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

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Case against northern New Mexico sheriff widens

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Federal prosecutors say a northern New Mexico sheriff indicted for beating a motorist also made another questionable traffic stop.

Court papers filed last week say Rio Arriba County Sheriff Thomas Rodella tailgated a 52-year-old woman two months before he allegedly roughed up a driver during an off-duty traffic case.

Documents say Rodella tailgated Yvette Maes at night without his emergency lights on. When he turned on his lights and she pulled over, court papers say Rodella demanded to know why she didn't stop sooner because he was headed to an emergency.

But after Maes questioned why Rodella didn't just pass her, documents say he threatened to take her to jail.

Court papers say Rodella then left.

A lawyer for Rodella says he has not reviewed the new filing.


New Mexico utility plans to request rate increase

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Public Service Co. of New Mexico plans to ask state regulators for a rate increase for the utility's electricity customers.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that PNM wants to recover costs for investment in power plants and other infrastructure, and to make up for a decrease in power consumption.

The drop in consumption is attributed to such factors as the state's weak economy, energy conservation and renewable sources such as rooftop solar.

Vice President for Regulatory Affairs Gerard Ortiz says PNM expects to file a rate case with the Public Regulation Commission by December, but he says PNM hasn't yet decided how big of an increase it will request.

PNM last got a rate increase in 2011 when the commission approved a 9 percent increase in customers' bills.


Bernalillo County seeks funds for animal shelter

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Bernalillo County will be seeking voter approval in November for $4.5 million in bonds for a new animal shelter and adoption center.

The county already has $1.5 million and needs the bonds for the rest of the project, which would include a 25,000-square-foot shelter with space for a veterinary clinic.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the animal services department currently operates out of a converted fire station in the South Valley. In the truck bay, temporary kennels hold small dogs.

The county impounds nearly 2,000 dogs a year. The converted fire station acts as a temporary shelter until the animals are transferred to facilities operated by the cities of Albuquerque and Aztec or privately run rescue organizations.

County officials say construction on a new shelter could begin early next year.


Man convicted for role in Phoenix meth ring

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) - A New Mexico man has been convicted of racketeering and conspiracy for his role in an interstate methamphetamine trafficking ring.

The Alamogordo Daily News reports that a Chaves County jury found Matias Loza guilty last week for working with AZ Boys' - a criminal syndicate authorities say brought large amounts of methamphetamine from Phoenix to Otero County.

The 33-year-old Loza was then sentenced to nine years in prison for second-degree felony racketeering and three years for third-degree conspiracy to commit racketeering.

Loza's trial was moved to Roswell because of pretrial publicity.

Loza also is charged with one count of first-degree felony murder and second-degree felony conspiracy to commit murder in the 2011 death of 31-year-old Richard Valdez. He has pleaded not guilty.


Santa Fe hospital says face-to-face talks are over

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A Santa Fe hospital says face-to-face contract talks with a union representing nurses and medical technicians are over because there's an impasse on a key issue.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that administrators at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center told the union in an email Friday that there's an impasse on staffing.

The hospital said it will continue to communicate with the union through email, phone and fax but that it's considering legal options to unilaterally implement parts of the hospital's latest contract proposal.

President Fonda Osborn of New Mexico District 1199 of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees says the hospital's move is frustrating and disappointing.

The contract between the union and the hospital expired July 31.


2 injured in plane crash near Las Cruces airport

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - Authorities say two people were hurt when a light plane crashed on the western perimeter of the Las Cruces airport.

The crash occurred Monday morning on the west side of the airport. There was no fire but responders put down foam because of a fuel leak.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that one person was transported to a hospital and that the second declined to be taken to a hospital.

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