ABQ Council Oppose Waste Storage Project, Court Program In Dona Ana County Focuses On Veterans

May 28, 2018

Albuquerque City Council Oppose Waste Storage ProjectThe Associated Press & The ABQ Journal

The Albuquerque City Council is opposing the transportation of radioactive waste by railway through the city for temporary storage in southeastern New Mexico.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that city councilors voted 4-3 to voice their opposition to storing spent fuel in a facility in Lea County, halfway between Carlsbad and Hobbs.

The vote was a reaction to a company's application for a license to store up to 100,000 tons of spent nuclear reactor fuel in a temporary in-ground storage facility.

Holtec International has applied for a 40-year license with Nuclear Regulatory Commission to store thousands of metric tons of nuclear waste at the site.

Court Program In Dona Ana County Focuses On VeteransThe Associated Press & The Las Cruces Sun-News

A new court program has opened in Dona Ana County that focuses on the substance abuse and mental health issues facing military veterans who have been charged with non-violent crimes.

Las Cruces Sun-News reports that the first hearing in the 3rd Judicial District Court's Veterans Treatment Court program was held on Wednesday.

It's the first veterans court program in southern New Mexico

The judicial district already has other "problem-solving courts," such as a drug court for juveniles and adults that tries to help rehabilitate repeat offenders whose offenses are driven by substance abuse.

Veterans participating in the new program will be given individualized treatment and counseling programs that run an average of 14 months or longer.

Bernalillo County Opens Center For Recently Released InmatesThe Associated Press & The ABQ Journal

New Mexico's largest county has opened a new re-entry center aimed at helping recently released inmates find access to temporary shelters, housing, food, medicine, and drug rehabilitation.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the Bernalillo County's Resource Re-Entry Center opened Tuesday. The center will be open 24 hours a day for men and women.

County Manager Julie Morgas Baca said most of the agencies and programs that will have a presence at the center already exist throughout the city.

It replaces a system that operated for years — one in which inmates released from the Metropolitan Detention Center were dropped off at a street corner, day or night, in Downtown Albuquerque. County Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins said that was a dangerous way to operate, particularly for women.

New Mexico Lawmakers Mull Outsiders' Access To Roundhouse Associated Press, The Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico legislators are considering a review of policy when it comes to outside groups using the statehouse chambers.

Democratic House Speaker Brian Egolf, of Santa Fe, told the Albuquerque Journal he is questioning whether other groups should be permitted to occupy the Roundhouse.

Egolf says other lawmakers are concerned that hate groups could request use of legislative space.

New Mexico's House and Senate Chambers are used by lawmakers during the session, which ranges from 30 days to 60 days.

Legislators revised a policy in 2012 that would allow outside groups use for educational events but with permission.

Under the policy, no commercial or political events can occur unless organizers get approval from the Legislative Council.

Democratic Sen. Cisco McSorley, of Albuquerque, says restricting access goes against free speech.

Evacuation Lifted For Fire At New Mexico, Colorado Border – Associated Press

Fifteen people were allowed to return to their homes near the New Mexico and Colorado border after being evacuated during a fire.

Officials said Sunday that the evacuation was lifted and the blaze was 40 percent contained. Crews are using both ground and air equipment to get the fire under control.

The lightning-caused fire broke out Friday in San Juan County about five miles south of the state line and west of Navajo Lake State Park near Highway 511.

The Colorado Department of Transportation says the CO172 highway is restricted to southbound traffic at the state line due to the fire.

KRQE reported that firefighting crews from both states were on scene. The station said they're using the Cottonwood Day Use area at Navajo Lake State Park for housing.

Wildfire In Gila National Forest Grows In Size – Associated Press

Officials from Gila National Forest say a wildfire has grown nearly 3,000 acres in size, covering a total of 15,313 acres as of Sunday.

Incident management authorities say some of the fire's growth on Saturday was due to burnout operations aimed at keeping it from spreading. Crews were able to conduct burnout operations and proactively scout out the area when high winds held off until later in the day.

The blaze was 10 percent contained as of Sunday morning. Fire conditions are still extreme, with high temperatures and low humidity.

The fire started on Tuesday, and the cause is still under investigation.

More than 500 firefighters and other personnel are assigned to the fire, which is located northeast of Eagle Peak Lookout.

The area around the fire is closed, and the Continental Divide Trail has been rerouted.

Visitors Travel To Church To Witness Weeping Statue – Associated Press, The Hobbs News-Sun

A Virgin Mary statue at a Hispanic Catholic church in southeastern New Mexico is drawing visitors from around the region because believers say it appears tears are flowing from the statue's face.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports visitors of the bronze statue located inside the auxiliary building of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church said Tuesday the statue wept, like it did for several hours last Sunday.

Judy Ronquillo, who was in the building Tuesday when it took place, says the statue began crying as the group inside the church finished a Rosary.

Laura Cisneros, who was with her family at the Sunday Mass when the statue began crying, was also present Tuesday. She says it was "amazing."

Ronquillo says Tuesday's visitors came from throughout southeastern New Mexico and west Texas, as far as San Antonio and El Paso.