Santa Fe Indian Market Begins This Weekend, County GOP Deletes Post About Protesters

Aug 14, 2017

Santa Fe Indian Market Fuses Tradition With Contemporary ArtThe Associated Press

For nearly a century, American Indian jewelers, potters and other artists have been gathering in the heart of northern New Mexico to show off their creations as part of one of the nation's most prestigious art markets.

The annual Santa Fe Indian Market begins Saturday as organizers push ahead with raising the bar for showcasing what they say are some of the best examples of art that has evolved from centuries-old traditions.

Some artists and their families have participated for years, but this marks the first time organizers have shifted entirely to a juried application process that has resulted in fierce competition.

Events related to Native film, literature and fashion are scheduled throughout the week leading up to the market. The festivities typically draw about 100,000 people.

County GOP Deletes Post About ProtestersThe Associated Press

A southern New Mexico county's Republican party has deleted a Facebook post that referenced "violent, leftist protesters" following deadly protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Dona Ana County Republican Party Chairman Roman Jimenez wrote in the Sunday Facebook post on the party's page that the protesters were responsible for creating a divide and were "getting exactly what they asked for."

Jimenez tells KOB-TV that the post, which has since been deleted, was in reference to other protests and violence that occurred before the Charlottesville events.

He says he was unaware of the events happening in Charlottesville until he read the comments on his post and regrets that the post was taken out of context.

Republican Party Official Faces Backlash Over Post On ProtestsAlbuquerque Journal, NMPolitics.net, KOB-TV

The chairman of the Doña Ana County Republican Party is under fire after writing a Facebook post the day after violence broke out in Charlottesville, Va.,  about “violent, leftist protestors,” who were “getting exactly what they asked for.”

The Albuquerque Journal and NMPolitics.net reported Roman Jimenez said the post was taken out of context. It has since been removed.  Jimenez told KOB-TV the post was made in regards to other protests and that he was not aware of the violence that erupted Saturday in Charlottesville, Va., when he posted on the county party’s Facebook page.

Ryan Cangiolosi, chairman of the state Republican Party, said the state party repudiates the post and that it does not reflect the views of the Republican Party in New Mexico or Doña Ana County.

NMPolitics.net reported Darren White, former Bernalillo County Sheriff and a Republican, called on Jimenez to resign.

The Journal reported Jimenez is a former captain with the New Mexico State Police and now works for a private security firm.

Flagship Foods To Expand Operations In New MexicoThe Associated Press

A Colorado-based company has plans to expand its operations in New Mexico, a move that is expected to bring nearly 200 new jobs to the state.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez announced Monday that Flagship Foods plans to invest nearly $3 million in its manufacturing and distribution facilities in the Albuquerque area.

The company first expanded to New Mexico in 2014. Its 505 Southwestern brand is now produced in the state, distributed globally and accounts for about $70 million in sales.

Officials say New Mexico will provide $550,000 for Flagship Food's expansion through a local economic development fund.

Gov. Martinez: Charlottesville Violence A 'Cowardly Attack' – Associated Press

The nation's only Latina governor is joining Democrats and fellow Republicans in denouncing violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, linked to white supremacists.

GOP New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez said Saturday she was asking her state residents to pray for the victims in Charlottesville and to condemn "the white supremacists responsible for this cowardly attack."

She says the attack was a reminder that evil still existed in the world but she remained confident Americans would be united.

Her comments came as other Republican governors, like Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, denounced violence in Charlottesville linked to a white nationalist rally. Police say a car rammed into a crowd of protesters, killing at least one.

Republican President Donald Trump is facing criticism for not acknowledging that white supremacists were responsible for the violence.

Man Escapes Custody By Climbing Through Police Car WindowThe Associated Press & KOAT

ESPANOLA, N.M. (AP) — Espanola police are searching for a suspect who escaped custody by climbing through the window of the patrol car while he was wearing handcuffs.

KOAT-TV reports (http://bit.ly/2wYwIXu ) Gary Martinez made his getaway Sunday as an officer went to obtain an arrest warrant. He is wanted in connection with a Thursday shooting.

A spokeswoman from the Espanola Police Department says Martinez was able to tamper with the window controls on the back door while in handcuffs and lower the window so he could escape.

Martinez was last seen wearing a dark blue shirt, plaid shorts and white tennis shoes.

The New Mexico State Police and the Rio Arriba County Sheriff's Department are also involved in the search for Martinez.

Regulators Put New Mexico County On Notice For EMT ServicesLas Vegas Optic, Associated Press

Ambulance operations in a rural, northern New Mexico county are facing scrutiny amid staff troubles and calls by state regulators to shape up.

The Las Vegas Optic reports that New Mexico Public Regulation Commission recently voted to impose new restrictions on Mora County's troubled ambulance operations.

Mora County Ambulance Service has had a tough time building and maintaining a staff of emergency medical technicians, ambulance drivers and other first-responders despite increased funding. That's because staff that live out of town are forced to stay in Mora hotels while on duty because there is no EMS facility or garage.

The county also struggles to hire trained EMTs.

Mora County Commission Chairwoman Paula Garcia says state regulators are requiring the county to submit monthly documentation.

University Of New Mexico Prepares For Tobacco-Free CampusAssociated Press

The University of New Mexico says it will begin enforcing its tobacco-free policy on its main campus in Albuquerque and the rest of its campuses this fall.

Students and faculty will see new signs at the entrances to the campuses as well as banners and notices affixed near all doorways into buildings.

The policy officially takes effect Aug. 15 and will include all forms of tobacco, including chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes, pipes and cigars. Most of the designated smoking areas also will be eliminated.

Officials say the university began the initiative several years ago but lacked the marketing and enforcement resources to make it stick. With help from a state Health Department grant, an awareness campaign, signage and plans for enforcement are now in place.

The university has posted the tobacco use policy online.

Tax Assessor Thinks County Could Be Getting Stiffed MillionsHobbs News-Sun, Associated Press

Lea County Tax Assessor Sharla Kennedy wants everyone to pay their fair share of taxes — even oil and gas companies. A preliminary report for Lea County shows two-thirds of the drilling companies in the last 10 years have not reported new, taxable assets.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports Kennedy brought to the county commission a reminder that a four-year audit being performed in Eddy County has already found more than $2 million in unpaid property taxes just in the first year.

Kennedy pointed out a physical audit of pipelines and other equipment in Lea County could benefit more government entities than just Lea County.

Law Scholars Urge Trump To Keep Program For Young ImmigrantsAssociated Press

A group of legal scholars is urging President Donald Trump to keep a program protecting hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation.

Around 100 law professors and immigration attorneys are scheduled Monday to send Trump an open letter outlining the legal authority he has to preserve the Obama administration program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

Michael Olivas, a law professor at the University of Houston Law Center and Santa Fe, New Mexico, resident, says the letter lays out the legality of DACA, which has helped around 750,000 immigrants.

The scholars say federal courts have ruled the president can use "prosecutorial discretion" to give certain immigrants, like these young migrants, temporary protective status.

The Trump administration has said it still has not decided the program's fate.

Report: VA Office Denies 90 Percent Of Gulf War Illness ClaimsAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A federal report shows that a Veteran Affairs office in New Mexico during the 2015 fiscal year denied more than 90 percent of benefit claims related to Gulf War illnesses, marking the ninth-lowest approval rating among VA sites nationwide.

The Albuquerque Journal reported earlier this week that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Albuquerque office denied 592 of 640 Gulf War illness claims in 2015, which is the latest yearly data available.

The report released in June from the Government Accountability Office also found approval rates for Gulf War illness claims are one-third as high as for other disabling conditions.

Gulf War illness was first identified in soldiers returning home from Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield in the early 1990s.

Fleas Carrying Plague Found In 2nd Arizona CountyAssociated Press

A second Arizona county in two weeks has confirmed that fleas in the area tested positive for plague.

The announcement by Navajo County Public Health officials on Friday comes one week after Coconino County officials found prairie dogs in the area to be carrying fleas with the plague.

Plague is an infectious disease infamous for killing millions of Europeans in the Middle Ages.

The fleas in Navajo County were found near the town of Taylor.

Navajo County advises people to watch for sudden die-offs of groups of prairie dogs or rodents, which might be an indicator of the plague.

Officials have notified residents and plan to treat and closely monitor the rodent burrows.

New Mexico School District Reports $202K In Thefts, LossesAlbuquerque Journal, Associated 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.

Challenge To Albuquerque Minimum Wage Ordinance Is RejectedAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

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

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.

Judge: Bills Vetoed By New Mexico Governor Should Be LawAssociated Press

A state district judge is siding with Democratic lawmakers who asked that certain vetoes by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez during the last regular legislative session be invalidated.

Judge Sarah Singleton on Friday ruled that the governor did not follow proper procedures when she nixed 10 bills. The judge ordered the Secretary of State's Office to chapter the bills in question, a process that could take a few weeks.

The governor's office can still appeal but offered no immediate comment on the ruling.

Lawmakers argued that issuing the vetoes without any explanation made it impossible to understand the governor's objections so they could revise the bills for possible approval.

Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth called the ruling a victory for the state Constitution and for New Mexicans.

Two of the bills would legalize state research on industrial hemp.