KUNM

Lawsuit Claims Cattle Spoiling Southwest Waterways, New Mexican US Lawmakers Silent On Nuke Plan

Jan 14, 2020

Group Says Cattle Hooves, Manure Spoiling Southwest US Waterways - By Felicia Fonseca Associated Press

Environmentalists are suing the federal government to keep livestock away from rivers and streams in two national forests in New Mexico and Arizona.

The Center for Biological Diversity sued the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week. The group argues the agencies aren't doing enough to ensure cows aren't pushing threatened and endangered species into extinction.

It's an argument the group made in a courtroom more than 20 years ago. In that case, the Forest Service agreed to remove cattle from much of the riparian areas across hundreds of grazing allotments.

New Mexico Man Given Deferred Sentence For Forged BallotsSanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

A New Mexico man has received a deferred sentence for forging signatures on applications for absentee ballots in a 2016 municipal election.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported 24-year-old Dyon Herrera pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the municipal code in Española. Herrera's sentence allows him to avoid a felony conviction on his record if he completes 18 months of probation without a violation.

Herrera's plea agreement included testifying in an election fraud case against Laura Seeds. Herrera says he signed ballot applications at her request while working on a campaign to re-elect her husband, Española City Councilor Robert Seeds.

Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Is Backdrop To US Humanities Grants - By Morgan Lee Associated Press

The National Endowment for the Humanities is emphasizing private matching investment as it designates $31 million in public grants to support humanities projects in 45 states.

The grant projects include the addition of an exhibition building at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and conservation complex in Santa Fe.

National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman Jon Parrish Peede announced the 188 grants at a news conference Tuesday. Local humanities councils will get to disburse another $48 million.

Santa Fe is a hub for collectors and creators of Native American and Southwestern art.

Black Hawks To Start Border Flights In New MexicoAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Federal border agency officials have announced Black Hawk helicopters will start flights over a stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border including New Mexico and Texas for border enforcement and search and rescue operations.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Monday that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations confirmed the U.S. Army is transferring three Black Hawk helicopters to the El Paso Air Branch to replace the older helicopters being retired and sold.

Officials say the Air Branch is responsible for a large southwestern region including west Texas and all of New Mexico and Oklahoma and the helicopters can support federal, state and local partners in those states.

Attorneys Expect More Santa Fe Police Evidence Problems - Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

Attorneys say a scathing report that found dozens of issues with the Santa Fe Police Department's handling and storage of evidence is just the beginning.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports an audit from a public safety consultant release Friday found that evidence for a sexual assault from 20-15, "could not be located after a prolonged search."

The audit also found that 40 percent of inventory for misdemeanor cases should be disposed because it was held past the statute of limitations.

Chief Public Defender Bennett Baur says the report shows that police and prosecution practices have to be challenged around the state. 

US Lawmakers From New Mexico Hold Out On Review Of Nuke Plan - Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

Members of New Mexico's congressional delegation are finding themselves in an awkward position as watchdog groups claim the U.S. government is skirting one of the nation's key environmental laws.

Critics say the government is refusing to take a bigger look at the consequences of ramping up production of key plutonium components for the nation's nuclear arsenal.

As supporters of bringing more defense spending to the state, the Democratic lawmakers have been reticent to speak about on whether there should be a more in-depth review of the plutonium core project which follows their intense criticism just days earlier of the Trump administration's plans to roll back environmental oversight of other federal projects.

Aquifer Storage Well Marks First For New Mexico Utility  -   Associated Press

New Mexico's largest water utility has started operating its first aquifer storage well.

Testing of the new direct injection system began yesterday on Albuquerque's north side.

The well will allow excess surface water to be stored underground for later use, keeping it safe from any losses due to evaporation.

Officials say the $1 million well is part of a larger water management strategy that also includes conservation and re-use.

The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority says the new well is the first of several planned wells to come online in the utility's service area. 

Colorado Man Arrested With Uber Driver's Car In New Mexico -  KOBTV, Associated Press

A man accused of trying to kidnap his Uber driver in Colorado is being held in New Mexico.

KOB-TV in Albuquerque reported Sunday that 23-year-old Adam Sal-az was arrested in Carlsbad over the weekend by local deputies.

Police say Sal-az ordered an Uber near Grand Junction on Saturday. When the driver arrived, Sal-az alleged flashed a gun at her and ordered her to drive him to the desert.

Authorities say the driver escaped by jumping out of the car as it was moving.

She only suffered minor injuries. Sal-az is now facing kidnapping charges.

Democratic New Mexico Speaker Visits State's Oil Country - Hobbs News-Sun, Associated Press

Democratic New Mexico House Speaker Brian Egolf has visited the heart of the state's oil and gas region in advance of the legislative session.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports Brian Egolf stopped in Hobbs on Friday as part of his Jobs Listening Tour in advance of the Jan. 21 opening of the 2020 session.

Airports, roads, housing, education, broadband access and the oil and gas industry topped issues discussed.

Rep. Cathrynn Brown, R-Carlsbad, alerted Egolf to a bill she is introducing to create a $60 million urgent needs fund for roads.

The region is in dire need of new roads amid the high traffic from the oil boom.

New Mexico Universities Share $5M For Forest Research Center Associated Press

The National Science Foundation has awarded two New Mexico universities, the New Mexico Forest, and Watershed Restoration Institute a $5 million grant to establish a comprehensive forestry research center for the Southwest.

The five-year grant will fund the development of a Center of Excellence in Forest Restoration.

The center will be charged with advancing the understanding of the effects of restoration activities on forested areas through a combination of research, education and stakeholder collaborations.

It also will provide options for land managers and landowners who face the threat of catastrophic fires due to overgrown forests.