2nd Guatemalan Child Dies In Federal Custody, Cannabis Company Plans Expansion Into Hemp

Dec 25, 2018

US Says 8-Year-Old Guatemalan Boy Has Died In CustodyAssociated Press

U.S. immigration authorities say an 8-year-old boy from Guatemala has died in government custody, the second immigrant child to die in detention this month.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection say the boy died shortly after midnight Tuesday.

CBP says the boy showed "signs of potential illness" Monday and was taken with his father to a hospital in Alamogordo, New Mexico. There, CBP says, he was diagnosed with a cold and a fever. He was given medications and released Monday afternoon.

The agency says the boy was returned to the hospital Monday evening with nausea and vomiting. He died just hours later.

A CBP spokesman declined to elaborate Tuesday, but said details will be released shortly.

A 7-year-old Guatemalan girl died earlier this month after being apprehended by border agents.

Chicano Author, Illustrator Collaborate On Animal AdventureAssociated Press

Celebrated Chicano author Rudolfo Anaya has teamed up with the Mexican-American street muralist known as El Moises to craft a bilingual children's book in English and Spanish about the harrowing adventure of a little owl who skipped school.

"Owl in a Straw Hat" from Museum of New Mexico Press is chocked full of references to northern New Mexico geography and homespun Hispanic tradition — from posole soup and piñon nuts to the "acequia" organizations that help irrigate fields and lend a special order to rural life in New Mexico.

Swirling illustrations chronicle adventures of a tiny owl named Ollie who longs to read on his own. He skips school and tangles with a cast of conniving animal characters in the hills and skies of northern New Mexico.

Anaya achieved lasting literary fame with the novel "Bless Me, Ultima" in 1972.

Suspect In Rio Rancho Girl's Death To Go To Trial In 2020 - KRQE-TV, Associated Press

It will be more than a year before a man charged in the killing and raping of a 6-year-old Rio Rancho girl will go to trial.

KRQE-TV in Albuquerque reported Monday that new court documents show that 21-year-old Leland Hust will not have a trial until February 2020.

Hust pleaded not guilty in October to charges of child abuse resulting in death and aggravated rape.

He was arrested after investigators found his DNA on the body of Ariana Romero.

Hust has denied hurting the girl.

Her body was found in August in a home occupied by several people, including the girl, her mother and Hust.

Hust waived pretrial detention hearing, granting the state's motion that he stay in jail until trial.

EPA Pulls Permit For Four Corners Plant To Study ConcernsAssociated Press

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has withdrawn a permit it gave to the Arizona Public Service Company for discharge from the Four Corners Power Plant.

The Farmington Daily Times reported Monday that the federal agency pulled the permit back after several environmental groups appealed its decision to grant its approval.

The Clean Water Act requires that a special permit be issued for the discharging of pollutants into navigable water. The one the EPA had earlier issued allowed the coal-fired Four Corners Power Plant to empty water from a man-made cooling pond named Morgan Lake into a wash that flows into the Chaco River.

Withdrawing the permit will allow the EPA to examine the advocacy groups' concerns.

New Mexico County Funnels Money Toward Public InfrastructureAssociated Press

Southern New Mexico's Lea County has committing almost $340,000 for public infrastructure to help the city of Hobbs as it deals with a housing shortage brought on by an oil boom.

The largest chunk of the funding will be used to partner with Hobbs in an infrastructure incentive program for single- and multi-family homes. The county has a similar partnership with the city of Lovington.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports that housing is at the top of the list of needs relayed by oil company executives to local government leaders.

A handful of major housing construction projects are underway in and around Hobbs. The city issued permits for 14 new homes in November, bringing the total for the year to 153 within city limits. That exceeds 2016 and 2017 numbers.

New Mexico Cannabis Company Expands To Include HempAssociated Press

A New Mexico cannabis company says it is expanding its business to include hemp.

Ultra Health says in a Monday news release that it was awarded continual production licenses to grow hemp at its Bernalillo and Tularosa sites and will dedicate 872,000 square feet of its operation to hemp cultivation.

President Donald Trump last week signed a bill that removes hemp from the Controlled Substances Act.

The Farm Bill also legalized interstate commerce of hemp products, giving hemp farmers access to crop insurance, and empowering state and tribal governments to impose separate requirements on the production and sale of hemp products.

Hemp supporters in New Mexico have said the product could prove lucrative for farmers because the crop can be used to make a variety of products such as clothes.

Albuquerque Police Fatally Shoot Another SuspectAssociated Press

Albuquerque police are reporting another shooting involving a suspect, marking the second officer-involved shooting in the city in less than 24 hours.

Authorities say officers received numerous calls late Monday morning about shots being fired at a motel along Interstate 40. Albuquerque officers and state police responded.

Police spokesman Officer Simon Drobik said there was some sort of confrontation between police and the male suspect before officers opened fire.

The man was fatally shot. He was not immediately identified.

No one else was injured.

Authorities were continuing to investigate Monday evening. They have yet to determine why the suspect was shooting in the motel.

Aerial Surveys Reveal Swaths Of Dead Trees In Southwest US - Felecia Fonseca, Associated Press

Forested land in Arizona and New Mexico is showing the effects of drought after an unusually dry winter opened the door to pests like bark beetles, resulting in a die-off on hundreds of thousands of acres in both states.

Aerial surveys indicate Arizona has experienced the largest uptick in tree mortality since the early 2000s. New Mexico saw a similar pattern.

The surveys done earlier this year don't account for an expected loss of pinon trees.

U.S. Forest Service officials will use maps of what they saw from above to produce a report on annual forest conditions next year.

The survey results don't come as a surprise as experts say the nation's forests are overly crowded with trees. Drought makes them weaker and susceptible to beetles and other pests.

New Mexico Politics, Immigration Make Headlines In 2018 - Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

New Mexico Democrats solidified their power during the midterm elections while winning a congressional seat in a key border district and sending one of the nation's first Native American congresswomen to Washington.

Politics dominated New Mexico headlines in 2018 along with an economic turn-around fueled by oil and gas that resulted in a big budget surplus.

Efforts by the Trump administration to address border security also drew attention, first with a $73 million project to replace fencing near Santa Teresa. Then came the deployment of National Guard troops, followed by the deaths of two migrants while in federal custody.

Other top stories include a landmark ruling that could reshape New Mexico's education system, the University of New Mexico cutting some sports teams and the Archdiocese of Santa Fe filing for bankruptcy over the clergy sex abuse scandal.