Visitors, eagles flock to Abiquiu

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By Associated Press

ABIQUIU — Volunteers are gathering Saturday at Abiquiu Lake in northern New Mexico for the annual midwinter bald eagle count.
The count is hosted every year by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The goal is to collect data that will help with national and local tracking of eagle numbers.
Officials with the National Wildlife Federation have asked that participants in each state count eagles along standard routes to provide data trends.
Aside from getting a better gauge of the bald eagle population, the wildlife group is trying to identify previously unrecognized areas of important winter habitat.
Unlike nesting surveys, the midwinter survey provides information on both breeding and non-breeding segments of the population at a potentially limiting time of year.

Man pleads guilty to bank robbery in Española

ALBUQUERQUE — An Española man is facing up to 20 years in prison after pleaded guilty to robbing a bank in New Mexico.
Federal prosecutors say 34-year-old Stephen Gurule entered his plea Friday. He was arrested in October on a criminal complaint charging him with robbing the Community Bank on Sept. 27.
Authorities say a man passed a handwritten note demanding money to a bank teller.
In October, the FBI received information that Gurule had confessed to robbing a bank in Española.
The agency compared a driver’s license photograph of Gurule to the robber shown on the bank surveillance video and determined that the robber appeared to be Gurule.
He has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing.

Martinez proposes tax breaks for start-ups

ALBUQUERQUE — Republican Gov. Susana Martinez proposes to expand economic development tax incentives aimed at encouraging investment in startup and technology companies.
Martinez outlined the measures on Friday. The tax changes will need approval of the Legislature to take effect.
One proposal expands a tax credit provided to “angel investors” who help finance new companies. The governor wants to provide up to $2 million a year in credits, up from a current $750,000 cap, and increase the individual investments that qualify for a tax break.
Martinez also proposes to revamp existing credits for small technology companies, potentially costing the state $2 million a year. One change would allow firms to collect a refund for some spending on research and development if their tax credits exceed their tax liability.

Flu strain growing in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE — State health officials say a flu strain that caused the 2009 flu pandemic is causing widespread illness again in New Mexico this season.
The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://goo.gl/WIvbRu) that New Mexico Department of Health epidemiologist Chad Smelser says the influenza strain is especially hitting children and younger adults.
He says activity and hospitalizations for flu in Albuquerque began rising in late December.
Albuquerque area hospitals reported that H1N1 is responsible for a majority of flu hospitalizations.
At University of New Mexico Hospital, officials say nine patients have been hospitalized for flu since Christmas.
David Stryker, medical director of infection control at Presbyterian Hospital, says 15 people remained hospitalized for flu on Friday.
Smelser did not have figures on the number of flu hospitalizations statewide.

-The Associated Press