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This Hour: Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment

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New Mexico sheriff enters plea in disputed stop

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A northern New Mexico sheriff has pleaded not guilty to federal charges stemming from an off-duty traffic stop that authorities say left a driver injured.

Rio Arriba County Sheriff Thomas Rodella was arraigned Monday on deprivation of rights and brandishing a firearm.

Prosecutors say Rodella was in plainclothes when he pulled over motorist in March, jumped out of his personal SUV with a gun and shoved his badge in the motorist's face. Authorities say the driver was dragged from his car and thrown to the ground.

Robert Gorence, Rodella's attorney, says the allegations never took place.

Gorence says the case against Rodella is largely based on a dispute with U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez over U.S. Forest Service patrols in northern New Mexico.

Prosecutors say Rodella has been involved in at least three other questionable traffic stops.


Back to school - even in Texas immigration prison

KARNES CITY, Texas (AP) - For about 200 immigrant children held with their mothers, life inside a South Texas federal immigration prison means going to school eight hours a day.

The curriculum for pre-kindergarteners to 12th graders at Karnes County Residential Center is the same as bilingual schools across the state.

Days begin with the reciting of the pledges of allegiance in English to the Texas and American flags - even though many students are facing deportation.

Advocacy groups object to jailing families under any circumstances. And some wonder how much youngsters can learn during the relatively short time many will be held in detention.

But U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement counters that school helps socialize kids, and could serve to acclimate some who may end up staying in the country.


EPA administrator pushes for water rules

CORRALES, N.M. (AP) - The head of the Environmental Protection Agency says she's not backing down on her agency's efforts to implement a new rule that would assert regulatory authority over many of the nation's streams and wetlands despite criticisms that it amounts to a federal water grab.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy made the comments Monday during a visit to New Mexico. She stopped in Corrales (kor-AHL'-ehs) to commemorate a flood-control project that will be funded with $2 million in federal loans and grants.

McCarthy says the Clean Water Act is more than 40 years old, and it's time to clarify which streams and waterways fall under its purview. She maintains the new rule would not increase the act's jurisdiction.

The U.S. House last week passed a bill that would block the EPA from implementing the rule.


No boil water advisory for Farmington residents

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) - The boil water advisory for Farmington residents now has been canceled.

City officials announced Monday afternoon that tests to determine if there was bacterial contamination of Farmington's water were negative.

The Daily Times reported earlier that there was a mechanical failure Sunday at a water treatment plant.

City officials say a small amount of untreated lake water was mixed with a large amount of treated water. They say the problem was quickly discovered and that they immediately acted to flush the contaminated water from the system.

Residents originally were told to use boiled or bottled water for drinking, making coffee or ice, preparing food and brushing their teeth until further notice.


Court schedules hearing on marijuana question

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The state Supreme Court will consider whether New Mexico's largest county can put nonbinding questions about marijuana penalties and taxes on the November general election.

The state Supreme Court on Monday scheduled a hearing Sept. 23 in a legal challenge by Bernalillo County.

The court also issued an order to stop ballots from being finalized while the case is pending.

Secretary of State Dianna Duran decided last week that advisory questions, like ones proposed by two counties, can't be placed on the ballot.

Bernalillo and Santa Fe county commissioners have approved proposals to poll voters about their support for making possession of small amounts of marijuana a civil infraction.

Bernalillo County also wants an advisory question on a possible tax levy for mental health services.


Journal poll: Martinez widens gubernatorial lead

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The latest poll in New Mexico's race for governor shows Republican incumbent Susana Martinez has widened her lead over Democratic challenger Gary King.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that Martinez was supported by 54 percent of likely voters who were surveyed and 36 percent backed King. Ten percent were undecided.

A poll last month found Martinez leading 50 percent to 41 percent, with nine percent undecided.

In the U.S. Senate race, the Journal poll showed Democratic incumbent Tom Udall leading with 51 percent to 38 percent for Republican challenger Allen Weh. Eleven percent were undecided.

Udall was ahead in last month's poll 53 percent to 35 percent.

The new poll surveyed 603 likely voters last week and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.


Democrat Gary King's campaign manager resigns

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Democratic gubernatorial challenger Gary King's campaign manager has resigned after holding the job about two months.

Keith Breitbach was King's third campaign manager.

King announced the resignation on Monday and in a statement thanked Breitbach for the "positive impact" he had on the campaign.

Breitbach said in an interview he "no hard feelings with Gary or anyone on the campaign."

He acknowledged that King's campaign faced difficulty because it's struggled to raise money and has been outspent 4-to-1 by Martinez since July.

According to the latest poll by the Albuquerque Journal, Martinez has widened her lead over King in the past month.

Breitbach said his elderly mother in Iowa had heart problems and "it is probably best to refocus my attention on my own life."


Forecasters: New Mexico to see wetter weather

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico's weather is about to get wetter and colder.

The National Weather Service says a cold front, a surge of moisture, receding high pressure and the remnants of a hurricane are expected to produce showers and thunderstorms across much of the state by midweek.

Forecasters say there will be a potential for locally heavily rainfall and flash flooding, with Thursday and Thursday night appearing likely to be the wettest periods.

Hurricane Odile (oh-DEEL') hammered Mexico's Baja California Peninsula late Sunday and early Monday, but it's forecast to slow down and lose intensity over the next day or so.

Odile is expected to turn northeast into Arizona on Wednesday and New Mexico on Thursday.


4-month-old in New Mexico tests positive for meth

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - A New Mexico man has been indicted on child abuse charges after his 4-month-old tested positive for methamphetamine.

Authorities in Las Cruces announced Monday that Jose Nino was indicted in Dona Ana County on one count of abuse of a child.

Authorities say the child's mother tested negative for drugs, but said Nino allegedly had lost a baggie of methamphetamine in the home.

She told investigations that she suspected Nino and his brother had smoked it in the baby's presence between July 16 to 18.

It's unclear if Nino has an attorney yet. Authorities didn't immediately release the child's gender or any additional details of the case.


Mesilla restaurant takes top salsa honors

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A Mesilla restaurant has taken top honors at the New Mexico State Fair's annual salsa challenge.

Hundreds of fairgoers sampled and voted during Saturday's Battle of the Salsas and Andele Restaurante came out on top, beating out 32 competitors. The competition is open to all New Mexico-made, commercially produced salsas.

The state Department of Agriculture tallied the votes and announced the winner Monday.

Department officials say Andele Restaurante has been in business for nearly 20 years but only recently started packaging its salsa in jars for sale elsewhere.

Cindy's Yummy and Healthy Salsa took second place and third went to Ol' Gringo Chile Company.

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