Man Fatally Shot By Police, Pecan Growers and Bee Advocates Battle Over Pesticide

Jul 25, 2016

Man Fatally Shot By Gallup Police; Investigation Underway­—Associated Press

State authorities are investigating after Gallup police shot and killed a man who they say had been armed with knives.

Officers had responded earlier Sunday to reports that a man with a knife had been threatening people. New Mexico State Police Sargent Chad Pierce says officers located the suspect in an alley with two knives and opened fire, striking the man.

He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.

The man's name has not been released pending notification of his family.

Pierce says the officers involved in the shooting will be identified after interviews have been conducted.

The shooting remains under investigation and the case will be forwarded to the District Attorney's Office for review.

Supreme Court Sides With State In Financial SettlementsThe Associated Press

The New Mexico Supreme Court will not intervene in settlement agreements that pave the way for the state to recover $1.3 million in connection politically influenced investment deals dating back to the administration of former Gov. Bill Richardson.

New Mexico State Investment Council spokesman Charles Wollmann said Monday that a flurry of recent actions from the Supreme Court mark significant progress in the state's efforts to hold accountable people who profited improperly from state investments.

The court orders represent a setback for former state pension fund officer turned whistleblower Frank Foy in his fight with the State Investment Council over its handling of settlements with investment firms that paid their way into managing state funds.

New Mexico Universities Join Team Competing For Sandia RoleThe Associated Press

Two more New Mexico universities are part of the competition for the next contract to run Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque.

The Albuquerque Journal (http://goo.gl/MxRw23 ) reports that New Mexico State and New Mexico Tech are joining a team that also includes Indiana's Purdue University and Lockheed Martin, the aerospace giant that is Sandia's current operator.

The University of New Mexico is part of a team that includes Boeing Co. and at least two Texas universities.

The lab has a $2.9 billion annual budget and 10,500 employees.

Nearly 20 entities expressed interest in managing Sandia but it's not known how many actually submitted bids.

Solar Farm Under Construction At Farmington HospitalThe Associated Press & The Farmington Daily Times 

A New Mexico hospital is constructing a 6,000-panel solar farm to help meet its energy needs.

Doug Frary, a vice president with San Juan Regional Medical Center, told The Daily Times that crews from the Albuquerque firm Affordable Solar have finished about 30 percent of the project and are expected to complete the installation in September.

Frary estimates that solar farm will provide about a quarter of the Farmington hospital's daily energy needs and save up to $400,000 annually.

He says the hospital started considering the solar project in 2004 but discovered that it wouldn't have been cost effective. Frary says the solar panels have since become cheaper and the $4 million project could pay for itself within 10 years.

Bee Advocates, Pecan Growers Battle Over Pesticide RequestThe Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

A plea from New Mexico's pecan growers to use a restricted pesticide against insect infestations is drawing opposition from advocates for the honey bee.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that environmentalists are protesting allowing an emergency exception to a ruling by a federal judge last year that found sulfoxaflor is highly toxic to bees and should be discontinued.

The pecan growers are asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the exception, saying the pesticide is the only way to combat insect infestations that are threatening their crops.

Though pecans are wind-pollinated and don't rely on bees, honey bees can travel as far as three miles for food and therefore can be exposed to pesticides.

New Mexico is the second most productive pecan-growing state in the U.S., surpassed only by Georgia.

Crouch Mesa Want Water Cutbacks To End Boil AdvisoryFarmington Daily Times, Associated Press

Residents in northwestern New Mexico are pushing for water conservation to help end an ongoing boil advisory.

Officials with the AV Water company said Saturday that construction of a pump station to bring treated water to Crouch Mesa community is complete but existing water in their pipes needs to be flushed out.

Protesters tell the Farmington Daily Times that the nearly 7,000 residents will have to reduce water usage to ensure there's enough to complete the flush.

The boil advisory started May 25 because of multiple failures at the company's treatment plant.

The company since has entered into an agreement to buy bulk water from Farmington.

New Mexico Environment Department spokeswoman Allison Scott Majure says inspections and water sampling are still needed before the advisory can be lifted.

Woman Sentenced To 18 Years In Albuquerque Toddler's DeathAssociated Press

A woman has been sentenced to 18 years for the death of an Albuquerque toddler and will likely be deported after serving time.

A judge issued the sentence Friday after Lizy Portillo pleaded no contest to child abuse resulting in death and conspiracy to commit child abuse.

According to the plea agreement, the Mexico native will be forced to serve nine years for the conspiracy charge if she is found back in the U.S.

Prosecutors say Portillo's husband, Christopher Garcia, threw 14-month-old Isaac Arevalos in March 2015 with such force that the child hit the ceiling.

The couple, who were babysitting, failed to call 911.

Isaac died two days later after no brain function was found.

Garcia was sentenced to 34 years of child abuse due to medical neglect.

Green Chile Harvest Starting In Dona Ana CountyLas Cruces Sun-News, Associated Press

Green chile season has come a bit early for New Mexico.

Chile farmers in Dona Ana County say they have already started this year's harvest.

Preston Mitchell, owner of The Hatch Chile Store, told the Las Cruces Sun-News Friday that the first chile peppers began being harvested about two weeks ago.

Mitchell says the crop is earlier because the first chiles are from transplanted plants, which had a head start over plants grown from seeds.

Farmers say a cooler spring seems to not have had a harmful effect on the crop. But a stretch of 100-degree days took some toll.

The green chile harvest is expected to last through October. Peppers left hanging will become red chile.

Caregivers Accused Of Scamming 95-Year-Old Santa Fe ManSanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

A couple hired to be caregivers for a 95-year-old Santa Fe military veteran is accused of fleecing him out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that arrest warrants were issued this week for 69-year-old Dian Zeemin and 62-year-old Joe Rosko on charges of exploitation and forgery.

According to an affidavit, they lived on Dennis Ferk's property and were supposed to help him with finances after his wife's death in 2010.

Police say the couple allegedly obtained a dozen credit cards under Ferk's and Zeemin's names, maxed out his accounts on personal items and altogether stole $340,000.

The couple denied wrongdoing to police and left in an RV in April.

Neither could be reached for comment Saturday as numbers listed for them did not work.