State Employee Among 2 Found Fatally Shot In Santa Fe, International Folk Art Market Kicks Off

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State Employee Among 2 People Found Fatally Shot In Santa Fe Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Authorities say a state employee was one of the two people found dead in the downtown Santa Fe area.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that police have identified them as Ernestine Saucedo, an employee of the state Public Education Department and popular local singer who performs under the last name Romero, and her husband, Jessie Saucedo.

Police say there isn't a suspect at large, which could mean the deaths resulted from a murder-suicide or double suicide.

The Albuquerque Journal reports their bodies were found in an SUV parked near the state Public Education Department Jerry Apodaca Education Building around 1 p.m.

In a statement, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham called the incident "a horrific tragedy" and said Ernestine Saucedo "was tragically and violently taken from us too soon."

Santa Fe Gears Up For Annual International Folk Art Market - Associated Press

Artists and craftspeople from around the globe are descending upon New Mexico's capital city this weekend for what organizers bill as the world's largest folk art festival.

The annual International Folk Art Market kicks off Friday evening with a party and wraps up Sunday on Santa Fe's Museum Hill.

More than 150 artists are representing 50 countries. Their wares include jewelry, ceramics, beadwork, metal work, textiles and basketry.

The artists are selected after experts review their work.

The market drew about 21,000 visitors last year and has generated more than $31 million in artist earnings since its inception in 2004.

Organizers say the market has a ripple effect in communities around the world and more than 1 million lives have been touched as a result over the last 15 years.

Presbyterian Hospital Plans Albuquerque Campus Expansion Associated Press

Presbyterian Hospital is planning to expand its downtown Albuquerque campus with the construction of an 11-story tower.

Presbyterian Healthcare Services announced Wednesday the $260 million project that will add 144 patient rooms, bringing the hospital's room total to 656.

Hospital officials say the project that's expected to be completed in 2022 aims to cut down wait times and modernize patient rooms.

All of the new rooms will be private.

Officials say the expansion will double the size of the emergency room waiting area.

The hospital also is building a new parking garage that will add 800 spaces to the campus. The hospital expects the structure to be completed next year.

Groups Call For Review Of Drilling Permits Near Chaco ParkAssociated Press

Environmental groups and some Navajo officials are calling on U.S. land managers to hold public hearings and conduct a more thorough review of several applications to drill in northwestern New Mexico's San Juan Basin.

The groups have outlined their concerns in a letter to Bureau of Land Management state director Tim Spisak.

They initially sued in 2015, saying the agency violated environmental and preservation laws in approving drilling permits.

A federal appeals court dismissed the preservation claims but did rule that land managers conduct another environmental review for six of the permits. The court concluded the agency needed to consider the cumulative effects on water resources.

Environmentalists contend the subsequent review also was deficient and only 10 days were allowed for comment. They're seeking hearings and a 60-day comment period.

Tribes Gain Access To FBI Sex Offender Registry, Feds SayAssociated Press

The Justice Department says dozens of tribes will gain access to the FBI's National Sex Offender Registry through a tool that has been developed for them.

Federal authorities announced Thursday that it had developed an online system that will allow tribes the chance to enter data about sex offenders. The information will be included in the FBI's registry.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr says the database access will give tribal law enforcement officials the information they need to prevent sex crimes.

More than 50 tribes that already are part of what's known as the Tribal Access Program, or TAP, will be able to have access to the sex offender database. TAP was started in 2015 and allows tribes to exchange data with national crime information systems.

New Mexico, Colorado Get Fired Up Over Hot Peppers Associated Press

The long-simmering battle between New Mexico and Colorado over which state grows the best chile is heating up.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham went on the offensive Wednesday after Colorado Gov. Jared Polis proclaimed on Twitter that hot peppers from Pueblo were the best and would be stocked across a four-state region by a well-known grocery store chain.

Polis went on to say stores in Lujan Grisham's state would be supplied with inferior New Mexico chile.

Lujan Grisham fired back, saying New Mexico chile is "the greatest in the world" and she's ready for a chile duel.

Researchers at New Mexico State University have explained that soil conditions, warmer temperatures, the right amount of water and a longer growing season result in the unique flavor of the state's chile.

Arizona Woman Accused Of Smuggling After Border Patrol StopLas Cruces Sun-News, Associated Press

The U.S. Border Patrol says an Arizona woman has been arrested after an agent stopped a van carrying 10 people suspected of entering the country illegally.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reported Wednesday that 33-year-old Evelyn Limas of Casa Grande has been charged with felony smuggling following the stop last week near the New Mexico border town of Columbus.

Limas' court-appointed lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the allegations.

Court documents say the agent stopped the van after it was observed picking up a group of people who had crossed the border.

According to the documents, Limas told the agent that she was an Uber driver and was taking the group to Ruidoso.

The 10 passengers were arrested and taken to the Deming Border Patrol Station.