Martinez Must Act On Legislation By Friday, APD Can't Identify Highway Crash Victim

Apr 4, 2017

Deadline Nears For Gov. Martinez To Act On Legislation Associated Press

The deadline is nearing for Gov. Susana Martinez to take action on a host of measures passed during the recent legislative session, but she's still vowing not to sign any measures that would raise taxes.

Pending are the $6.1 billion budget approved by the Legislature and related proposals that call for increasing taxes to help with a shortfall.

The bill signing deadline is Friday.

Martinez on Monday signed two measures, including one that amends the workers' compensation system to allow an employer to fire an injured worker who returns to work if the cause involves misconduct unrelated to the injury.

The other bill spells out when restraints or seclusion can be used in schools. It also requires schools to establish reporting procedures and to notify a student's parents or guardian.

Albuquerque Police: Woman Found Dead On I-40 UnidentifiedThe Associated Press

Albuquerque police say they can't identify a woman found dead on Interstate 40 last week and think she might have been the victim of a hit-and-run accident.

The woman's body was spotted March 29 on westbound I-40 between Juan Tabo and Tramway boulevards at about 3:30 a.m.  Officer Fred Duran says investigators are seeking information from residents or travelers about what happened but believe she was struck by a large truck or SUV.

The woman wasn't carrying identification and Duran says fingerprints and dental records haven't identified her.  She's described as white, in her 20s, 5-foot-6 and 130 pounds with hazel eyes and brown hair. She was last wearing a gray short-sleeve t-shirt, blue jeans and yellow shoes. She also had a black, fur-lined London Fog jacket.

Television Pilot 'Scalped' To Begin Filming In New MexicoThe Associated Press

A television pilot adapted from the comic book series "Scalped" will begin filming this month in New Mexico.

The story is based on the critically acclaimed series written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by R.M. Guera. Horizon Scripted Television LLC is producing the pilot being filmed in Santa Fe and at Pojoaque and Laguna pueblos.

State Film Office director Nick Maniatis says it's an honor for New Mexico to have been chosen as the location where 'Scalped' creators will bring their project to life.

The project will employ about 120 New Mexico crew members, 15 principal actors from the state and some 350 extras. Directors are Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah.

The cast includes Alex Meraz, Gil Birmingham, Zahn McClarnon, Irene Bedard, Lily Gladstone and Chaske Spencer.

College To Address Audit Findings, Fraud CaseAssociated Press

The president of Northern New Mexico College says the school is cooperating with state police and the district attorney's office as they investigate allegations of fraud and embezzlement first uncovered during an annual audit.

State Auditor Tim Keller's office made the audit findings public Monday.

Auditors said in the report that a high-level employee in the business office resigned and admitted taking over $200,000 from the college.

No charges have been filed, but auditors say the former employee provided a spreadsheet detailing deposits taken between August 2012 and July 2013.

College President Rick Bailey says the focus now is on improving the school's business and accounting processes to ensure every dollar is tracked. He says the audit findings will serve as a roadmap for the improvements.

The college also plans to give regents monthly updates on the progress.

Agency Enlists New Mexico Schools In Fight Against AbuseAssociated Press

New Mexico's child welfare agency is reaching out to school administrators and teachers around the state as part of its Pull Together campaign in hopes of curbing child abuse.

Children, Youth and Families Secretary Monique Jacobson has sent letters to 740 schools throughout New Mexico along with packets of information about warning signs, facts sheets on reporting suspected abuse and neglect and posters with contact numbers.

Jacobson says reporting suspected abuse and neglect can sometimes include making tough judgment calls and she wants to make sure teachers and counselors have the necessary tools.

The agency receives about 20,000 calls annually that warrant further review for possible abuse or neglect. That number has escalated nearly every year since at least 2009, and many of the calls already come from school personnel.

9th Circuit Denies Mustang Appeal Sought By Nevada CountiesAssociated Press

Wild horse advocates have scored a victory in Nevada in an ongoing legal battle with rural interests who they say want to round up federally protected mustangs across the West and sell them for slaughter.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco denied an appeal on Monday by the Nevada Association of Counties and Nevada Farm Bureau Federation.

Ranchers in Nevada say the badly overpopulated horse herds are damaging the range and robbing their livestock of forage.

The appellate court's decision upholds an earlier ruling by a federal judge in Reno who dismissed their lawsuit demanding the U.S. Bureau of Land Management expedite widespread roundups across Nevada.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld a similar ruling in favor of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign in Wyoming in October.

Officials Prepare For Navajo Dam Spring ReleaseDaily Times, Associated Press

Federal officials will likely begin spring peak release from the Navajo Dam in northern New Mexico near the end of the month.

The Daily Times reports a public meeting will be held Wednesday in Farmington to provide residents with more information about the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's spring release, which is expected to last 30 to 40 days.

Officials say the release will help clear out the river channel and improve fish habitat downstream.

Property owners along the San Juan River are advised to be aware of the increased flow, which may lead to flooding and erosion.

This year's release will see up to 5,000 cubic feet of water leaving the dam each second, marking the second straight year it has reached that level.

No Decision On NMSU Tuition HikeAlbuquerque Journal

The board of regents at New Mexico State University delayed a planned decision Monday on raising tuition because the state budget is still in limbo.

The Albuquerque Journal reported the university in Las Cruces is looking at four different plans that range from holding tuition rates where they are to raising them by as much as 7.4 percent.

But even if NMSU opts for the highest rate hike, it still faces a multi-million dollar gap in its budget and will likely have to cut over 100 jobs. The Journal reports the university has cut $30.5 million from its budget over the last two fiscal years and implemented layoffs and workforce reductions through attrition and retirement.

Currently, tuition for a full course load is $3,365 per semester. Potential tuition hikes would add between $97.50 and $196.50 to that amount.

NMSU and other universities around the state are waiting on a budget for fiscal year 2018, but Gov. Susana Martinez has until Friday to approve a budget passed by the Legislature.

Man Charged In Ax Killing Of Woman At RanchAssociated Press

A man accused of shooting and wounding a southern New Mexico sheriff's deputy during a struggle at a hospital is charged in the ax killing of a woman whose head was nearly severed.

A criminal complaint filed Monday charges 25-year-old Andrew Poteet Magill in the killing Saturday night of Mary Ann Moorhouse at a ranch about 10 miles east of the city of Ruidoso Downs.

The complaint says Lincoln County deputies discovered Moorhouse's body and a blood-covered ax after going to the ranch to check on her welfare in response to a call by a concerned co-worker.

The complaint says and Magill was taken to a hospital by Ruidoso Downs police after a motorist dropped him off at the police station.

According to the complaint, a deputy investigating the killing was shot in the shoulder by Magill after he picked up the deputy's gun when it fell to the floor during a struggle at the hospital.

A court official said Magill didn't have an attorney who could comment on the allegations.