NM Murders Increase 16 Percent, NM Oil Production Down

Sep 26, 2016

New Mexico Murders Jumped Nearly 16 Percent Last Year – The Associated Press

The FBI says the number of murders reported by New Mexico law enforcement agencies jumped by nearly 16 percent in 2015 from the year before.

New crime statistics released on Monday show the estimated number of murders in New Mexico was 117, or a 15.8 percent jump from the 2014 estimate.

That spike was above the percentage increase nationally. The FBI says the estimated number of murders in the nation was 15,696, or a 10.8 percent increase.

Meanwhile, overall violent crime in New Mexico jumped nearly 10 percent in 2015.

The troubled city of Espanola continued to have one of the state's highest violent crime rates per 100,000 residents. According to an analysis by The Associated Press, Espanola's violent crime rate was 2,623.8.

Albuquerque, the state's largest city, had a violent crime rate of 965.8.

New Mexico's Oil Production Decreases In Early 2016The Associated Press & The ABQ Journal

Statistics from the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division show a drop in the state's production during the first half of 2016.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that statewide oil production fell nearly 5 percent in the first seven months of the year. The latest statistics show that the production was down by about four million barrels from January to July, dropping to 82 million barrels from 2015's 86 million during the same time period.

The numbers show the first significant drop in New Mexico's oil production since crude prices crashed in 2014. Steeper declines are possible, with prices are unlikely to rise significantly until next year.

Voter Registration Surges After Statewide MailingAssociated Press

New Mexico election officials have witnessed a surge in online voter registration activity after 460,000 invitation postcards were mailed to residents who appear to be eligible and yet unregistered to vote.

The New Mexico Secretary of State's Office saw a nearly eight-fold increase in weekly online voter registration and updates to voter records. Elections Director Kari Fresquez says online registrations and updates increased to 8,778 last week from 1,189 the previous week.

The Secretary of State's Office recently sent postcards to a list of unregistered voters generated by the Electronic Registration Information Center. The nonprofit center helps member states improve the accuracy of voter registration lists.

The deadline to register for fall elections is Oct. 11. Stateside voter rolls increased by nearly 50,000 between January and August to 1,247,911.

Wildlife Foundation Takes Sides In Mexican Gray Wolf LawsuitAssociated Press

A wildlife foundation started by former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and actor Robert Redford is stepping into the fray between state and federal government over the Mexican gray wolf.

The Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife announced Sunday it was siding with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's wolf release plan in an ongoing lawsuit, filing an amicus brief with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

The state of New Mexico was granted a preliminary injunction in June, stopping any wolf releases while the two parties battle over permits and the revamping of a recovery plan.

The state took legal action in April after federal officials released a pair of captive-born pups into a wild wolf den in southwestern New Mexico despite having no permit.

Union: Albuquerque Officers Aren't Applying For SergeantThe Associated Press & KOB

The Albuquerque police union says staffing troubles aren't just at the recruitment level, and that officers aren't applying for leadership roles.

KOB-TV reports that the Albuquerque Police Department has about 800 personnel working at a department that needs more than 1,000 and that now union leaders say there's a leadership shortage as well.

Officer's union President Shaun Willoughby says Department of Justice regulations have made it harder for officers to become sergeants and also have made the workload unappealing. Willoughby says the pay increase from officer first class of only about $4 an hour and that it involves a lot more work.

Willoughby says an average 105 officers apply for sergeant at APD each year but only 45 have applied so far in 2016.

Deputies: Woman Tried To Run Over Man In Casino Parking SpatAssociated Press, KOB-TV

A woman is facing charges after authorities said she tried to run over a man stemming from a dispute over an Albuquerque casino parking spot.

KOB-TV in Albuquerque reports that Yvonne Aragon was arrested Friday outside the Route 66 Casino following the bizarre brawl.

According to the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office, the 45-year-old Aragon got angry the man was standing in a parking space to save it for his wife. Bernalillo County Sheriff's Capt. Andi Taylor says that's when Aragon hit the man with her car.

Taylor says the man bruises on his leg matched a skeleton license plate of Aragon's car. The man told deputies she also pointed a gun at him.

It was not known if Aragon had an attorney.

New Mexico Governor Travels To Fundraiser In DallasAssociated Press

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is traveling to Dallas for a political fundraiser.

Spokesman Mike Lonergan says Martinez traveled on Sunday to attend a Monday-morning fundraiser. More details about the event were not available. The governor's political committee is paying for the travel.

The second-term governor travels beyond the state regularly as chairwoman of the Republican Governors Association, recently attending a campaign event for North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory as he seeks re-election. The association is a fundraising arm of the GOP dedicated to electing Republican governors.

Martinez plans to return Monday afternoon to New Mexico.

University Of New Mexico Honoring Rudolfo Anaya With LectureAssociated Press

The University of New Mexico is honoring acclaimed Mexican-American novelist Rudolfo Anaya with a special lecture series in his name.

Novelist and poet Rigoberto Gonzalez is scheduled Thursday to take part in the Rudolfo and Patricia Anaya Lecture on the Literature of the Southwest days after Anaya was awarded the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama. The lecture was created through a donation from the Pastura, New Mexico-born author who also founded the school's creative writing program.

Gonzalez says Anaya has influenced a generation of Latino writers thanks to his 1972 novel "Bless Me, Ultima."

University of New Mexico English professor Bernadine Hernandez says in recent years Acoma Pueblo poet Simon Ortiz and Latina playwright Denise Chavez have been keynote speakers for the lecture series.

Sec Dropping Fraud Charges Against Thornburg Mortgage ExecsAssociated Press

The Securities and Exchange Commission is dropping some fraud charges against two former executives of Santa Fe-based Thornburg Mortgage.

The agency filed a motion Friday, saying it would no longer pursue three of five claims and an allegation that the two had filed a false financial statement.

The agency filed a lawsuit in 2012, alleging that Larry Goldstone, Clarence Simmons III and Jane Starrett hid the company's deteriorating financial condition at the start of the housing market collapse by issuing misleading statements.

They also were accused of hiding a $428 million loss in a 2007 annual report.

Starrett settled and agreed to pay a penalty.

A jury cleared Goldstone and Simmons in July of five counts of civil accounting fraud but deadlocked on five others.

Farmington-Area Customers Demand More From Water SupplierAssociated Press, Farmington Daily Times

Farmington-area residents affected by a months-long water crisis are demanding more from the water supplier.

The Daily Times in Farmington reports that local activists protested Friday and released a list of demands.

The demands include getting new tanks in the Harvest Gold water system, bringing bottled water to customers' homes and replacing AV Water Co. employees.

Attorney Germaine Chappelle, who represents AV Water, says a lot of the demands have been met and the company is working on granting others.

A boil-water advisory was issued in June to AV Water customers in the Morningstar and Harvest Gold systems.

The Morningstar system had its advisory lifted earlier this month.

Customers in the Harvest Gold subdivision say they are spending too much money on heating water and getting it bottled.

Farmington Shelter Halting Cat Adoptions Due To IllnessAssociated Press, Farmington Daily Times

A Farmington animal shelter is putting a temporary halt on all cat adoptions after several cats became ill.

The Daily Times in Farmington reports that officials at the Farmington Regional Animal Shelter say multiple cats have been diagnosed with panleukopenia, a parvo virus also known as feline distemper.

The cats were all diagnosed earlier this month.

As a result, the shelter is refraining from adoptions for at least 14 days and the rooms with cats will be closed to the public.

They are also advising people not to bring any stray cats to the shelter.

Shelter Director Stacie Voss says some cats who were adopted have since tested positive for the virus.

Symptoms include lack of appetite, vomiting and bloody diarrhea.

There is no treatment.