Today's News

  • US hits record for costly weather disasters

    The U.S. had 16 disasters last year with damage exceeding a billion dollars, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday. That ties 2011 for the number of billion-dollar disasters, but the total cost blew past the previous record of $215 billion in 2005.

    Costs are adjusted for inflation and NOAA keeps track of billion-dollar weather disasters going back to 1980.

    Three of the five most expensive hurricanes in U.S. history hit last year.

    Hurricane Harvey, which caused massive flooding in Texas, cost $125 billion, second only to 2005’s Katrina, while Maria’s damage in Puerto Rico cost $90 billion, ranking third, NOAA said. Irma was $50 billion, mainly in Florida, for the fifth most expensive hurricane.

    Western wildfires fanned by heat racked up $18 billion in damage, triple the U.S. wildfire record, according to NOAA.

    Besides Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and North Carolina all had more than $1 billion in damage from the 16 weather disasters in 2017.

  • N.M. Supreme Court overturns domestic violence ruling

    The court in an opinion issued Monday said such behavior can have the same result as making an overt threat to ensure a victim’s silence.

    The justices found that the district court should have allowed prosecutors to use some of the victim’s statements in the case of Joshua Maestas.

    Despite talking with police and testifying before a grand jury, the woman later decided not to cooperate with prosecutors, resulting in the case being dropped.

    The state attorney general’s office and victim advocates consider the court’s opinion a positive step in the fight against domestic violence.

  • 2 N.M. lawmakers propose criminal justice reforms

    At a news conference, Rep. Nate Gentry and Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto touted their proposals as representing a sweeping approach to the city’s crime problem with measures that target nearly every level of New Mexico’s criminal justice system – from boosting police staffing levels to trying to ensure more access to behavioral health treatment for inmates leaving prisons or jails.

    Gentry is a Republican and Ivey-Soto a Democrat. Both represent districts in Albuquerque.

    It’s not clear ahead of the bills being debated in the 30-day legislative session that begins next week in Santa Fe how much support the measures would garner among lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, though they so far have gained the support of Bernalillo County sheriff and the Albuquerque police union.

    “It’s a common sense approach to a very dynamic problem,” said Shaun Willoughby, president of the Albuquerque Police Officers Association.

  • State Republican Party announces several changes Tuesday

    The Republican Party of New Mexico announced several personnel changes Tuesday.
    Ryan Gleason was hired to serve as the state party’s new executive director. Gleason served as a legislative analyst for the New Mexico House of Representatives in 2001 after graduating from the Texas Tech School of Law and Texas Tech Graduate School, with a master of Public Administration. Gleason then spent three years as a legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-NM) in Washington, D.C., where he worked with the justice and the judiciary, homeland security, commerce, taxes and the federal budget.
    Gleason has also served as the state director of USDA Rural Development. After two years working for the Texoma Council of Governments as the Government Services director, Gleason returned to New Mexico to work again for the state House of Representatives as legislative counsel during the 2011 Special Session on redistricting. Gleason was selected to be the Chief of Staff to Speaker of the House Don Tripp where he oversaw all House operations and has served as the senior legislative and policy advisor to the Republican Caucus.
    Michael Horanburg serve as the deputy executive director and director of outreach and political operations. Horanburg has worked in New Mexico politics for 10 years in various campaign and consulting capacities.

  • Snow predicted for morning commute

    The morning commute Wednesday may include rain and snow, with a chance of it turning to all snow by 9 a.m.
    Meteorologists from the National Weather Service, Albuquerque said commuters should expect rain quickly changing over to snow between 5-9 a.m. Wednesday.
    Meteorologists are forecasting one-half inch to three inches of snow the farther west one goes in Los Alamos County. The Jemez Mountains can expect as much as six to 10 inches.
    Wind is also expected, which could limit visibility.
    Meteorologist Clay Anderson added that’s basically it for a while though March may hold a surprise or two.
    “When you look at the climatological records, some of the biggest snowstorms around here happen in March,” Anderson said. “Just because it doesn’t look good now or as we get into February, doesn’t mean things can’t change.”
    As for fire season, things may be busy if there’s no snow in March. It could mean a longer season, especially in the forested areas, because so far, there’s no melting snow pack, according to Anderson.
    “It’s just a bad combination for the fire season,” Anderson said. “…I think it would be wise for people to prepare for a long and busy fire season.”

  • Couple with pot gifts again arrested in Nebraska

    YORK, Neb. (AP) — A California couple arrested in Nebraska last month for carrying 60 pounds of marijuana they described as family Christmas gifts have again been arrested in Nebraska, this time on suspicion of carrying drug money.

    The Lincoln Journal Star reports that 80-year-old Patrick Jiron and his 70-year-old wife, Barbara, were arrested Tuesday along Interstate 80 in northeast Nebraska. They were arrested last month along the same roadway — in the same vehicle — just two counties west.

    Lancaster County sheriff's officials say the couple were passengers in a pickup truck where deputies found a duffel bag carrying $18,000 in cash and notes consistent with marijuana sales.

    When the Jirons were arrested in York County on Dec. 19, they said they didn't know it was illegal to transport marijuana through Nebraska.

    Online court documents don't list attorneys for the Jirons.

  • New Mexico state lawmaker seeks to block border wall

    SANTA FE (AP) — A New Mexico state lawmaker is seeking legislation to obstruct plans for a new border wall by the Trump administration.

    Democratic Rep. Bill McCamley of Mesilla Park in southern New Mexico said Tuesday that he will introduce legislation that prohibits the use of state land in the construction of a new wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

    President Donald Trump's administration has proposed spending $18 billion over 10 years to significantly extend the border wall with Mexico. The New Mexico State Land Office oversees a patchwork of land holdings along the state's southern border with Mexico.

    Republican New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has discretion over whether McCamley's proposal can be heard during a 30-day legislative session that begins Jan. 16, and it was unclear if she would allow it.

  • New Mexico AG seeks more info for solar panel customers

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Attorney General's Office is hoping a new disclosure form will provide more information for customers considering rooftop solar.

    Attorney General Hector Balderas released the new form last week, saying it was created in collaboration with the solar industry, consumer groups and regulators.

    He said it's aimed at making more understandable the complex terms that are often associated with distributed electricity generation, which includes rooftop solar systems, and power purchase agreements or leases.

    The attorney general's office said it is also interested in hearing from non-English-speaking consumers regarding their experience in buying or leasing solar power systems or entering into purchase power agreements.

    The form can be found here.

  • Congressional race in New Mexico gets Libertarian candidate

    SANTA FE (AP) — The race for the Albuquerque-based congressional district in New Mexico is likely to include a third-party candidate after business consultant Lloyd Princeton announced Monday that he will seek the seat as a Libertarian.

    U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham isn't running for re-election in the 1st Congressional District as she seeks the Democratic nomination for governor against several rivals.

    Libertarian candidates are expected to have ready access to the general election ballot in New Mexico in November because of a strong local showing in 2016 by presidential candidate Gary Johnson.

    Princeton touted his professional experience at devising growth strategies for small businesses and said he wants to improve the state economy and reduce reliance on the federal government. It will be his first campaign for public office.

    "The two-party system has become about jockeying for power between the parties," said the 48-year-old entrepreneur who relocated two years ago to New Mexico from New York City. "Government at the federal level is getting exponentially bigger without simultaneously solving the problems for the people."

  • Trump appointee announces run for Congress; Salas withdraws

    Staff and Wire Reports

    ALBUQUERQUE — A former Trump administration appointee who resigned after a harsh report into a tribal loan program he oversaw announced Monday that he is running for Congress in New Mexico.

    Gavin Clarkson filed documents with the Federal Election Commission to seek the Republican nomination for the congressional seat in the southern district being vacated by Republican Rep. Steve Pearce, who is running for governor.

    Clarkson said in a campaign statement that he believes running is the "best way to help President Trump stop the swamp" and protect New Mexico.

    In November, ProPublica and The Washington Post reported that Clarkson resigned from the Bureau of Indian Affairs following an inspector general report into the loan program he directed. That report alleged the bureau's division of capital investment did not have adequate controls and managed the loan program with limited oversight.

    Clarkson, a New Mexico State University business professor and an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, has served as the bureau's deputy assistant secretary for policy and economic development.