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Gov Supports Monument Review, Bernalillo County Buys Trackers For Released Defendants,

Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management via Flickr
Rio Grande del Norte National Monument

New Mexico Governor Supports Monument Review – Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez says she supports the federal review of two national monuments in New Mexico, saying it's important that the designations follow the intent and spirit of the law.

The two-term Republican governor outlined her comments regarding the Rio Grande del Norte and the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks national monuments in a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Environmentalists supported the monuments, saying the designations have resulted in economic benefits.

Martinez says only anecdotal evidence exists to support those claims.

As for the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks site, she noted there are archaeological sites within the boundaries but the proclamation also lists objects such as grasslands, rattlesnakes and jackrabbits that don't satisfy the intent of the law used to create the monument.

She says such wildlife and landscapes can be found around the state.

Bernalillo County Buys More Trackers For Released DefendantsThe Associated Press

Bernalillo County officials have ordered more GPS monitors for released defendants in response to new pretrial and detention rules handed down by the New Mexico Supreme Court.

KOAT-TV reported Thursday that the new rules went into effect on July 1. The rules are expected to increase the usage of GPS monitors on released defendants instead of holding them in jail or offering bond. This means suspects who commit minor offenses can be released automatically without having to pay a bond, in some cases.

Commissioner Wayne Johnson says the county ordered 35 more trackers for defendants that will arrive next week.

Trackers used by regular defendants cost the county about $4 per day, whereas trackers used by defendants involved with alcohol-related crimes cost the county about $6 a day.

Effort To Bring Water To Eastern New Mexico Inches AlongThe Associated Press

The U.S. government is funneling another $5 million to a pipeline project aimed at bringing billions of gallons of water a year to parts of eastern New Mexico.

One of six congressionally approved rural water projects underway nationwide, the Ute pipeline project has been decades in the making to ease the strain on the Ogallala aquifer, a massive groundwater supply that underlies parts of several states.

Communities along the New Mexico-Texas border are praising the latest infusion of funding, but the federal dollars represent just a fraction of what will be needed to complete the project. The cost has ballooned to more than $500 million.

In all, more than $46 million has been requested by the Bureau of Reclamation for the next fiscal year for the rural water projects.

Last Member Of 'Kind of Blue' Album To Perform In New MexicoThe Associated Press

The last surviving member of the Miles Davis "Kind of Blue" jazz album is scheduled to perform in Albuquerque as part of the New Mexico Jazz Festival.

Percussionist Jimmy Cobb is slated take part in a tribute to saxophonist Dexter Gordon at the Albuquerque Museum on Saturday.

The 88-year-old drummer still performs with his band, Cobb's Mob, and tours internationally.

Cobb was a drummer on the "Kind of Blue" jam session that also featured Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane. It is the best-selling jazz album of all time.

ICE: Iraqi Man In Albuquerque Assaulted OfficerAssociated Press

Federal immigration authorities say an Iraqi Muslim man who is seeking sanctuary at an Albuquerque church is an "ICE fugitive" who was once convicted of assaulting a police officer.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement Thursday that 64-year-old Kadhim Albumohammed was convicted in San Diego, California, in 1996 of a assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest in 1994.

The agency says Albumohammed also was convicted of domestic violence in Merced County, California, in 1997. ICE says that domestic violence made him eligible for removal under U.S. law.

Rebecca Kitson, a lawyer for Albumohammed, says the Albuquerque resident decided to skip his immigration hearing Thursday where he was expected to be detained.

She says there is no evidence that Albumohammed assaulted an officer and that case was one of mistaken identity.

EDITOR'S NOTE: KUNM updated this post to reflect the correct spelling of the name Albumohammed in this Associated Press story.

2nd Hantavirus Death This Year Reported In New MexicoAssociated Press

New Mexico Department of Health officials have reported the second hantavirus death this year in the state.

They say a 53-year-old woman from McKinley County died while a 35-year-old woman in Lincoln County was hospitalized with hantavirus but has recovered.

State health officials say there have been five lab-confirmed cases of hantavirus in New Mexico this year.

In 2016, there were eight cases in the state with five fatalities.

Hantavirus is a severe respiratory disease in humans.

It is passed to humans by infected rodents through urine, droppings or saliva and can be fatal.

People can contract the disease when they breathe in aerosolized virus.

Authorities say the deer mouse is the main carrier of the hantavirus strain found in New Mexico.

Judge Dismisses Suit Against New Mexico Attorney GeneralAssociated Press

A New Mexico district court judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Attorney General Hector Balderas in the firing of six former employees.

District Judge Sarah Singleton ruled this week that Balderas acted within his authority in firing the attorneys shortly after his election in 2014. Singleton also says a two year statute of limitations had run out on allegations of wrongful termination.

Among other accusations, the lawsuit alleged that James Grayson was dismissed in retaliation for his involvement in a legal clash with Balderas while Balderas still served as state auditor.

Grayson and the other fired attorneys asserted that they were not political appointees and could not be fired without cause. Grayson and another attorney sought to be reinstated, while all six fired employees had pursued financial compensation for damages.

Last Member Of 'Kind Of Blue' Album To Perform In New MexicoAssociated Press

The last surviving member of the Mile Davis "Kind of Blue" jazz album is scheduled to perform in Albuquerque as part of the New Mexico Jazz Festival.

Percussionist Jimmy Cobb is slated take part in a tribute to saxophonist, Dexter Gordon, at the Albuquerque Museum on Saturday.

The 88-year-old drummer still performs with his band, Cobb's Mob, and tours internationally.

Cobb was a drummer on the "Kind of Blue" jam session that also featured Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane. It is the best-selling jazz album of all time.

Residents Near Trinity Test Site To Hold Anniversary Vigil Associated Press

New Mexico residents living near the site of the first atomic bomb test 72 years ago are planning a vigil to remember loved ones who have died from cancer.

Tularosa Basin Downwinders have scheduled a candlelight vigil Saturday to honor those advocates say died from diseases related to the atomic explosion.

The group says the Trinity Test on July 16, 1945, irreparably altered the gene pools of residents in surrounding communities such as the historic Hispanic village of Tularosa.

The Downwinders are currently lobbying for compensation and apologies from the U.S. government.

The Trinity Test took place as part of the Manhattan Project, a top-secret World War II nuclear development program run out of the then-secret city of Los Alamos, New Mexico.

UNM Interested In Los Alamos Lab ContractAssociated Press

The University of New Mexico is interested in the competition to manage Los Alamos National Laboratory.

One of the university's senior advisers on national laboratory relations, Joseph Cecchi, said Thursday that school officials are evaluating the bidding process.

The university also threw its hat into the ring when the contract for Sandia National Laboratories was up for bid. That award ended up going to National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia, a subsidiary of Honeywell International.

It was first announced in late 2015 that Los Alamos National Security LLC would be losing its contract to manage the northern New Mexico lab since it failed to earn high enough performance reviews.

Federal officials released a draft request for proposals for the Los Alamos contract on Thursday.

Man Who Shot Officer In Standoff Is UNHM Security Guard Albuquerque Journal

The man who barricaded himself in a house and shot an Albuquerque Police officer is a security guard at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Maximiliano Villegas has been charged with aggravated batter on a police officer, false imprisonment, child abuse and misdemeanor domestic violence charges.

Police were responding to a 911 call from Villegas’ girlfriend, who said he reacted violently when she tried to break up with him. She fled the house with two children, but a third was still inside with Villegas when a SWAT team arrived.

Villegas let the child go but fired on officers, injuring one. Albuquerque Police Department officials said the officer was transported to a hospital but was expected to recover.

Police eventually took Villegas into custody.

US Nuclear Agency Sets Standards For Los Alamos Lab Contract - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

The U.S. agency responsible for overseeing the nation's nuclear weapons cache has released more details on the qualifications that will be required of the next manager of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The birthplace of the atomic bomb and still one of the nation's premier nuclear research facilities, Los Alamos has struggled in recent years with a string of safety lapses involving the handling of plutonium and radioactive waste.

The lab's current multibillion-dollar management contract expires in 2018.

The National Nuclear Security Administration released its draft request for proposals Thursday. It calls for the contractor to foster a "security conscious culture," something watchdog groups have said has been missing.

The documents also are clear the mission at Los Alamos will still revolve around bolstering national security and deterring the international proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

New Mexico Dept Of Indian Affairs Cabinet Secretary ResignsAssociated Press

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez says Department of Indian Affairs Cabinet Secretary Kelly Zunie will be stepping down to pursue other opportunities.

Effective this Friday, Deputy Secretary Suzette Shije will serve as acting cabinet secretary.

Martinez appointed Zunie as cabinet secretary in November 2014.

Zunie was the first woman to lead the department that works with tribes, nations and pueblos throughout the state.

In a statement Wednesday, Martinez says Zunie's leadership helped strengthen schools, improve healthcare and create more economic opportunities for Native American families in New Mexico and her skills and experience will be missed.