Archaeologists: More Protections For Chaco Region, UNM Students Set Up Affirmative Action Bake Sale

Sep 22, 2017

Archaeologists: More Protections Needed For Chaco Region Associated Press

Archaeologists and other researchers are calling for more protections of an expansive area surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

In a report released Friday, they say increased oil and gas development in northwestern New Mexico has the potential to destroy parts of the landscape that could provide a better understanding of the ancient civilization that once inhabited the area.

The report comes as federal officials revamp a management plan that will guide development as more companies look to tap the region's shale deposits.

A world heritage site, Chaco and its outlying archaeological remnants have become the focus of the fight over expanded drilling.

Outside park boundaries, scientists say new technology has uncovered indiscernible sections of ancient roads. They also pointed to less tangible features that could be at risk, such as views of distant buttes or mountain peaks.

University Students Set Up Affirmative Action Bake SaleAssociated Press

Some University of New Mexico students held a campus bake sale, charging students based on their race.

A group called Turning Point USA set up an "Affirmative Action Bake Sale" on campus Thursday to question affirmative action practices.

Turning Point USA regional director William Witt set up a table of cookies and a sign with advertised prices of $1.50 for Asians, $1 for Caucasians, and 50 cents for black or Hispanic people.

Witt said certain groups get different opportunities than others and Turning Point USA believes affirmative action doesn't give equal opportunity.

Students called for Witt and the group to leave. They did. Their sign was destroyed.

A university spokeswoman said Turning Point USA is not recognized as an official student group on campus, but has applied to become one.

Judge Strikes Prosecutor From Witness List In Fraud Case Associated Press

An unusual effort to call New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas as a witness in a high-profile corruption trial being prosecuted by his office has been rejected by a district court judge.

General Counsel Ken Stalter of the attorney general's office said that Judge Brett Loveless on Friday found that Griego's defense attorney had not been able to adequately justify calling Balderas as a witness.

A trial date is approaching for former Sen. Phil Griego on allegations he used his position as a state senator to profit from the 2014 sale of a state-owned building in Santa Fe without proper disclosure. Griego resigned from the Senate in 2015 amid an ethics investigation.

Defense attorney Thomas Clark has highlighted a $1,500 campaign contribution by Griego to the attorney general's 2014 campaign.

New Mexico Insurance Regulator Opposes GOP Health Overhaul Associated Press

New Mexico's top insurance regulator says a Republican drive to erase the Affordable Care Act would cripple the state's efforts to provide health coverage to the poor.

Insurance Superintendent John Franchini says the so-called Graham-Cassidy bill would greatly hinder New Mexico's efforts to provide health care to individuals and families living just above the federal poverty level. He hopes the initiative fails.

Senate Republicans continued a final push Thursday to repeal much of President Barack Obama's health care law. Their bill would end the Medicaid expansion and subsidies for people buying private insurance and combine the money into new block grants for states.

Meanwhile, New Mexico Medicaid officials have proposed adding monthly premiums and expanding co-payments to more patients to limit state expenses. Currently only isolated copayments are collected.

US Rig Count Drops By 1 This Week To 935 Associated Press

The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. fell by one this week to 935.

That's still up from the 511 rigs that were active a year ago.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes said Friday that 744 rigs sought oil and 190 explored for natural gas this week. One was listed as miscellaneous.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Louisiana gained three rigs.

Alaska, New Mexico, and Texas each gained one rig. North Dakota and Oklahoma lost three rigs each, and Colorado lost two rigs.

California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming were unchanged.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. It bottomed out in May of 2016 at 404.

New Mexico Panel Seeks Solutions For Curbing Crime Wave Associated Press

A group of New Mexico lawmakers is scheduled to hold another meeting as they search for legislative solutions to reforming the state's beleaguered criminal justice system and curbing crime in one of its most populated areas.

The bipartisan Criminal Justice Reform subcommittee will be meeting next week in Albuquerque.

Co-chair Sen. Sander Rue says the crime wave has turned into an ocean of crime for Bernalillo County. The Albuquerque Republican says problems are escalating on a daily basis and public safety needs to be the priority as the panel considers changes.

A recent poll by the Albuquerque Journal shows voters believe crime is a problem.

Law enforcement officials also have been raising concerns about the state's bail reform efforts, pointing to cases in which repeat offenders are released and end up committing new crimes.

Albuquerque Set To Unveil Statue Of Late Boxer Johnny Tapia Associated Press

The hometown of the late boxer Johnny Tapia is set to honor the former champion with a statue at a community center that will also bare his name.

The city of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, and Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department are scheduled Saturday to unveil the statue at the Johnny Tapia Community Center at Wells Park. The area is where Tapia was raised by his grandparents.

His turbulent boxing career was marked by cocaine addiction, alcohol, depression and run-ins with the law.

Tapia died at his Albuquerque home in 2012. Investigators said there were no indications of a drug overdose or alcohol use but that the 45-year-old former fighter likely developed medical complications from past illegal drug use.

Tapia was orphaned at 8 when his mother was stabbed 26 times.

New Mexico State University To Open New Innovation Lab Associated Press

New Mexico State University has teamed with White Sands Missile Range to create a new lab aimed at sparking interest among students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

The Test and Evaluation Collaboration Hub — or TECH for short — will open its doors next week following a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Officials describe it as an immersive learning experience.

The university and the missile range recently received a $900,000 grant from the U.S. Defense Department to build and maintain the lab.

New Mexico State University is one of only five schools in the nation to call itself home to a Defense Department educational lab.

One side of the lab simulates a training camp in Afghanistan and the other features a New Mexican backdrop. The lab also has computers and flight simulators so students can learn math concepts.