Flags Fly At Half-Staff For Fallen Deputy, National Hispanic Cultural Center Gets $150K Grant

Dec 17, 2016

Flags In New Mexico To Fly At Half-Staff For Fallen Deputy – Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez has ordered flags to fly at half-staff around New Mexico on Saturday in honor of a Valencia County sheriff's deputy who was killed in a crash while responding to a call.

A funeral service for 30-year-old Deputy Ryan Thomas will be held Saturday at a church in Albuquerque.

Thomas was ejected and killed the night of Dec. 6 when he lost control of his patrol vehicle and it overturned in the Belen area while responding to a call for service.

He leaves behind a pregnant wife and a 2-year-old daughter.

Family and friends said Thomas worked for the Alamogordo Police Department before moving to Valencia County. He was a Navy veteran and also served in the New Mexico Air National Guard's 150th Security Forces Squadron.

National Hispanic Cultural Center Gets $150K GrantAssociated Press

The National Hispanic Cultural Center and Foundation has been awarded a $150,000 planning grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to bring the community together through discussions and artwork.

The Albuquerque-based center says the money will be used to work through what it described as deep historical and contemporary issues that falsely divide people by race and gender.

The center is planning story-sharing and community discussions in 2018. Commissioned artwork based on the stories will be presented in 2019.

Center Executive Director Rebecca Avitia says the work can be a foundation for community healing. She plans to invite many community organizations and individuals to participate in the planning and the community discussions.

Albuquerque Man Sentenced To 30 Years In Deadly DWI CrashAssociated Press

An Albuquerque man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for a drunken driving crash last year that left two people dead and six injured.

Police say Steven Trujillo ran a red light in July 2015 and crashed into an SUV, killing a woman and a teenager.

During the emotional hearing Friday in state district court, family members testified about the pain the crash caused.

Trujillo apologized to the victims' families but denied that he was driving at the time of the crash. He said he wanted to withdraw his no contest plea.

Judge Alisa Hadfield denied the request since a motion had not been submitted. Trujillo's attorney can file a motion within 90 days and a judge will then decide whether to proceed to trial.

Oil Company Withdraws Application For New Mexico PipelineAssociated Press

The Bureau of Land Management says an oil company with plans to build a pipeline in New Mexico capable of moving 50,000 barrels of crude oil a day has withdrawn its application for the project.

Saddle Butte San Juan, LLC, sent a letter to the agency saying that market conditions led to the decision to withdraw the right of way application for the Pinon pipeline system.

The project would have been be made up of smaller pipelines that would gather oil at well pads and other points. A larger pipeline would have moved the oil south to a distribution center near Interstate 40 in western New Mexico.

Environmentalists had voiced concerned that the pipeline would open the door to an exponential increase in production in the San Juan Basin.

Jobless Rate In New Mexico Remains StagnantAssociated Press

State labor officials say there was no change in New Mexico's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate from October to November, but the percentage of people without jobs is up slightly from last year.

The Department of Workforce Solutions released the numbers Friday, saying the unemployment rate in November was 6.7 percent, up from 6.6 percent a year ago.

The national rate was 4.6 percent.

Labor officials say goods-producing industries in New Mexico have seen a decrease of more than 5 percent — or 5,100 jobs — over the last year.

Bright spots include education and health services, the fastest-growing private industry sector with a 6,000-job increase since November 2015.

State labor officials say employment growth in every month in 2016, apart from May, exceeded anything reported in the industry since January 2003.

Albuquerque School Board Oks Extension For SuperintendentAssociated Press

The Albuquerque public school system's superintendent is getting a contract extension.

A 5-2 vote Friday by the district Board of Education will extend Superintendent Raquel Reedy's contract by a year to June 2019.

Board President David Peercy says Reedy provides stability and can be counted on to provide plans for student success in the face of declining funding from the state.

Reedy took over as acting superintendent in August 2015 and was named superintendent in April. Her contract includes an annual salary of $240,000.

State Police: Ex-Commission Pleads No-ContestAssociated Press

A former Cibola County commissioner has pleaded no contest to charges in a corruption case.

The New Mexico State Police said former Commissioner Antonio Gallegos entered the plea Monday in Cibola County District Court in Grants in a case stemming from a real estate purchase by the county.

The State Police said the plea caps an investigation that began in late 2014 after a concerned citizen contacted authorities.

According to the State Police, Gallegos was charged of various crimes accusing him of personally enriching himself by acting as broker-seller in the sale of commercial property in Grants to the county.

Gallegos pleaded "no contest" to charges that included attempt to commit an official act for personal financial interest and use of confidential information.