Alamogordo Officer And Suspect Both Shot And Killed, Hispanic Fiesta Draws Native America Anger

Sep 2, 2016

Police Officer And Suspect Both Killed In New MexicoThe Associated Press

Police say a New Mexico police officer was shot and killed after he encountered a 38-year-old man with three active warrants out for his arrest who opened fire.

Alamogordo police said at a news conference that the suspect, Joseph Moreno, also was killed when gunfire erupted today during a foot pursuit. Police did not say who shot Moreno, and it wasn't clear if there were other officers involved in the pursuit.

The officer killed was identified as Clint Corvinus, a four-year veteran of the Alamogordo police force who went to high school there.  Authorities say he is survived by his parents, girlfriend and an 8-year-old daughter.

The shooting today comes three weeks after authorities say an Ohio fugitive gunned down Officer Jose Chavez during a traffic stop in the village of Hatch.

Annual New Mexico Hispanic Fiesta Draws Native American Anger The Associated Press For centuries, northern New Mexico Hispanic residents have held an elaborate festival in Santa Fe in honor of Spanish conquistador Don Diego De Vargas. But now an emboldened group of Native American activists said it's time to change a celebration centered on the conquest of New Mexico's Pueblo tribes. They say the annual Santa Fe Fiesta ignores the horrors inflicted on the indigenous population during the colonial era. Elena Ortiz of the group Spirit of Po'pay says activists are planning a protest at the week-long event which begins Friday. Fiesta council member Cecilia Tafoya says the annual festival is not meant to hurt anyone. She says it's about honoring the region's Spanish heritage and paying homage to the area's Catholic faith. UNM Awards Record Number Of Degrees In 2015-16 School YearThe Associated Press & The ABQ Journal Despite dropping enrollment the University of New Mexico awarded a record number of degrees during the 2015-16 school year. The Albuquerque Journal reports that the school awarded a total of 5,674 degrees - up from 5,489 the 2014-15 school year. Of those, master's and doctorate degrees accounted for 1,362 and 292 degrees, respectively. Provost Chauki Abdallah says UNM does not track exact graduation figures, but that the university's four-year graduation last year was on track to exceed 20 percent for the first time in many years. Abdallah says the high number of degrees can be attributed to changing graduation requirements, increased student services and a more engaged faculty. 

New Mexico Court Upholds Man's Convictions In 2 HomicidesThe Associated Press

The New Mexico Supreme Court has upheld a man's murder convictions in the 2010 robbery killings of a man and woman at a home in the Albuquerque area.

The high court issued the ruling Thursday in an appeal filed for Rigoberto Rodriguez, who was convicted in the shooting death of David Maldonado and the fatal stabbing of his ex-wife, Connie Maldonado.

The ruling overturned three of Rodriguez's four convictions of conspiracy, ruling that those allegations should be included in a remaining conspiracy conviction.

Much of the prosecution's case was based on law enforcement testimony about phone calls between Rodriguez and co-conspirators and between Rodriguez and at least one victim. The trial judge allowed use of that evidence, and the Supreme Court upheld it.

University Budgets Could Be On Chopping Block In Budget TalksSanta Fe New Mexican

As the Legislature heads into a special session on budget shortfalls, universities around the state are worried more cuts are in store.

Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, who chairs the Legislative Finance Committee, told the Santa Fe New Mexican that many will be eying public education and higher education as lawmakers grapple with how to close a $650 million budget gap.

There have already been cuts to higher education totaling about $16.5 million for fiscal year 2016. New Mexico State University cut its budget by $12.1 million as a result, cutting jobs and eliminating one program.

NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers said that’s had a negative impact on student recruiting efforts. Officials at several campuses of Eastern New Mexico University said they have already made cutbacks in anticipation of budget cuts.

Gov. Susana Martinez and lawmakers have agreed to hold a special session but there are no details yet on when that will happen.

The New Mexican reports a study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found per-student funding at New Mexico’s public colleges is 30 percent lower than in 2008 and tuition has gone up.

UNM Partners With Uber To Provide Rides To And From Games Associated Press

Athletics officials with the University of New Mexico have partnered with ride-booking service Uber to provide fans with transportation to and from University Stadium for all home football games.

The university made the announcement Thursday, saying the three-year partnership will extend into the 2019 football season.

An official pick-up and drop-off zone will be established across from the stadium's north entrances. Signs will be placed throughout the stadium to help fans locate the area.

Uber's general manager for New Mexico, Steve Thompson, says the ride-booking service is thrilled about the partnership. He says it will provide a reliable transportation option on game day.

The partnership was secured by UNM Athletics' multimedia rights holder, Learfield's Lobo Sports Properties.

Mexico Agriculture Minister To Visit NMSU, Sign Agreement Associated Press

The head of Mexico's agriculture agency will be visiting New Mexico State University next week.

The university made the announcement Thursday, saying Jose Eduardo Calzada Rovirosa will be on campus Sept. 9. His visit will include the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

The agreement aims to strengthen communication, promote scientific research and collaborate with Latin America, the Caribbean and other countries.

Calzada Rovirosa also will meet with University Chancellor Garrey Carruthers and Rolando Flores, the new dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

An NMSU graduate, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto appointed Calzada Rovirosa as the country's agriculture secretary in August 2015. He previously served as the governor of the Mexican state of Querétaro.

New Mexico To Share In Veteran Homeless Prevention Grants Associated Press

Veteran families across New Mexico will get a boost thanks to more than $2 million in homeless prevention grants.

The Veterans Affairs Department announced the funding this week as part of the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program.

The grants were awarded to Goodwill Industries of New Mexico, New Mexico Veterans Integration Centers and Mesilla Valley Community of Hope. These were three of 275 community agencies across the nation and in Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to receive funding.

As part of the veteran families support program, the VA awards grants to private nonprofit organizations and consumer cooperatives that provide services to very low-income veteran families living in or transitioning to permanent housing.

The organizations will provide eligible families with outreach, case management and assistance obtaining VA and other benefits.

Two Registered Nurses In New Mexico Are Indicted In Drug CaseAssociated Press

Two registered nurses who were formerly employed by an Albuquerque-area hospice care provider have been indicted on federal prescription opioid conspiracy charges.

Prosecutors say 30-year-old Desiree Ulibarri and 35-year-old Annabel Debari are charged with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and conspiracy to acquire and obtain oxycodone by fraud and deceit.

The indictment alleges that the two women from Albuquerque committed the offenses between April and July of 2016.

Authorities say Ulibarri allegedly picked up packages from a shipping company instead of having the medication delivered to patients and more than 3,800 pills were diverted.

Ulibarri pleaded not guilty Thursday while Debari is scheduled to be arraigned on Sept. 7.

Prosecutors say the women each face up to 20 years in federal prison if they're convicted in the case.

Bernalillo County Man Is State's 3rd Case Of Human PlagueAssociated Press

The New Mexico Department of Health is reporting the third human plague case in the state this year.

They say a 67-year-old Bernalillo County man was hospitalized but now is recovering at home.

The illness likely was caused by a bite the man sustained from a wild prairie dog from Santa Fe County.

Confirmatory testing was performed at the Department's Scientific Laboratory Division.

Plague is a bacterial disease that cycles between rodents and their fleas and is generally transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas.

It can also be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals, including rodents, certain wildlife and pets.

Last year, New Mexico had four human plague cases with one death.

U.S. Takes Key Step To Implement Sage Grouse Conservation PlanAssociated Press

Federal land managers have issued new guidelines that will help determine what restrictions are imposed on oil and gas drilling, livestock grazing and other activities in the West to protect the greater sage grouse.

The guidelines released Thursday are part of a broader effort to save the distinctive bird without resorting to the Endangered Species Act, which could bring down tougher restrictions.

Conservationists and industry groups are watching closely because the guidelines will influence how vigorously the government implements a sage grouse protection plan announced last year.

Among other things, the guidelines tell federal employees when and how to apply the new rules.

The guidelines cover about 95,000 square miles of federal land.

Greater sage grouse live in 11 Western states. About 200,000 to 500,000 remain, down from the species peak population of about 16 million.

Prosecutor: Wounded Officer Justified In Returning Gunfire KRQE-TV, Associated Press

The chief prosecutor for Bernalillo County says an Albuquerque police officer was justified in returning fire from a suspected drunk driver who wounded the officer four times.

KRQE-TV reports District Attorney Kari Brandenburg said in a letter to Police Chief Gordon Eden that Officer Lou Olson was clearly acting in self-defense in the January 2015 incident.

Olson was seriously wounded when Christopher John Cook shot the officer as he approached an SUV that turned out to be stolen.

Cook ran from the scene, was the subject of a three-day manhunt and is now in prison.

Court records indicate Cook pleaded no-contest to charges that included possession of a deadly weapon by a prisoner and shooting at or from a motor vehicle and causing great bodily harm.