Local News

  • 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.

  • Travelers’ choice: Shed shyness for security?

    SAN FRANCISCO — As Ronak Ray hunted for his flight gate, he prepared for the prospect of a security guard peering through his clothes with a full body scanner. But Ray doesn’t mind: what he gives up in privacy he gets back in security.

    “I think it’s necessary,” said Ray, a 23-year-old graduate student who was at San Francisco International Airport to fly to India. “Our lives are far more important than how we’re being searched.”

  • Sportsmen ask Rep. Teague to safeguard wilderness

    LAKE VALLEY — On a map of New Mexico, about 7 inches by 7 inches, there are just a few splashes of color, just big enough to put your fingertip on.

    “You see all those red things here?” asked wildlife biologist Randy Gray, gesturing to the colored specks peppering the map. “Those are the only places where they’ve measured (that) are two miles or more from a road. We don’t need more roads.”

  • Panel proposes salary cuts

    SANTA FE — Salaries of state workers and educators would be reduced by 2 percent next year under a budget proposal that also could require $200 million in tax increases or further spending cuts.

    The Legislative Finance Committee recommended Monday the state spend about $5.4 billion next year on public schools, higher education and government programs ranging from prisons to health care for the needy.

    Those expenditures would be covered by state revenue and $118 million in federal economic stimulus aid.

  • Bingaman: Cap and trade bill unlikely this year

    ALBUQUERQUE — Sen. Jeff Bingaman, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee said Tuesday that it’s unclear whether Congress will be able to pass cap and trade legislation aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions this year.

    Bingaman, D-N.M., said there’s no consensus on what form a cap-and-trade system would take, but strong desire exists in both the Senate and House to pass other energy-related bills that would curb pollution blamed for global warming.

  • Family sues funeral home over brain in bag

    ALBUQUERQUE — A New Mexico family is suing two funeral homes over a gruesome incident in which members unwittingly accepted a bag containing a relative’s brain and only became aware of it by the odor a day later.

    Funeral homes in New Mexico and Utah, where the woman died, are blaming each other for the mistake. Both have been named in the lawsuit.

    “This is just a sad tragedy,” plaintiffs attorney Richard Valle said Wednesday. “This almost feels like something you’d read about in a Stephen King book.”

  • Jobless claims fall, layoffs ease

    WASHINGTON — The number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits dropped last week, a sign the job market is healing as the economy slowly recovers.

    New jobless claims have dropped steadily since September, raising hopes that the economy may soon begin creating jobs and the unemployment rate could decline. That, in turn, would give households more money to spend and add fuel to the broader economic rebound that began earlier this year.