More Cases Of Whooping Cough Now Reported, 2 Christian Sect Leaders Face More Charges In New Mexico

May 2, 2018

More Cases Of Whooping Cough Now Reported In McKinley CountyThe Associated Press

Officials with the New Mexico Department of Health are reporting more cases of whooping cough in an ongoing community-wide outbreak in McKinley County.

They are urging state residents in at-risk groups to protect themselves by getting vaccinated.

As of Tuesday, there are 26 laboratory-confirmed cases of whooping cough and an additional 39 probable cases.

When health officials first announced the outbreak on March 14, there were eight laboratory-confirmed cases of whooping cough with 15 probable cases.

The cases continue to be primarily occurring in school-aged children and their close household contacts.

Whooping cough — also called pertussis — is a highly contagious respiratory illness that spreads by coughing and sneezing while in close contact with others.

2 Christian Sect Leaders Face More Charges In New MexicoThe Associated Press & The Gallup Independent

Two leaders of a paramilitary religious sect with anti-Semitic leanings and rocked by child sexual abuse allegations are facing new charges.

The Gallup Independent reports Deborah and James Green, leaders of the Aggressive Christian Mission Training Corps in western New Mexico, are facing new charges of tampering with evidence and conspiracy to commit tampering with evidence.

Those charges are added to the roughly 18 charges filed against each of the Greens, alleging kidnapping and child abuse, among others.

Last year, authorities raided the sect's secluded Fence Lake, New Mexico compound over concerns of child abuse.

A number of members face various charges ranging from child abuse, bribery and not reporting a birth.

All have pleaded not guilty.

New Mexico Teen Allegedly Brings Stolen Handgun To SchoolThe Associated Press & The Deming Headlight

A New Mexico teen was detained after allegedly bringing an unloaded handgun to school.

The Deming Headlight reports Deming Public Schools released a statement Monday, stating a student had been detained at Deming High School. The weapon was recovered without incident.

Deming Police Chief Bobby Orosco says the 14-year-old boy was detained after students informed school personnel they had seen the boy in possession of a gun. Orosco says school staff questioned the boy and located a weapon in his backpack.

The Associated Press does not usually publish the name of juveniles who are crime suspects.

The handgun was described as a Springfield XD-S, a .45 Automatic Colt Pistol that was identified as a weapon allegedly stolen from a local pawn shop.

Orosco says the teen admitted to stealing the weapon.

Court records do not list an attorney for the boy who could comment on the allegations.

Proposed Rule On Teacher Preparation Programs Draws PushbackThe Associated Press & The ABQ Journal

A rule that would allow the New Mexico Public Education Department to oversee teacher preparation programs has garnered criticism and pushback by school leaders and education groups.

The Albuquerque Journal reports speakers at a public hearing Tuesday described the proposal as overreaching and premature with some questioning the legality of the rule's evaluation system.

The proposal would allow the agency to decide whether preparation programs can continue operating. The programs are currently operated by national teacher accreditation groups.

Education Secretary-designate Christopher Ruszkowski says improving teacher preparation is a multifaceted process. He says the state "must leave nothing to chance when it comes to preparing aspiring teachers for our students."

The department has proposed implementing the rule by the end of the month.

Attorney General Threatens Action If UNM Doesn't CooperateAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas has threatened legal action against the University of New Mexico if it doesn't improve its cooperation with his office's investigation.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that in a letter sent Monday, Balderas said his investigation launched last May has been met with resistance from the institution.

Allegations began last year over a golf junket in Scotland, where the university is accused of having spent about $25,000 in public funds to pay private donor expenses.

In February, the suspension of the university's head football coach broadened the investigation to include a look at how officials handle cases of illegal discrimination or retaliation against those who report sexual misconduct.

Requests for comment from university President Garnett Stokes and Board of Regents President Rob Doughty were not immediately returned.

Records Show New Mexico Sheriff Gave Cases To Immigration Agents – KTSM-TV, Associated Press

A southern New Mexico sheriff is facing questions after documents show his office has referred hundreds of cases to U.S. Customs and Border Protection despite previous claims his office didn't enforce immigration policies.

KTSM-TV in El Paso, Texas, reports documents obtained by the station this week showed the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Office forwarded more than 500 cases to Customs and Border Protection between October 2016 and September 2017.

Doña Ana County Sheriff Enrique Vigil told the station last month that his deputies didn't enforce federal immigration laws.

When the station confronted Vigil about the records, he declined to comment.

Records showed Vigil's deputies referred 518 cases to Customs and Border Protection during Operation Stone Garden.

The program included "joint efforts to secure the United States borders along routes of ingress from international borders."

Ad War Heats Up New Mexico Governor RaceAssociated Press

The sole Republican candidate for New Mexico governor has begun buying television ads more than a month before Democrats nominate a candidate in June primary elections.

Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Steve Pearce of Hobbs notified the Federal Communications Commission of more than $100,000 in spending on political ads that began Tuesday on local network affiliates and cable television.

In the new ads from Pearce, the seven-term congressman revisits the broken-down remains of his early childhood home on a Texas farm where his family lived without indoor plumbing.

Spending on publicity is accelerating as three contenders for the Democratic nomination prepare for June 5 primary elections. Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham launched television ads last week and a radio publicity campaign this week as she seeks the Democratic nomination for governor.

Hopi Tribe, Others Sue Over Power Purchases For Coal PlantAssociated Press

The Hopi Tribe and coal mining groups are suing an Arizona aqueduct system's operator to try to keep a coal-fired power plant alive beyond 2019.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court contends the Central Arizona Water Conservation District legally is obligated to buy power from Navajo Generating Station near Page. The district's Central Arizona Project canals deliver water to Arizona cities and farmers.

The plant's owners plan to close it and use cheaper energy from natural gas as various groups search for a new owner.

District spokeswoman DeEtte Person said officials are reviewing the lawsuit and considered its impact. Person has said previously said the CAP is not required to take power from the plant and has other revenue sources to pay canal system's construction debt.

Lovington Police Officer Cleared In October 2017 ShootingHobbs News-Sun, Associated Press

A Lovington police officer has been cleared for shooting at a burglary suspect during an October 2017 shooting.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports that the Fifth Judicial District Attorney's Office won't pursue charges against officer Shawn Glashauckas after an investigation found the officer acted appropriately.

Authorities say Glashauckas opened fire at a burglary suspect who had escaped police custody. Police say the suspect was arrested after a short foot pursuit and was not hit by gunfire.

Lovington Police Chief David Rodriguez says he was pleased with the outcome of the investigation.

Officials Defend Jail Staff After Man's Apparent SuicideSanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

Officials have come to the defense of the Santa Fe County jail in the wake of an apparent suicide of a jailed man accused of torturing and killing a child.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports a county spokeswoman says staff at the facility addresses mental health issues and suicide prevention as it oversees the approximately 8,000 inmates who pass through the facility each year.

But officials conceded the staff's efforts do not guarantee inmates will not try to harm themselves.

Thomas Wayne Ferguson was found dead Friday night in his cell after apparently hanging himself with a sheet. Ferguson was awaiting trial on a first-degree murder charge in the brutal torture and beating death of 13-year-old Jeremiah Valencia.

Ferguson had pleaded not guilty to 17 felony counts and one misdemeanor charge in the case.

US Border Agency Tests Body Cameras On AgentsAssociated Press

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is starting tests of body-worn cameras for employees at nine locations, potentially leading to a broad rollout that would make it the first federal law enforcement agency to use them on a large scale.

The nation's largest law enforcement agency concluded in November 2015 under President Barack Obama's administration that body cameras were not suitable for widespread use due to hurdles including cost, technological challenges and need for labor union approval.

Customs and Border Protection officials say the technology has evolved since the 2015 tests.

The tests will be done in Detroit and Eagle Pass, Texas, and Atlanta's Hartfield-Jackson International Airport and the sea port at Long Beach, California. There will be additional testing in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas.

Storage Plan For Spent Nuclear Fuel Spurs New Mexico DebateAssociated Press

Critics of a plan to temporarily store spent fuel from U.S. commercial nuclear reactors at a spot in New Mexico say the federal government needs to consider more alternatives before granting licenses for any private facilities.

Dozens of people packed a meeting Monday night in Roswell as federal regulators took public comment on the proposal by Holtec International. It was the first of three meetings planned this week in New Mexico.

The meetings come just days after a congressional subcommittee reviewed a spending plan centered in part on moving past the stalemate that has developed around what to do with the nation's nuclear waste.

Holtec and a coalition of local leaders from southeastern New Mexico first announced plans three years ago to construct a below-ground space for temporarily housing spent fuel. The company is seeking an initial 40-year license.

Arizona Utility Tries To End Multi-State Colorado River FeudAssociated Press

Arizona's largest water provider is trying to defuse a dispute over how it manages its share of the Colorado River, a critical but over-used waterway that serves 40 million people in seven U.S. states and Mexico.

The Central Arizona Project said Tuesday it "regrets using language" that angered other river users. The utility pledged to be more respectful.

Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming accused the Arizona utility last month of manipulating a major Colorado River reservoir to keep its own supplies high but potentially requiring others to cut back.

Colorado's representative on Colorado River issues, James Eklund, described the utility's new statement as an apology. He said was encouraged but is waiting to see how the utility follows through.

The Central Arizona Project serves about 5 million people.