New Mexico Charity Embraces Firearms Raffle – Associated Press
Organizers of a year-end charity gun raffle in southern New Mexico say they are better off after separating from United Way Worldwide, which objected to the annual firearms sell-off.
Alamogordo-based Thrive in Southern New Mexico describes itself as the leading fundraising organization for local nonprofits in a rural, two-county area. Executive Director Stephanie Hale says the charity keeps more funds in the local community after dropping its affiliation with United Way, and that its firearms raffle pays for annual operating expenses.
Miranda Viscoli of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence says the raffle undermines public safety by distributing guns into the community, including military-style rifles.
Thrive in Southern New Mexico briefly suspended publicity for its "Ultimate Firearms Raffle" of more than 100 guns in the aftermath of recent mass shootings.
FBI: Customer Shot At Departing Bank Robbery Suspect – Associated Press
The FBI says a customer at a northern New Mexico bank shot at a departing robbery suspect outside the bank but apparently didn't hit anyone.
FBI spokesman Frank Fisher says the suspect remains at large and that the FBI's investigation of the robbery Tuesday at a Los Alamos National Bank branch in White Rock.
Fisher didn't respond to requests for information about other aspects of the incident, including the customer's actions, and Los Alamos County Police Chief Dino Sgambellone didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Los Alamos Monitor reported that several witnesses reported hearing shots before police arrived after an armed man dressed in black held up the bank.
White Rock is a bedroom community to Los Alamos and 18 miles (29 kilometers) northwest of Santa Fe.
Fraction Of Revenues Go To Fight Gambling Addiction – Associated Press
New Mexico pulls in millions of dollars in revenue from the state lottery, racetracks, tribal casinos and other operations each year, but little goes to preventing and treating problem gambling.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that in the last budget year, the state earmarked $70,250 to specifically address problem gambling.
By comparison, gaming tribes and racetracks were required to spend $2.3 million to combat problem gambling.
The newspaper also reported that the state Compulsive Gambling Council, created by law in 2006, hasn't met for several years despite a legal requirement to do so.
Guy Clark is chairman of Stop Predatory Gambling New Mexico. He says the state government's efforts to combat problem gambling are a failure.
The Health Department argues the state has numerous initiatives aimed at problem gambling.
Kindergarten Teacher's Aide Charged Over Meth At School – Associated Press
An Albuquerque kindergarten teacher's aide is accused of bringing meth to school and then ingesting the drug to hide it.
KOB-TV reports that 48-year-old Fernandez Pizarro-Hernandez faced a judge this week on charges of drug possession at a school, child abuse and evidence tampering.
He was released but is prohibited from going to schools.
According to a criminal complaint, Pizarro-Hernandez admitted to bringing a bag of meth to the North Valley Academy Charter School.
A teacher discovered the bag after it fell out of Pizarro-Hernandez's belongings.
Authorities say after taking kids back to class, Pizarro-Hernandez tore open the bag and spilled some of the drug. He then ingested the rest.
They say it tested positive for meth.
The school principal says officials cannot comment on an active investigation.
Drought Expands Along Arizona-New Mexico Border – Associated Press
Drought is expanding its grip on New Mexico and parts of he Southwest once again thanks to a stretch of warm, dry weather.
Forecasters with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque say Friday marks the 50th consecutive day without measurable rain in Albuquerque.
While the state's most populous area is still far from setting any dryness records, many parts of New Mexico are seeing unseasonably warm temperatures that are helping to dry out soils and exacerbate the problem.
Many cities topped out Thursday in the 60s and 70s. In western New Mexico, Grants broke a previous record with a high of 67.
Forecasters say New Mexico is on track to mark the warmest November on record.
As for moisture, the latest maps show abnormally dry and low-level drought conditions have expanded slightly along the Arizona-New Mexico border.
Republican Senators Support Disciplined Air Force Colonel – Associated Press
A group of U.S. senators have signed a letter in support of an officer who says he was wrongly disciplined after refusing to sign a certificate of appreciation to the same-sex spouse of a retiring master sergeant.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Roy Blunt are among the Republican senators who signed the letter sent to the Air Force secretary earlier this month in support of Air Force Col. Leland Bohannon.
Bohannon cited his religious beliefs for not signing the certificate, and he was relieved of his command of the inspection agency at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico following his decision in May. An Equal Opportunity complaint against him was later substantiated.
The letter calls for his discipline to be reversed.
Deployment Of New Mexico Officers To Puerto Rico Is Extended – Associated Press
The voluntary deployment of six Las Cruces police officers from their southern New Mexico city to Puerto Rico to help with the recovery from Hurricane Maria has been extended by two weeks.
Police Chief Jaime Montoya says the officers who deployed Nov. 14 were to have returned Saturday but now are to return on Dec. 9.
Montoya says the officers are working with state police personnel from Boston, New Jersey, Montana and New York on duties ranging from traffic control to calls involving looting, crashes and crisis intervention.
New Mexico Waives Day-Use Fee To Visit State Parks Friday – Associated Press
Fees for visiting New Mexico state parks are being waived Friday as officials encourage people to spend more time outdoors.
Officials say the $5 day-use fees for all 34 state parks are being waived.