Friday News Roundup: Santa Fe National Forest Lifts Fire Restrictions And More...

Jul 19, 2013

Santa Fe National Forest Lifts Fire RestrictionsThe Associated Press

A northern New Mexico national forest that experienced several major wildfires in June is lifting fire restrictions that have been in effect for much this summer.

The Santa Fe National Forest's announcement of its lifting of the restrictions effective Friday morning says increased moisture from monsoon rain in the past several weeks has dramatically the danger of wildfires.

The forest says the areas of the Tres Lagunas, Thompson Ridge and Jaroso fires will remain closed for public safety.

New Mexico's Jobless Rate Edges Up SlightlyThe Associated Press

State officials report that New Mexico's unemployment increased slightly last month and that job growth remains slow.

The Department of Workforce Solutions said Friday that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.8 percent in June. It was 6.7 percent in May and 7.0 percent in June 2012.

State officials say New Mexico gained 7,200 jobs since June 2012, with a job growth rate of 0.9 percent.

The leisure and hospitality industry accounted for the largest increase, picking up 3,700 jobs since last year.

Officials say the financial industry added 2,300 jobs and construction industry gained 1,900 jobs.

The state has lost 3,400 federal jobs since June 2012 with 2,400 coming in local government. Officials say the sharp drop is due to seasonal employment and will settle when schools resume classes.

Navajos Approve Lease Extension For Power PlantThe Associated Press The Navajo Nation Council has approved a lease extension for a northern Arizona coal-fired power plant that sends water to the state's biggest cities.

The council voted 16-6 in favor of the legislation during its session late Thursday.

Under the measure, the lease for the Navajo Generating Station near Page would expire in 2044. The agreement boosts yearly payments to the Navajo Nation from $3 million to $43 million.

Supporters say extending the lease preserves jobs and revenue to the tribe. It also keeps the coal mine that feeds the plant in operation.

Salt River Project operates the plant. The electricity generated by the plant delivers water to Arizona's most populated areas through a series of canals and ensures water rights settlements with American Indian tribes are met.