Senate Panel Takes Up Nuclear Waste Issue, Navajo Cancer Center Will Cut Tribal Members' Travel Time

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US Senate Panel Takes Up Thorny Issue Of Nuclear Waste - By Susan Montoya Bryan Associated Press

A congressional panel is scheduled to hear from experts as it weighs legislation aimed at tackling the decades-old problem of how to handle spent nuclear fuel and other high-level waste that has been piling up around the United States.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday will be discussing temporary and permanent options for dealing with the waste.

Scientists, environmentalists and officials with the Nuclear Energy Institute are expected to testify.

Development of a proposed long-term storage site at Nevada's Yucca Mountain was halted during the Obama administration, although the Trump administration has moved to restart the licensing process despite stiff resistance in Nevada.

Private companies also have applied for licenses to open temporary storage facilities in New Mexico and West Texas. Those proposals also face political opposition.

Navajo Cancer Center Will Cut Tribal Members' Travel Time- By Felicia Fonseca Associated Press

The Navajo Nation has opened a cancer treatment center on the reservation that it says will significantly cut down on travel time for patients.

The Tuba City Regional Health Care Corp. in northeastern Arizona recently welcomed its first patient. It is funding the new center with hospital profits, grants and donations.

Cancer treatment is considered specialty care under the federal Indian Health Service, which partially funds the hospital. Patients previously had to get a referral to be seen elsewhere, often an hour or more from home.

Hospital chief executive Lynette Bonar says the treatment center is the first of its kind on any Native American reservation, though some facilities offer screenings and other services.

It will serve Navajos, Hopis and San Juan Southern Paiutes in its service area.

Deadly Case Of Hantavirus Reported In New Mexico - Associated Press

New Mexico health officials are confirming the first fatal case of hantavirus this year.

The state health department says the victim was a 42-year-old woman from McKinley County. The agency conducted an environmental investigation at the woman's home but didn't release any details about how she contracted the virus.

The respiratory disease is fatal in about 40 percent of cases. It can be transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings or saliva that contain the microscopic virus.

Early symptoms include fever and muscle aches, possibly with chills, headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and a cough that progresses to respiratory distress.

This is the second case reported in New Mexico this year. The other patient, also from McKinley County, survived.

New Mexico reported five cases in 2017 and none in 2018.

Man Wants Life Prison Term Reversed In Navajo Girl's Murder - KRQE-TV, Associated Press

A man who pleaded guilty to kidnapping, raping and murdering an 11-year-old girl in New Mexico in 2016 now wants his life prison sentence reversed.

Tom Begaye was sentenced in 2017 after pleading guilty to murder and aggravated sexual abuse in Ashlynne Mike's death near Shiprock on the Navajo Nation.

Albuquerque TV station KRQE reports Begaye says in a 10-page handwritten motion that his rights were violated when authorities questioned him.

Begaye says he's developmentally disabled, didn't understand his legal rights and didn't get competent counsel from his attorney.

Begaye says he was drunk the day of the killing and because of that, the killing wasn't premeditated and he shouldn't have been charged with first-degree murder.

He's seeking an evidentiary court hearing and a lesser charge in the case.

Albuquerque Man Pleads Guilty In Guardians Embezzlement Case - Associated Press

Prosecutors say an Albuquerque man has pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud vulnerable and special needs clients in New Mexico and is facing a seven-year prison term.

They say 58-year-old William Harris pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiring to defraud the federal government out of money and property from November 2016 to July 2017.

Harris was accused of siphoning government benefits intended for Ayudando Guardians clients who couldn't manage their own finances, including those under court-ordered legal guardianships.

The now-defunct Ayudando Guardians was an Albuquerque-based non-profit corporation that provided guardianship, conservatorship and financial management to hundreds of people with special needs.

Harris' 72-year-old wife was the former president of Ayudando Guardians. Susan Harris goes on trial in September for money laundering and other charges.

Mescalero Apache To Offer Sports Betting At Casino - Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Another New Mexico tribe is preparing to offer sports betting at its casino.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Mescalero Apache Tribe announced this week it is partnering with William Hill to offer a book at Inn of the Mountain Gods that will open before football season.

William Hill's partnership with the Mescalero Apache Tribe is the first tribal agreement for William Hill outside of Nevada.

Inn of the Mountain Gods becomes the fourth tribal casino to offer sports betting in New Mexico.

Santa Ana Star, on Santa Ana Pueblo, was the first to have its sports book open, in October. The sports book at Pueblo of Pojoaque's Buffalo Thunder opened in March. Isleta's sports book is set to open on August 12.