Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. MDT

Sep 30, 2019

Team to study historic inscriptions at New Mexico ruinsAZTEC, N.M. (AP) — A Colorado historian is leading a team to survey the historic inscriptions on the ceilings of the 900-year-old ruins in northwestern New Mexico.The Farmington Daily Times reports Fred Blackburn and his team will study lengthy messages — or graffiti — left at the Aztec Ruins National Monument to shed light on how others saw the engineering marvel.Blackburn wants to know the stories of those folks and add historical context to their inscriptions in as many cases as possible.The Aztec Ruins National Monument is made of 400 masonry rooms and is an ancestral pueblo structure that dates back to the 11th to the 13th centuries. White settlers named it after mistakenly believing it was built by Aztecs from central Mexico.


Search continues for small plane missing near Santa FeSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities continue to search for a small plane that might have crashed in the Pecos Wilderness northeast of Santa Fe.Authorities have not identified the two people aboard the single-engine, four-seater plane that disappeared after a refueling stop.They say the pilot and passenger were both from Colorado.New Mexico State Police say the plane took off from Santa Fe Regional Airport at 5:49 p.m. Thursday and air traffic controllers lost radar contact with the aircraft 12 minutes later.State Police say the plane's emergency beacon pinged a mile south of Tererro and that's the aircraft's last known location.The air and ground search began Friday and included State Police, National Guard and Civil Air Patrol aircraft.


Judge blocks extension of fast-track deportations nationwideSAN DIEGO (AP) — A federal judge has blocked the Trump administration's move to vastly extend authority of immigration officers to deport people without allowing them to appear before judges.The policy would allow fast-track deportations to apply to anyone in the country illegally for less than two years. Now, they are largely limited to people arrested almost immediately after crossing the Mexican border.Ruling late Friday in Washington, U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson says the administration violated procedural requirements to first seek public comment and ignored flaws in how the policy has been used on a smaller scale at the border.The Justice Department says the judge overstepped her authority and undermined laws enacted by Congress with careful consideration by the administration on how to enforce them.


Chief: No evidence of corruption in Las Vegas police forceALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A northern New Mexico police chief says his investigation found no evidence of corruption in his department in the wake of suspicions that word of a federal drug investigation was leaked to an alleged trafficker.The Albuquerque Journal reports that Las Vegas Police Chief David Bibb said Friday there was "no evidence of any employee of the police department that would suggest corruption of any kind."The Las Vegas Optic previously reported that a recently unsealed search warrant affidavit indicated that one or more employees of the Las Vegas department may have tried to help the alleged trafficker by providing word of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration investigation.The affidavit cited information from a wiretap.


Flags at half-staff for New Mexico state senatorSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Flags across New Mexico are at half-staff in honor of state Sen. Carlos Cisneros, who died earlier this month of a heart attack.Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered flags lowered Friday in recognition of the long-time lawmaker lying in state. The senator's casket, blanketed by a white cloth adorned with the state seal, was in place in the Rotunda for a public viewing.A funnel service is scheduled Saturday at a church in Santa Fe.Cisneros had recently announced his bid for re-election to represent a vast district that stretches from the state line with Colorado to the outskirts of Los Alamos, including Taos, Peñasco, Truchas and Pojoaque Pueblo.Cisneros joined the Senate in 1985 and went on to play a leading role in annual budget negotiations.


Job growth accelerates in New MexicoSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A vice president and research adviser to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas says job growth in New Mexico is accelerating.Dallas-branch Federal Reserve Vice President Mine Yucel told a panel of state legislators Friday that job growth for the current year already has eclipsed 2018 growth.She says the state economy is on track to add 20,000 jobs by year's end and that construction is the fastest growing sector for employment. Statewide, employment has increased 2.6% since 2018.Yucel also noted a growing dependence by New Mexico state government on revenues from the oil industry.State lawmakers are investing a windfall in tax revenue into road construction, higher public-sector salaries and incentives for the film industry.___This version corrects that construction is the fastest growing sector for jobs.


New Mexico delegation wants firewood ban addressedALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's congressional delegation wants the U.S. Forest Service to quickly address concerns about a threatened owl and to allow firewood gathering and other activities to resume on six Southwest forests.The agency has suspended timber sales, thinning projects, prescribed burns and the sale of firewood permits on five New Mexico forests and one in Arizona.The decision stems from a recent court order in which environmentalists accused the federal government of failing to track Mexican spotted owls.The Forest Service says it can't interpret the order as it sees fit. But the agency says it supports excluding firewood permits from the activities that have been put on hold.A pending motion would modify the court order to exclude firewood cutting and gathering for personal use.


Joe Wilson, skeptic on Iraq War intelligence, dies at age 69SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The former ambassador who disputed U.S. intelligence on Iraq that was used to justify going to war has died. Joseph Wilson was 69.Wilson's ex-wife Valerie Plame confirmed in a text message that Wilson died Friday of organ failure in Santa Fe. She called him a "patriot" with "the heart of a lion."Wilson traveled to Niger to investigate allegations Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein tried to purchase uranium and later alleged that the administration of President George W. Bush twisted prewar intelligence on Iraq to justify war.Subsequently, Plame's identity as a CIA operative was leaked in a scandal that led to the conviction of vice presidential aide Scooter B. Libby for lying to investigators and justice obstruction.President Donald Trump pardoned Libby in 2018.__This version corrects in the first paragraph that Wilson died, not Plame.