August 5 First News:New Mexico horse slaughterhouse operation put on hold. (listen)

 Not opening today is Valley Meat Company’s horse slaughterhouse.  Heading into the weekend, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order against the Roswell facility, saying the USDA-approved operation must first perform necessary environmental impact reviews. Horse-slaughtering enterprises in the US ceased back in 2007. The judge’s order sidelines not only the New Mexico operation but a similar one preparing to open in Iowa.

In less than two weeks, a public hearing will see New Mexico’s Medical Board put forth new rules for physician certification of patients in the state’s medical marijuana program. The changes recommend using the same standards when prescribing medical cannabis as are used for prescribing narcotic-based pain medications. Opponents of the new rules, however, say its not a proper comparison as all marijuana use remains illegal under federal law. The medical board public hearing will be held in Santa Fe on August 16th.

Governor Susana Martinez has announced that Pete Kassetas is the new chief of New Mexico State Police. He's been serving as a deputy chief under Robert Shilling who announced his retirement due to family and health concerns. Kassetas, a 20-year veteran with state police, takes the post immediately and will receive an annual salary of $103,000.

Santa Fe's Finance committee will today consider that proposal to permit expanded beer sales and consumption at Fort Marcy Park's semi-pro ballgames. Two other committees have already given the nod to allowing game-goers access to beer beyond the current small, designated beer garden. The matter arrives at full city council next month.

GunHawks Firearms, the Los Lunas gunstore that ignited a firestorm of protest earlier this year when it sponsored a coyote killing contest, has announced a new contest for the person who can kill the most prairie dogs. It starts this Saturday and runs through the 17th. Contestants will pay a fee to enter, with the winner receiving a Smith &Wesson M&P 15-22 semi-automatic rifle.

The New Mexico Department of Health says that results of a survey by the nationalCenter for Disease Control and Prevention shows New Mexico kindergartners vaccinationrates to be at or near goals set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Specifically, the report cites satisfactory vaccination rates for common childhood diseases such as measles, mumps, diptheria, tetanus and pertussis.

Weather for Santa Fe – partly sunny days with highs in the mid 80s take us through mid-week. There’s a 30% chance for late afternoon and evening thundershowers today and tomorrow, increasing to 40% on Wednesday.