State Gets $400K To Fight Zika, 1st Human Case Of West Nile Virus This Year In NM

Aug 4, 2016

New Mexico Gets $400K From CDC To Fight ZikaAssociated Press

New Mexico is getting $400,000 from the federal government to battle the Zika virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the money will be used to help detect and treat microcephaly, an often-fatal condition in infants linked to Zika.

The money also will help ensure affected infants and their families are referred to appropriate health and social services and enable New Mexico to monitor over time the health and developmental outcomes of children affected.

Zika virus spreads to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, but it can also be spread by infected men and women to their sex partners.

Zika infections in pregnant women can cause severe brain-related birth defects.

The New Mexico Department of Health says a species of mosquito that can transmit Zika virus was found in Roosevelt County.

1st Human Case Of West Nile Virus This Year In New MexicoThe Associated Press

State health officials are reporting the first human case of West Nile virus in New Mexico this year.

The New Mexico Department of Health announced Thursday that a 40-year-old woman from Rio Arriba County has been diagnosed with West Nile.

She was hospitalized with neuroinvasive disease, which is the more serious form of the illness.

But health officials say the woman now is recovering at home.

Mosquitoes transmit the West Nile virus.

People over 50 years old and those with other health issues are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill or dying when they become infected with the virus.

State health officials identified 14 cases of West Nile infection in humans last year including 12 with neuroinvasive disease. There were no deaths.

State May Hire Guards Affected By Private-Prison ClosureThe Associated Press & The Santa Fe New Mexican

State Corrections Secretary Gregg Marcantel says the closing of a privately operated federal prison in northwest New Mexico could help the state prison system, which is currently understaffed and overcrowded.

The Cibola County Correctional Center in Milan this week confirmed that its contract isn't being renewed. The center houses about 1,200 minimum-security male inmates and is staffed by about 300 prison employees.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Marcantel said he hopes his department will be able to hire many of those corrections officers.

Earlier this year Corrections Department officials said more than a third of the corrections officer jobs at state prisons are vacant.

As for overcrowding, Marcantel says he isn't sure what it would take to take over the Milan facility, but his staff is considering the possibility.

Privately-Run Prison In New Mexico Set To Close On Sept. 30 Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A privately-run prison in northwest New Mexico that employs about 300 staffers will close at the end of next month.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the Cibola County Correctional Center in Milan received notification earlier this week that its contract isn't being renewed.

The center houses about 1,200 minimum-security male inmates.

Employees are being given the option of transferring to other facilities run by the Corrections Corporation of America, a private company.

Corrections Secretary Gregg Marcantel told the Santa Fe New Mexican he’s hopeful the state can hire those staff members because it is facing a shortage of corrections officers.

CCA runs two other facilities in New Mexico. One is in Grants and the other is in Estancia.

Inmates at the Milan correctional center are being transferred to other prisons. Mercantel said he will look at the possibility of the state taking over the Cibola facility.

DA Brandenburg Denies Calling Mayor Psychopath In Buzzfeed ArticleAlbuquerque Journal

Albuquerque District Attorney Kari Brandenburg is denying she called Mayor Richard Berry a psychopath in a national article in which she contends police retaliated against her after she charged two officers with murder.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Brandenburg says she did not mention the mayor in the Buzzfeed article. But the reporter who wrote the piece said he stands by the quote.

The article looks at Brandenburg’s decision to charge two former Albuquerque Police Department officers in the shooting death of homeless camper James Boyd in 2014.

Around the same time, APD began an investigation into allegations of bribery. She was cleared by Attorney General Hector Balderas, who said the investigation seemed motivated by politics.

In the Buzzfeed article, Brandenburg said she and APD Chief Gorden Eden are not on speaking terms. Eden said his department works with the DA’s office regularly. Mayor Berry would not comment on the Buzzfeed story.

Albuquerque Removes City Rocks After Violent Trump Rally KOAT-TV, Associated Press

The city of Albuquerque has removed large rocks from downtown landscaping nearly three months after a Donald Trump rally turned violent.

KOAT-TV in Albuquerque reports city officials recently purged the stones and replaced them with smaller rocks.

The move came after protesters hurled rocks at officers and police horses outside a Trump rally at the Albuquerque Convention Center in May. Downtown businesses also suffered damages, including broken windows.

Albuquerque Chief of Staff Gilbert Montaño says crews removed six truckloads of large stones throughout Downtown Albuquerque, including near the Convention Center.

Montano said officials also found the rocks were being used to hide drugs and syringes.

New Mexico Lawmakers Challenge Gas Pump Lottery PurchasesSanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

New Mexico lawmakers are questioning a state lottery pilot program that allows people to purchase tickets at the gas pump with a debit card.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that some lawmakers think the program violates a law requiring customers to pay for the tickets with cash or a check. They have also raised concerns that drivers younger than 18 could buy the tickets.

Thirteen state legislators sent a letter to New Mexico Lottery CEO David Barden this week arguing that the agency might be overstepping its authority.

The test program began at 13 gas stations on July 25.

New Mexico Lottery advertising and marketing director Wendy Ahlm said Tuesday that the pilot system is designed to raise more money for the struggling Legislative Lottery Scholarship program.

Activists To March In Los Alamos On Hiroshima Anniversary Los Alamos Monitor, Associated Press

Dozens of peace activists are expected to participate in march in Los Alamos around the 71th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings.

The Los Alamos Monitor reports anti-nuclear activist Rev. John Dear will lead a march Saturday to the boundaries of Los Alamos National Laboratory and then to Ashley Pond Park to meditate and pray

Dear says Los Alamos National Laboratory and its employees must repent for participating in the manufacture of nuclear weapons.

During the World War II-era Manhattan Project, scientists at the then-secret city of Los Alamos developed the weapon dropped on the Japanese cities.

Activists hold annual demonstrations in the New Mexico town that gave birth to the atomic weapon during the anniversary of the bombings.

FBI: Man Accused Of Assaulting A Federal Officer In ShiprockAssociated Press

The FBI in Albuquerque says a Newcomb man has been arrested for allegedly assaulting a federal law enforcement officer on the Navajo Reservation.

Authorities say 36-year-old Larry Emerson Jr. was taken into custody Wednesday in Gallup.

Assisting the FBI with the arrest were the McKinley County Sheriff's Office and Gallup police.

Authorities say Emerson is accused of assaulting a Bureau of Indian Affairs-commissioned Navajo Police Officer in Shiprock on July 6.

Emerson is expected to have an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque on Thursday.

It was unclear Wednesday if he has a lawyer yet.

Authorities ID Body Pulled From Water In Albuquerque CanalAssociated Press

Authorities have identified a body that was pulled from the water in Albuquerque where the North Diversion channel meets the Rio Grande.

The Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department says the dead man has been identified as 37-year-old Alejandro Manzanare.

His hometown wasn't immediately available.

Authorities say the death is being investigated as a possible drug overdose although final toxicology reports haven't been completed yet.

The sheriff's department is investigating in conjunction with the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The body was recovered Monday afternoon.

The discovery came two days after crews came up empty-handed in the search for a person reportedly swept away in a flooded arroyo.