PLANE CRASH-LOS ALAMOS
Plane crash in Los Alamos killed 2 people
LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) - Authorities now say that two people were killed when a small plane crashed Sunday morning in a canyon about a mile south of the Los Alamos Airport.
According to Julie Habiger, a spokeswoman for Los Alamos County, the identities of the victims, including their ages and gender, haven't been released.
The aircraft was destroyed.
NM boy's Hantavirus death is state's 2nd in 2013
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A 12-year-old boy from northwestern New Mexico has become the second person to die of Hantavirus this year.
The state Department of Health says the boy's home in McKinley County is being checked to help reduce the risk to others.
Hantavirus is a deadly disease transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings or saliva. People can contract the disease when they breathe in aerosolized virus.
According to the department, the deer mouse is the main reservoir for the Hantavirus strain most commonly found in New Mexico.
Health Department Secretary Retta Ward says people need to avoid contact with mice and other rodents and need to use caution when cleaning up droppings and nests.
LAS CRUCES SURGEON DIES
Las Cruces surgeon dead from apparent drowning
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - A 57-year-old Las Cruces orthopedic surgeon has died during a hunting trip in southern New Mexico.
The death of Dr. Donald Watson is being called an apparent drowning. His body was found Sunday in Elephant Butte Lake near Truth or Consequences.
According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, state parks spokeswoman Beth Wojahn says authorities don't know exactly happened to Watson but don't suspect foul play.
Authorities began a search after Watson was reported missing Saturday night.
DEATH LAWSUIT VERDICT
Nearly $80 million judgment awarded in suffocation
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A judge has awarded nearly $80 million to the estate and family of an Albuquerque woman who suffocated in 2002 when her car was buried by sand after being struck by a tractor-trailer truck.
District Judge Shannon Bacon entered the judgment Monday to the estate of Laura Miera and the 48-year-old woman's husband and daughter. It includes $60 million of punitive damages.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that Bacon entered the judgment against Albuquerque Redi-Mix and another company and owners, John and Barbara Quintana. It was an Albuquerque Redi-Mix truck that crashed into Miera's car after exiting Interstate 40.
The Quintanas had denied violating any state or federal regulations and said the accident and injuries it caused resulted from the action of others.
Santa Fe swearing in 18 new recruits as officers
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The Santa Fe Police Department's ranks will be full after 18 new recruits are sworn in as new officers Tuesday as they prepare for training at the New Mexico Law Enforcement beginning Jan. 20.
The department says 12 of the new officers live in the northern New Mexico city and that only two are from outside New Mexico. Eight are military veterans.
The cadets will be taking a new, shorter 16-week academy. Upon graduation they will hit the street in a supervised training officer program that lasts 14 weeks.
The department has 166 sworn positions, and the department says full staffing means decreased response time, reduced spending on overtime and the increased ability to conduct patrols and investigations.
Man arrested after NM chase involving stolen truck
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Authorities say a truck stolen in the Albuquerque area was recovered after a chase during which the truck rammed a law enforcement vehicle.
Bernalillo county sheriff's Sgt. Aaron Williamson says the truck's owner spotted it Monday afternoon at a Rio Rancho gas station and followed it while calling 911.
Deputies attempted to stop the truck but it continued on while ramming a deputy's unit several times as the driver apparently attempted to avoid capture.
Several other drivers' vehicles also were struck before the truck stopped in a restaurant parking lot and the driver fled on foot.
Deputies then arrested 43-year-old Gar Medina. He faces multiple charges that include aggravated battery on a police officer. It's not immediately known whether he has an attorney.
No injuries were reported.
NM agency offers reward in poaching case
ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) - The New Mexico Game and Fish Department says four deer were illegally killed and dumped near Alamogordo.
The department announced Monday that a $500 reward is being offered for information leading to the apprehension of the person or people who are responsible for the Dec. 1 poaching incident.
The carcasses were found along Dulce Road in a subdivision south of Alamogordo. Most of the meat and the head of one deer had been removed, and several plastic grocery bags of meat were found at the site.
Game officers say the person who found the carcasses reported seeing a maroon Ford F-150 pickup in the area.
Anyone with information is being asked to call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-432-4263 or to contact the Alamogordo district officer.
NM has $600M available for capital improvements
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico will have about $600 million available next year to finance capital improvement projects.
Officials in Gov. Susana Martinez's administration told the Legislative Finance Committee on Monday that nearly $167 million will be available from general obligation bonds, which must be approved by voters.
The Legislature typically finances capital improvements at colleges, senior citizen centers and libraries with proceeds from the bonds backed by property taxes.
An additional $185 million can be spent on new capital improvements with money from bonds supported by severance taxes.
Other bond proceeds will provide $175 million for public school projects.
Nearly $29 million in financing must go water projects and $28 million for infrastructure improvements on tribal lands and in colonias, which are poor communities usually near the border with Mexico.
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