Uranium Mining Companies Seek Bailout, State Discontinues Financial Incentives For Teachers

Oct 9, 2019

US Nuclear, Uranium Mining Industries Hope For Trump BailoutAssociated Press

U.S. uranium mining companies and nuclear power plant operators are hoping for a bailout in the name of national security.

President Donald Trump is scheduled to get recommendations Thursday from a federal task force studying ways to revive domestic uranium mining.

The Nuclear Energy Institute representing uranium mine companies has asked the task force for tax breaks and other financial support.

The industry has lagged amid global competition and low uranium ore prices.

The mining industry argues that creating uranium ore demand is essential for U.S. national security.

Environmental groups say nuclear power and uranium mining industries are trying to exploit security to benefit from taxpayer money.

Trump last summer rejected an industry request requiring U.S. uranium ore users to rely on domestic production for 25 percent of their supply.

One of the richest known reserves of uranium ore spans parts of northwestern New Mexico. Previous booms in what was once known as the uranium capital of the world occurred during the 1950s and again in the 1970s. Environmentalists have been fighting to prevent future mining in the region and in Arizona around the Grand Canyon.

Hundreds of uranium mines that dot the Navajo Nation have not been cleaned up. The tribe, whose reservation extends into New Mexico, Utah and Arizona, banned uranium mining and transport on its lands in 2005.

Committee To Examine Native Women's Deaths, DisappearancesAssociated Press

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has appointed eight members to a task force established to examine the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women.

She announced appointments Wednesday. They include Pueblo, Jicarilla Apache, Mescalero Apache and Navajo representatives, as well as nonprofit leaders and a Native American survivor of violence.

The group is tasked with determining the scope of the issue in New Mexico. They also are expected to identify barriers related to investigations.

A lack of consistent data and complicated jurisdictional issues have stifled policy makers nationwide as they seek to respond to concerns about the crisis.

The task force has until November 2020 to report findings. A growing number of states have established similar committees.

Appointees include Navajo Nation First Lady Phefelia Nez and Elizabeth Gonzales, an Office of the Medical Investigator supervisor

Activist Accused Of Rape To Remain JailedAssociated Press

An activist accused of recording sexual assaults of unconscious women on video will remain jailed in Santa Fe on a Washington state warrant as he awaits trial in New Mexico.

The magistrate court judge's decision Wednesday on Redwolf Pope's detainment comes after a different judge had ordered his release in a New Mexico case as a sanction against prosecutors.

Magistrate Judge David Segura ruled that he does not have jurisdiction to release Pope because of the Washington state warrant.

Court documents show Pope has been charged with two counts of rape in Seattle. In New Mexico, he is charged with kidnapping, third-degree rape and voyeurism.

Authorities say he had residences in Seattle and Santa Fe.

Voicemails seeking comment from Pope's attorney have not been returned. Pope has denied accusations against him in court filings.

Hearing Set In Santa Fe For Activist Accused Of RapeAssociated Press

A court hearing Wednesday in Santa Fe is scheduled to determine whether an activist accused of recording sexual assaults of unconscious women on video will be released from jail or can be extradited to Seattle.

A judge last month ordered Redwolf Pope's release as he awaits trial, saying prosecutors had violated evidence rules. But he hasn't been released, with rape charges pending against him in Washington state.

In New Mexico, he's charged with kidnapping, third-degree rape and voyeurism.

Pope has disputed accusations against him in court filings.

Santa Fe Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer says prosecutors violated evidence rules because they did not provide an adequate copy of a search warrant affidavit to Pope's attorney.

Prosecutor Larissa Breen says digital photos of the affidavit, rather than paper copies, were provided.

Police Say High School Coach Stole Money From Player's WalletAssociated Press

A New Mexico football coach is facing charges after authorities say he was spotted on video taking money from a player's wallet.

State Police arrested John D. Roanhaus on Saturday following a review of the footage showing the 42-year-old coach entering the school's locker room and grabbing the money. Police say $40 was taken from the wallet.

Gallup-McKinley County Schools Superintendent Mike Hyatt told the Gallup Independent that Roanhaus has been fired.

Roanhaus had been the head coach of Miyamura High School in Gallup, New Mexico, since 2018.

Roanhaus is the youngest son of New Mexico Hall of Fame coach Eric Roanhaus.

He faces larceny and non-residential burglary charges. It is not known if Roanhaus had an attorney.

Miyamura fell Friday to 1-6 after a 55-14 loss at Bloomfield.

Democrat Ridicules Rival In New Mexico Congressional PrimaryAssociated Press

Northern New Mexico District Attorney and congressional candidate Marco Serna is attacking rival Democrat Valerie Plame in an online video that shows him riding on horseback and talking about policy priorities.

The Santa Fe-based prosecutor posted the online campaign ad Tuesday.

It opens with a scathing critique of Plame's own biographical video that explores her background as a former CIA operative whose covert identity was exposed in retribution for her then-husband Joe Wilson's opposition to the Iraq War.

The new video casts Serna as someone who understands local values, wants livable-wage jobs and fights anti-Semitism. Plame has apologized for a sharing on Twitter in 2017 an article with anti-Semitic expressions.

Plame responded in an email that it was unfortunate that Serna was "using Republican talking points to attack me and my public service."

Nearly a dozen Democratic candidates are competing to succeed Rep. Ben Ray Luján as he runs for Senate.

Head Of Albuquerque Public Schools District Set To Retire Associated Press

The superintendent of the state's largest public schools district is retiring.

Raquel Reedy told the Albuquerque Public Schools' Board of Education this week that she'll leave the office June 30 when her contract expires. She served as acting superintendent for several months before she was named to the post in 2016.

The district credited Reedy with bringing stability, reorganizing the district into learning zones, strengthening a bilingual program and expanding other programs. The board voted earlier this year to boost her salary to more than $276,000 annually — up nearly $30,000 from her previous salary.

Voters also struck down efforts to bring more money into the district during her tenure and standardized test scores have been low.

The school board says it work quickly identify candidates to replace Reedy.

Oil Company Lays Off 178 Workers, State Government NotifiedThe Daily Sentinel, Associated Press

A Texas-based energy service provider has laid off 178 workers at its Colorado office saying it is a permanent employment loss.

The Daily Sentinel reports that oil field company Halliburton told the state Department of Labor and Employment about the anticipated layoffs in a written letter dated Monday.

Company officials say the layoffs were due to local market conditions, but they plan to keep the Grand Junction facility open.

Officials say there is concern over uncertainty following an oil and gas bill passed this year that overhauls industry regulations in the state.

Officials say majority of the employees were given the option to relocate to other company operating areas.

Officials say about 650 employees were affected across Halliburton's Rockies region including in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and North Dakota.

New Mexico Discontinues Financial Incentives For Teachers - Associated Press

New Mexico has discontinued financial bonuses for top-rated teachers as it delivers the results of job-performance evaluations for the school year that ended in June.

Public Education Department spokesman Connor Boyle confirmed this week that no money was allocated by the state for Excellence in Teaching Awards. The performance bonuses of up to $10,000 were devised by former Republican Gov. Susana Martinez near the end of her two-term administration.

The administration of Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is creating a new teacher evaluation system for the 2020-2021 school year with help from a 46-member task force and suggestions from community meetings . Student test scores no longer figure directly in performance evaluations.

Lawmakers increased teacher salaries by 6% or more this year with additional pay under extended school-year calendars.

New Mexico Governor Praises Oil Industry For Opportunities Associated Press

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is highlighting the oil industry's role in underwriting public education and soliciting its help in developing new state regulations for methane emissions.

The first-year Democratic governor told an audience at the annual meeting of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association that her Cabinet secretaries for environmental and oilfield regulation are there to work for people in the energy sector.

Lujan Grisham outlined an all-of-the-above energy strategy and said her proposal for tuition-free public college is made possible by a booming oil sector.

New Mexico state government is increasingly reliant on surging income from the oil and natural gas sectors amid record-setting petroleum production in the Permian Basin that overlaps the southeast of the state and West Texas.

Report: New Mexico State Sees Jump In Rapes, Drug Cases - KVIA-TV, Associated Press

A new report says violent crimes are increasing at New Mexico State University.

KVIA-TV in El Paso, Texas, reports that the university's 2019 Annual Security Report showed reported rapes on campus quadrupled in a year. The report says between 2017 and 2018, reported rapes went from 3 to 12.

In addition, drug abuse cases spiked from 65 to 107 during the same period. The report says liquor law violations jumped from 75 to 114.

New Mexico State University Police Chief Stephen Lopez says officials don't believe crimes are increasing but that more victims are coming forward to report crimes.

Udall Says Dems Will Need To 'Blow It' To Lose New Mexico In '20 - By Russell Contreras Associated Press

Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico says Democrats would have to "really blow it" to lose the nation's most Hispanic state to President Donald Trump in 2020.

Udall told The Associated Press last week Democrats still have a strong advantage over Republicans in New Mexico next year. But he says the GOP is expected to work hard to capture the state and Democrats should be ready for a fight.

Last month, Trump visited Rio Rancho and vowed to win the state in the presidential election. Republicans haven't won the southwestern state since 2004.

Udall says the Democratic nominee will need a robust ground game and get-out-the-vote operation in New Mexico to counter the Republicans' expected spending in the state.

Officials: 18 Small Fires In Carson Forest Caused By People - Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Officials say 18 small fires discovered burning near each other in the Carson National Forest last week were caused by people.

The Albuquerque Journal reports U.S. Forest Service is still investigating the exact cause of the fires, which collectively are being called the Maton Fire.

A soaking rain on Friday helped firefighting crews contain the blaze, keeping them more than 80% contained by the weekend.

Carson National Forest spokeswoman Denise Ottaviano says investigators found 18 points of ignition, and it will take time to determine the cause for each one.

She says it was unusual for that many fires to start at one time.

GOP US House Hopeful In Key New Mexico Race Sees Money Surge - By Russell Contreras Associated Press

A Republican candidate for a critical U.S. House race in New Mexico is reporting a fundraising surge just days into her candidacy.

Claire Chase's campaign reported Tuesday she has raised $510,790 in 35 days. That amount is more than former state lawmaker and fellow GOP opponent Yvette Herrell raised during the entire 2018 Republican primary.

The fundraising jolt comes after Chase, an oil executive, announced in late August she would seek the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small for the state's southern congressional seat.

Torres Small defeated Herrell in 2018 by fewer than 3,000 votes to flip a traditionally Republican-leaning district that sits along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Records show Torres Small has raised more than $1 million since January.

Interior secretary lambasts Green New Deal - Associated Press

U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt is citing a moratorium on new oil permits in New Mexico near a national park held sacred by Native Americans as an example of balanced federal regulation, while warning against Green New Deal policies.

Bernhardt on Tuesday spoke at an annual conference of oil and natural gas industry leaders amid surging petroleum production in the Permian Basin that overlaps portions of southeastern New Mexico and West Texas.

The Colorado native touted progress in speeding up processing times for drilling permit applications by the Bureau of Land Management, as well as an ongoing one-year moratorium on new federal drilling leases within 10 miles of Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Permits near Chaco in northwestern New Mexico have been deferred while regulators prepare a new management plan for the region's resources.

Bernhardt told local oil-industry leaders that Green New Deal policies threaten their livelihoods and economic progress.

Execution Of Navajo Man Convicted In 2 Killings On HoldAssociated Press

A federal appeals court has stayed the execution of a Navajo man convicted of the murder of a 63-year-old fellow tribal member and her 9-year-old granddaughter.

Lezmond Mitchell is the only Native American on federal death row.

His execution was scheduled for Dec. 11. But the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals put it on hold in a split decision Friday.

Mitchell's attorneys had asked for the stay to investigate potential racial bias by the jury that heard his case. A hearing is scheduled Dec. 13 in Phoenix.

The Justice Department announced earlier this year that it would resume executing death row prisoners after almost two decades.

Mitchell was convicted in the 2001 killings of Alyce Slim and her granddaughter during a carjacking on the Navajo Nation.