Review To Focus On APD Altering Video Footage, FBI Investigating Fire At Anti-Abortion Center

Nov 24, 2016

Review To Focus On Claim That Police Tampered With VideosThe Associated Press & The Santa Fe New Mexican

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry's administration says it will have an independent investigator review a former city supervisor's claim that police employees tampered with videos from police shooting cases.

City Attorney Jessica Hernandez told the Santa Fe New Mexican that the investigation would focus on whether "original video evidence" had been properly maintained and made available to prosecuting agencies such as the District Attorney's Office and the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The plan to have the independent review came after a call earlier this week by City Councilor Pat Davis called for such an examination.

Reynaldo Chavez, a former Albuquerque police records supervisor, alleged in a sworn affidavit that police employees had altered and, in some cases, deleted videos that showed the events surrounding at least two al police shootings.

FBI Says White Car Seen At Anti-Abortion Office – Associated Press

The FBI has released images showing a white car seen near the Project Defending Life office in Albuquerque that was set on fire.

The driver is seen exiting the car and returning several minutes later.

The FBI says the person is not a suspect but rather could be a witness.

Project Defending Life is a Catholic-based ministry that opposes abortion and aims to support women in "unplanned and crisis pregnancies" in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and elsewhere in northern New Mexico.

Authorities are investigating after the office was broken into and a fire set. The office and a chapel were damaged, but nobody was hurt.

New Mexico Mayor Becomes Public Face Of US Sanctuary CitiesThe Associated Press

The telegenic Hispanic mayor of the nation's oldest state capital has become a public face of "sanctuary cities" following Donald Trump's presidential victory.

Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales sat down with Fox and CNN anchors last week to denounce Trump's renewed vows to deport millions of immigrants and his campaign promises to withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities that defy immigration authorities.

Santa Fe isn't the typical U.S. sanctuary city. Its population is about 70,000, and its immigrant communities are dwarfed by those in major cities with sanctuary-like policies, like Los Angeles and Chicago. It also has a unique immigration history, dating to the Spanish conquest.

Conservation Group Says Feds Took Out Endangered Wolf – Associated Press

A conservation group says the federal government hasn't been transparent about its removal of a Mexican gray wolf from the wild this month.

The wolf is an endangered species and there are only 97 of them in Arizona and New Mexico, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

The organization says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service captured a gray wolf in east-central Arizona in response to the killing of cattle on nearby land.

The government is under court order to update its decades-old recovery plan for the Mexican gray wolf, which has struggled to regain a foothold in the Southwest region. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife has to update the plan by November 2017.

WNMU Signs Agreement With Mexican State Of SinaloaAssociated Press

Western New Mexico University has entered another agreement with an entity south of the border.

The school announced this week it has signed a letter of intent with the Mexican state of Sinaloa on research projects and student exchanges.

Officials say the agreement is the first step on future collaborations with Sinaloa around academic, science and culture for the secondary and higher education institutions in the Mexican state.

Western New Mexico University also committed to offer in-state tuition rates to students from Sinaloa.

The agreement is the latest in several newly established collaborations between colleges in Mexico and Western New Mexico University.

Rocky Mountains Ski Resorts Delay Thanksgiving Openings - By Bob Moen, Associated Press, KVIA-TV

Ski resorts in Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah have been forced to delay opening for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend or have few ski runs open because unseasonably warm weather limited their ability to make man-made snow.

KVIA-TV in El Paso, Texas reported Ski Apache in New Mexico has delayed opening until mid-December.

Ski Apache spokesman Justin Huffmon said the resort tried to make snow, but it has not been enough so far.

In Wyoming, resorts at Grand Targhee and Jackson Hole were not predicting Wednesday when they would open.

Sun Valley Resort in Idaho will only have one run open on Thursday and possibly through the weekend.

Snowpack in Colorado's mountains is at its lowest level in 30 years and the Beaver Creek resort pushed back its opening day from Wednesday to Friday.

In recent years, many Western U.S. ski resorts started opening by Thanksgiving.

Grand Targhee Resort spokesman Ken Rider says the ski area last delayed its ski season start in 1998.

Trump Victory Revives Aspirations For Oil-Rights TransferAssociated Press

New Mexico State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn says his proposal to boost early childhood education funding has a better chance of approval with the election of Donald Trump as president.

Dunn is seeking support from state and federal lawmakers to transfer federal mineral rights underneath private lands to the state of New Mexico. The State Land Office would lease the subsurface holdings to oil and natural gas developers and deposit revenues in a trust fund for early childhood education.

The initiative faces resistance from ranchers and environmentalists and lacks a sponsor in the state Legislature. It also would require congressional approval.

Dunn says he has had supportive conversations with Congressman Steve Pearce of New Mexico and U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.

New Mexico Regulators Levy $1M Against Water Utility – Farmington Daily Times, Associated Press

State regulators have fined a troubled water utility $1 million and ordered that it immediately provide safe drinking water to residents in a Farmington-area subdivision.

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission unanimously approved the order against AV Water Co. LLC during a meeting Wednesday.

The Farmington Daily Times reports it's possible the fine could be waived. Commissioners said they included the option of waiving fines to prevent discouraging another entity from taking over the water system.

AV Water Co. customers in the Morningstar and Harvest Gold systems were issued a boil-water advisory in June. The Harvest Gold advisory remains in effect, and state regulators say they have received dozens of informal complaints about water quality.

The New Mexico Environment Department also has levied its own fines against the utility.

New Mexico Lawmakers Ask UNM To Stop Fetal Tissue ResearchAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A group of Republican lawmakers are calling for the University of New Mexico to stop research involving fetal tissue that has come from abortions.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that in a letter to the board of regents the New Mexico legislators also requested that UNM suspend the transfer of fetal body parts to or from the university until administrators can prove they're not violating laws that ban profiting from the sale of such material.

UNM Health Sciences Center officials say the university has not violated any laws. They did not say whether the school will comply with the letter.

The letter comes after a months-long investigation by a U.S. House of Representatives panel into UNM's handling of fetal tissue and body parts from aborted fetuses.

Facebook Contractor: Hiring Local Subcontractors ImportantAssociated Press

The Portland, Oregon-based general contractor for Facebook's planned data center in New Mexico says it's important to both it and Facebook to hire local subcontractors for the project.

Fortis Construction Inc.'s statement Wednesday responds to criticism from New Mexico construction industry leaders that subcontractor restrictions likely will disqualify many local companies from the project in Los Lunas.

Fortis Executive Vice President David Aaroe says the company's vetting process for primary subcontractors requires them to have a plan in place to hire locally.

Aaroe also says there's flexibility in criteria for subcontractors and that it takes into account a range of factors, including financial ability, safety records and past performance on similar projects.

The project's first phase is expected to take two years to complete and cost $250 million.

Two Businesses Evacuated Due To Condo Complex FireAssociated Press, KOAT-TV

The Albuquerque Fire Department say there's a possibility that an under-construction condo complex that burned early Wednesday morning may collapse and that a restaurant and another nearby business have been evacuated.

Department spokeswoman Melissa Romero says the building is being evaluated for structural integrity and that adjacent traffic lanes are shut down.

Romero says "The Carlisle" is considered a total loss. She says cause of the fire remains under investigation but there were multiple ignition points.

Responding firefighters saw flames and smoke coming from the building. The firefighters battled the fire for several hours and kept it from spreading to nearby buildings.

The roof collapsed several hours after the fire was reported.

No injuries were reported. KOAT-TV reported it could be up to a week before investigators can enter the structure.