July 24 First News: Pojoaque Pueblo Seeks Gambling Compact With No Payments to N.M. (Listen)

Jul 24, 2014

Pojoaque Pueblo has proposed a gambling compact to the federal government that would allow the tribe to stop revenue sharing payments to the state. The Interior Department has asked Governor Susana Martinez and Attorney General Gary King to comment on Pojoaque's proposals for casino gambling on tribal lands north of Santa Fe. The pueblo's compact with the state expires in mid-2015. The tribe is seeking a new compact through a procedure that would allow the Interior secretary to decide terms of a gambling agreement. Currently, New Mexico tribes pay the state a share of slot-machine proceeds. Pojoaque also proposes serving alcohol in casino gambling areas, which is currently prohibited. Martinez spokesman Enrique Knell said the proposed compact would give Pojoaque a competitive advantage over its neighboring tribes.

Federal immigration officials are denying allegations that immigrants held at a New Mexico detention center were being deported in the middle of the night. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Gillian Christensen says the women and children housed at the Artesia facility weren't being pulled from sleep to board removal flights to Central America. Immigration advocates who were allowed to visit the center this week reported that women there complained that children aren't getting proper medical care and people are being deported at odd hours before they can see a lawyer. Federal authorities say at least three planes have deported immigrants from the center.  ICE officials say more of the 600 or so women and children at the center are scheduled to return to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador soon.

Senator Martin Heinrich is countering Republican proposals that aim to weaken protections for refugee children and undocumented students known as “DREAMers.” The New Mexico Democrat spoke on the Senate floor Wednesday, recalling the political atmosphere when the legislation passed the Senate unanimously. *****072414-Heinrich-1 :25***** Heinrich is supporting a proposal introduced by Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski that includes two-point-73-billion dollars to help stem the current Central America refugee crisis.

Albuquerque-area health officials say they've collected mosquitos positive for the West Nile virus in Bernalillo County for the first time in 2014. City and county health agencies operate a mosquito control program aimed at reducing mosquito populations that transmit the virus. West Nile's typical symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches, but in rare cases it can cause meningitis or encephalitis. People older than 60 are at most risk for serious disease from West Nile virus. A physician with the City’s Environmental Health Department says mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus will be around until there is a hard frost in the area. In the meantime, humans are urged to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites while horse owners are strongly encouraged to vaccinate horses.

New Mexico State University's admissions requirements will be going up. The NMSU regents on Wednesday voted to increase the minimum grade-point average during high school to two-point-seven-five, up from two-point-five, in the fall of 2016. The regents conditioned their approval on NMSU also using a so-called "alternative pathway" allowing students who don't meet the higher requirement to transfer to NMSU after attending community college and maintaining a GPA of at least two-point-seven-five. Officials say they hope the move will help more students complete college while lowering their student debt if they don't. The University of New Mexico is expected to revisit a similar proposal that in the past has drawn fire for civil rights advocates. Latino groups have said higher admission standards could affect the Hispanic student enrollment.

Santa Fe Weather: Mostly sunny, with a high near 87 with a 10-percent chance for showers and thunderstorms.  Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 60 and a slight chance for showers and thunderstorms. Tomorrow: Mostly sunny with the high 89 and a 20-percent chance for showers and thunderstorms.