Report Details Destructive Dog Head Wildlife, Gary Johnson Has Never Been The Typical Politican

Oct 15, 2016

Final Report Details Destructive New Mexico WildfireAssociated Press

Investigators say a wildfire that destroyed a dozen homes in the Manzano Mountains earlier this year started after a wood-chipping machine struck a rock and sent sparks flying into brush and forest debris.

It took just minutes for a small patch of flames to erupt into a blaze that would burn for weeks and end up costing more than $10 million to put out.

Details of the fire's cause and the response by firefighters are outlined in a report released this week by forest officials.

The Dog Head Fire charred about 28 square miles and forced the evacuation of residents in several communities along the eastern side of the mountain range.

The report says the crew using the machine had a shovel, an axe and one fire extinguisher but didn't fight the flames because they were too intense.

Libertarian's Johnson Has Never Been The Typical PoliticianAssociated Press

Just who is Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party's nominee for president?

He's a former New Mexico governor who earned the nickname "Governor Veto" for his 700-plus vetoes during his two terms.

He's an ultramarathoner and triathlete who's summited Mount Everest.

He's probably best known for advocating legalized marijuana, and he's a longtime marijuana user.

As a presidential candidate, Johnson has grabbed more attention for his stance on drugs and for his difficulty answering foreign policy questions.

He and his running mate, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, represent the only third-party ticket on the ballot in all 50 states.

New Mexico's Corrections Chief To Step Down At End Of MonthAssociated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez says the top corrections official for New Mexico is retiring at the end of the month after nearly five years at the helm of the state's prison system.

Corrections Department Secretary Gregg Marcantel says he is leaving his job to spend more time with his ailing mother.

His retirement comes amid an especially tumultuous year for the department that included the escape of a convicted murderer and another violent felon from a prison van in March, and revelations that probation officers had not monitored a suspect charged in August in the assault and killing of a 10-year-old Albuquerque girl.

Those incidences were not mentioned in the governor's statement announcing Marcantel's resignation.

She says Marcantel had a three-decade law enforcement career.

Feds: Possible Violations At Ex-Uranium Mill In New MexicoAssociated Press, Gallup Independent

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has identified five "apparent violations" at a former uranium mill in western New Mexico.

The Gallup Independent reports the commission said in a recent letter to Homestake Mining Co. of California that it is considering escalated enforcement action. The letter cited a failure to obtain monthly composite samples and the discharge of liquids among the alleged violations.

But the commission stopped short of issuing a notice of violation because it hasn't made its enforcement decision. It is offering the company 30 days to respond.

Jesse Toepfer, a closure manager for Homestake's parent company, said the commission's actions were "pre-decisional" and he couldn't comment.

The site near Grants has been on the national list of cleanup priorities since the early 1980s.

New Mexico Eye 'Safe Program' For Those With WarrantsAssociated Press

Those with bench warrants in New Mexico may be able to avoid arrest thanks to a "Safe Surrender Program" next week.

Officials say those with an outstanding bench warrant issued by any magistrate court in New Mexico or the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court can turn themselves in at the Barelas Community Center in Albuquerque on Oct. 14 to 15.

The program offers individuals an opportunity to appear before a judge to clear a warrant and potentially resolve their case.

By surrendering, officials say people with an outstanding warrant can seek favorable consideration of their case.

Magistrate courts and the Metropolitan Court have limited jurisdiction and handle DWI cases, misdemeanors, traffic violations and civil actions up to $10,000.

Arizona man sentenced for trafficking heroin into New Mexico

A Phoenix man has been sentenced to nearly six years in federal prison for heroin trafficking in New Mexico.

The U.S. Attorney's office for New Mexico says 25-year-old Rodolfo Rene Ley received a 70-month sentence Thursday in Albuquerque under a plea agreement.

He will also be on supervised release for four years after serving his sentence.

Ley was indicted on possession of heroin with intent to distribute and pleaded guilty.

Drug Enforcement Administration agents arrested him May 13 at an Amtrak train station after finding 1 kilogram of heroin under his clothing.

Prosecutors say the case is part of an ongoing initiative by New Mexico to prevent and reduce opioid-related deaths.

Tribe: Navajo Code Talker in Arizona dead at 96

A Navajo Code Talker who recently moved back into the Arizona home he built 60 years ago after the community renovated it has died.

Navajo Nation officials say Dan Akee, Sr., died Friday morning at a hospital at age 96.

The cause of death was not immediately given.

Akee is considered a hero among Navajos.

He was one of hundreds of tribal members who used a World War II code based on their native language to stump the Japanese.

Akee served in the 4th Marine Division.

Akee and his wife had been living in a trailer alongside their home in Tuba City for several years after it fell into disrepair.

A nonprofit housing provider, volunteers and donors all pitched in to fix up the house in February.