New Mexico Housing Sales Boom, Forests Across Southwest Full Of Dead Trees

Dec 24, 2018

Aerial Surveys Reveal Swaths Of Dead Trees In Southwest USAssociated 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 of 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 piñon 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.

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.

Albuquerque Police Fatally Shoot Armed Driver Of Stolen CarAssociated Press

Albuquerque police shot and killed a suspect in a stolen car, making it the sixth fatal officer-involved shooting this year.

Authorities say the shooting occurred Sunday night near Central and Pennsylvania during a traffic stop.

Police spokesman Simon Drobik says the man driving the stolen vehicle "jumped out" and started firing on officers.

The officers returned fire.

The suspect was hit and died at the scene.

No officers were injured.

Investigators have not released the suspect's identity.

The shooting is under investigation.

Earlier in the day, police shot and wounded a man armed with a rifle at a nearby apartment complex.

New Mexico Lags Behind Neighbors In Population GrowthSanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

New estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show New Mexico's headcount remains largely flat while other states in the western region have among the fastest-growing populations in the nation.

The figures show Nevada and Idaho grew the fastest during a 12-month period that ended in July. New Mexico had a population growth rate of just 0.1 percent.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the state has been slogging around below 2.1 million since crossing the 2 million mark in 2008. There were population decreases in 2014 and 2015.

Since 2013, New Mexico has seen more people moving out of the state each year than moving into the state, known as negative net migration.

Robert Rhatigan with Geospatial and Population Studies at the University of New Mexico says the migration piece is what separates the state from its neighbors.

Snow, Wind, Cold Temperatures On Tap For New MexicoAssociated Press

New Mexico is in line for snow, wind and much colder temperatures over the Christmas holiday.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque say mild and dry weather will be coming to end as a potential winter storm takes aim on the state. They say, though, that it's still too early to detail where and when the most significant snowfall will occur.

The stormy weather is expected to hit between late Christmas Day and Wednesday.

Forecasters are warning those who have travel plans in the Southwest U.S. and West Texas to keep an eye on the weather.

Some Big Parks In US Southwest Remain Open Despite ShutdownAssociated Press

Several national parks that are big tourist draws in the US Southwest remained open Saturday during the federal government shutdown while other parks and monuments locked their gates and doors.

Arizona and Utah officials implemented funding plans to keep open Grand Canyon, Zion, Arches and Bryce Canyon national parks.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said travelers planned their visits months in advance and his state wants them "to return home with memories of magnificent vistas and welcoming people, not locked doors."

Elsewhere in Arizona, trails and roads in Saguaro National Park in southern Arizona were open but park staff was furloughed and visitor centers closed. Petrified Forest National Park and Casa Grande Ruins National Monument in Arizona and Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico were closed as officials cited concerns for visitor safety and park resources.

Near Las Vegas, Lake Mead National Recreation Area remained open but officials cautioned that emergency and rescue services will be limited there and at Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument.

New Mexico Housing Sales Boom, Beating National Trends Associated Press

The housing market in New Mexico appears to be booming as sales are setting records and bucking national trends.

The head of the New Mexico Association of Realtors, Connie Hettinga, says that the more than 2,600 sales reported to the group for last month is more than 30 percent higher than sales recorded in the past five Novembers.

She tells the Albuquerque Journal that those numbers do not account for other times of the year when the market tends to be even stronger.

The figures show year-to-date sales totaled 29,595. That is 7,000 more sales than those reported for all of 2017.

Jennie-O Recalls More Than 164,000 Pounds Of Ground TurkeyAssociated Press 

A Minnesota-based poultry producer is recalling more than 164,000 pounds of raw ground turkey products that may be contaminated with salmonella.

The Jennie-O Turkey Store products have markings saying to use or freeze by Nov. 12 or 13. The recall includes plain ground turkey and turkey with taco or Italian seasonings. The products were shipped to Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin.

Food safety officials are worried that some contaminated turkey may be in people's freezers. The recalled products have the tag P-579 marked on the lower left corner of the front of the package .

The USDA says the recall was part of an investigation into a November salmonella outbreak that involved 216 patients in 38 states.

Farmington Welcomes Home New Teenage Winner Of "The Voice"Associated Press

A celebration in Farmington was held Saturday to welcome the winner of NBC's "The Voice" back to her hometown.

Fans watched a procession for Chevel Shepherd after she flew into town.

At the Farmington High School Arena, Shepherd rushed to embrace some of her friends and family members from whom she has been separated since early November, when she traveled to Los Angeles to participate in the remainder of the 15th season on "The Voice," the Farmington Daily Times reports.

She told the audience at the school: "I feel all the support and all the love, so thank you so much."

Shepherd, who is 16, was declared the winner of "The Voice" on Tuesday after weeks of competition. Singer Kelly Clarkson was her coach.

She tells the Daily Times that she plans to schedule a concert for January in her hometown.

Police Arrest Pair Wanted On A Murder Charge In ColoradoAssociated Press

State Police in New Mexico's capital city have arrested a father and his 13-year-old son who were wanted for first-degree murder in Colorado, the Albuquerque Journal reports.

The State Police says Heith Gleason, 35, and his son were taken into custody on Thursday after officers received a tip from the Huerfano County Sheriff's Department in Colorado that the two would be there.

The Journal reports that the pair have been charged with the murder of 41-year-old Amy Garcia of Walsenburg, Colorado, according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed in Santa Fe Magistrate Court. Huerfano County deputies found Garcia dead in a burned-out car outside of the Gleasons' home in rural Huerfano County Thursday morning.

The newspaper says it's not clear from the affidavit what relationship Garcia had to Gleason and his son.