Monday News Roundup: Gov. Martinez Reports $4M Re-Election Cash Balance

Apr 14, 2014

Researchers Find No Signs Of Radiation In Water Near WIPP - The Associated Press

Water samples from three reservoirs near the federal government's underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico show no signs of contamination after a radiation leak at the plant.

Waste Isolation Pilot Plant officials said Saturday that independent researchers found the samples had no trace amounts of radioactive particles.

The Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center says the areas that had traces have returned to previous levels before the Feb. 14 radiation leak.

Officials say the results confirm what the plant's own monitoring program found.

The research center is associated with New Mexico State University.

Technicians there collected samples March 20 and March 28 from Brantley Lake, Lake Carlsbad and Red Bluff Lake.

The samples include shallow and deep water and sediment.

They say the sediment samples are still being processed.

Edgewood Man Accused Of Illegally Selling Feathers - The Associated Press

A New Mexico man has been arrested for allegedly selling feathers from federally protected eagles.

Federal prosecutors say 60-year-old Dale N. Smith, of Edgewood, has been charged with violating federal wildlife laws.

Smith was arrested last Thursday and made his initial appearance in federal court in Albuquerque the following day.

He's been ordered detained pending release to a halfway house under pretrial supervision. It was unclear Monday if he has a lawyer.

Prosecutors say Smith after an undercover investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Smith allegedly sold a feather fan containing 21 bald eagle feathers and a medicine wheel containing eight bald eagle feathers to the undercover agent for $1,000.

He also allegedly offered to sell a headdress with bald eagle feathers to the undercover agent for $2,000.

Gov. Martinez Reports $4M Re-Election Cash Balance The Associated Press

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez has raised $1.5 million for her re-election in the past six months, giving her big fundraising advantage over Democratic challengers.

The Martinez reported cash-on-hand of $4.2 million after spending nearly $453,000 since October.

Monday was the deadline for candidates to file state campaign finance reports.

Five Democrats are running for their party's gubernatorial nomination in the June 2 primary election.

Santa Fe businessman Alan Webber has raised about $837,000, including $450,000 in personal loans and contributions.

Webber's campaign had a cash balance of nearly $440,000, followed by Lawrence Rael with $228,767. Attorney General Gary King had cash-on-hand of $89,178 and Sen. Linda Lopez of Lopez had $19,289.

No report was immediately available for Sen. Howie Morales of Silver City on the secretary of state's web site.

NM Congressman Hosts Prairie Chicken Meetings  The Associated PressU.S. Rep. Steve Pearce is hosting a series of town halls to discuss the effects of the federal government's decision to list the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species.

Pearce says officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Land Management have been invited to the meetings.

The first town hall was Monday afternoon in Lovington. Meetings are also scheduled in Roswell on Tuesday and Portales on Wednesday.

Pearce says residents have the right to ask government officials why they made the decision to list the chicken. He says the choice affects the rights of ranchers, farmers and energy companies.

State officials have voiced their concerns with the listing, saying it stands to decimate economic development in southeastern New Mexico.

Gallup Diocese Plans Advertising On Claims Process The Associated PressA federal judge is ordering the Diocese of Gallup to mount an advertising campaign and post notices to alert the public about the process for filing claims in its bankruptcy case.

The order signed Friday by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge David Thuma also sets an Aug. 11 deadline for people who allege they were sexually abused by priests in the diocese to file claims in the bankruptcy case.

Diocese attorney Susan Boswell says the diocese plans to spend up to $40,000 for newspaper advertisements and television and radio spots.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, the advertising campaign will be accompanied by postings of notices in churches, Navajo Nation chapter houses and other sites.

Teen Lost While Hiking Near Los Alamos Found - The Associated Press

A teenager who was lost while out hiking near Los Alamos has been located.

Los Alamos County spokeswoman Julie Habiger says rescue crews are helping the 15-year-old girl out of White Rock Canyon, just a few hours after she had been reported missing.

Habiger says the girl suffered a minor injury.

She says the teen was found on the Red Dot Trail through a rescue effort coordinated by the Los Alamos police and fire departments.

Authorities say emergency crews are staying nearby as a precaution.

Habiger says the 1-mile trail descends at a steep rate into the canyon and is known for loose rocks.

Officials say only children who are experience hikers should go on that trail.

The girl's identity has not been released.

Udall To Host Discussion On Child Wellbeing In NM - The Associated Press

The wellbeing of children in New Mexico will be on the agenda during a round table discussion with U.S. Sen. Tom Udall and community leaders.

The New Mexico Democrat says he wants to talk about steps that can be taken at the federal level to lift children and families out of poverty.

Officials with New Mexico Voices for Children and Youth Development, Inc. will participate in Monday's discussion.

New Mexico Voices for Children has been pushing a broad agenda to address the findings of a recent national survey that ranked New Mexico last in child wellbeing.

Some proposals involve raising the minimum wage and boosting spending on early childhood education.

New Mexico is also reforming its child welfare system to ensure abused and neglected children don't fall through the cracks.

New Mexico High Court To Hear Tribal-State Dispute - The Associated Press

The New Mexico Supreme Court is being asked to referee a dispute between Gov. Susana Martinez's administration and the Fort Sill Apache tribe.

The state's highest court holds a hearing Monday on the tribe's request to force the governor to recognize it as a New Mexico tribe.

The federal government designated a 30-acre parcel in southern new Mexico near Deming as the tribe's reservation in 2011. There's a smoke shop on the land, but efforts to open a casino have been blocked.

The governor's lawyers contend the Fort Still Apache are an Oklahoma tribe. That's where tribal government offices are located.

The tribe is asking the court to order Martinez to invite it to annual tribal-state summits, and it wants to qualify for state funding for capital improvements.

New Mexico LULAC To Hold Convention In Las Cruces - The Associated Press

New Mexico LULAC has announced it will hold its state convention in Las Cruces.

The civil rights group says the 85th Annual New Mexico LULAC State Convention will be held May 23 to 26. The group says it will discuss issues around education and the U.S. Justice Department investigation into Albuquerque police.

LULAC was one of the many advocacy groups pushing for a probe of the Albuquerque police amid 37 officer shootings since 2010.

The state convention comes as the organization is planning its national convention in New York in July.