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

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SERVING ALCOHOL-DEATHS

Trial starts in lawsuit from Santa FE DWI deaths

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A federal court trial is underway in Albuquerque in a lawsuit filed in connection with the deaths of two sisters in a 2010 drunk-driving accident in Santa Fe.

A lawyer for the family of 19-year-old Del Lynn Peshlakai and 17-year-old Deshauna Peshlakai 17 told jurors Tuesday that Applebee's sales strategy emphasized alcohol sales while ignoring the dangers involved.

The sisters were killed when a vehicle driven by James Ruiz slammed into the back of a car carrying the sisters and their parents, who were injured.

Ruiz had been drinking at an Applebee's restaurant and another restaurant. He's now serving a 42-year prison sentence.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that a lawyer for Applebee's told jurors that Ruiz did not show signs of intoxication of Applebee's.

BANDANA BANDIT-REWARD

Santa Fe police offering reward for bank bandit

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Santa Fe police and the FBI are trying to track down a possible repeat bank robbery suspect and they're offering a $10,000 reward.

Detectives say they believe the person who tried to rob a credit union on April 9 robbed the First National Bank of Santa Fe just 30 minutes later. They also believe the same suspect robbed a U.S. Bank branch two weeks earlier.

In all three cases, the bandit carried a handgun and wore sweatpants with a hooded sweatshirt and covered his face with a bandana. He's about 5-foot-10 with a medium build.

Santa Fe police say they want to catch the robber before his actions escalate and someone gets hurt.

They say it's possible this person could also be linked to a string of gas station robberies.

BUSINESS FIRE

Firefighters put out fire at Albuquerque warehouse

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Albuquerque firefighters have put out a fire in a business warehouse in northeast Albuquerque.

Fire Department spokesman David La Cour says responding firefighters found heavy smoke and flames coming from the structure at 4415 Prospect Ave. NE.

However, La Cour says crews were able to quickly get the fire under control. He says the building has minor structural damage and there were no injuries.

Cause of the fire is under investigation.

DONA ANA COUNTY-IMMIGRATION

County against any role on immigration enforcement

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - The Dona Ana County Commission is on record as saying it doesn't want the southern New Mexico county or local authorities in the county enforcing federal immigration laws.

A non-binding resolution approved by the commission on a 4-1 vote Tuesday calls for the county to establish clear policies "that leave enforcement of immigration laws to federal agencies."

The resolution also urges other local jurisdictions throughout the county to do the same.

The Las Cruces Suns-News reports that the resolution doesn't mention the county Sheriff's Office by name but that a civil-rights group recently accused the Sheriff's Office of enforcing federal immigration laws.

The Sheriff's Office denies that. It says its personnel don't act as federal agents and aren't trained to be federal agents.

DROUGHT-RIO GRANDE

Feds to release Rio Grande forecast

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Federal officials have a plan for managing water in the Middle Rio Grande Valley.

The Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be releasing the details of this year's operating plan during a meeting Wednesday in Albuquerque.

Officials will discuss the latest forecasts and how those will affect the potential for storage and release of Rio Grande water through the rest of the season.

Snowpack in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico was below average last winter and runoff has been dismal, making for less water in the river.

The latest forecast from the Natural Resources Conservation Service shows spring and summer stream flows in New Mexico will be less than half of average and in some cases less than 25 percent of average.

HEINRICH-ROUNDTABLES

Heinrich in western NM for community meetings

SILVER CITY, N.M. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich is traveling to western New Mexico for a series of community meetings.

The New Mexico Democrat is spending Wednesday in Grant County, where he is hosting round table discussions in Silver City on helping small businesses and job seekers. He is also meeting with students at Western New Mexico University to talk about student loan debt and how to make college more affordable.

Later in the afternoon, Heinrich will lead a discussion with members from The Wellness Coalition, a non-profit coalition that works to assess youth needs and service gaps.

Heinrich will end the day at the Silver City Tourism & Visitor Information Center, where he will deliver remarks at the Silver City Gateway Community Continental Divide National Scenic Trail Designation.

HUNTING LICENSES

New Mexico hunting license applications increase

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The state Game and Fish Department says hunting license applications increased by nearly 10,000 this year.

The department said Tuesday there were 169,463 applications for 63,772 licenses to hunt deer, elk, antelope and other big game.

The agency has sent email notices to hunters who were successful in obtaining a license through this year's lottery.

Hunters can go online Wednesday to check their results in the license draw or can call the department's toll-free information line, 888-248-6866.

License fee refunds will be sent this week to applicants who weren't successful.

This year's drawing was the first with newly reinstated quotas giving New Mexico residents an advantage over out-of-state sportsmen when applying for licenses to hunt ibex, oryx and bighorn sheep.

SUPERCOMPUTING CHALLENGE

Albuquerque school wins supercomputing challenge

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) - Organizers of the New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge say two high school students from Albuquerque have taken the top prize at this year's competition.

La Cueva High School's Eli Echt-Wilson and Albert Zuo came up with a unique model that simulates the growth of individual tree branches and leaves based on underlying biological processes.

Second place went to Cole Kendrick of Los Alamos High School. He developed a computer model simulating classical explosions in certain stars.

Ian Rankin, Ahmed Muhyi and Sophia Sanchez-Maes from Las Cruces' Young Women in Computing took third place for their microalgae project.

Los Alamos National Laboratory puts on the challenge each year. It's open any New Mexico high school, middle school or elementary school student.

More than 240 students representing 70 teams researched projects this year.

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