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Woman Sues State Police For Excessive Force, Gov. Martinez Works To Elect Other GOP Governors

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Woman Sues New Mexico State Police For Excessive ForceThe Associated Press

An Albuquerque woman is suing New Mexico State Police, saying two officers used excessive force when they shot her in the back.

The Albuquerque Journal reportsthat Roxanne Torres filed a federal lawsuit against the state police for the 2014 encounter.

Police said Torres was driving toward the officers at high speed when they opened fire.

Torres' attorney, Eric Dixon, says Torres was trying to leave the area because she believed she was being carjacked. He says the officers were beside the vehicle and not in danger of being hit.

State Police spokeswoman Sgt. Elizabeth Armijo says the agency does not comment on pending lawsuits.

Susana Martinez Works To Elect Other GOP GovernorsThe Associated Press

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is working to ensure other Republican governors win election in November at a meeting of the Republican Governors Association.

Martinez is the chairwoman of the association that provides financial and strategical backing to help GOP candidates for governor. A spokesman said Martinez spent most of Thursday in Dallas at a meeting of the group

There are 12 elections for governor this year, and half are considered competitive. Democrats holding nine of the contested seats.

Martinez was re-elected in 2014 and has crisscrossed the country this year to campaign for candidates including North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, and attend state GOP conventions, fundraisers and policy talks. Currently, there are 31 Republican governors, 18 Democrats and one independent.

The Republican Governors Association is paying for Martinez's travel.

Santa Fe Police Say Device Was Inert GrenadeThe Associated Press 

Authorities in Santa Fe say a potential explosive device found at the scene of an early morning fight turned out to be an inert hand grenade.

A statement released by city officials says the inert grenade was spotted Thursday morning in a parked vehicle as police investigated a fight in a downtown neighborhood.

Santa Fe police, FBI agents and the New Mexico State Police bomb squad followed up on the discovery, an X-ray was used to examine the object, and it then was removed.

According to the statement, the vehicle was impounded as evidence as authorities continue their investigation.

NMSU Launches Cancer Study Targeting Hispanic MothersAssociated Press

New Mexico State University's College of Health and Social Services has launched a study to examine the impact of cancer on Hispanic families and to develop programs targeting Latinas.

Researchers in the university's Department of Public Health Sciences said this week they are looking for Hispanic mothers who have been diagnosed with cancer in the past two years as participants for the study.

Associate Professor Rebecca Palacios says most of the research on how women and their families cope with cancer is focused on non-Hispanic white participants of middle to upper-middle socio-economic status.

She says the few studies involving racial ethnic minorities typically focus on middle-class African Americans.

Palacios says the team selected the study topic after finding a lack of education programs for cancer patients in the New Mexico-El Paso border region.

New Mexico Tourism Department Creates Development DivisionAssociated Press

The New Mexico Tourism Department has created a new tourism development division aimed at expanding the state's tourism base and help communities develop new tourism products.

The department announced this week the new division will focus on increasing gross receipts taxes and promoting greater economic development opportunities.

The new division comes after analysis earlier this month said the number of travelers to the state in 2015 increased by more than 2 percent to 34 million.

That analysis said visitors generated an estimated $629 million in state and local taxes.

Officials say New Mexico saw record-breaking tourism for the fourth year in a row and created more than 2,500 related tourism jobs last year.

Socialist Prez Candidate Uninvited To Albuquerque School KOB-TV, Associated Press

A socialist presidential candidate scheduled to address students at an Albuquerque high school won't be allowed to speak after all.

KOB-TV in Albuquerque reports Manzano High School this week was told to cancel an appearance by Gloria La Riva, the presidential nominee of The Party for Socialism and Liberation.

Albuquerque Public Schools spokeswoman Monica Armenta says the school didn't follow protocol when it extended the invitation. She says the school invited the candidate without discussing it first with district administrators.

The party says it regrets it was denied the opportunity to speak with students.

La Riva, an Albuquerque native, is the first socialist candidate for president to reach the New Mexico ballot 25 years. She is also on the ballot in seven other states.

La Riva is a graduate of Manzano High School.

New Mexico Seeks Copays From Medicaid PatientsAssociated Press

New Mexico is pursuing federal authority to charge medical co-payments and some other costs to patients enrolled in Medicaid health care for the poor and disabled.

Human Services Secretary Brent Earnest briefed state lawmakers Wednesday on efforts to institute "nominal" co-payments as an incentive to steer patients away from wasteful expenses, such as the use of emergency room services for routine care.

Earnest said the agency has not yet established copayment prices for medical services and certain prescription drugs, or determined how much money the state might save over time.

Federal rules limit cost-sharing on Medicaid to patients who are not in extreme poverty. The state wants to exempt children, pregnant women and Native Americans.

New Mexico National Guard Launches Probe Into BonusesAssociated Press

The New Mexico National Guard says it is investigating if its soldiers received improper enlistment bonuses like those reportedly paid to some soldiers in California.

New Mexico National Guard Spokesman Joseph Vigil said late Tuesday officials are doing "due diligence" to determine if any of New Mexico members were affected.

Vigil did not say if the New Mexico National Guard so far has found any soldiers who received improper enlistment bonuses.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Wednesday ordered the Pentagon to suspend its effort to seek repayments of enlistment bonuses given to thousands of California National Guard members who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The announcement does not end the reimbursement process but postpones collection efforts while the Pentagon and Congress look for a long-term solution.

Researchers: Prescribe Anti-Overdose Drug Alongside OpioidsAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

University of New Mexico researchers have developed a new protocol for patients relying on opioid painkillers: having doctors co-prescribe an anti-overdose drug.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that researchers studied 164 patients at the UNM Pain Center for a year and published their findings in the journal Substance Abuse in April.

Narcotic painkillers were responsible for nearly half of New Mexico's drug overdose deaths in 2014. Many people, however, depend on the drugs to manage chronic pain.

Study co-author and pain center director Dr. Joanna Katzman says researchers found that explaining the use of naloxone to family members and friends of the patients took just 10 minutes. She says that's crucial because the drug can't be self-administered by someone experiencing an overdose.

Airbnb Taxes Boost Income For Santa Fe – Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

The vacation rental company Airbnb will now tax visitors who rent Santa Fe accommodations, adding money to the city's coffers.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that a new agreement between Airbnb and Santa Fe calls for the company to collect what's known as a bed tax or lodgers tax. The 7 percent tax is charged on the total cost of all rentals for 30 days or less.

Airbnb began charging for rentals Aug. 1. Santa Fe collected 60 percent more revenue from short-term rentals this August than it did in August 2015.

In response to complaints from the hospitality industry and others, Santa Fe recently beefed up penalties for rental owners who don't register with the land-use department, which involves tax certification as well as fire and safety inspections.