NM Resident As Trump Campaign Advisor, Bear Cubs To Be Released

Sep 24, 2016

Trump Campaign Taps New Mexico Resident On Hispanic IssuesAssociated Press

The Donald Trump presidential campaign has added a Republican activist from New Mexico to a council of advisers on issues affecting Hispanic communities.

The Republican Party of New Mexico announced Friday that Phil Archuletta of Mountainair has been appointed to Trump's National Hispanic Advisory Council.

Archuletta has attended every Republican National Convention since 1984 and says he supports Trump's proposal to build a border wall to deter illegal immigration and drug smuggling. Archuletta is urging Trump to reach out to a broader Hispanic audience on issues of related to jobs and retirement security.

Archuletta's business, PNM Signs Inc., manufactures roadside signs for federal and state agencies out of a factory in Mountainair.

Bear Cubs Almost Ready To Be Released Into The WildAssociated Press, The Santa Fe New Mexican

When two orphaned bear cubs arrived in the care of a New Mexico veterinarian in mid-June, they were dehydrated and weighed little more than human infants, at 8 and 12 pounds.

The small bears had been plucked from treetops in the Valles Caldera National Preserve, where they had been wandering alone for several days after their mother was killed by state wildlife officers because she had mauled a marathon runner and, under a state regulation, had to be tested for rabies.

The motherless cubs likely would have died in the wild.

Instead, Dr. Kathleen Ramsay, owner of the Cottonwood Veterinary Clinic and a longtime wildlife rehabilitator, has been caring for the cubs, named Valley Girl and Cowboy, for the last three months at an undisclosed location. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Ramsay is preparing the cubs for release back into the wild in late October or November, when the height of hunting season has passed.

The bear's death caused an outcry from people who opposed the practice, including Williams, who said the animal showed no sign of rabies and was acting aggressively to protect her young

When Ramsay's cubs are released, they will be wearing radio collars so officials from the state Game and Fish Department can track them.

Candidate Accused Of Illegally Applying For Absentee BallotsAssociated Press

A former state Senate candidate has been accused of illegally applying for absentee ballots in the names of three dead people in 2014.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that Carlos Villanueva, a Democrat, says he didn't break the law and that he intends to plead not guilty.

A grand jury on Thursday charged Villanueva with three counts of unlawful absentee ballot application and three counts of unlawful absentee ballot possession. He also faces charges of perjury and conspiracy to committee forgery.

Villanueva tells the Journal that he was merely testing the election system when he applied for the ballots. He says election officials should have refused to mail the ballots.

He also says that when he did receive the ballots, he turned them in to state elections officials.

Villanueva unsuccessfully ran for state Senate in 2012.

Unm President Robert Frank Says He Won't Seek A 2nd TermAssociated Press  

University of New Mexico President Robert Frank has announced that he won't seek to renew his contract after it ends next year.

Frank said Friday that he decided it was best to let the Board of Regents know of his intentions.

He was hired by UNM in January 2012 and his contract ends on May 31, 2017.

The regents now have eight months to choose the school's 22nd president.

On Thursday, Frank announced the university will put a freeze on hiring, and all college officials will perform departmental audits of temporary and part-time staff positions.

Those positions that aren't deemed to be critical will likely be cut.

With declining enrollment and a smaller allotment from the cash-strapped state, UNM is bracing to have $22.5 million less to spend in fiscal year 2017.

Pharmacy Technician In Carlsbad Accused Of Stealing OpioidsAssociated Press  

Federal authorities say a pharmacy technician in Carlsbad has been arrested and accused of stealing prescription painkillers.

They say 30-year-old Amber Otero was taken into custody Friday morning on a criminal complaint charging her with theft of medical products.

Federal drug agents began an investigation after the Carlsbad pharmacy reported that more than 20,000 oxycodone tablets of various strengths had been stolen.

Prosecutors say Otero was identified as the suspected thief.

Her initial appearance in federal court is scheduled for Tuesday in Roswell.

It's unclear if Otero has a lawyer yet.

If convicted on the charge of theft of medical products, prosecutors say Otero faces a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison.

Jury Deliberating In New Mexico Officer's Death CaseAssociated Press  

The fate of a New Mexico man charged in the shooting death of a suburban Albuquerque police officer is now in the hands of a jury.

Jurors began deliberations Friday in a case involving Andrew Romero. The 29-year-old is charged with first-degree murder in the May 2015 death of Rio Rancho Officer Gregg Benner.

The case was moved from Sandoval County to 40 miles south in Valencia County because of extensive media coverage of the case.

In their closing, prosecutors said Romero was not too high on drugs to know what he was doing.

Defense attorneys say just because Romero's DNA was on the gun, it didn't prove Romero fired it.

Romero could face life without parole if convicted.