Las Cruces Police Kill Knife-Wielding Man, Martinez Rules Out Tax Increase

Aug 22, 2016

Police Shoot, Kill Suspect In Las CrucesAssociated Press

Las Cruces police have shot and killed a robbery suspect who they say was armed with a knife.

The man, who hasn't yet been identified, was shot Sunday afternoon on a bridge over Interstate 25. He was taken to a hospital and died from his injuries.

Police spokesman Dan Trujillo says officers had responded to a home to a report of a stolen pickup truck.

Officers later spotted the truck on the bridge, where Trujillo says the driver confronted police while armed with a knife.

Officers fired at the suspect, striking him at least once.

The incident remains under investigation.

The shooting happened near the Pan American Center, where thousands gathered Sunday for the funeral of Hatch officer Jose Chavez, who authorities say was fatally shot by an Ohio fugitive.

New Mexico Governor Rules Out Tax Increase To Fix Budgets The Associated Press

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is indicating that she will not consider any tax increases as the state seeks to close the gap on a projected budget shortfall during a special legislative session tentatively planned for next month.

A spokesman for the Republican governor said Monday that state government needs to tighten its belt and that raising taxes in any way from families and businesses would make the state less competitive and hurt job prospects.

Legislative analysts have projected a general fund short of roughly $150 million for the budget year that ended in June, with a leading lawmaker warning of potentially greater shortfalls this year.

The governor's spokesman Chris Sanchez says a special legislative session needs to address budget problems for both the current and most recent fiscal years.

No Leads In Roswell Triple Killing 1 Year LaterThe Associated Press & The Roswell Daily Record

Exactly one year after three people were shot and killed in rural Roswell police still have made no arrests.

The Roswell Daily News reports that Monday is the anniversary of the killing of 31-year-old Mere Contreras, 19-year-old Damon B. Oswald-Newman and 25-year-old Shelly L. Bird, all of whom were found dead in a Roswell home. A 24-year-old woman was also shot but she survived her injuries.

A family member of one of the victims has said that Oswald-Newman was shot in cold blood while he slept.

Roswell Police Department spokesman Todd Wildermuth says the investigation into the homicide is ongoing and that police are working to seek justice for the victims.

Navajo Nation Lawmakers To Face Sentencing HearingsThe Associated Press & The Farmington Daily Times

Thirteen former Navajo Nation lawmakers are awaiting sentencing for their involvement in misusing the tribe's discretionary fund.

The Farmington Daily Times reports that hearings for the former Navajo Nation Council delegates are scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in Window Rock, Arizona.

Prosecutors say the delegates abused a financial assistance program designed to help tribal members facing hard times.

Each delegate pleaded either guilty or no contest to charges of conspiracy, making or permitting false tribal voucher, conflict of interest or adversely affecting confidence of people in the government.

Some Albuquerque Teachers Told Not To Use 'Boys And Girls'The Associated Press & KOB

An Albuquerque elementary school is raising eyebrows after an assistant principal told teachers to stop calling students "boys and girls."

KOB-TV in Albuquerque reports a Carlos Rey Elementary School assistant principal sent teachers a letter ordering them to no longer refer to students as boys and girls starting this month.

The "Gender Identity Procedural Directive" also told teachers to eliminate gender in their classrooms.

Albuquerque Public Schools says the assistant principal made a mistake and she was immediately addressing the overreach.

The district says nowhere in their transgender policy does it say to not call students "boys and girls."

Classes began this month.

Judge Rules Death-Scene Photos Don't Violate Privacy RightsThe Associated Press & The ABQ Journal 

AA federal judge has ruled that a New Mexico State Police officer did not violate any constitutional right to privacy when he used his personal cellphone to take and text to friends pictures of a Santa Fe-area man who had been killed by police.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that 34-year-old Samuel Pauly, who lived in Glorieta, was shot and killed by police in 2011 before an officer snapped photos of the death scene.

Earlier this month U.S. District Court Judge Judith C. Herrera found that Pauly's family failed to show that Pauly had the right to privacy under the Fourteenth Amendment after his death.

The family's attorney says the ruling effectively says dead people do not have privacy rights. He says he will likely appeal the ruling.

New Mexico Inmate Escape Prompts Purchase Of New Prison Vans – The Associated Press & KOAT

The New Mexico Department of Corrections now has seven new prison transport vans.

KOAT-TV reports that the purchase of the state-of-the-art vans comes in the wake of a high-profile escape of two fugitives who were later caught in Albuquerque.

A review of their escape in March by officials revealed that the two took advantage of their van's worn out condition.

According to the report, Lionel Clah and Joseph Cruz broke a metal plate that kept them from the van's back doors.

Officials say these new vans have a camera system for drivers to monitor inmates.

They also have caged doors for inmates to sit behind.

Public Honors Slain New Mexico Police Officer Associated Press

Thousands gathered Sunday to honor José Chavez, a Hatch police officer who was shot and killed during a traffic stop.

Law enforcement officers, civilians and New Mexico dignitaries packed the Pan American Center in Las Cruces.

Gov. Susana Martinez said that for Chavez, who was born in Juárez, Mexico, obtaining U.S. citizenship was not enough to fulfill his American dream. He insisted on giving back to his community in uniform.

Chavez's flag-draped coffin arrived in a Navy blue hearse.

Officers and residents lined the 9-mile procession route that began in Hatch.

A father of two, Chavez was a two-year veteran of the Hatch police force. He was shot Aug. 12 and died at an El Paso, Texas, hospital.

Jesse Denver Hanes, of Columbus, Ohio, faces a murder charge in Chavez's death.

Libertarian Johnson Rallies Home-State VotersAssociated Press

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is promising a balanced budget, a ban on immigration quotas and other fiscally conservative but socially inclusive measures.

The former New Mexico governor spoke at a rally with supporters Saturday afternoon at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

Johnson hit back at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's previous calls to build a wall along the Mexico border.

He also pushed for legalizing marijuana and eliminating some taxes.

Johnson was joined by running mate Bill Weld, the former Massachusetts governor.

A former two-time Republican governor, Johnson is running on a platform of fiscal conservatism and limited government.

The Libertarian ticket is polling below the 15 percent threshold needed for Johnson to participate in the televised fall presidential debates alongside Democrat Hillary Clinton and Trump.

Order Lifted That Stopped Albuquerque Route 66 Transit PlanAssociated Press

A federal appeals court has lifted an order that halted Albuquerque's plans for building a rapid transit route along a stretch of Historic Route 66.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday lifted an injunction that had barred the city or its contractors from tearing up the roadway and beginning construction work on the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project.

The $119 million project would create a nine-mile network of bus-only lanes and bus stations in the middle of Central Avenue.

But as the Albuquerque Journal reported, while this order allows work to begin, but the appeals court must still rule on the case brought by opponents.

They contend federal officials should have required a detailed environmental study and that city officials mislead the Federal Transit Administration.

Business owners say the project would spark traffic congestion and ruin the car-friendly persona of the largest urban stretch of Route 66 in the country.

A federal district judge had sided with the city before opponents filed an appeal with the 10th Circuit.

Uber Expands Spanish-Speaking Service To New Mexico By Russell Contreras, Associated Press

Ride-hailing company Uber is extending the option to request a Spanish-speaking driver to New Mexico, the nation's most Hispanic of states.

The San Francisco-based Uber will announce Monday the launch of uberESPAÑOL in New Mexico at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque.

This new feature will be available to customers in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Las Cruces who use the Uber app on a smartphone. The app in those areas will allow riders to request an uberX with a Spanish-speaking driver-partner.

New Mexico is the sixth state to get the specialty service after California, Illinois, Arizona, Texas, and Nevada.

Last week, New Mexico officials announced the return of ride-booking service Lyft after state lawmakers passed a bill allowing services like Lyft and Uber to operate legally in New Mexico.

New Mexico United Way Chapter Resumes Firearms Raffles Alamogordo Daily News, Associated Press

A New Mexico affiliate of United Way is resuming raffles of firearms to raise money.

The Alamogordo Daily News reports that the United Way of Otero County confirmed last week that it received permission from United Way Worldwide to continue raffle sales.

The organization had been selling 2017 calendars with a raffle entry ticket attached for $50.

Buyers had the chance to be entered into a twice-weekly firearms raffle.

United Way of Otero County had suspended the raffle earlier this month after a complaint by New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence.

United Way Worldwide spokesman Ryan Powers declined to comment, calling the matter an "internal membership discussion."

The firearms being raffled include shotguns, handguns and an AR-15 rifle.

Winners must undergo background checks, which gun-control advocates say are flawed.

NMSU Gets $4 Million Grant For Pecan Tree Research Carlsbad Current-Argus, Associated Press

New Mexico State University has received a multimillion-dollar grant to research the genetics of one of the state's most fruitful crops.

The Carlsbad Current-Argus reported Saturday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded a $4.4 million grant to NMSU researchers studying pecan trees.

Lead researcher Jennifer Randall says the funds will go toward a project focused on identifying genetic markers in the trees.

Randall says the research will help pecan growers make better pecan trees.

The team will then try to breed trees to display specific traits.

Pecan trees represent a nearly $141 million industry for New Mexico.

University researchers in Georgia, Arizona and Texas are collaborating on the project.

In New Mexico, growers continue to face challenges such as water usage and soil with high salt content.