Headlines: Bishops Criticize Food Stamp Plan, Santa Fe Closer To Legal Marijuana And More...

Aug 18, 2014

Credit Caden Crawford via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Bishops Criticize New Mexico Plan On Food Stamps - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

Roman Catholic bishops are criticizing the plan of Gov. Susana Martinez's administration to again impose work-related requirements on some low-income New Mexicans trying to qualify for food stamps.

Bishops Sheehan of the Santa Fe Diocese, James Wall of the Gallup Diocese and Oscar Cantu of the Las Cruces Diocese say the plan might be defensible when the economy is strong but that they say it's unconscionable during the current weak economy.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the state in October plans to restore a 20-hour-a-week work requirement for an estimated 26,600 childless adults to get food stamps.

The requirement was suspended in 2009 because of the Great Recession.

The state Human Services Department says the change restores requirements enacted by the federal government in the 1990s.

Ballot Proposal On Marijuana Advances In Santa Fe - The Associated Press

The city clerk in Santa Fe says activists have submitted enough valid voter signatures to force a public vote on decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana, if the City Council doesn't approve it outright.

ProgressNow New Mexico and the Drug Policy Alliance submitted petitions last month. Activists needed 5,763 valid signatures from registered city voters.

The Santa Fe proposal mirrors one which the groups tried unsuccessfully to get on the ballot in Albuquerque.

The proposal would make possession of an ounce or less of marijuana a civil infraction punishable by a fine of no more than $25.

Possession of an ounce or less of marijuana in Santa Fe now is a petty misdemeanor for the first offense, punishable by a $50 to $100 fine and up to 15 days in jail.


Carlsbad Police Who Fatally Shot Suspect Cleared - The Associated Press and Current-Argus

Authorities say two Carlsbad police officers involved in a fatal shooting of a suspect can return to active duty.

The Current-Argus reports that Sgt. Edward Duarte and Officer David DeSantiago were cleared this week by their department.

Police say 24-year-old Troy Kirkpatrick was in the custody of the Eddy County Detention Center on June 9 when he allegedly assaulted a detention officer at a doctor's office and then stole a vehicle.

Kirkpatrick was being pursued by police when he crashed the vehicle into a fence in an alleyway.

He suffered multiple gunshot wounds and died at a hospital.

State police investigators also completed their own investigation and forwarded the results to the District Attorney's office. Prosecutors have yet to make a determination in the case.

Community Efforts To Help Santa Fe Schools Rising - The Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

Community groups and business owners in Santa Fe say there is a growing movement to invest in the success of the city's students.

The New Mexican reports that Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales plans to announce a new education initiative this week that will involve community partnerships.

Organizers of the Santa Fe Interfaith Coalition for Education have already formed committees for legislative advocacy and volunteer recruitment. The group's goals include finding mentors and tutors for middle and high school students.

Similar efforts are underway in other parts of the state.

A coalition of Albuquerque leaders in education, politics and business started Mission: Graduate in 2012. The group's goals are to raise graduation rates and decrease truancy.

New Mexico Program Allows Inmates To Help Horses - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

The New Mexico Department of Corrections has launched a new program that allows prisoners without disciplinary problems to help with rescued horses.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the program teaches inmates horsemanship skills while the horses benefit from care and the daily attention.

Based on the grounds of the Springer Correctional Center, the program was originally intended to be limited to incarcerated veterans, but other inmates have since been allowed to take part.

David Brown, the prison's programs director, said a line of inmates is waiting for spots in the project. He says those who participate seem to have a better attitude and a shift in demeanor.

Springer Correctional Center is a state-run prison in northern New Mexico that holds roughly 270 inmates.

Bill Would Bar Delegates From Holding County Posts - The Associated Press and Daily Times

The Navajo Nation Council is considering whether council delegates may also concurrently serve in county offices.

The Daily Times reports that a pending bill would require that delegates forfeit their tribal offices if they continue serving as a county official.

A proposed amendment would require that a delegate's office be declared vacant if a delegate is elected to a county office and doesn't promptly resign from the council.

Delegate Leonard Tsosie is sponsoring the bill. He says delegates holding county offices can't speak strongly for the Navajo Nation.

Two delegates currently serve as county supervisors or commissioners — Jonathan Nez in Arizona's Navajo County and Kenneth Maryboy in Utah's San Juan County.

Nez says he tries to do his best for the constituents who put him in both positions.

Tommy Lee Jones To Attend Santa Fe Film Festival - The Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

Oscar winner Tommy Lee Jones will screen a Western drama he wrote and directed at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival this fall.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Jones will attend a screening of "The Homesman" at the October festival.

Jones also stars in the movie, which features Meryl Streep and Hillary Swank. The plot centers on a claim jumper and a pioneer woman who escort three insane women from Nebraska to Iowa.

The project was filmed primarily in New Mexico and will open in theaters in November.

Festival organizers say they are still going through more than 700 submissions to put together their lineup.

The festival is now in its sixth year and is held at venues throughout Santa Fe.

Film Looking For 'Fantastic' Extras In Las Cruces - The Associated Press and Las Cruces Sun-News

A movie starring Viggo Mortensen and Frank Langella is looking for local actors to serve as extras when it films in Las Cruces this week.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reported Saturday that "Captain Fantastic" needs actors of various ethnicities for shooting.

The movie centers on a father who moves his six children deep into the forests of the Pacific Northwest.

The production is looking for background actors between the ages of 30 and 60 with high end cars. There are also casting calls for a physically fit police officer and female and male golfers between their 30s and 50s

The New Mexico Film Office says the project will employ at least 75 local crew members, one New Mexico actor and 220 local background talent.

Woman, Child Remain Hospitalized After Dog Attack - The Associated Press

Police say a mother and her young son remain hospitalized a day after being mauled by two dogs in a Rio Rancho backyard.

Rio Rancho police say the 2-year-old boy remains in serious condition and his mother is listed as satisfactory.

Both suffered substantial injuries. The woman's 8-year-old child received a minor wound.

Police say the children were playing in the sprinklers Saturday afternoon when one of the dogs attacked the 2-year-old and then the second dog joined in.

After shouting and other efforts to distract the animals failed, responding officers opened fire. They found the mother lying over the toddler in an attempt to shield him from the dogs.

Police say the dogs lived at the home.