Briefs 01-25-13

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NM proposal for concealed handguns in schools

SANTA FE (AP) — Schools in New Mexico could allow an employee to carry a concealed handgun on school property under a proposal by a Republican legislator.
State law prohibits guns on school premises except in limited instances, such as by police and school security guards.
The legislation by Sen. Sue Wilson Beffort of Sandia Park comes a month after a Connecticut school shooting that claimed the lives of 26 children and school workers.
Under Beffort’s proposal, a school could designate one of its workers to bring a loaded, concealed handgun on campus if the individual was licensed to carry the weapon.
The National Rifle Association has advocated placing armed guards in all schools. President Barack Obama has proposed gun law changes, including a ban on assault-style weapons.

Rain and snow forecast for New Mexico this weekend

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The National Weather Service says parts of New Mexico will be getting serious rain and snow this weekend.
Todd Shoemake of the weather service’s Albuquerque office says a Pacific storm system is expected to arrive in New Mexico Friday night.
Shoemake says the system’s expected abundant moisture and relatively warm temperatures will set the stage for widespread swaths of rain and high-elevation snows, especially Saturday and Sunday.
A winter storm watch for the state’s northern mountains calls for heavy wet snowfall at elevations above 10,000 feet. There will be lesser amounts of snow on slopes above 7,500 feet.
Snow is expected to continue into early next week.

EPA reports on plan to clean up uranium on Navajo

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it has exceeded its goals in assessing structures on the Navajo Nation for uranium contamination.
The agency had planned to assess 500 homes, sheds and other structures over five years and replace those that were too badly contaminated. It ended up surveying nearly 880 structures.
The agency announced Thursday that it also had provided safe drinking water to 1,825 families and cleaned up contaminated soil from previous mining operations.
The EPA says more work needs to be done to reduce the hazards of uranium contamination on the vast reservation and to study the health impacts.
The agency says the challenges going forward will be to find suitable disposal sites and get those responsible for the mine waste to pay for cleanup.

Orangutan at Albuquerque zoo is pregnant

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Sarah the orangutan at the Albuquerque zoo is pregnant, and the zoo says keepers are surprised because she was on birth control.
Average gestation of orangutans is seven months, but the zoo says the surprise pregnancy makes calculating a precise due date difficult.
But they say ultrasounds suggest that the orangutan is about five months pregnant and that the birth should take place in the next three months.
Primate supervisor Debbie Wiese says the ultrasounds shows a healthy baby.
Sarah gave birth four years ago. One of the twins died shortly after birth.