NM Utility Grapples With Costs Of Closing Plant, Home Of Hospitalized Woman Burglarized 5 Times

Jan 2, 2018

New Mexico Utility Grapples With Costs Of Closing Coal PlantThe Associated Press

New Mexico's largest electric provider plans to get out of the coal business sooner rather than later and is proposing legislation that could ease the sting of closing a coal-fired power plant that has served customers around the Southwest for decades.

Public Service Co. of New Mexico wants legislative approval for a mechanism that would address how the utility recovers millions of dollars of remaining investment in the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station.

By financing undepreciated capital through the highest rated bonds possible, utility officials say they'll be able to save customers money as they move toward natural gas and more renewable energy.

Depending on how the legislation is crafted, environmentalists say it could help establish broader public policy for reinvestment in cleaner energy and in diversifying New Mexico's economy.

Police: Home Of Hospitalized Woman Burglarized 5 TimesThe Associated Press

Police say the home of an elderly Albuquerque woman hospitalized for a week has been burglarized at least five times, highlighting the city's rising crime rates.

KOAT-TV in Albuquerque reports police arrested two people on Sunday in connection with a break-in that followed a string of burglaries of the same home.

According to police, the woman's home saw two attempted break-ins on Christmas Eve. Police say another man was then arrested on Christmas Day after the woman's daughters found him in the house.

The homeowner's name has not been released.

Albuquerque police spokesman Simon Drobik says investigators believe the woman's information was compromised by a staff worker or somebody at the hospital.

The city of Albuquerque saw a jump in property crime in 2016.

Bill Would Offer New Mexico Employees Personal LoansThe Associated Press

New Mexico state employees would gain access to short-term personal loans that can be repaid through their paychecks under newly proposed legislation.

Democratic state Sen. Bill Tallman of Albuquerque said Monday that the bill is designed to ensure state employees can borrow modest amounts of money without resorting to high-interest loans from storefront lenders.

New Mexico this year is capping annual interest rates on small loans at 175 percent in an effort to combat predatory lending.

Tallman's proposal would limit interest rates to 30 percent for qualified state employees, and cap repayment at 12 percent of gross salary or wages.

Several local government entities in New Mexico already have joined a program called TrueConnect that provides employees with short-term loans that are repaid from a portion of salary.

Amber Alert Issued For Two GirlsKOB-TV

Texas authorities issued an Amber Alert for two missing girls they believe may be in New Mexico.

KOB-TV reports police began searching for the girls when their mother, Tonya Bates, was found dead. A 44-year-old man named Terry Miles is suspected in her death.

The girls, 7-year-ol Luluvioletta Bandera-Magret and 14-year-old Lilianais Griffith, were last seen in Round Rock, Texas north of Austin on Saturday.

Miles may be driving a gray 2017 Hyundai Accent with Texas license plate JGH 9845 and may be in southern Colorado or New Mexico. Anyone who sees him should call police immediately.

American Indian Tribes Commission Problem-Gambling Study Santa Fe New Mexican, Association Press

The first major study in more than a decade of compulsive gambling in New Mexico is being commissioned by an association of American Indian tribes that run casinos.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the industry-funded Responsible Gaming Association of New Mexico is financing a study designed to combat problem gambling in New Mexico.

The study will examine gambling behavior among adolescents and adults across New Mexico with a focus on economically vulnerable populations. It is being carried out by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.

A 2006 study of problem gambling in New Mexico estimated as many as 15,000 women and 24,000 men had compulsive or pathological behavior.

In the 1990s, New Mexico legalized slot machines at tribal casinos, horse-racing tracks, and veterans and fraternal clubs.

Court Clears Way For Public Hearing On Chromium Plume - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

The New Mexico Court of Appeals has sided with a coalition of environmental groups that had sought a public hearing related to the cleanup of chromium contamination at Los Alamos National Laboratory

The court in a ruling issued last week found that state regulators should not have dismissed the groups' request for a public hearing.

At issue is a permit issued by the state Environment Department that allows LANL to release thousands of gallons of treated wastewater as part of its efforts to address groundwater pollution.

The coalition known as Communities for Clean Water says discharging the treated water could end up pushing a plume of chromium contamination closer to drinking water wells.

The Environment Department did not return messages seeking comment.

Albuquerque Police Recover Body From Rio Grande – Albuquerque Journal

A family taking a New Year’s Day walk along the Rio Grande Bosque Trail called police after they saw a body in the river.

KOB-TV reports officers with the Albuquerque Police Department retrieved the body and confirmed it was an adult but would not release additional details.

The Office of the Medical Investigator is working to identify the cause of death and how long the person was in the river.

Insurance Will Cover Lawsuit Settlements Over Detention Center – Albuquerque Journal

Bernalillo County will only pay about $100,000 for the three cases it recently settled with three former inmates at the Metropolitan Detention Center.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the total settlement amount was $1.1 million, but the county will pay a $100,000 deductible and the New Mexico Association of Counties will pay the rest as the county’s insurer.

Susie Chavez, Joe Ray Barela and Justin Allen sued the county over allegations of excessive force. All of them named jail supervisor Eric Allen as a defendant.

Eric Allen was indicted on a felony count of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm. He has been on paid leave since January 2016, although county officials have initiated the process to fire him.

Decapitation Victim Was Mother Of SixAlbuquerque Journal

A woman whose decapitated body was found near the Four Hills area of Albuquerque was a mother of six who grew up on part of the Navajo Nation.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Audra Willis was 39. She grew up in To’hajiilee and her family said she split her time between Albuquerque and reservation land.

Willis’ six children are all under the age of 17 and live in To’hajiilee. Her mutilated body was found near Winterwood and Autumn Wood SE. Police have not said how she died nor have they named any suspects.

Willis’ mother, Evangelyn Ray, said she and her family are struggling to cope with why this happened to her daughter. Willis had been in and out of jail for issues such as drinking in public and petty theft. She was released Dec. 21st and her body was found Dec. 23rd.

Her death comes nearly a year after a homeless man was found decapitated in northeast Albuquerque, but APD officials have said they don’t believe the two crimes are connected.