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Local News

  • Gearing up for Phase 4

    Phase 3 of the Diamond Drive reconstruction project is winding down and Tuesday evening county officials focused their attention on the fourth and final phase – likely to be the most disruptive of all.

    “There won’t be an individual who travels these roads who won’t be touched by this project – This is going to be a real challenge,” County Administrator Tony Mortillaro advised county council members.

    Diamond Drive is the only north/south arterial road that connects the town’s different mesa tops.

  • Start-up bug infects gathering

    TESUQUE – Peter Fiske confessed that he began showing “disturbing signs of an entrepreneurial spirit” as a geology student at Stanford University, when he cashed in on the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake – for a good cause.

    He and his classmates auctioned off orphaned furniture from damaged buildings in the Bay Area and used the funds they raised to endow a geology program into the future.

  • 2009: A year of crimes against women, children

    ALBUQUERQUE — Women and children were the victims of high-profile cases statewide in 2009, a tragic year that saw 11 sets of human remains discovered on a desert mesa and a young mother accused of suffocating her 3-year-old son and burying him beneath a playground.

    The year began with the discovery in February of human remains buried on a 92-acre subdivision plot, which police dubbed the nation’s largest crime scene.

  • WIPP sells tons of excavated salt to Texas

    ALBUQUEREQUE — Hundreds of tons of salt excavated from the Department of Energy’s underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico are destined for cattle feed in Texas.

    The DOE’s Carlsbad field office has reached an agreement with Magnum Minerals LLC of Hereford, Texas, which will buy up to 300,000 tons of salt from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, known as WIPP.

  • Environmentalists: Endangered species need protection

    ALBUQUERQUE — A group of environmentalists pledged Monday to file petitions and lawsuits over the next 36 days to persuade the Obama administration to make protection of endangered plants and animals a priority.

    Listings under the Endangered Species Act have reached an all-time low, while the number of plants and animals that need protection is growing, said Nicole Rosmarino, the wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians.

  • Employment figures begin to turn around

    SANTA FE – New Mexico stopped the bleeding in its unemployment rate in November, according to the latest data from the state Economic Research and Analysis Bureau.

    But the agency stopped short of an optimistic forecast.

    According to the report released Wednesday, New Mexico’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.8 percent in November 2009, unchanged from October’s revised rate, but up from 4.6 percent a year ago.

    The national unemployment rate decreased to 10 percent.

  • 01-01-10 Briefs

    Drug sniffing dogs forced to live in prison

    LAS CRUCES — Two drug-sniffing dogs are no longer staying with their handlers and instead are taking up residence at the state penitentiary in Santa Fe.

    The dogs normally work at the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility west of Las Cruces.

    For years the dogs stayed overnight at kennels at their handlers’ homes.

    This year, the Corrections Department decided to enforce a 2005 policy requiring that all working dogs be housed at kennels on prison grounds.

  • Money links N.M.’s top 2009 stories

    ALBUQUERQUE — Much of what made news in New Mexico in 2009 came down to money.

    There was a pay-for-play investigation that cost Gov. Bill Richardson a federal cabinet post. A former secretary of state faces charges over federal funds for voter education. A longtime state Senate leader was sentenced in a kickback scheme. Former housing authority officials were accused of misusing bond proceeds.

    And the once-glowing revenue picture in New Mexico deteriorated into a scramble to find enough money to keep the state in the black.

  • Slow populations growth may reduce political clout in rural N.M.

    SANTA FE — Rural New Mexico risks losing clout in the Legislature in the coming decade because of the politics of population.

    The 2010 Census will be used to redraw boundaries of New Mexico’s legislative and congressional seats. However, the government’s most recent population estimates don’t look good for eastern New Mexico and other rural areas because slow-growing regions could end up losing seats in the Legislature.

  • Treasury winds down bank bailouts with $29 millon outlay

    WASHINGTON — " The Treasury Department said Thursday it has pumped $29.3 million into 10 banks, which will be the last to receive investments as part of the taxpayer-funded program to shore up the financial system.

    The aid comes from a $700 billion financial bailout program created last year during the height of the financial crisis.