New Mexico Marks Record For Monthly Oil And Gas Lease Sale – Associated Press
The New Mexico State Land Office has set a record for its monthly oil and gas lease sale, generating more than $43 million for public schools and other trust land beneficiaries.
Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn says the November sale represents the highest single-month yield in the agency's history. The previous monthly record of just over $30 million was set in July 2017.
Dunn was expecting a good month but was surprised by the outcome. He says it will help with the goal of generating $1 billion in revenues for the current fiscal year.
In all, 35 tracts covering more than 12 square miles were up for bid in Lea, Chaves and McKinley counties. All but one tract was leased and another ended up being withdrawn.
Senior New Mexico Senator Hints At Run For Re-Election – Associated Press
Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico calls it a "pretty good guess" that he will run for re-election in 2020 without saying definitively what his plans are.
Udall on Friday stood outside a Walmart store in Santa Fe to help solicit charitable donations to the Salvation Army from holiday shoppers.
The 70-year-old senator hopes to forge compromises on legislation to expand health insurance coverage when a new Congress convenes next year with a Democratic House majority.
He hopes Republicans in the Senate majority may embrace a proposal to lower the age of Medicare eligibility to 55 for people who want to buy coverage. The current age of eligibility is 65 with limited exceptions.
Udall says expanding health insurance coverage is essential to reducing overall costs for medical care.
Fossil Of Plant-Eating Reptile Found In Southern New Mexico – Associated Press
The New Mexico Museum of Natural History says the earliest known example of a plant-eating reptile has been found in the fossil record in southern New Mexico.
The museum made the announcement this week, saying the structure of the skull, jaws and teeth of the sail-backed reptile indicate it was a herbivore and that such specialized plant-eating wasn't previously known in reptiles older than about 200 million years.
Curator Spencer Lucas says the reptile — known as Gordodon — is pushing back by about 100 million years scientists' understanding of the evolution of such specialized behavior.
The fossil bones were discovered near Alamogordo by Ethan Schuth while on a University of Oklahoma geology class field trip in 2013. The bones were recovered over the next year and research ensued after the hard sandstone surrounding the bones was removed.
Lawyers For Man Who Killed Family Want Proceedings Sealed – KOB-TV, Associated Press
Lawyers for a 21-year-old man who fatally shot five of his family members when he was a teenager want all proceedings regarding his treatment sealed.
KOB-TV reports Nehemiah Griego's attorneys argue the treatment documents should be private. A hearing has been scheduled for next Wednesday.
The defense also is requesting a new amenability report, arguing the prior one is outdated.
Those reports will determine whether Griego is responsive to treatment as opposed to prison time. A hearing for that argument is set for next month.
Bill Would Crack Down On Cyber Bots Buying Up Hot Toys – Associated Press
Connecticut U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and several fellow Democrats, including New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall, want to crack down on technology being used to buy popular holiday toys in order to resell them at inflated prices.
Blumenthal says third-party sellers are using cyber bot technology to game online sales systems, making it nearly impossible for consumers to purchase certain hot toys online or in stores at retail price because the inventory has already been snatched up.
Blumenthal, U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Udall of New Mexico, and New York U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, announced Friday they're introducing The Stopping of Grinch Bots Act of 2018.
The legislation would piggy-back on a similar 2016 law banning ticket bots that intentionally bypass security measures on online ticketing websites to outprice individual fans.
Border Town Invaded By Pancho Villa Rejecting Talk Of Troops - By Russell Contreras, Associated Press
A small New Mexico village once attacked by Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa is rejecting talk of a wall and troops while embracing its legacy along the U.S.-Mexico border.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis last week cited Villa's 1916 raid of Columbus, New Mexico, as an example for why President Donald Trump was deploying active-duty troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.
But village residents say those living on both sides of the border have co-existed peacefully since the Villa invasion.
Instead of soldiers, Columbus Mayor Esequiel Salas says residents would like to see better roads to bring tourists.
The village is about to launch a campaign called "Where Old Mexico Meets New Mexico" to memorialize Villa's assault.
UNM Pays $35,000 Fine Over Public Records Violations - Albuquerque Journal
The University of New Mexico is paying $35,000 to settle a suit over the state’s open records law.
The Albuquerque Journal reported independent journalist Daniel Libit, who runs the site NMFishbowl.com, sued the university and the UNM Foundation in 2017 claiming they violated the Inspection of Public Records Act, known as IPRA.
Libit sought documents related to the former naming agreement between UNM and WisePies Pizza and Salad for the Pit sports arena. The university said it had no records and directed Libit to contact the foundation, which said it was a private nonprofit not subject to the state records law.
UNM agreed to settle its part of the lawsuit by paying $35,000 in legal fees to Libit’s attorneys. Earlier this year a judge ruled the University of New Mexico Foundation is subject to IPRA, but the foundation is appealing that ruling.
Man Charged In Officer's Death Pleads To Firearms Charge – Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press
A man charged with fatally shooting an Albuquerque police officer has pleaded no contest to one of the felony offenses.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that 37-year-old Davon Lymon entered the plea Wednesday to being a felon in possession of a firearm and forgery.
However, a judge later struck the forgery plea because it was not being handled separately from the rest of the case.
Lymon was due to go to trial next month for the firearms charge.
Court records show Lymon's trial on murder and other charges is set for March.
He is accused of fatally shooting Officer Daniel Webster outside a drug store during an October 2015 traffic stop.
Lymon is already serving a 38-year sentence for a federal conviction of firearms possession and other crimes.