Land Boss Ready To 'Dance' With Oil Industry, Former Lawmaker Rep. Henry "Kiki" Saavedra Dies

Jan 28, 2019

Former New Mexico Rep. Henry "Kiki" Saavedra, 81, DiesAssociated Press

New Mexico Democratic House Speaker Brian Egolf has announced former state Rep. Henry "Kiki" Saavedra has died.

Egolf said Monday that Saavedra died five years after retiring from the New Mexico House. University of New Mexico President Garnett Stokes said the Saavedra died Monday morning. He was 81.

Egolf says Saavedra died of complications from Alzheimer's Disease.

Saavedra served in the New Mexico House of Representatives for 38 years and was the second-longest serving member of the chamber when he decided not to seek re-election in 2014.

He served as chair of the powerful House Appropriations and Finance Committee and had been a key figure in the annual crafting of a balanced budget.

Saavedra was a retired city of Albuquerque employee.

Revenue From Oil Boom Could Be Used For New Mexico RoadsAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

New Mexico's governor and a key committee of the Legislature, which is controlled by Democrats, want to use a large portion of the state's budget surplus to improve highway infrastructure.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the annual infrastructure bill would ultimately include $300 million to $400 million from the surplus to repair roads and make improvements in areas that are overwhelmed.

That includes reconstructing a heavily trafficked oil field route in Eddy County and building a new Interstate 25 interchange near Los Lunas. A third traffic lane on Interstate 25 between Bernalillo and Santa Fe could also be an option.

It would ultimately be up to the state Department of Transportation to decide which projects receive funding.

The department says projects would be selected in large part based on their potential to create economic growth.

Company Uses Former New Mexico Ranch To Film 'Fireball Run'Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

A former ranch near Madrid, New Mexico, has been used to shoot episodes of the Amazon Prime television series Fireball Run.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports production company Adrenaline Partnership recently filmed scenes at the Scaramanga Ranch and Film Site. The production company now owns the property.

Adrenaline's managing partner and Fireball Run showrunner J. Sanchez says glimpses of New Mexico likely will be in the final six or eight shows of the 30-episode season that premiered Jan. 15.

Most of the South Dakota exteriors were shot in South Dakota.

Sanchez renamed the property for the villain Francisco Scaramanga in the 1974 James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun.

Fireball Run centers on an epic drive from Wisconsin to South Dakota undertaken by 40 teams.

Multicultural Education Reforms Advance In New MexicoAssociated Press

Bills designed to improve academic achievement among Native American and Hispanic students and to revitalize local cultural traditions including indigenous languages are advancing at the New Mexico Legislature.

A House panel on Monday endorsed bills that would expand training for teachers of English as a second language and bilingual instruction, while enlisting the help of education cooperatives.

A separate bill would add two administrative posts at the Public Education Department to oversee progress among Hispanic students and better tailor teaching to local cultures.

The bills respond to a state district judge's findings that New Mexico fails to provide an adequate education to students from low-income and minority communities, especially children who speak Spanish or Native American languages at home. A court order gives lawmakers until April to provide solutions.

Protesters Seek Immigrant Protections In New MexicoAssociated Press

Hundreds of demonstrators are urging New Mexico lawmakers to support immigrant communities and back a bill that bars state agencies from cooperating with federal immigration authorities.

Protesters carrying signs in support for sanctuary policies gathered Monday outside the state Capitol.

Identical bills that are moving through the state House and Senate would prohibit the use of public funds in "detecting, apprehending, arresting, detaining or prolonging the detention of a person" confronting possible deportation.

Las Cruces resident Irma Cruz of the Border Network for Human Rights said she doesn't want undocumented immigrants to live in fear and worries that New Mexico credentials for drivers can unfairly single out immigrants.

Pastor Antonio Aja of Santa Fe says it's important that immigrants be able to report crimes without fear of adverse consequences.

Seth Damon Selected As Speaker Of 24th Navajo Nation CouncilAssociated Press

Navajo Nation officials say delegate Seth Damon has been selected as speaker of the 24th Navajo Nation Council.

They say Damon got 14 votes during Monday's opening day of the Winter Council Session and will serve a two-year term as speaker.

Damon was administered the oath of office following the votes of the council.

A New Mexico native, Damon served as the chair of the Budget and Finance Committee during his first term as a council delegate.

Other nominees who sought the speaker position included council delegates Jamie Henio, Edmund Yazzie and Amber Kanazbah Crotty.

Proposed Potash Mine Plan Advances Amid New AgreementAssociated Press

Plans for a proposed potash mine in southeast New Mexico are advancing amid a new agreement.

The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports the Hobbs-based PolyNatura announced that week it has signed a deal with national fertilizer company Nitron Group to purchase 75 percent of PolyNatura's production.

Nitron is one of the world's largest traders and distributors of fertilizer products.

PolyNatura plans to mine, process and manufacture fertilizer products at its Ochoa Project about 20 miles west of Jal, New Mexico.

The products contain polyhalite — a mineral salt that have potash and various sulfates.

New Mexico Considers Authorization Of Life-Ending Medication - Associated Press

The Legislature is beginning public deliberations on a new bill that would legalize medically assisted suicide for terminally ill patients.

A New Mexico House panel for health policies is scheduled Monday to hear the proposal from Democratic Rep. Deborah Armstrong of Albuquerque and Sen. Liz Stefanics of Santa Fe that sets out protocols for the prescription of life ending drugs.

The New Mexico Republican Party and local Roman Catholic church are opposed to the initiative. Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham supports it.

Similar legislation has been enacted in six states since 1998 and Washington, D.C. In addition, Montana's judiciary says doctors can use a patient's request for life-ending medication as a defense against any criminal charges.

The New Mexico bill would require authorization from two medical providers to obtain life-ending drugs.

New Mexico Land Boss Ready To 'Dance' With Oil Industry - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard says she and the oil and gas industry have the same goal — to make money.

The Democrat says the big challenge will be managing the effects of the oil boom on southeastern New Mexico by incentivizing policies aimed at conserving and recycling water and increasing environmental protections.

Garcia Richard is the first woman to serve as New Mexico's land boss. In a recent interview, she said ensuring responsible development over the long term will enable the State Land Office to keep generating money for public education and other beneficiaries through leases, royalties and other fees related to activities on state trust land.

A month into the job, Garcia Richard has been busy meeting with lawmakers, landowners, oil executives and renewable energy advocates.

Western States Near Deadline For Colorado River Drought Plan - By Felicia Fonseca, Associated Press

Western states are watching as Arizona comes up against a deadline to approve a plan on how to manage a dwindling supply of Colorado River water.

The other six states in the river basin, including New Mexico, have agreed to drought contingency plans.

Arizona's has broad support among those who negotiated it, but it needs approval from the state Legislature.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation set a Thursday deadline. Without a consensus plan, the agency says it will make the rules.

Arizona arguably has the most to lose without a drought plan that would spread cuts more widely. It is the lowest priority for water among the states, and would be hit first and hardest under existing guidelines.

Most of that falls on farmers in central Arizona. The drought plan would help lessen the blow.

Vigil Held For Guatemalan Boy Who Died In US Custody - Associated Press

The body of an 8-year-old migrant boy who died in U.S. custody at a New Mexico hospital on Christmas Eve has been returned to the small village where he lived in Guatemala, not far from the border with Mexico.

Catarina Alonzo Perez, the mother of Felipe Gomez Alonzo, held a candle at a vigil Saturday with others from the community in a brief ceremony to pay their final respects.

Gomez Alonzo was taken into custody with his father by U.S. Border Patrol after crossing into the country. After several days in detention, he developed a cough, vomiting and fever before dying in the hospital. He was the second Guatemalan immigrant child to die while in U.S. custody in December, sparking concerns of inadequate conditions at migrant detention facilities.