Local and State News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal energy experts say New Mexico's petroleum and natural gas production make the state the third largest net energy supplier to the nation and there's substantial potential when it comes to solar, wind and geothermal energy.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration updated the state's energy profile this week.

The agency says New Mexico is second only to Wyoming in the number of producing mineral leases on federal lands.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez has proposed spending $9.5 million on two high-tech research and development initiatives.

The governor says the aim is to attract top faculty members to New Mexico's colleges and universities and to fund innovative projects that have the potential to contribute to the state's economic growth.

Martinez unveiled her proposals during visits Thursday to the University of New Mexico and New Mexico Tech.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque's two city animal shelters are full and the lack of space means some people who want to surrender their pets are temporarily turned away

The shelters have accepted fewer animals and also euthanized fewer but it's been keeping the animals it gets longer in hopes of them getting homes.

To cope with the current shortage, officials are urging owners to keep their pets or find new homes for them on their own.

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — A Navajo Nation official says the tribe's own law prohibiting same-sex marriage isn't affected by the New Mexico Supreme Court's decision legalizing marriage for gay and lesbian couples in New Mexico.

Deswood Tome, an adviser to Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly, told The Daily Times that the tribe's own law prohibiting same-sex marriage still stands.

That law enacted in 2005 says same-sex marriage says same-sex marriage is "void and prohibited" but it also recognizes marriages created outside tribal lands.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Gay marriage opponents are vowing the fight is not over despite a New Mexico Supreme Court decision Thursday saying it was unconstitutional to bar same-sex couples from getting marriage licenses.

State Sen. William Sharer, a Farmington Republican, says he will continue his push for a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage.

And groups like the Flora Vista-based Voices for Family Values say their members already are gathering signatures for petitions to present to lawmakers during the upcoming session in January.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A 47-year-old Albuquerque man faces over five years in prison for his convictions in a real estate fraud case.

Rodney Chavez pleaded guilty in September to wire fraud and money laundering charges, and he was sentenced Monday by a federal judge in Albuquerque.

He was ordered to serve a 63-month prison sentence and pay restitution of approximately $847,000.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Santa Fe hospital says it didn't do anything wrong and that it will appeal a jury's $2.25 million award in a medical negligence case stemming from the 2008 death of a 20-year-old woman.

The Associated Press reports that a jury on Friday made the award against Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center to the family of Mercedes Christopherson.

She died from a blood infection after being treated for pancreatitis. The death occurred several weeks after she was initially treated and after several hospital discharges and admittances.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — One of New Mexico's American Indian tribes is suing the state over failed negotiations concerning its gaming compact.

Pojoaque Pueblo Gov. George Rivera says the agreement being sought by Gov. Susana Martinez's administration would further restrict tribal gambling operations and would increase taxes, fees and other charges.

Rivera says such a compact would not help New Mexico's gaming industry compete with other states, especially since casino revenues have been flat since 2008 and government funding for tribes has diminished.

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A suburban Albuquerque teacher who told a black student that Santa Claus is white has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Rio Rancho school district spokeswoman Kim Vesely confirmed yesterday that the teacher is out of the classroom while the incident is being investigated.

The teacher's comments came after students at Cleveland High School were told they could come to class dressed as Santa, an elf or a reindeer.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Two bars in New Mexico have been fined and had their liquor licenses suspended for over-serving patrons who went on to cause fatal drunken-driving crashes.

The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department's Alcohol and Gaming Division announced the penalties yesterday.

The Blue Corn Cafe and Brewery in Santa Fe was fined $10,000 and had its liquor license suspended for 15 days spanning two weekends.

SANTA TERESA, N.M. (AP) — Border agents in New Mexico have seized nearly 400 pounds of marijuana at the Santa Teresa crossing.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations says officers seized 372 pounds of marijuana worth $297,600 Wednesday.

The drugs were found concealed in a pickup truck with the help of drug-sniffing dog named Murphy.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Prairie dogs are unpopular in some places, to the point that the burrowing rodents are considered target practice for ranchers and farmers.

Meanwhile, Santa Fe has spent $559,000 in the past 12 years to relocate prairie dogs from the northern New Mexico city to a federal conservation area.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the critters are flushed from their dens with a mild soapy solution and then given a bath. The city then fattens up the prairie dogs before they're sent on their way.

ALBQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Santa Fe's school district still has a shot at being awarded a $10 million federal grant but Albuquerque's district is out of the running for the $25 million grant it sought.

The Associated Press reports that Santa Fe's school system is among 31 finalists selected from among 200 applicants from 21 states.

At stake is a $120 million pot of federal money that will be divvied up in so-called "Race to the Top" grants.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State University is moving to standardize the approximately 200 security cameras on its campus and give the university police department real-time access to the images.

According to the Associated Press, the cameras include both ones inside and outside of buildings on NMSU's campus.

University officials say the cameras can help prevent and solve thefts and other crimes and also help police detect and respond to other emergency situations.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico livestock auction lot was used by a state agency to care for abused horses at a time when the proprietor faced animal cruelty charges.

The Associated Press reports that the Livestock Board hired Southwest Livestock Auction of Los Lunas to care for four abused horses for 13 days in September.

Proprietor Dennis V. Chavez at that time still faced unrelated animal cruelty charges dating from four emaciated horses that animal rights activists discovered on his property in 2012.