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Local News

  • Governor pushes economic plan as legislature convenes

     

    SANTA FE (AP) — As the New Mexico Legislature returned to work Tuesday, Gov. Susana Martinez used her State of the State address to press lawmakers to focus on boosting New Mexico's struggling economy.

    Martinez spoke to a joint session of the House and Senate after legislators convened for a 60-day session, taking the opportunity to say that diversifying New Mexico's economy was needed to protect the state from a federal government that she called "dysfunctional."

    "The national economy is stagnant. It's hardly growing," Martinez said. "And the federal government — on which our state has become so dependent over the years — is faltering, weighed down by $16 trillion in debt."

    Economic and budget issues were possible common ground for the Republican governor and the Democrat-controlled Legislature. New Mexico has lost about 4,800 jobs in the past year — a drop of 0.6 percent — and potential federal budget cuts could deliver another blow to the state's economy.

    Martinez asked the Legislature to approve a reduction in the corporate income tax rate, as well as other economic development incentives to make New Mexico more competitive with neighboring states in recruiting and retaining private businesses.

  • LA DPU plans for shortages

    In February 2011, large parts of New Mexico lost natural gas supplies in bitterly cold weather similar to what the state is experiencing now.

    Department of Public Utilities Manager John Arrowsmith said that although New Mexico Gas Company has not finalized plans for dealing with such an emergency, it is better prepared to deal with issues as they arise.

    “I think they are a lot more vigilant about the supply to their system and the demands on their system and I think they’re working with the various groups to try to remedy the problem, to either make sure they have additional compression or additional facilities online or, if there is a crisis, to identify it early and ask each one of the users of the system to cut their use in advance of a collapse,” Arrowsmith said.

    The crisis two years ago resulted when areas of Texas and Southern New Mexico lost electrical power, compromising NMGC’s ability to compress gas. That dropped pressure in the line and NMGC decided to shut down supplies to Bernalillo, parts of Albuquerque and Northern New Mexico in order to maintain sufficient pressure in the rest of its lines.

  • Jemez Pueblo wants Valles Caldera land

    Leaders of an American Indian community in Northern New Mexico are seeking the return of all land within the boundaries of the 89,000-acre Valles Caldera National Preserve, citing the area as a “spiritual sanctuary” and part of their traditional homeland.

    Jemez Pueblo filed a lawsuit in federal court last summer to establish its aboriginal right to ownership of the property and the pueblo has gained the support of tribes throughout New Mexico.

    The preserve is home to vast grasslands, the remnants of one of North America’s few super volcanoes and one of New Mexico’s most famous elk herds. The federal government bought the property from land grant heirs in 2000, with the goal of operating it as a working ranch while developing recreational opportunities for the public.

    The government’s experiment in land management failed to become financially self-sufficient and members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation have been working on a proposal that would call for the National Park Service to take over management.

    However, Jemez Pueblo wants the federal government to return ownership and control of the property.

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  • Football group's leader removed after porn arrest

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The president-elect of the New Mexico Young America Football League was removed from his position after he and his wife were arrested on a child pornography charge.

    The Albuquerque Journal reports that the league's incoming president, 42-year-old Frederick Gonzales, and his wife, 36-year-old Carey Gonzales, were arrested Friday. The league's board on Saturday removed Gonzales as president-elect of the group that oversees about 5,000 players statewide who range in age from 7 to 14.

    "There was really nothing to indicate that something like this was going to happen; we were all totally shocked," League president Jim Summer told the newspaper.

    Summer said Frederick Gonzales cleared criminal background checks in 2011 and 2012. He added that the group plans to hire an independent agency to review its procedures and that the league's board planned to cooperate with authorities.

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