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Jan 15, 2020

US nuclear waste dump takes in first large shipment in yearsCARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. government's only underground nuclear waste repository has taken in its first large shipment in six years, following a process that involved recertification and retraining of workers. The shipment using a special large cask came from the Savannah River Site in South Carolina and included contaminated glove boxes and other large-scale analytical equipment. Officials say the large casks are 14 feet long and weigh about 50,000 pounds. That's more than double the weight of the containers that typically are used to ship waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico.


Superintendent of troubled Espanola schools steps downESPAÑOLA, N.M. (AP) — A superintendent of a troubled New Mexico school district plagued by a teacher shortage is stepping down. Española Public Schools superintendent Bobbie Gutierrez announced this week she will not seek an extension of her contract that expires on June 30. parents and students at Española Valley High School are complaining about an online program many freshmen failed this past semester. The Rio Grande Sun reports a high number of teacher vacancies and lack of substitutes have forced some Española Valley High School to spend class time in the cafeteria taking online classes.


New Mexico puts oil and gas firms on notice due to methaneSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico environmental officials say special infrared cameras have turned up potential emissions violations by several oil and gas operators. The Environment Department has conducted flyover inspections using the cameras. That footage along with other images gathered by citizens are included on the department's online interactive methane map. In response, the agency has sent written notices to the companies asking for an explanation about the emissions and requesting corrections be made. If the companies don't respond, the state says it may launch an investigation or assess civil penalties.


New Mexico jail bans in-person visits, offers video chatsFARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico jail is no longer allowing family and friends to visit detainees in person and will offer only phone or online video chats. The Farmington Daily Times reports the San Juan County Adult Detention Center made the announcement this month. The county says the change will reduce the travel burden for families. But the Massachusetts-based nonprofit Prison Policy Initiative says hundreds of jails and prisons across the United States have moved away from in-person visits. The group and Face to Face Knox found that ending in-person visitation at the Knox County Jail in Knoxville, Tennessee, made the jail more dangerous by increasing the number of assaults on other inmates or staff.


Georgia O'Keeffe Museum is backdrop to US humanities grantsSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The National Endowment for the Humanities is emphasizing private matching investment as it designates $31 million in public grants to support humanities projects in 45 states. The grant projects include the addition of an exhibition building at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and conservation complex in Santa Fe,  New Mexico. National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman Jon Parrish Peede announced the 188 grants at a news conference Tuesday. Local humanities councils will get to disburse another $48 million. Santa Fe is a hub for collectors and creators of Native American and Southwestern art.


New Mexico man given deferred sentence for forged ballotsSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man has received a deferred sentence for forging signatures on applications for absentee ballots in a 2016 municipal election. The Santa Fe New Mexican reported 24-year-old Dyon Herrera pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the municipal code in Espanola. Herrera's sentence allows him to avoid a felony conviction on his record if he completes 18 months of probation without a violation. Herrera's plea agreement included testifying in an election fraud case against Laura Seeds. Herrera says he signed ballot applications at her request while working on a campaign to re-elect her husband, Espanola City Councilor Robert Seeds.


Teen brothers killed in head-on crash in Santa Fe CountySANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office says two teenage brothers are dead following a head-on crash. The office says a 14-year-old boy was a passenger in a car driven by his 16-year-old brother in a rural area of Santa Fe County when the car collided with a pickup Tuesday morning on State 41 north of Moriarity. Sheriff's officials identified the brothers as 16-year-old Pedro Sandoval and 14-year-old Mateo Sandoval. They both lived in the Stanley area. The pickup's 58-year-old driver was treated for injuries that weren't life-threatening.   


Group: Cattle hooves, manure spoiling Southwest US waterwaysFLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Environmentalists are suing the federal government to keep livestock away from rivers and streams in two national forests in New Mexico and Arizona. The Center for Biological Diversity sued the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week. The group argues the agencies aren't doing enough to ensure cows aren't pushing threatened and endangered species into extinction. It's an argument the group made in a courtroom more than 20 years ago. In that case, the Forest Service agreed to remove cattle from much of the riparian areas across hundreds of grazing allotments.