NM School District Reports $202K In Thefts, Coalition Of States Files Brief In Ten Commandments Case

Aug 12, 2017

New Mexico School District Reports $202K In Thefts, LossesAssociated Press

New Mexico's largest public school district is reporting that more than $202,000 worth of items went missing or were stolen from Albuquerque schools during the past year.

The items include everything from a small refrigerator and orange construction cones to trash bags, basketball shoes and a case of turkey pepperoni.

Culled from school district police reports, the list covers every school within the district, food services and the vehicle fleet.

Officials with Albuquerque Public Schools tell the Albuquerque Journal that nearly all of the items were stolen, though a few were likely misplaced.

The district is required to submit an annual report to the state auditor outlining the losses. The district's loss rate varies from year to year. In 2015-2016, it added up to about $150,000.

Coalition Of States Files Brief In Ten Commandments Case Associated Press

A coalition of nearly two-dozen states led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is stepping into a dispute in northwestern New Mexico over a Ten Commandments monument.

Paxton and attorneys general from 22 states are supporting city leaders in Bloomfield, New Mexico, who are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their appeal of a lower court ruling requiring the removal of the display from the lawn outside City Hall.

The coalition filed its brief Thursday.

Paxton argues that governments shouldn't be forced to censor religion's role in history because some people are offended.

Attorneys representing Bloomfield filed a petition with the court in July to have the case heard. They say guidance from the Supreme Court is needed because various lower courts are using different standards to evaluate whether such monuments are permissible.

New Mexico Land Office Goes After Texas 'Dirt Bandits' Associated Press

The New Mexico State Land Office is going after a West Texas county after it was learned that loads of dirt, sand and gravel were disappearing from a parcel of state trust land along the border.

Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn says an investigation found that Hudspeth County crews have been using material from the site for road improvements. Mining at the site appears to have started a few years ago.

He says the dirt bandits have been using a dusty byway from Hudspeth County to access the site in southern New Mexico.

The State Land Office has owned the mineral and surface rights on the property since 1958, so Dunn is asking Hudspeth County that all mining stop until New Mexico is compensated for the resources that have been taken and a mining lease is issued.

Body Of Man Swept Away In Albuquerque Flash Flood Is Found Associated Press

Authorities have spotted the body of a man who reportedly was swept away by flash flooding in an arroyo in Albuquerque.

City firefighters had been searching for the man after someone called 911 shortly before 4 p.m. Friday to say someone was caught in the rushing water near the Alameda bridge.

The name of the man hasn't been released yet.

Authorities say he's believed to be around 40 years old.

Rain and flash flooding raised the water level in the North Diversion Channel to nearly 8 feet high Friday afternoon.

Albuquerque Jail's New Chief To Follow County Detention Lead Associated Press

The new head of metro Albuquerque's jail facility says he'll follow Bernalillo County's direction on detained immigrants.

Former county Undersheriff Greg Rees was introduced Thursday as the Metropolitan Detention Center's chief.

Earlier this week, an attempt by county Commissioner Wayne Johnson to rescind the county's declaration as an "immigrant-friendly community" was rejected by a 4-1 vote.

Rees told the Albuquerque Journal he won't have jail staff check an inmate's immigration status or hold undocumented detainees when they would otherwise be released unless there's a court order.

County policies concerning undocumented immigrants came into question last week when Attorney General Jeff Sessions called Albuquerque a "sanctuary city" and threatened to withhold federal money for law-enforcement assistance if the city doesn't comply with federal directives regarding detention of arrested foreign nationals.

Challenge To Albuquerque Minimum Wage Ordinance Is Rejected Associated Press

A New Mexico district judge has rejected a challenge to the Albuquerque Minimum Wage Ordinance, which was approved by voters in 2012.

Ruling from the bench Thursday, the Albuquerque Journal reports that Judge Shannon Bacon said she didn't have jurisdiction to move forward with the portions of the lawsuit seeking to declare that the minimum wage ordinance is unenforceable.

The challenge to the minimum wage ordinance was filed by attorney Pat Rogers on behalf of the Association of Commerce and Industry, the New Mexico Restaurant Association, and other groups including one that represents commercial real estate developers.

The Latest: New Mexico Governor To Appeal Veto Ruling Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez is expected to appeal a court ruling that invalidates her vetoes of several bills that lawmakers sent to her desk during the last regular legislative session.

State District Judge Sarah Singleton on Friday ruled that the governor did not follow proper procedures when she nixed bills. She directed Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver to include the bills in question into their respective chapters of state law once final paperwork is submitted.

That paperwork could take a few weeks, and it's expected that the governor's team will seek a stay to keep the bills from becoming law pending an appeal.

Martinez spokesman Joe Cueto says the governor's office is disappointed with the decision and that it was clear during the session that she vetoed the bills.

Navajo Nation Still Reviewing Vendors For Amber Alert System Associated Press

A Navajo Nation official says the tribe is still in the process of buying software for an Amber Alert system for the reservation months after a purchase was underway in the wake of controversy following the killing of a girl.

Public Safety Division Director Jesse Delmar told the Gallup Independent  Wednesday that the tribe is considering different software vendors that they will interview.

He says the process has taken seven months because the Navajo Department of Emergency Management did not have sufficient funds to buy the software. Delmar says they now have money in place with the Navajo Nation Council recently acquired $250,000 from the Division of Public Safety.

Officials expect the system to serve as an "all hazard alert system" that would send out warnings during situations such as chemical spills.