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State Will Appeal Ruling On School Funding, Mayor Of Santa Fe Declares State of Emergency

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New Mexico To Appeal Ruling On Adequacy Of School FundingAssociated Press

A judge's ruling won't end the legal fight over whether New Mexico's funding for public schools is adequate.

Public Education Department officials said the state will appeal state District Judge Sarah Singleton's ruling last Friday that New Mexico must provide funding to public schools to ensure at-risk students receive a sufficient education.

Advocacy groups and school districts sued in 2014, accusing the state of failing to meet constitutional obligations to provide a sufficient education for all students.

The case highlighted the plight of English-language learners, Native American youth and students from low-income families.

Singleton's ruling gave the state 60 days to create a plan and set an April 15 deadline for ensuring that schools are adequately funded to provide at-risk students a sufficient education.

Police Identify Body Recovered From Rio Grande GorgeAssociated Press

Authorities say a body recovered from the Rio Grande Gorge has been identified as a man reported missing in May to Albuquerque police.

New Mexico State Police say the Office of the Medical Investigator on Wednesday confirmed the body was that of Ignacio Perez Jr.

The cause and manner of Perez's death remain under investigation.

Perez's vehicle was found by State Police at the Gorge Bridge on May 18.

Search and rescue teams were unable to locate Perez and police say low water levels in the Rio Grande hindered the search.

State police say a body was located by kayakers on Sunday and recovered Tuesday.

Children's Court Judge To Lead National OrganizationAssociated Press

A longtime Children's Court judge in New Mexico has been sworn in as the president of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.

The organization announced Judge John Romero's appointment in a statement Monday, saying he will be the first New Mexico judge to serve in the position.

Romero oversees family and juvenile cases in New Mexico's Second Judicial District, which includes Albuquerque.

Last year, Romero was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on the Sex Trafficking of Children and Youth in the United States. The committee advises federal authorities on responses to child sex trafficking.

Appeals Court Upholds Verdict In Police Whistleblower CaseAssociated Press

A New Mexico Court of Appeals ruling upholds a San Juan County jury's verdict in favor of a former Farmington Police Department detective who successfully sued under the state whistleblower protection law.

The ruling Monday upholds a state District Court's verdict for Frank Dart and awards him $4,000 in economic damages and $200,000 for emotional pain and suffering.

The case stemmed from Dart's contention that the Police Department had failed to promptly investigate reports of child abuse and neglect referred to police by the state's child welfare agency.

New Mexicans Team Up For Latest Independent FilmAssociated Press

A Las Cruces director and a producer from Santa Fe are teaming up for an independent film about a man who is struggling with his faith and is uneasy about getting older.

The New Mexico Film Office says "Walking with Herb" will begin shooting in September in Las Cruces and Artesia. It will star Edward James Olmos, George Lopez and Mary McDonnell.

Santa Fe native Brian Espinosa is the producer and chief executive of Optimism Entertainment. The director is Ross Marks. The story was adapted for the screen by Mark Medoff, another New Mexico resident.

The production will employ more than 50 New Mexico crew members, 25 actors from the state and about 580 extras.

Film Office Director Nick Maniatis says "Walking with Herb" includes an impressive roster of homegrown talent and will feature New Mexico's diverse landscapes.

NMSU Professors Get $1.4M To Study Mosquito ReproductionAssociated Press

Professors at New Mexico State University have received a grant worth nearly $1.5 million to study mosquitoes in the hopes of finding new ways to control their population.

The National Institutes of Health is supporting the research of Immo Hansen and Omar Holguin. They're focusing on how the insects move amino acids through different tissues.

Hansen says the amino acids come from a person's blood when they are bitten. The mosquitoes use the amino acids to build yolk proteins that are used to make eggs and reproduce.

The research team also includes Dmitri Boudko from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago.

The team will be working with the Yellow Fever mosquito, which has a dense population in southern New Mexico and is a known carrier for Dengue fever, Zika virus and Chikungunya.

Limited Pecan Weevil Quarantine Eyed In New MexicoHobbs News-Sun, Associated Press

State officials are still discussing ways to eradicate an invasive bug threatening New Mexico's pecan industry.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports pecan growers will have an opportunity to discuss a permanent pecan weevil quarantine next month as a series of public hearings.

The New Mexico Department of Agriculture has proposed the establishment of an interior quarantine to protect pecan growers outside of eastern New Mexico.

Eddy, Chaves, Lea and Curry counties were quarantined since last November, but Curry was recently deemed controlled.

In late 2016, and January of this year, the weevil was found in pecan orchards in multiple counties in southeast New Mexico.

After Months, New Mexico Governor's Office Updates Schedule- Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez's schedule was updated online Thursday after going months without any new entries.

The change came after the Santa Fe New Mexican reported that the schedule listed on her website hadn't been updated by her staff since March.

The schedule offers insight into what groups meet with the governor and how she spends her time. It now shows she traveled to Taiwan in June. Meetings with Japanese trade officials followed in July along with events related to a recent meeting of governors from around the U.S.

A maintenance issue was to blame for the problem, Martinez's office said.

The Associated Press had sued Martinez in an effort to get public records related to her travels and work schedule, among other things. That case was eventually settled and was among the complaints filed by media and watchdog groups against Martinez, who had promoted herself as an advocate of a transparent government.

Man Injured In Bear Attack Expected To Recover- Associated Press

Authorities say a man who was attacked by a black bear while walking his dogs in northeastern New Mexico is expected to recover after having surgery.

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish conservation officers say the attack happened Wednesday in a rural area southeast of Raton, a community near the New Mexico-Colorado border.

State police alerted conservation officers after receiving a call from the 36-year-old man, who was flown to an Albuquerque hospital for treatment.

He was not identified, but authorities on Thursday said doctors were hopeful for a quick recovery.

Game and Fish spokeswoman Tristanna Bickford said investigators believe it was happenstance that the man and bear crossed paths. She said the bear weighed between 300 and 400 pounds.

The man fatally shot the bear during the attack. The animal will be tested for rabies.

Works Begins To Restore New Mexico Vietnam Veterans MemorialLas Cruces Sun-News, Associated Press

Volunteers and city officials have begun work to restore a Vietnam War-era Huey helicopter at the Las Cruces Vietnam Veterans Memorial that was damaged by vandals.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports a group of Las Cruces Parks and Recreation employees and community volunteers started restoration Monday and hope to be done in a week.

The project to restore a Bell UH-1 Iroquois helicopter after it was damaged by vandals will cost about $20,000.

Damage to the helicopter included a cracked windshield, a shattered downward vision window and a broken searchlight.

Police have charged two teens for damaging the memorial.

City parks administrator Franco Granillo says Las Cruces is looking to add security at the park.

Police Say Native American Activist Accused Of Rape In Santa FeSanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

Santa Fe police say a man accused of raping unconscious women and recording the assaults has been arrested in Phoenix.

Lt. Michele Williams told the Santa Fe New Mexican on Wednesday that 41-year-old Redwolf Pope had been taken into custody overnight.

A warrant accuses Pope, who police say has residences in Seattle and Santa Fe, of sexually assaulting females who appeared to have been slipped a date-rape drug.

He also is accused of surreptitiously recording guests at his apartments in both cities.

Police say they reviewed roughly two dozen photographs and four videos initially recorded on the cameras.

Pope, an attorney and Native American activist, has appeared on cable television discussing Thanksgiving and has given a TEDx Talk in Seattle on pipeline protests in North Dakota.

Experts Say Summer Rains Put Dent In Southwest U.S. Fire Danger - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

The threat of wildfire in the American Southwest has been significantly dampened by the monsoon season, but the region is still grappling with the long-term effects of drought.

Fire and climatology experts provided an update Wednesday on the situation across Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. The region is currently home to the largest swath of severe and extreme drought in the U.S.

New Mexico's governor issued a drought declaration earlier this month, groundwater levels are dropping in Arizona, and the price of hay has doubled in southwest Colorado as fires persist elsewhere.

In Utah, several counties have drought declarations in place after having the warmest and least snowy winter since the 1800s.

Arizona's state climatologist, Nancy Selover, says most of the West is still way behind after missing out on winter and spring moisture.

Reenactment Of Conquistador Reclaiming Santa Fe Will EndSanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

An annual reenactment of a 17th-century Spanish conquistador reclaiming Santa Fe from Native Americans after an uprising will no longer take place.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports organizers of the annual Fiesta de Santa Fe agreed to discontinue the event known as the Entrada after months of closed-door discussions about how to resolve a growing discord.

The event was performed each autumn on the Santa Fe Plaza during the annual Fiesta de Santa Fe and had become a symbol of colonialism for some Native Americans, as well as a painful reminder of New Mexico's bloody past.

In recent years, it has drawn protests from Native American activists.

The pageant depicted the re-entry of conquistador Don Diego de Vargas into Santa Fe after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.

Mayor Declares State Of Emergency In Santa FeSanta Fe New Mexican

The mayor of Santa Fe declared a state of emergency Wednesday after heavy rains this week brought raging waters and a power outage.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Mayor Alan Webber said the declaration is aimed at securing state and federal dollars for cleanup and to repair flood damage.

City officials and crews with the Red Cross will do damage assessments on residences this week and will also maintain a shelter at the former campus of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design.