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Local News

  • Albuquerque Republican announces bid for state treasurer

    New Mexico native Arthur Castillo of Albuquerque announced his candidacy Thursday for state treasurer.

    As the former CFO for the Office of State Treasurer and Director of Budget and Finance, Arthur Castillo said he has the passion for New Mexico and experience to manage the State Treasurer’s Office. 

 

    “As a proven financial planner, budgeting professional, grant writer, and administrator, I plan to restore honesty, responsibility, and accountability to the Office of State Treasurer,” Castillo said. “With ethical and responsible leadership, we will work together to right New Mexico’s financial woes.” 



    As a fourth-generation New Mexican, son of a World War II Veteran, father of a Navy lieutenant and veteran, Castillo said he understands the value of hard work and service.

    Growing up with humble roots, he has firsthand experience with the dedication it takes to achieve the American dream.
 With a goal of protecting the permanent fund, maximizing efficiency in the office, Castillo said he wants to improve financial education not only among the staff but also among the public.

    Citing an embarrassing lack of transparency as a primary concern within the current administration, Castillo reinforced his commitment to fair and transparent government.

  • Sessions terminates US policy that let legal pot flourish

     

    By SADIE GURMAN, Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration threw the burgeoning movement to legalize marijuana into uncertainty Thursday as it lifted an Obama-era policy that kept federal authorities from cracking down on the pot trade in states where the drug is legal. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will now leave it up to federal prosecutors to decide what to do when state rules collide with federal drug law.

    Sessions' action, just three days after a legalization law went into effect in California, threatened the future of the young industry, created confusion in states where the drug is legal and outraged both marijuana advocates and some members of Congress, including Sessions' fellow Republicans. Many conservatives are wary of what they see as federal intrusion in areas they believe must be left to the states.

  • Number of flu cases in New Mexico double this year

    The New Mexico Department of Health reported Thursday a spike in the number of flu cases across New Mexico in the last few weeks.

    Compared to the same time last year, influenza-like illness activity was twice as great, with this year’s flu season not yet reaching its peak. 

    The number of flu-related deaths has risen in New Mexico to six, and flu-related hospitalizations, especially among residents age 65 and older have been steadily increasing since October, the beginning of the flu season, health department officials said.

    Since October, the health department has investigated 12 flu outbreaks in facilities around the state, seven of them in the last few weeks.

    “We have not seen an increase in flu activity this early in the winter in the past five years,” said Department of Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher. “No matter what, the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from flu is to get vaccinated. Everyone six months and older who have not yet gotten vaccinated should get their flu vaccine as soon as possible.”

    Flu vaccine is produced every year and is always made to address the top flu strains of the previous season. 

    Flu shots remain highly recommended for the following high-risk groups:

  • Trump moves to vastly expand offshore drilling off US coasts

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration on Thursday moved to vastly expand offshore drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic oceans with a plan that would open up federal waters off California for the first time in more than three decades.

    The new five-year drilling plan also could open new areas of oil and gas exploration in areas off the East Coast from Florida to Maine, where drilling has been blocked for decades. While some lawmakers in those states support offshore drilling, the plan drew immediate opposition from governors up and down the East Coast, including Republican Govs.

    Rick Scott of Florida and Larry Hogan of Maryland, who pressed Trump to withdraw their states from consideration.
    The three Democratic governors on the West Coast also blasted the plan and vowed to do "whatever it takes to stop this reckless, short-sighted action."

    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the plan, saying that responsible development of offshore energy resources would boost jobs and economic security while providing billions of dollars to fund conservation along U.S. coastlines.

  • Dow Jones industrials climb above 25,000 for the first time

    NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow Jones industrial average is trading above 25,000 points for the first time Thursday, just five weeks since its first close above 24,000.

    The Dow broke through five 1,000-point barriers in 2017, on its way to a 25 percent gain for the year, as an eight-year rally since the Great Recession continued to confound skeptics.

    Strong global economic growth and good prospects for higher company earnings have analysts predicting more gains, although the market may not stay as calm as it has been recently.

    The Dow has made a rapid trip from 24,000 points on November 30, partly on enthusiasm over passage of the Republican-backed tax package, which could boost company profits this year with across-the-board cuts to corporate taxes.

    "For a long while in 2017 I would say the biggest driver was excitement and anticipation over tax reform, but at a certain point I think there was a handover to global economic growth really helping to carry the stock market," said

    Invesco Chief Global Markets Strategist Kristina Hooper.

  • Official: Cibola County may be bankrupt by end of February

    GRANTS (AP) — A New Mexico county is facing the prospect of bankruptcy in 60 days and the likelihood of having to move forward with layoffs and liquidate assets, officials said.

    Cash-strapped Cibola County is in "crisis mode" after years of overspending and the recent discovery that it sent a bounced check to the for-profit prison company CoreCivic, interim County Manager Valerie Taylor said.

    The Gallup Independent reports that Taylor has contacted the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration Local Government Division Special Director Michael Steininger to straighten out the finances.

    Taylor said in all likelihood the state would bail out Cibola County with a loan and establish a repayment plan for the county if it can't pay its debts

    "If we do not make significant changes, I believe we are going to be insolvent by the end of February," Taylor said at a county commissioners meeting.

    The county overspent by $9.5 million from 2013 to 2016 and wrote the $7 million bounced check to CoreCivic in November.

    The county has a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to serve as a pass-through for payments to CoreCivic, which houses immigrant detainees at a prison in Milan.

  • Deputies: Homeland Security employee stole $26K from grandma

    FARMINGTON (AP) — A U.S. Department of Homeland Security employee is facing charges after authorities say she embezzled more than $26,000 from her New Mexico grandmother.

    The Daily Times of Farmington, New Mexico, reports 32-year-old Cassie Davis was recently arrested on embezzlement and forgery charges in connection with unlawfully signing checks.

    An arrest warrant affidavit says Davis of Flora Vista, New Mexico, stole $26,800 from her grandmother and unlawfully signing six checks payable to herself from her grandmother's checking account.

    Davis told San Juan County Sheriff's deputies she was being set up.

    A motion on Davis' conditions of release to allow her to travel to Colorado for work says she is a U.S. Department of Homeland Security employee.

    Her attorney, Steve Murphy, says he hasn't seen any of the evidence from the case.
     

  • New Mexico Supreme Court puts disputed laws on hold

    SANTA FE (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court has placed a temporary hold on disputed legislation as it considers whether vetoes last year by Gov. Susana Martinez fulfilled legal requirements.

    The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted a stay that may delay full implementation of 10 laws that aim to expand high-speed internet access, allow hemp research and more. Two out of five justices opposed the action.

    Leading lawmakers in the Democrat-led Legislature say Martinez missed veto deadlines and never explained the reason for vetoes as required. The governor says the Legislature is overstepping its authority in challenging the vetoes.

    A state district court opened the way for the 10 disputed bills became law in September. The Supreme Court has no timetable for a final decision.
     

  • Ringing in 2018
  • Sheriff candidate files injunction against county

    White claims the county is not following its own charter and ordinances. 

    He said he wants a district court judge to order Los Alamos County to restore its sheriff’s office.  White’s previous attempt to get the New Mexico Supreme Court to get the county it’s decision to defund and the cut the sheriff’s entire staff was rejected. This time, White is taking a different strategy.

    “What I’m asking the court to do is order the county to follow its own charter, follow their own ordinances and follow state statute that specifically says H-class county or home rule municipality,” White said. “I’m not asking the judge to decide constitutional or statutory issue like I did for the Supreme Court.”

    White wants the Los Alamos County Sheriff’s Office restored to where it was before the Los Alamos County Council took away its budget and most of the services it used to perform last year, including process serving. In 2016 the council voted to transfer those services, and the budget it needed to perform them, to the Los Alamos County Police Department.