NEW MEXICO WEATHER
NM continues to battle cold snap amid more snow
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Officials say extreme icy conditions have forced the closure of U.S. Highway 70 in eastern New Mexico.
State transportation officials say 16 miles of U.S. 70 was closed Saturday from near Picacho in Lincoln County toward Roswell into Chaves County because of dangerous condition.
Officials also say dangerous driving conditions remain on Interstate 40 in the east and Interstate 25 near Raton due to freezing rain and icy spots.
The National Weather Service says the northern and southwest New Mexico will see snow and very cold temperatures late Saturday to Sunday. Wind gust could reach up to 50 mph.
Police say fog and ice on Interstate 40 near Clines Corners may have caused a crash between two semi-trucks that killed one of the drivers.
Deadly vehicle pileup hits I-10 in West Texas
PECOS, Texas (AP) - Transportation officials say a multi-vehicle pileup on Interstate 10 in West Texas has closed a portion of the highway and claimed the life of at least one.
Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Santos Carrasco Jr., says the pileup occurred Saturday and involved 10 vehicles. He says one person has died but the person's name was not released.
The Texas Department of Transportation said the pileup was due to icy weather conditions on I-10 westbound at mile marker 192. The accident is about 160 miles east of El Paso and four miles east of the Interstate 20 interchange.
Traffic is being diverted onto Highway 285 in Pecos, and some of it into New Mexico.
West Texas and parts of southeastern New Mexico are battling dangerously icy roads and freezing temperatures this weekend thanks to a cold front.
SMOKE SHOP RAID
DEA: NM smoke shop owner sold 'spice'
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The owner and an employee of a New Mexico smoke shop are facing federal drug charges in connection with a raid of the shop over the synthetic drug "spice."
KRQE-TV reports that Roman Huerta and Dean Cope were arrested Thursday on several drug-related charges.
According to criminal complaints, Drug Enforcement Administration agents found more than $100,000 in cash at Huerta's home and a "fully functioning" spice manufacturing facility in his garage.
Investigators say they believe Huerta would produce the synthetic drug and sell it at Smoke World, his Rio Rancho shop. Authorities say to avoid law enforcement, the two men would only sell to people they knew.
It was unclear if either man had attorneys.
Valles Caldera holds off on new hiking plan
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A plan to allow unfettered public access to the Valles Caldera National Preserve has been put on hold.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that Valles Caldera Trust Board chairman Kent Salazar made the announcement this week at a board meeting in Albuquerque.
The move comes amid concerns that Indian tribes and pueblos weren't consulted on the plan.
He added that tribal consent, review of endangered species, cultural resources, and habitat protection also needed to be considered.
Jemez Pueblo Gov. Vincent Toya Sr. says that the pueblo has always enjoyed a cooperative relationship with the preserve and that it was "shaken" when it learned of the board's plans to allow unrestricted access to hikers.
Prairie dog NM-Texas relocation request tabled
CLOVIS, N.M. (AP) - The Clovis City Commission has tabled a request to relocate prairie dogs to a county in Texas.
The Clovis News Journal reports that commissioners opted this week to table the proposal since an advocacy group couldn't provide a letter of support from a governing body in Ector County.
In addition, commissioners said there was a lack of a solid timeframe or deadline to have the prairie dogs moved.
Officials in New Mexico's Chaves County have also rejected a request from the citizens group to move the animals there.
Clovis earlier this year poisoned some of the prairie dogs at the request of farmers, sparking efforts to find non-lethal ways to remove the animals.
RAIL RUNNER-NO HOLIDAY SERVICE
No Rail Runner service on Christmas, New Year's
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - If you wanted to hitch a ride on the New Mexico Rail Runner Express on Christmas or New Year's Day, you better make other plans.
Officials with the Rio Metro Regional Transit District say the commuter train will not be operating on either day, nor will Rio Metro buses.
However, the Rail Runner will be running on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.
The train provides service between Belen and Santa Fe, while bus connections provide transportation from Rail Runner stations to locations as far north as Taos and as far south as Socorro.
NEW MEXICO-COACHING CHANGES
UNM coach: Defensive coordinator not coming back
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico football coach Bob Davie says defensive coordinator Jeff Mills will not return next season.
Davie said in a statement Saturday that Mills was no longer on staff. It was unclear if Mills resigned or was fired.
New Mexico (3-8, 1-6) lost its 15th straight game against a ranked opponent in its final last game last month. The Lobos struggled all season on defense, but were the nation's No. 2 rushing team.
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