New Mexico Sets Sights On Public Health -Associated Press
From taco stands to toxic waste, environmental regulators are tasked with inspecting tens of thousands of businesses, restaurants and industrial sites every year.
Demand far outpaces the number of available inspectors, so the head of the New Mexico Environment Department is calling for legislators to make a bigger investment in the agency to address the problem.
Environment Secretary James Kenney is asking for an additional $8.8 million in state general funds. He says that would help pay for nearly 70 more employees and fund operations aimed at ensuring public health.
First-year Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham supports the proposal. Her administration is pushing for greater regulation of emissions from the oil and gas sector and also needs to build up the permitting and inspection infrastructure needed for the burgeoning hemp industry.
Researchers Seek To Learn More About Long-Billed Curlews -Associated Press
Wildlife managers in New Mexico are working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and researchers elsewhere to learn more about long-billed curlews.
The shorebird is considered a species of greatest conservation need in New Mexico. The state sits at the southernmost extent of the bird's breeding range.
Officials say the project will fill gaps in information regarding nesting efforts, migration routes and overwintering locations.
Curlews use their bills to probe, peck and snatch insects. Breeding pairs are territorial and share incubation duty, with males taking the night shift.
As part of the study, satellite transmitters were placed on five curlews captured near Watrous,
New Mexico. Based on data from other marked pairs, officials say they expect the birds to return to the area and breed next spring.
New Mexico Prosecutor Warns Against Coyote Killing Contests -Associated Press
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas says coyote killing contests are illegal and anyone caught organizing one or participating could face a misdemeanor.
The warning came Friday, after authorities learned through a social media post that a contest was planned Saturday in Curry County.
Balderas' office and the State Land Office sent letters to the sheriff, requesting an investigation.
State police and local prosecutors also were notified.
Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a bill outlawing the contests earlier this year.
Many ranchers and outfitters say the contests are a tool for managing packs of coyotes that threaten livestock.
Balderas said he supports ranchers' rights to protect their livestock but said the law doesn't allow for unlimited killing through contests for cash prizes.
New Mexico Police To Crack Down On DWI In December -Associated Press
New Mexico State Police officers will be watching for drunk drivers throughout the month of December.
State officials this week announced the sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols, saying they will occur throughout New Mexico over the next few weeks.
Authorities say bringing awareness to the crackdown is part of an effort to change society's attitude about drinking and driving and to ultimately reduce alcohol-related fatalities.
Nearly 350 traffic fatalities were reported for the first 10 months of the year. That's higher than the fatalities recorded during the same period in 2017 and 2018, but statistics compiled by the state show the number of alcohol-related fatalities so far this year is far lower than the previous two years.
The numbers show 92 traffic fatalities between January and October involved alcohol.
Albuquerque's Rapid Transit System To Begin Operations -Associated Press
Officials in New Mexico's largest city say after false starts and delays, the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project is scheduled to begin operations Saturday.
The new system includes designated bus-only lanes and 19 stops along Central Avenue.
The first ART buses will begin running at 5:45 a.m. Saturday. Transportation officials say ambassadors will be stationed at each stop to answer questions and help direct passengers.
Rides will be free through Dec. 31.
Law enforcement says there are plans to issue warning citations and eventually fines for people who drive or park vehicles in the bus lanes.
Mayor Tim Keller and other officials will be among those on an inaugural ART ride that will start on the city's west side. They plan to stop in Nob Hill, a popular shopping district, to mark Small Business Saturday.
No. 23 West Virginia Women Beat New Mexico 73-60 In Cancun
Kysre Gondrezick scored 17 points, freshman Esmery Martinez had a season-best 15 and No. 23 West Virginia beat New Mexico 73-60 on Friday in the Cancun Challenge.
Rochelle Norris added 10 points for the Mountaineers (5-1), who rebounded from an 82-75 loss to Creighton to conclude a portion of the Riviera Division. The Lobos (6-1) had a three-point win over Missouri in their tournament opener.
Gondrezick and Martinez had 10 points apiece in first half as the Mountaineers built a 41-27 halftime lead. Shaiquel McGruder scored four points and Jaedyn De La Cerda added a 3-pointer during an 11-4 surge that pulled the Lobos to 62-55 with six minutes left, but they didn't get closer.
Gondrezick made three of the Mountaineers' five 3-pointers. Martinez had a game-high nine rebounds.
McGruder scored 16 points and had eight steals to lead the Lobos, who shot 36% overall and were outrebounded 39-19.
New Mexico Communities Get Funding For Water Projects -Associated Press
Nearly $34 million in federal funding is being funneled to New Mexico to help make improvements to water and wastewater systems.
The U.S. Agriculture Department says in all, $635 million is being invested in 122 projects across the country. Those include projects at Laguna Pueblo and the cities of Lordsburg and Truth or Consequences.
A loan and grant financing package worth more than $19 million has been awarded to Laguna Pueblo to rehabilitate existing sewer lines. The money also will be used to enlarge a sewage lagoon.
Lordsburg will use nearly $5 million to complete a massive rehabilitation project of the city's water system. That includes the installation of a backup power generator and replacement of old water lines.
In Truth or Consequences, more than $9.4 million is going toward system upgrades.
Albuquerque Breaks Thanksgiving Day Snowfall Record -Associated Press
New Mexico's largest city has set a record for snowfall on Thanksgiving Day.
The National Weather Service says 3.1 inches (7.8 centimeters) were recorded at the Albuquerque airport Thursday. Looking back over 60 years of data, forecasters say the previous snowiest Thanksgiving was only a half-inch (1.27 centimeters) in 2007.
Some areas around Albuquerque and Santa Fe reported even more snow Thursday.
A winter weather advisory remains in effect for some areas.
Forecasters say a second round of snow and strong winds will begin Friday afternoon. The storm will move in from the west and through the northern mountains late Friday where the highest elevations could see another foot (30 centimeters) of snow or more.
A cold front will affect western and central portions.