New Mexico Democrat Udall Will Not Run Again For Senate – Associated Press
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall is being praised by Democratic colleagues for his activism on environmental and Native American issues as he prepares to retire from the Senate.
Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Monday referred to Udall on Twitter as a friend who has helped build a stronger future for working people, especially in Native American communities.
Udall has announced he will not seek a third Senate term in 2020 and will look for different public service opportunities.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein calls Udall a champion for the environment, renewable energy and tribal land issues.
Long active on Native American concerns, Udall recently sought a permanent land buffer to keep oil and gas drilling away from Chaco Culture National Historical Park and other sites held sacred by Native American tribes.
PNM Wraps Up Repairs On Albuquerque Sunport After Outage – Associated Press
A New Mexico utility is finishing up repairs at the Albuquerque International Sunport in the wake of a power outage over the weekend.
Public Service Co. of New Mexico officials say they had to initiate another outage Monday morning to make the repairs but the airport was in full operation by 5 a.m.
According to a tweet from PNM, there were issues with a circuit as well as a backup circuit.
The outage, which lasted for about five hours Saturday morning, caused more than 30 flights to either be delayed or canceled, creating longer wait times for passengers.
The utility says it will meet with city officials about possible improvements for the Sunport.
New Mexico Game Commissioners Asked To Resign – By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press
Members of a state panel that oversees wildlife management and sets hunting and fishing regulations across New Mexico have been asked to resign.
The game commission serves at the pleasure of the governor, and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's office confirmed Monday the resignations of the sitting commissioners were requested last week. They have until Wednesday to respond.
Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, took office in January and has been working to install her own appointees on a number of boards and commissions. As for the wildlife board, several dozen candidates are being vetted.
A commission meeting scheduled for this week was postponed, prompting questions from sportsmen groups about the commission's future.
A measure that would have revamped the way the commission is appointed stalled during the recent legislative session.
New Mexico Cannabis Board To Consider Opioid Addiction – Associated Press
It will be up to New Mexico's Medical Cannabis Board whether to recommend adding opioid addiction to the list of qualifying conditions for the state's medical marijuana program.
The board is scheduled to meet March 29 in Santa Fe.
Made up of certified professionals, the board reviews petitions seeking to expand the list of debilitating conditions that qualify for the program. The state health secretary then makes a final determination.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is among those who support adding opioid addiction to the list.
Patients currently must meet at least one of 21 conditions to qualify for a medical marijuana card.
Of the nearly 70,000 enrolled patients in New Mexico, slightly more than half list post-traumatic stress disorder as a condition. Other conditions include severe chronic pain and cancer.
Kirtland Airmen Involved In Fatal Street Racing Crash – KOAT-TV, Associated Press
Kirtland Air Force Base says airmen were involved in a possible street-racing crash in Albuquerque that left a pedestrian dead.
KOAT-TV reported Monday that base officials confirmed that four airmen were inside a vehicle involved in the collision that fatally injured a woman.
Messages left with the base were not immediately returned.
Police say the vehicle hit the woman while she was crossing the street Saturday night before crashing into an apartment building.
Authorities say three of the four men in the car, including the driver, were hospitalized in stable condition.
The fourth person was questioned by police.
Police spokesman Simon Drobik says investigators will have to reconstruct the accident scene before they determine whether it stemmed from drag racing.
The woman's name has not been released.
Key Highway In New Mexico's Oil Country Getting Upgrade - Carlsbad Current-Argus, Associated Press
A key highway in southeastern New Mexico's oil country is getting a much-needed upgrade.
The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports the New Mexico Department of Transportation is working to renovate U.S. Highway 82 — the main highway for oilfield traffic between Eddy and Lea counties. The agency is investing around $58 million in federal and state funds into the project, which would improve 32 miles of U.S. Highway 82 between Artesia and Maljamar, New Mexico.
Officials say the rehabilitation project is expected to be completed this winter.
U.S. 82 was previously only a two-lane road. Officials say that road has been overburdened during the recent boom in oil and gas.
The improvements come as Texas is working to improve a portion of U.S. Highway 285.
Ex-New Mexico Superintendent In Crash Still On Payroll - Las Vegas Optic, Associated Press
A northern New Mexico school superintendent who resigned after he was cited by police for driving through a resident's fence is still on the payroll.
The Las Vegas Optic reports a letter signed by Las Vegas City Schools Board President Dennis Romero shows that Kelt Cooper will continue to collect his salary until June 30. The letter was acquired by the Optic through an open-records request.
Cooper was placed on paid leave in November. Hours later, police say he crashed his pickup into a resident's fence.
Hired in May 2016, Cooper had been under contract through the 2020-2021 school year. His annual salary was $110,000.
Romero says he could not comment on why Cooper was placed on leave, nor could he speak about Cooper's resignation.
New Mexico Rep. Alcon Presented With Vietnam War Medals - Gallup Independent, Associated Press
A New Mexico state lawmaker has finally received his medals for his service during the Vietnam War.
The Gallup Independent reports Democratic Rep. Eliseo "Lee" Alcon was presented last week with a Bronze Star for his service as a combat medic and other honors. The medals came almost 50 years after Alcon was discharged from the U.S. Army and was never presented his medals.
Drafted into the U.S. Army in 1969, Alcon served in Vietnam in the 6th Battalion 11th Artillery.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich says Alcon asked for his assistance to get a service medal last year. Heinrich presented Alcon with the Bronze Star at a special ceremony.
Alcon also was presented with an Army Commendation and a Good Conduct award.
New Mexico Archbishop Again Denounces 'Santa Muerte' - By Russell Contreras Associated Press
A New Mexico archbishop is renewing his call for Catholics to stop worshipping the skeleton folk saint known as La Santa Muerte, or "Our Lady of Holy Death."
Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester recently told The Associated Press he fears some Catholics mistakenly believe Santa Muerte is a saint sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church.
Santa Muerte is popular in Mexico. Shrines and statues of the folk saint can be found in New Mexico, California, Louisiana, Texas and elsewhere. They usually depict the skeleton figure wearing a black nun's robe and holding a scythe.
Wester is one of only a handful of U.S. Roman Catholic bishops who have denounced the figure.
Virginia Commonwealth University religious scholar Andrew Chesnut says church officials in Latin America decry Santa Muerte almost weekly.
First-Of-Its-Kind US Nuclear Waste Dump Marks 20 Years - Associated Press
In a remote stretch of desert in southern New Mexico, the U.S. government set in motion an experiment that, if successful, would prove to the world that radioactive waste could be safely disposed of deep underground.
Twenty years and more than 12,380 shipments later, tons of Cold War-era waste from decades of bomb-making and nuclear research have been stashed in the salt caverns that make up the underground facility — and not without issues.
A 2014 radiation leak forced an expensive nearly three-year closure and delayed the federal government's cleanup program.
Supporters still consider the repository a success, saying it provides a viable option for dealing with a multibillion-dollar mess. That success is checkered at best for those who worry about mounting pressures on the repository to become a dumping ground for high-level waste.