Thunderbirds To Perform At NM Air Show, Judge Orders University To Release Documents

May 25, 2018

US Air Force Thunderbirds To Perform At Clovis-Area Air ShowThe Associated Press & The Eastern New Mexico News

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds have landed in the Clovis area ahead of a biennial air show on the eastern New Mexico air force base.

The Eastern New Mexico News reports the U.S. Air Force's official air demonstration team will be one of the many attractions featured in the "Air Commandos on the High Plains" weekend event at the Cannon Air Force Base.

The team arrived to the base on Thursday after a performance in Colorado.

A statement from the base says the team includes 120 enlisted personnel, 24 maintenance specialists and a few civilian coordinators; yet at its core are 12 officers.

Other performers include the Royal Canadian Air Force F-18 Demo team and SOCOM Para-Commandos jump team.

Judge Orders University Foundation To Release DocumentsThe Associated Press

A judge has ruled that the University of New Mexico Foundation must release records related to a naming rights agreement.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Judge Nancy Franchini issued the ruling Thursday, stating the foundation was subject to the state's public records laws as it acts on behalf of a public entity.

Independent journalist Daniel Libit had sued the foundation over its failure to produce records related to the naming agreement for the university's basketball arena.

The foundation, which serves as the fundraising arm for the university, had claimed it was not subject to public records laws because it is a private entity.

Foundation general counsel Pat Allen says they don't agree with the decision, but they respect the court. He says the foundation will consider its options.

Misaligned Drum Prompts Brief Evacuation At Nuke RepositoryThe Associated Press & The Carlsbad Current Argus

The U.S. government's only underground nuclear waste repository was briefly evacuated after a drum of waste was found to be misaligned inside its packaging.

The contractor that runs the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southern New Mexico activated its emergency operations center after the discovery was made Thursday night.

The Carlsbad Current Argus reported that officials determined conditions were stable and no radiation was released. The emergency operations center was deactivated three hours later.

Shipments to the repository resumed in 2017 following a nearly three-year closure that stemmed from a radiation release by a container of waste that was improperly treated at Los Alamos National Laboratory before being shipped to the repository.

That previous incident highlighted safety and security concerns at both the lab and repository and resulted in a costly recovery.

Education, Poverty Define Agenda In New Mexico Governor RaceThe Associated Press

New Mexico's next governor will inherit simmering discontent over teacher pay and evaluations, calls to expand early childhood schooling and a lawsuit that may put the judiciary in charge of pivotal education funding decisions.

Three Democratic candidates hope to rally voters around competing plans to broaden early childhood education programs, as they vie against a sole Republican contender.

All the candidates see educational improvement as a lynchpin for addressing grinding poverty in a state with the nation's second-highest unemployment rate.

Their election-year proposals for addressing rock-bottom math proficiency and literacy rankings range from lengthening the school year to providing art and music instruction in every school.

New Mexico's public schools depend heavily on state funding and with the oil sector booming again, a surge in tax revenues and royalties could help translate campaign pledges into reality.

State Lawmaker's Comments During DWI Arrest To Be ReviewedAssociated Press

The New Mexico Attorney General's Office says it will review a drunken-driving case involving state Rep. Monica Youngblood to see whether the 41-year-old Albuquerque Republican inappropriately tried to use her legislative position to influence police.

Youngblood was arrested early Sunday on suspicion of aggravated DWI at an Albuquerque checkpoint where she complied with a field sobriety test but refused a blood-alcohol test.

Police video released Tuesday recorded Youngblood mentioning her legislative work several times at the checkpoint, and the Attorney General's Office said Wednesday it would review the matter.

Youngblood defense attorney Paul John Kennedy did not immediately return a call Thursday from The Associated Press for comment.

Youngblood on Sunday said in a statement that she regretted the situation, particularly her decision not to take the blood-alcohol test.

Owner Of 6 Dogs Found Dead In Albuquerque Gets Jail SentenceAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A woman whose six dogs were found abandoned and dead inside an SUV in northeast Albuquerque last month has pleaded guilty to multiple counts of animal-related offenses.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that 55-year-old Annette Rosenow appeared Thursday in Torrance County Magistrate Court.

She was sentenced to 23 days in jail and ordered to pay more than $700 in fees for charges of failing to properly register her animals and selling dogs without a permit.

Rosenow reportedly hired a couple to transport 11 of her dogs to her new home in Texas after she was evicted from her rented home in Estancia, New Mexico.

Authorities say six of the animals were found dead in a locked SUV and the other five dogs were unharmed and dropped off at a veterinary clinic.

Democratic Candidate For Governor Wants Pay For LawmakersAssociated Press

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jeff Apodaca says he wants New Mexico lawmakers to become paid politicians to help eliminate financial conflicts of interest between their legislative duties and outside careers.

Apodaca said Thursday that he supports reforms to provide state legislators with a full-time salary and lengthen legislative sessions that currently last 60 days or less.

Limited safeguards against self-enrichment in the nation's only unsalaried legislature are under scrutiny in the wake of a corruption trial against a former state Sen. Phil Griego.

Apodaca is calling attention to state contracts for a high-risk insurance pool that went to a consulting company co-founded by primary election opponent Michelle Lujan Grisham and her campaign treasurer, state Rep. Deborah Armstrong. Lujan Grisham, a U.S. congresswoman, says she divested from Delta Consulting last year.

Environmentalists Take Aim At Power Plant's Discharge PermitAssociated Press

Environmental groups say a coal-fired power plant in northwestern New Mexico that provides electricity to Arizona customers has been operating under a water discharge permit that should have been updated years ago.

The groups say any failure to meet pollution control requirements could affect the Navajo Nation and other areas downstream from the Four Corners Power Plant.

They have taken their case to a federal appeals court in hopes of forcing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to take action on a permit renewal application that was initially filed in 2006.

An agency spokeswoman did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Arizona Public Service Co., the plant's majority owner, says it is meeting water quality regulations and no violations have been found during inspections by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Candidate For Governor Seeks Changes For Driver's LicensesAssociated Press

A Democratic candidate for New Mexico governor wants to ensure state residents are not wrongfully denied a driving credential and also make it possible to renew driver's licenses by mail.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday announced plans if elected to reform the state's two-tier system of driver's licenses.

New Mexico adopted new driver identification standards to meet tougher U.S. ID requirements aimed at safeguarding commercial airlines, military bases and other federal facilities. But the system has prompted a discrimination lawsuit and widespread complaints of inconveniences since implementation in 2016 by the administration of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

Lujan Grisham says applicants for driving credentials should be able to identify themselves using proof-of-residency documents from a homeless shelter or specified medical records.

New Mexico Auditor Plans Review Of Criminal Justice AgenciesAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

The New Mexico auditor is planning to launch a review of Albuquerque-area criminal justice agencies to examine their internal processes.

The Albuquerque Journal reports State Auditor Wayne Johnson announced plans Wednesday to audit seven agencies to identify the issues that cause the system to sometimes fail.

The audit will include Albuquerque-area law enforcement agencies, the district attorney's office, the public defender's office, courts and jail.

Johnson says the review will be a systems analysis, which will examine how the agencies operate within the broader justice system.

He says the agencies don't appear to communicate well among each other and tracking cases can be difficult as an offender may be issued different case numbers at every step.

He says the audit should take about five to six months to complete.

Colorado Deputies Wound New Mexico SuspectAssociated Press, Albuquerque Journal

A suspect in a double homicide in New Mexico who was later shot and critically wounded by officers in Colorado has been identified as 31-year-old Dustin Brian Montaño.

Authorities say Montaño is hospitalized in critical condition after he was shot Thursday morning outside a Walmart in Fort Morgan, a small city on Colorado's Eastern Plains about 500 miles north of Albuquerque.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the victims were 53-year-old Deborah Martinez and her 17-year-old daughter, Irisa Montaño. They were found dead at an apartment complex on the city’s West Side.

KRQE-TV reports friends of the two said Dustin Montaño was a relative.

Fort Morgan police say they were told Montaño might be in the area and his car, which was stolen, was found in the store's parking lot. They say Morgan County Sheriff Jim Crone and Undersheriff Dave Martin confronted him when he came out of the store and opened fire after he made a "threatening gesture."

Fort Morgan authorities say Albuquerque police confirmed Montaño is a suspect in the killings there.

Officials say Montaño is from Sterling, Colorado, about 50 miles northeast of Fort Morgan.