June 17 First News: Opposition Expressed Against Changes to N.M.'s Medical Marijuana Program -Listen

Jun 17, 2014

Proposed fee increases and other revisions to the state's medical marijuana program are drawing opposition from advocates who say the rule changes will make it harder for New Mexicans to obtain the marijuana they need for conditions such as cancer and chronic pain. Patients who rely on medical marijuana packed a hearing Monday by the Health Department to receive public comments on proposed new regulations. T.J. Scott is President of the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Alliance. Scott summarized some of the patients’ problems with the proposed changes. *****061714-Scott-2  (q: use this medicine) :21***** The department will decide later on proposed changes.

Authorities say a bicyclist is dead after being struck by a Rail Runner train in Santa Fe where the tracks cross St. Michael’s Drive. Santa Fe police say the incident occurred about 11:30 a.m. Monday. They say the bicyclist and train collided as the man on the bike crossed the tracks and the train crossed the sidewalk, which is not protected by the rail road arms. Police say the unidentified bicyclist was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead The victim has not yet been positively identified. Police say the arms, bells, and signals for the Rail Runner were working at the time of the accident. This is the second such crash since April involving bicyclists and the train, with the tragically predicable results.

A wildfire that has forced the evacuations of Navajo communities in northwestern New Mexico has grown to more than 17 square miles. Fire officials say the Assayii (UH'-say-ee) Lake Fire is being fueled by fierce winds. There's zero containment, and the gusts have hampered any effort to attack the flames directly. Fire spokeswoman Arlene Perea says parts of Naschitti (NAS'-chit-ee) and the nearby community of Sheep Springs have been evacuated and residents in other areas have been put on notice that they might have to leave. Authorities estimate there are about 400 people who live in the two rural communities. Perea says officials are most concerned about keeping firefighters and the public out of harm's way given the erratic nature of the fire and the unfavorable weather conditions. The human-caused blaze was first reported Friday.

Santa Fe officially has a new police chief. Eric Garcia was sworn in as the chief at Santa Fe City Council Chambers on Monday morning. Garcia, who’s 42, replaces Ray Rael, who retired earlier this year. Garcia was a New Mexico State Police officer for 18 years. He has worked the past two years as Espanola's public safety director. In his comments following the swearing-in, Chief Garcia made a pledge: *****061714-Garcia-1 (q: possibly can(2x) :19***** He was chosen from 48 applicants. City officials said Garcia has a focus on community policing, a history of improving officer morale and commitment to introducing new training programs.

Democrat Gary King has hired a new campaign manager for his general election bid against Republican Gov. Susana Martinez. King announced Monday that day-to-day campaign operations will be managed by Steve Verzwyvelt (Ver-ZWEI-velt). He's a native of Louisiana who's worked on campaigns in other states for about a dozen years. Verzwyvelt replaces Jim Farrell, who said he left the campaign at the end of the primary election to spend more time with his family in Las Cruces.

And now a bit of "old news," of an archeological dig into Eastern New Mexico's past.  Here’s KSFR’s Dave Marash: *****Marash-Archeological Dig RUNS:  00:58 q: std*****

Santa Fe Weather:  Mostly sunny and breezy today, with the high 81. Tonight: Partly cloudy and breezy with the overnight low, 54. Tomorrow: Partly sunny and breezy with the high 79. There’s a slight chance for showers and thunderstorms today through tomorrow.