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Briefs 08-14-14

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By Associated Press

WIPP worker sues over smoke inhalation
ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A worker at the troubled nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico is suing over smoke inhalation injuries from an underground fire in the storage facility.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that William Utter filed the lawsuit in May, three months after the Feb. 5 incident in which a salt-hauling truck caught fire below the surface at the now-shuttered Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.
Utter is a waste handler for Nuclear Waste Partnership. The contractor and its corporate parent are defendants in the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified compensation and punitive damages.
NWP spokesman Donavan Mager said the company does not comment on pending litigation.
In addition to the fire, the plant located in Carlsbad experienced a radiation leak on Feb. 14 that contaminated above-ground workers when a waste barrel burst.

Arizona teacher cited for being drunk in class
FLORENCE, Arizona — Authorities say an Arizona school teacher showed up to class drunk and continued drinking throughout the day.
Pinal County Sheriff’s officials say students at Poston Butte High School in San Tan Valley called the main office Wednesday after 57-year-old Kathleen Jardine began cursing at them.
A responding deputy says Jardine admitted that she had drank the night before, that morning and during lunch in her classroom.
The deputy says the math teacher had a blood alcohol concentration level of .205.
Jardine, of Chandler, was cited for one count of consumption of alcohol in public but could face disorderly conduct charges.
Jardine was fired in 2011 from a school in New Mexico over a similar incident.
Florence Unified School District officials declined to comment, citing it as a personnel issue.

Governor attends business summit
SANTA FE — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has traveled to Colorado to meet with business and government officials at a summit on manufacturing hosted by the world’s largest retailer.
The governor’s office said Martinez went to Denver Thursday for the meeting hosted by Walmart Stores Inc. She is to return to New Mexico on Friday.
Martinez attended the inaugural summit last year in Florida.
The governor’s office said Martinez plans to talk about efforts to diversify New Mexico’s economy, which is heavily dependent on the public sector and federal spending.
New Mexico is one of several states competing for a battery factory planned by electric car maker Tesla Motors.
New Mexico’s economy remains weak, with job growth of 0.3 percent over the past year ending in June, according to government figures.