Best of Show for Monday

News New Mexico will be playing a "Best of Show" on Monday so that the staff can be with their family. Thanks for your support and attention.

NM winery gets federal grant for chile wine

From - DEMING, N.M. —A New Mexico winery has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the federal government to expand production of its chile-infused wines.
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall announced the funding during a visit to St. Clair Winery in Deming on Wednesday.
      With the funding, the New Mexico Democrat said the winery will be able to boost revenues and grow its customer base for its chile-infused line of wines by reimbursing production, marketing and distribution costs.
      The winery's chile wines are made using hot peppers from the Hatch Valley in southern New Mexico.
      The grant was awarded through a U.S. Department of Agriculture program that helps agricultural producers grow their businesses by turning raw commodities into marketable products. The grants often support development for niche and specialty products in rural communities. More

Survey: State’s pinon juniper trees are growing

From - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – Good news for pine nut lovers. Not so good for allergy sufferers. A five-year inventory of New Mexico’s forested lands shows positive growth rates among the state’s most important pinon and juniper species. However, other trees in the drought-stricken state have struggled more in recent years.
      Researchers with the State Forestry Division and the U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station studied more than 3,000 areas across New Mexico between 2008 and 2012 to get a better idea of what was happening within the state’s forests. Officials say the resulting inventory is the most comprehensive collection of forest health trends in the state’s history.
       While the recent drought has undoubtedly affected pinon and juniper resources in New Mexico, researchers said the magnitude of the impact varies widely and future mortality rates will depend on temperature and precipitation trends.
       Pinon and juniper trees make up the most abundant types of forest in New Mexico. They cover more than 13.6 million acres, and more than half of those acres include pinon groves old enough to produce harvest-worthy quantities of pine nuts.
       Data collected by the researchers suggest that in the absence of a major disturbance, New Mexico’s pine nut output will likely increase over the next 20 years. More

Lawsuit alleging long Election Day lines in Sandoval County will move forward

From - By: Kai Porter, KOB Eyewitness News 4  A judge is allowing a lawsuit to move forward that alleged long Election Day lines in Rio Rancho in 2012. The lines were long because of an alleged lack of polling equipment, and the lawsuit demands changes to the way Sandoval County runs elections.
      A voter and two candidates who lost in the 2012 general election claim in the lawsuit that thousands of voters were denied their right to vote. Some people allege lines were so long, they just gave up trying to wait.
      Some potential Rio Rancho voters were forced to wait up to five hours – a result of the county having just five voting centers for more than 80,000 people.
       Sandoval County Clerk Sally Padilla defended her job at the time. "I think I did my job; I've been doing it for many years, and I did my job the best I could," she said.
      The lawsuit asks for a series of changes to the way elections are run in Sandoval County, including no fewer than 15 voting convenience centers in Rio Rancho and more ballot printers.
      Last week a judge denied the county's request to have the lawsuit dismissed. During that hearing, the state said county officials took full responsibility for what happened in 2012. More

Marita Noon: U.S. Government releases predators against its own people

Commentary by Marita Noon - Many times the sound of howling and yelping coyotes awake me from a sound and cozy slumber. I sit bolt upright in my bed as my sleep-filled brain tries to calculate where my critters are and whether or not they are safe. The dogs on the floor beside me, the cat on the foot of the bed, I roll over and go back to sleep.
      In the years that I've lived in the mountains outside Albuquerque, I've lost three cats and three ducks to coyotes. I know they are natural predators and if my pets are outside, there is a chance they’ll fall prey. I hear the coyotes, but I hardly see them. They don’t generally come close to humans. They are after the squirrels and rabbits—and an occasional cat or duck.
      But that could all change due to a new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) plan to expand the area for the Mexican grey wolf reintroduction. The current plan calls for virtually all the southern half of New Mexico to become wolf habitat—but wolf advocates at a hearing about the plan, held in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, on Wednesday, August 13, repeatedly declared that Southern New Mexico wasn’t enough. They want the wolf introduced north of I-40—which would include Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Some called for wolves to be released in the Grand Canyon and the Four Corners area.
      Wolves are master predators—and they are enemies of coyotes. Wolves attack bigger prey: deer and elk, horses and cattle—but are known to carry off a dog or cat as well. The wolves that are a part of the reintroduction program are not afraid of people and will come right up to a house if they are hungry. Read full column

UNM soccer coach gets suspension

 University of New Mexico women's soccer coach Kit Vela has been suspended for a week without pay and 22 players will be suspended for one game over a hazing incident. 
Athletic director Paul Krebs says he expects Vela's suspension to begin immediately, but university policy dictates she has 10 days to appeal. Krebs says assistant coaches Jorge Vela and Krista Foo will receive letters of reprimand. 
School officials say last Sunday's hazing involved seven true freshmen and two were taken to the hospital for excessive alcohol consumption. Twin sisters Danielle and Devin Scelsi quit the team Monday, withdrew from school and returned to their home in Orange County, California
On Tuesday, Krebs announced the team's season opener Friday at Texas Tech was canceled.


Rattlesnake sightings in the rise in Southern NM

Officials in southeastern New Mexico say sightings of one of the most lethal rattlesnakes appear to be on the rise. 

The Carlsbad Current-Argus reported Saturday that the Eddy County Sheriff's Department says more snakes have been spotted in yards this year, including the Mojave rattler. The New Mexico Game and Fish Department says the snake is a type of pit viper that has fangs infused with a neurotoxin that is more potent than some other rattlesnakes. Treatment for a bite from a Mojave rattler requires different anti-venom.

Carlsbad Medical Center says they have already treated five patients for snake bite wounds this year. Experts say the rattler recently migrated from California and Arizona.


Lawsuit filed against Family Detention Center in Artesia

From - By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4 - Hundreds of women and children have been deported from the Family Detention Center set up at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia since it opened more than a month ago.
     Few cameras have been allowed inside, but advocates, like Tannia Esparza of Young Women United, have. “Many of the women I met with are strong mothers and are really just looking to care for their children,” Esparza said.
     Esparza says she heard stories from moms about how in the center, their kids are given little medical attention and women are given little legal help. “They feel very judged and they don't feel safe,” Esparza said.
      The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico says they’ve heard the same. Friday, they along with immigration rights groups, filed a lawsuit representing women who say their deportation hearings didn’t meet the letter of the law.
      The Department of Homeland Security won’t comment on pending litigation, but officials say everything happening in Artesia and other detention centers has been humane and lawful. More

UNM Hospital: Woman not infected with Ebola virus

From - By: Elizabeth Reed,  ALBUQUERQUE -- A UNM Hospital patient who was tested this week for Ebola is not infected with the virus, according to test results from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
      The hospital received the results on Thursday, according to UNMH epidemiologist Dr. Meghan Brett, who helped coordinate the precautionary care and testing.
      "The safety and well-being of our patients, visitors and staff is our top priority," said Dr. Robert Bailey, associate dean of clinical affairs at the UNM School of Medicine, in a statement. "UNM Hospital is well-prepared to handle any situation requiring infection control, and our staff demonstrated that preparedness this week, performing superbly in following the necessary protocols that are in place to protect our patients, visitors and staff."
      The 30-year-old woman recently visited Sierra Leone, Africa, and returned to the United States earlier this month.  She went to UNM Hospital last week with a sore throat, headache, muscle aches and a history of fever at home. Sierra Leone is one of several countries in West Africa with known cases of Ebola. More

Clovis may change area farming due to water shortage

From - CLOVIS, N.M. (KRQE) – Water in New Mexico is sparse, especially in Clovis. “Today, if you have a well that’s producing 200 gallons-per-minute you have a good well,” said Clovis Mayor David Landsford.
      Just a decade ago, a good well in the area produced about 1,200 gallons of water-per-minute. Officials say years of drought and extensive irrigation has nearly depleted the Ogallala Aquifer which is the city’s only source for drinking water.
      “It’s a concern and if we don’t conserve the ground water supply that we have today then we are going to be regretting that decision in the near future,” said Landsford. That’s why the city is hoping to start a new conservation program that would change the way area farmers use their water supply.
      “We would have to change from irrigation to dry land farming,” said Farmer Frank Blackburn. The city plans to pay farmers with federal grant money to stop watering their crops. Farmers would be paid about $400 an acre to make the switch.
      The change would mean farmers would have to rely on rain to water their land and some may have to change their crops to those that require less water. “It will lower your production and it will require more acres to make a living off of a farm,” said Blackburn.
      Blackburn, who has more than 60 years of farming experience, says the transition will be difficult for many area farmers, but says the community needs to act fast or else. “We will be out of water or I guess have less water,” he said. More