, N.M. (AP) — Smokey Bear, the icon of the longest-running public service campaign in the U.S., is set to turn 75.Birthday parties are scheduled to take place this week in honor of the bear that promotes forest fire prevention.The decision to use the Smokey Bear character happened on Aug. 9, 1944, when the U.S. Forest Service and the Ad Council agreed a fictional bear would be the fire prevention campaign symbol.A badly burned cub found after a 1950 fire in New Mexico's Capitan Mountains was named Smokey Bear and was used in promotional campaigns.The Gila National Forest in Silver, New Mexico, and Wingfield Park in the town of Ruidoso will hold birthday parties for the bear.Parties also are scheduled in Reading, Pennsylvania, and Entiat, Washington.


Number of migrants waiting at US border surges to 40,000TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — At least 40,000 migrants who have reached the U.S. border with Mexico are on waiting lists for an initial attempt to seek asylum or are waiting for a court hearing in the U.S. after being sent back.The figure — based on reporting by The Associated Press and Mexican government figures — represents a dramatic increase from the start of the year.English-speaking Cameroonians fleeing atrocities of their French-speaking government helped push Tijuana's asylum wait list to 10,000 on Sunday, up from 4,800 just three months earlier.Turning Mexico into a waiting room for U.S. asylum seekers may be the Trump administration's most forceful response yet to a surge of migrants seeking humanitarian protection, many of them Central American families.


Plane spins on runway while landing at Santa Fe airportSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say the Santa Fe Regional Airport was closed for up to two hours Thursday after a small plane spun on a runway while landing.Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said two people were aboard the single-engine plane and that nobody was injured.Lunsford said the plane spun when the pilot "lost directional control while landing."Airport Operations Manager John Dickinson said the plane "was a little banged up" and that closure curtailed flights for over 90 minutes.Dickinson said he didn't have details on the affected flight operations.


New Mexico's medical pot program sees more growthSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Enrollment in New Mexico's medical marijuana program has increased by more than 30% over the past year.The latest monthly report from the state Health Department shows the number of active patients in the program topped 76,000 at the end of July.Participation in the state's medical cannabis program has grown rapidly since chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder were added to a list of qualifying conditions.In June, the list was expanded to include opioid use disorder, Alzheimer's disease, autism spectrum disorder and several degenerative neurological disorders.Producer Ultra Health suggested Wednesday that the state needs to do more outreach to boost patient participation for the new qualifying conditions as only 25 people have qualified under the new conditions collectively.


New Mexico releases plan for contaminated Phillips 66 siteALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico environment officials are reviewing a plan that details options for investigating contaminated groundwater at an industrial site on the edge of Albuquerque.The state Environment Department on Wednesday made public the plan for the Phillips 66 fuel facility.Officials say groundwater collected from monitoring wells at the site contains contaminants that are typically associated with fuel releases — such as ethylene dibromide and benzene.Two distinct plumes of contamination have been documented at the site. Both are less than an acre in size.Officials say no drinking water sources have been impacted.If the Stage I abatement plan is approved, another plan outlining cleanup strategies to remediate the contamination will be required.