No Boundary Changes For 2 Monuments In New Mexico, Hotline Service Aims To Help Abused Natives

Sep 18, 2017

No Boundary Changes For 2 National Monuments In New MexicoThe Associated Press

The boundaries of two national monuments in New Mexico that were part of an expansive federal review would remain the same under recommendations made by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

The recommendations for the Rio Grande del Norte monument near the New Mexico-Colorado state line and the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks monument along the southern border do call for making public access a priority and congressional authority to enable Native American tribes to co-management cultural areas within the monuments' boundaries.

Zinke's recommendations were revealed in a leaked memo submitted to the White House.

The memo does raise concerns about restrictions that have limited historic uses such as grazing by Hispanic ranchers in the north and urges federal agencies to work together to assess border safety issues in the south.

Hotline Service Aims To Help Abused Native American WomenThe Associated Press & KRQE

A new hotline has launched in New Mexico meant to provide assistance to female Native American tribe members who have experienced domestic violence or sexual abuse.

KRQE-TV reports 56 percent of Native American women are physically abused by an intimate partner.

Native Americans make up 10 percent of New Mexico's population.

Deleana Otherbull, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native American Women, says advocates from the new StrongHeart Native Helpline are familiar with native culture and tribal sovereignty. The advocates will guide women through steps to get away safely from their situation.

The StrongHearts hotline's phone number is 1-844-762-8483. It is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. People who call after hours will be transferred to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

New Mexico AG Joins Effort In Opioid FightThe Associated Press

Attorneys general from 35 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia are urging health insurers to review their policies for pain management treatment to spark higher use of alternatives to opioid prescriptions.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey on Monday announced the bipartisan coalition's efforts in the ongoing fight to end opioid addiction.

Morrisey says in a news release that the coalition wants health insurers to avoid contributing unintentionally to the deadly problem.

Other co-sponsors of the effort are attorneys general from Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, Utah and Virginia.

West Virginia has the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the United States at 41.5 per 100,000 residents — more than twice the national average.

New Mexico School District Eyes Immigrant ResolutionThe Associated Press & The Hobbs News-Sun

A southeastern New Mexico school district is considering a resolution that promises support for students and employees who may face deportation amid possible Trump Administration changes.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports the Lovington School Board has drafted a resolution aimed to assure immigrants in the country illegally who have temporary protective statues.

The Trump Administration recently announced it would rescind the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program putting around 800,000 young immigrants at risk of deportation.

School board President Greg Maxie says the district is simply pushing for the state's congressional delegation to resolve the issue quickly.

Maxie says those who came out of the shadows and registered with DACA are the people who need the district's support.

Interior Secretary Recommends Shrinking 6 National Monuments - By Matthew Daly, Associated Press, Washington Post

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is recommending that six of 27 national monuments under review by the Trump administration be reduced in size, with changes to several others proposed.

A leaked memo from Zinke to President Donald Trump recommends that two Utah monuments — Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante — be reduced, along with Nevada's Gold Butte and Oregon's Cascade-Siskiyou.

In addition to shrinking six monuments, Zinke recommends changes at several other sites, including two national monuments in New Mexico: Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and Rio Grande del Norte.

The Washington Post reports Zinke recommends Trump change the proclamations on 10 sites to allow more activities. That includes the two in New Mexico. He also suggests enabling tribal co-management of cultural resources at those two sites and at Bears Ears.

Zinke also suggests the Homeland Security Department and the Pentagon evaluate border security risks around the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks designation.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the memo, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Trump ordered the review earlier this year after complaining about improper "land grabs" by former presidents, including Barack Obama.

Crash Kills Veteran Reporter-Pilot Of Albuquerque TV StationAssociated Press

A longtime reporter at an Albuquerque TV station has died after the news helicopter he was piloting crashed in central New Mexico, authorities said Sunday.

Bob Martin, 64, was pronounced dead at the crash scene Saturday night, according to New Mexico State Police.

KRQE-TV said Martin worked for the station for more than 20 years, frequently shooting, writing and editing stories. It wasn't immediately clear if Martin was headed to cover a story at the time of the crash.

"Here at KRQE, we all had great respect for Bob and cherished his friendship," the station said on its website Sunday morning.

KRQE said the helicopter crashed about 4:30 p.m. Saturday in rugged terrain north of Carrizozo, about 150 miles southeast of Albuquerque.

State Police said it was notified of a downed aircraft shortly after 5 p.m. and found the remnants of the helicopter along with its sole occupant.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were investigating the cause of the crash, police said.

Lawsuit Accuses County's Top Prosecutor Of CorruptionLas Cruces Sun-News, Associated Press

A lawsuit alleges that Doña Ana County's top prosecutor offered to dismiss criminal charges against a defendant in exchange for money.

The complaint filed by former office manager Marylou Bonacci also alleges that District Attorney Mark D'Antonio retained incompetent employees as political favors, improperly used funds and discriminated against women in his office.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports the complaint was filed this week in district court.

D'Antonio says the claims are absurd and described them as a "poorly-veiled political attack." He said that as a former FBI agent and federal prosecutor with an unblemished record, he was offended by the allegations.

The lawsuit accuses D'Antonio, the district attorney's office and the state of New Mexico of retaliating against Bonacci after she claimed to have raised concerns about alleged improper acts within the office.

Clovis Police Release 911 Calls From Library ShootingAssociated Press

Police in Clovis have released 911 calls from a shooting at a public library last month that left two dead and four others wounded.

Media outlets report that the calls include pleas for help. Some callers were taking cover in an office or closet during the Aug. 28 attack. Dispatchers offered advice and reassurances that help was on the way.

An indictment issued Sept. 8 charges 16-year-old Nathaniel Jouett with 33 counts of murder and other crimes.

According to court records, Jouett told investigators that he initially intended to target his school and that he somehow ended up at the library. Authorities have said he did not know the victims.

New Mexico Suicide Rate DropsAssociated Press

Suicides are down in New Mexico for the first time in several years.

That's according to the New Mexico Department of Health, which reports a 6 percent drop in the number of suicides in 2016 when compared to 2015.

The department says that's reversing a rising trend of suicides in the last three years. The department offers prevention efforts like training public school staff and community members as well as providing media guidelines on safely reporting on suicide.

Suicide doesn't have just one single cause, and data show risk factors include depression, relationship abuse problems, health conditions, financial challenges and legal problems.

For help, contact the New Mexico Crisis Line at 1-855-NMCRISIS or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

New Mexico Unemployment In August Was 6.3 PercentAssociated Press

The state of New Mexico says the latest unemployment rate in the Land of Enchantment is 6.3 percent.

That's down from 6.8 percent a year ago.

The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions says that 6.3 percent rate is for August and didn't change from July.

The national unemployment rate is 4.4 percent.

New Mexico's leisure and hospitality industry had the highest growth with an increase of 4,000 jobs, or a 4 percent growth. Professional and business services also added more jobs and has reported growth for over two years straight.

But wholesale trade saw major losses of 500 jobs, as did mining, which was down 2.1 percent.

New Mexico's Annual Tax Breaks Surpass $1 BillionAssociated Press

An examination of New Mexico state tax breaks by the Office of the State Auditor shows that extractive industries such as oil, coal and copper mining together account for the largest share of foregone revenue.

The report was presented to state lawmakers Friday by State Auditor Tim Keller and staff. It tallies more than $1 billion in estimated tax breaks in 2016. The state waived nearly $400 million in taxes from extractive industries.

Exemptions, deductions and credits on gross receipts taxes account for about one-quarter of tax breaks. Recent tax reform efforts by lawmakers and Gov. Susana Martinez focused on shoring up gross receipts tax revenues on sales and business services, while avoiding redundant charges.

Of 180 tax breaks identified in the report, 23 had no available data.

Police: New Mexico Justice System Is Broken, Changes Needed - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

New Mexico's top law enforcement officer says the state's criminal justice system is broken, overtasked and strained by a lack of resources.

His comments came Friday as he and San Juan County authorities provided updates on a deadly traffic stop in which police shot and killed a suspect after he pulled a revolver from his waistband and opened fire.

One of the rounds wounded a state police officer when it struck his badge and sent shrapnel flying.

State Police Chief Pete Kassetas described the case of 26-year-old William Wilson as a classic example, outlining a criminal history that dated back years and included numerous charges and probation violations.

Kassetas said there needs to be a more comprehensive statewide risk assessment tool for district attorneys and judges to use when determining whether defendants should remain behind bars pending trial.

Game And Fish: Latest Wild Jaguar In Arizona Is MaleAssociated Press

The Arizona Game and Fish Department says the latest wild jaguar to be seen in Arizona is a male.

That's contrary to the hopes of conservationists, who on Thursday released new video footage of the giant cat and said they hoped it would be the first female to be seen in decades.

The jaguar was spotted on camera this summer in southern Arizona. It was first captured on camera in November, and is the third to be seen here in recent years.

Conservationists think recent sightings show that jaguars are returning to the U.S. They're suing to stop a proposed wall on the border, which they say will deter jaguars who migrate from the south.

But Game and Fish says Arizona is not an optimal jaguar habitat because it's too far— about 130 miles — from other jaguar populations.