Headlines: UNM Apologizes For 'Sex Week', Rodella is Out, PNM Negotiates Agreement, Sunland Park ...

Oct 2, 2014

Reid Mihalko came to UNM to give a workshop called "How to be a Gentleman and Get Laid".
Credit about.me/ReidAboutSex

University Of New Mexico Apologizes On 'Sex Week'The Associated Press

University of New Mexico senior administrator says the Albuquerque school didn't adequately supervise topics included in a program of workshops called "Celebrate Sex Week at UNM."

Vice President for Student Affairs Eliseo Torres issued an apology when campus officials received dozens of complaints about the four-day program that began Monday.

Torres' apology says sex education is important and that the campus groups that sponsored and organized the event had good intentions. But he says the event lacked supervision to prevent of topics that he called "sensational and controversial."

He didn't identify those.

Titles of workshops related to multiple-partner encounters, sexual techniques and sexual assault.

Student fees paid for the event.

New Mexico County Ousts Convicted Sheriff - The Associated Press

A northern New Mexico sheriff who refused to resign after being convicted of abusing a driver during a bizarre traffic stop that prosecutors called a fit of road rage has been removed by county officials.

Rio Arriba County commissioners voted 3-0 on Thursday to oust Sheriff Thomas Rodella, once one of the state's most powerful political figures.

He was found guilty Friday of brandishing a firearm and deprivation of rights. He faces 17 years in prison over the March encounter.

Attorney Robert Gorence has said Rodella wouldn't step down and that he plans to appeal the conviction.

He didn't immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment on the commission's ruling.

Rodella remains jailed in federal custody.

He narrowly lost a primary election and is scheduled to leave office in November.

Sunland Park Is Raising Taxes - The Associated Press & The Las Cruses Sun News

Another New Mexico local government is raising taxes in response to the state's decision to phase out a revenue-sharing program.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that the Sunland Park City Council has approved a new gross receipts tax increase that charges 37.5 cents of additional tax on a $100 of purchase.

Sunland Park Mayor Javier Perea says the city simply cannot afford to lose the revenue that the state has been providing under the "hold harmless" program.

The Sunland Park increase will take effect Jan. 1. Other jurisdictions that have approved increases of their own include Las Cruces, Corrales and Otero County.

PNM Negotiates Agreement Over Coal-Fired Plant - The Associated Press

The state's largest electric utility has negotiated a settlement proposal that would allow it to meet certain pollution standards with the partial closure of an aging coal-fired power plant in northwestern New Mexico.

PNM says the proposal, if approved by state regulators, would allow the company to reduce its use of coal at the San Juan Generating Station. The utility says it would also have an opportunity to add more renewable energy to its portfolio.

PNM estimates the proposal would result in an increase of about 7 percent to the average customer's bill.

The settlement proposal was signed yesterday by staff of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, the attorney general's office and others.

Environmental activists say the proposed settlement depends too much on coal- and nuclear-generated power.

Wet, Wild Monsoon Season Ends In Southwest - The Associated Press

This year's Southwest monsoon season will be remembered for unusually intense storms that brought months' worth of rain in just one day.

The National Weather Service says some areas in New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada received more rain in a day than in a typical season.

The traditional monsoon season runs from mid-June to the end of September and is characterized by thunderstorms that stir up dust storms or rain.

Meteorologists say Phoenix received more than 6 inches of rain, making it the seventh wettest season on record.

In New Mexico, Albuquerque received more than 5 inches.

Report Ids 'Major Weaknesses' At Nuclear-Arms Lab - The Associated Press

Los Alamos National Laboratory is being called out by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Energy for "major weaknesses" in the way it packaged contaminated waste before shipping it to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southern New Mexico.

A report made public yesterday says that some of the labs’  procedures were not properly vetted and some procedures didn't conform with environmental requirements.

The report reinforces the findings of internal reviews done by the lab and the Energy Department following a release of radiation at WIPP in February. The plant is closed indefinitely as a result.

The release came from a barrel of waste packed at the lab.

The inspector general has outlined several recommendations aimed at addressing the lab's failures.

New Mexico County Eyes Removing Convicted Sheriff - The Associated Press

Rio Arriba County commissioners are scheduled to vote today on naming a replacement for Sheriff Thomas Rodella, who was convicted last week in what prosecutors called a road rage traffic stop.

Authorities say Rodella was in plain clothes when he pulled a gun on a motorist and violated the man's civil rights.

Rodella's attorney has said the lawman won't resign.

District Attorney Angela Pacheco this week asked a state district court to declare Rodella's position automatically vacant upon his conviction.

The County is expected to appoint former deputy James Lujan to fill out the remainder of Rodella's term.

Lujan defeated Rodella in the June Democratic primary for sheriff. Lujan was a deputy Rodella once fired.

$1 Million In Marijuana Seized In Jemez Valley - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

Authorities have seized more than $1 million dollars worth of marijuana plants during a raid on a grow operation in the Jemez Valley.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the farming operation was composed of two large areas where hundreds of plants had grown to nearly 5 feet tall.

Sheriff's deputies say more than 1,000 marijuana plants were found growing on public land in the national forest yesterday.

Sandoval County undersheriff Karl Wiese says 350 plants were drying when law enforcement arrived and three fields had already been harvested.

Authorities believe up to a dozen people were involved in the operation but no arrests were immediately made.

Sheriff's officials say it was the largest seizure they've responded to in at least the last decade.

Mom May Face New Charges In Van Chase, Shooting - The Associated Press and KRQE TV

New Mexico prosecutors aim to file new charges against a Tennessee woman in a chaotic traffic stop and chase last year during which a New Mexico State Police officer fired shots at her minivan full of children.

Taos County District Attorney Donald Gallegos told KRQE-TV this week that he will present Oriana Farrell's case before another grand jury sometime this month.

The New Mexico Court of Appeals tossed Farrell's charges, including fleeing an officer and child abuse, last week. A lawyer for the Memphis woman didn't immediately return messages seeking comment.

Last year, a state officer shot at Farrell's van carrying her five children after she twice sped off and was stopped by another officer for speeding near the tourist town of Taos. Video of the shooting gained national attention, and the officer was later fired.

New Mexico Is Awarded A Suicide Prevention Grant - The Associated Press

New Mexico's Behavioral Health Services Division has been awarded a suicide prevention grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The grant totals $1.4 million over three years with the state receiving $470,000 each year.

It's aimed at helping prevent suicide and suicide attempts among working-age adults from ages 25 to 64 and to reduce the overall suicide rate and number of suicides in New Mexico.

The New Mexico Suicide Prevention Program will address behavioral health disparities among geographically and culturally diverse populations by encouraging the implementation of strategies to increase access, service use, and outcomes among diverse populations in rural areas.

For fiscal year 2014, more than 114,000 New Mexicans received behavioral health services. That's an increase of 31 percent over the previous fiscal year.

Judgeships Becoming Vacant In Gallup, Aztec - The Associated Press

Two district court judgeships in northwestern New Mexico are becoming vacant in January and an independent nominating commission will take applications from lawyers who want to be considered for the positions.

The terms of District Judges Grant Foutz in Gallup and William Birdsall in Aztec expire at the end of the year. Neither judge sought to be retained in the general election.

The nominating commission will meet Dec. 3 at the San Juan County courthouse in Aztec to interview applicants for Birdsall's position and recommend candidates for possible appointment by the governor. Applications are due by Nov. 19.

Commission members will meet Dec. 4 in Gallup at the McKinley County courthouse to decide on nominees for the judgeship held by Foutz. Applications must be submitted by Nov. 20.