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Workers return to White Sands Missile Range

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - Hundreds of striking workers for a White Sands Missile Range contractor have ratified a new contract and ended their walkout after eight days.
    
The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that the strike against TRAX International ended midnight Tuesday and that union-represented workers were back on the job Wednesday.
    
Jay Jaramillo of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace says members of Local 2315 voted Monday to ratify a new contract with their employer.
    
Jaramillo says new contract terms include allowing workers to be paid for travel time in government vehicles to distant locations. The deal also includes a 2.5 percent per year pay raise.
    

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Think tank ranks New Mexico tax burden 37th

SANTA FE (AP) - A national report ranks New Mexico 37th in the country for combined state and local taxes paid by its residents.
    
The conservative-leaning Tax Foundation said in a study released last week that New Mexicans paid 8.6 percent of their per-capita income in taxes to state and local governments in the 2011 fiscal year. That's lower than the national average of 9.8 percent.
    
The tax burden of New Mexicans has been dropping - from 8.7 percent in 2010, 8.8 percent in 2009 and 9.4 percent in 2008. New Mexico ranked 40th in 2010.
    
New York had the highest tax burden at 12.6 percent and Wyoming was the lowest at 6.9 percent.
    
The study measures taxes paid by individuals and businesses in their home states and directly or indirectly in other states.

New Mexico State University eyes tuition revamp

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico State University officials are proposing new tuition rates that officials say would incentivize students to take more classes each semester and graduate earlier.
    
President Garrey Carruthers says earlier graduation means students will have less debt.
    
The new rates would implement lower per-credit tuition rates for students who take more credits each semester. Some students' tuition costs would drop while others' costs would rise.
    
The proposal was unveiled Wednesday in advance of a regents meeting Thursday.
    
Overall, the new plan amounts to a net tuition increase of $1.8 million for the university.
    
State residents currently pay $3,110 for between 12 and 18 credits per semester.
    

Crews to return to WIPP after radiation leak

Crews are expected to return to the underground facility at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad for the first time since a radiation leak in February.

Best breakfast burrito in NM?

The New Mexico Tourism Department is looking for the best breakfast burrito in the state.

Starting on Monday, March 31, New Mexicans can nominate their favorite breakfast burrito for the "New Mexico True Breakfast Burrito Byway." All nominations must come from the official online form at newmexico.org/burrito.

Nominations are open to New Mexico-based restaurants with a business license, in good standing with local and state Health Departments and with a bricks-and-mortar location.
The breakfast burrito must include egg, tortilla and New Mexico chile on the regular menu.

After the nomination period ends on April 13, online voters will then decide which fifty locations should become the founding members of the Breakfast Burrito Byway.

Outdoor film set to be built in southern NM

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - State and local elected leaders are working to increase film production in southern New Mexico.
    
They gathered Tuesday to announce plans to build an outdoor film set at the scenic Corralitos Ranch on the western edge of Las Cruces.
    
Bordering the Sleeping Lady Hills and the Sierra de las Uvas Mountains, the ranch has already been used in various films that include "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."
    
State legislators from the area were able to obtain funding for the backlot. The property will be owned by the city of Las Cruces.
    
Local actor, filmmaker and college instructor Mark Vasconcellos says aside from drawing good jobs to the region, the backlot will provide students an opportunity to gain experience working on movies and television projects.

Texas man pleads not guilty in girlfriend's death

Robert Glenn Earley, 33. -

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) - A 33-year-old Texas man accused of killing his Dallas-area teacher girlfriend in southeastern New Mexico has pleaded not guilty.
    
Robert Glenn Earley of Euless faces felony charges of murder, tampering with evidence and kidnapping in the death of 30-year-old Emily Rebecca Lambert.
    
She was killed while in New Mexico to visit Earley, an oil field worker. Her body was found March 4 behind a ranch building.
    
The Carlsbad Current-Argus (http://bit.ly/1jCbRwk) reports that Earley entered his plea and waived a preliminary hearing Friday and that his trial in state District Court is scheduled to begin July 1.
    
He is jailed in lieu of $1 million bond.
    
Lambert was a teacher in Garland, Texas and was mother of two young daughters.