Residents: Action needed on NM mine due to cancer
GRANTS, N.M. (AP) - Western New Mexico residents say federal officials need to either move the tailings from an abandoned uranium mill near Milan or relocate the owners of about 75 nearby homes.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that residents told a top U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official Tuesday that a cluster of cancer cases in subdivisions near the Homestake Mining Co. uranium mill show a need for immediate action by the agency.
They pointed to a draft EPA report published this month showing that residents near the mill face a cancer risk 18 times higher than that considered acceptable by the EPA.
More than a decade has passed since uranium ore was mined in New Mexico, but a Canada-based company and a Japanese partner proposed this year reopening a mine near Grants.
Silver Fire may grow another 9 square miles
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A large blaze charring through southern New Mexico's Gila National Forest is expected to grow and become more visible thanks to high winds and low humidity.
Officials say the 47-square-mile Silver Fire could grow another 9 square miles Wednesday with smoke spreading across the region. It remains only around 5% contained.
Crews are scheduled to continue indirect line construction on the west flank of the fire along existing trails and mop up and patrol in the Kingston and Royal John Mine area.
An evacuation order remains in effect for the historic mining town of Kingston.
Smoke from the ranging blaze was seen from more than 100 miles away on Tuesday.
OFFICER'S WIFE KILLED
Testimony expected to resume in Levi Chavez case
BERNALILLO, N.M. (AP) - Testimony is expected to resume after a 2-day delay in the trial of a former Albuquerque officer accused of killing his wife.
Witnesses are scheduled Wednesday to return after state District Judge George P. Eichwald rejected Tuesday a defense attorney's request for a dismissal or mistrial.
Prosecutors say Levi Chavez shot his 26-year-old wife, Tera Chavez, with his department-issued gun in 2007 and then tried to make her death look like a suicide. They say Chavez killed his wife in part because she discovered he staged the theft of their truck for insurance money.
But the judge struck a blow to prosecutors by ruling that a state insurance fraud investigator will only be allowed to testify if called by the defense since prosecutors failed to seek notes.
BRUTALLY TURTLE ATTACK
Police: Large NM turtle brutally beaten, stabbed
ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) - Police are searching for clues after a group of Roswell juveniles found a large turtle brutally stabbed and beaten to death.
KRQE-TV reports that the 24-inch-long tortoise with severe wounds was spotted by the group last week. Police say officers found a 14-inch knife and a hammer close to where the injured turtle was discovered.
The tortoise later died.
Police say investigators don't believe the juveniles had anything to do with the attack.
Investigators took the knife and hammer to test for DNA and fingerprints.
No arrests have been made.
Girl tells jury about NM kidnapping, biting man
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - An 8-year-old girl says she bit an alleged kidnapper and she lost a fingernail in a struggle until a witness chased her snatcher's van down and rescued her.
KRQE-TV reports that the girl told jurors Tuesday that the man grabbed her from a sidewalk while walking home from a neighbor's house with tostada shells in 2011.
The girl testified in the kidnapping trial of 31-year-old Philip Garcia. Prosecutors say Garcia kidnapped the girl and fled the scene then later returned claiming that he had been carjacked and hit over the head.
Neighbor 26-year-old Antonio Diaz Chacon said he saw it happen and chased Garcia's van until it crashed into a mesa.
His actions garnered him national attention and offers of gifts and money.
ILLEGAL SEARCH LAWSUIT
Docs: NM deputies illegally searched man, grandson
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - A man and his young grandson have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit, alleging Dona Ana County Sheriff's deputies unjustly ordered them out of a vehicle at gunpoint and illegally searched them.
The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that the complained filed last week in U.S. District Court in Las Cruces says the search occurred when Mike Castro and his then-8-year-old grandson were rabbit hunting in 2001 on a private road.
A video of the stop reportedly recorded a deputy saying a rifle had been seen pointing outside Castro's vehicle's window.
Court documents say Castro had no weapons and the boy had a BB rifle.
The complaint says then-Sgt. Jon Day struck Castro twice when he asked why they were being searched.
Sheriff's department spokeswoman Kelly Jameson declined to comment.
Valles Caldera legislation passes Senate committee
JEMEZ SPRINGS, N.M. (AP) - Legislation that would transfer management of the Valles Caldera National Preserve in northern New Mexico to the National Park Service has passed 1 of its first hurdles.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted in favor of the legislation Tuesday.
Under the proposal, hunting, fishing and grazing would continue on the 89,000-acre preserve.
The preserve is home to vast grasslands, the remnants of 1 of North America's few super volcanoes and 1 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 transfer was first proposed in 2010 in hopes of getting more consistent funding to preserve as well as improving the area and increasing recreation.
DROUGHT-WATER FOR WILDLIFE
NM agencies, nonprofit team up to provide water
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - State wildlife and agriculture officials are teaming up with a nonprofit group to help New Mexico ranchers defray the extra cost of hauling and pumping water during the drought.
The Department of Game and Fish has made a 1-time allotment of $40,000 to the Department of Agriculture as part of an effort to provide the state's wildlife with water.
The money will pass through the New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts, where ranchers can apply for up to $350 to pay for things such as fuel to haul or pump water.
Game and Fish Director Jim Lane says anytime a rancher provides water for cattle, wildlife will also benefit from that water.
New Mexico is in its third year of extreme drought, and recent thunderstorms have brought little relief.
Albuquerque police hold water drive for Magdalena
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The Albuquerque Police Department is holding a water drive for the village of Magdalena, whose well has gone dry.
The effort, which runs through Thursday night, will collect bottles and jugs of water at the Prisoner Transport Center, across the street from the main police station in downtown Albuquerque.
All of the donated water will be transported to the town of Magdalena in south-central New Mexico Friday morning.
The water table has dropped almost 20 feet since January due to the persistent drought that has plagued nearly all of New Mexico for the last three years. That combined with infrastructure problems caused Magdalena's to collapse earlier this month, leaving about 1,000 residents and several businesses without water
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