Thursday News Roundup: APD To Purchase 350 AR-15 Assault Rifles

Jul 10, 2014

APD To Purchase 350 AR-15 Assault RiflesThe Associated Press and KOB TV

The Albuquerque Police Department plans to buy at least 350 military-style rifles as replacement for officer-owned weapons.

KOB-TV reports that a request for bid called for purchases of 350 AR-15 rifles in a two-year contract's first year, followed by more purchases as necessary.

Police Chief Gorden Eden in May said officers could no longer carry personally-owned weapons in the field.

Eden took that action after the U.S. Department of Justice said in a report on use of force by Albuquerque officers that officers would purchase expensive weapons and viewed them as "status symbols."

Police officers union President Stephanie Lopez says officers need weapons such as AR-15s. She cited an October shooting rampage by a man who fired an assault rifle while dressed in body armor.

Report: Most Of Santa Fe Workers Live Elsewhere  - The Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

A new report says more than half of the people who work in Santa Fe live outside the northern New Mexico city.

The report by economist Ashley Leach of the state Department of Workforce Solutions says Albuquerque is the biggest source of commuters at 15 percent, followed by Rio Rancho at 7 percent.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, New Mexico's capital has long been known as a major commuting city in large part because of state government jobs.

Leach's report says the number of commuters grew to 51 percent in 2011 from 42 percent in 2002.

The report doesn't explain why the number of people commuting to Santa Fe for work has gone up.

Police: Child Left In Hot Car As Punishment - The Associated Press and KOAT TV

An Albuquerque couple is accused of locking their 5-year-old daughter in  hot truck as punishment.

Albuquerque police say Dulces Perez and Angelica Montoya were arrested Tuesday on child abuse charges after police were called to a Home Depot by shoppers who spotted the girl in 90 degree weather.

Police say she was sweating, screaming and crying when she crawled out of the truck and was taken to a hospital to be treated for dehydration and heat exposure.

KOAT-TV reports that the girl told police she was ordered to stay in the truck while her parents shopped as punishment for not eating earlier in the day.

Federal Agency Accused Of Violating Artifacts Law - The Associated Press

An independent federal agency is calling for an investigation into allegations that U.S. officials ignored a law requiring them to monitor, preserve and ultimately return human remains and relics to American Indian tribes.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel has directed the Interior Department to investigate whether U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials in California and parts of Nevada and Oregon have violated the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

A whistleblower complained that the bureau in Sacramento erased records and altered spreadsheets in an effort to hide mismanagement of collections under the agency's control, resulting in hundreds of remains and artifacts being boxed up for storage or lost.

The watchdog group “Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility” tells The Associated Press that it hopes the inquiry will be expanded.

New Mexico Governor Attends Wyoming Fundraiser  - The Associated Press

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is on the road again, travelling to Wyoming to raise money for her re-election campaign.

Martinez campaign spokesman Chris Sanchez said the Republican governor attended a fundraiser yesterday in Jackson and will return to New Mexico today.

According to the latest finance reports, Martinez holds a large advantage in campaign cash over Democratic candidate Gary King.

Martinez had $4.3 million in her re-election account as of June 28, and King reported cash-on-hand of about $116,000.

New Mexico Governor's PAC Raises $71,000 - The Associated Press

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's political action committee has raised nearly $71,000 in the past month.

According to the latest campaign finance reports, Susana PAC had cash-on-hand of about $120,800 after spending almost $20,700 from late May through late June.

The committee contributed about $10,400 to Republican candidates for attorney general, secretary of state and land commissioner.

The PAC collected nearly $43,000 from donors in El Paso, Texas, including $10,000 from the Border Livestock Company.

The governor uses the PAC to contribute to candidates and pay for some of her political travel. The committee has raised about $324,000 since last fall.

Martinez operates a separate re-election campaign committee, which reported cash-on-hand of $4.3 million as of June 28. Democrat Gary King is running against Martinez in the November general election.

Martinez Appoints 2 New Judges For 13th District - The Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez has appointed two new judges to serve in New Mexico 13th Judicial District.

Gina Manfredi of Rio Rancho was appointed to fill a new position created under a law that established additional judgeships around the state.

The appointment of Pedro Rael of Los Lunas fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Violet Otero.

The 13th Judicial District includes Cibola, Sandoval and Valencia counties.

Barela Says New Mexico Still In Running For Tesla - The Associated Press

Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela says New Mexico is still in the running for a Tesla Motors battery plant.

Barela told lawmakers during a hearing yesterday that Gov. Susana Martinez's administration is working very aggressively to try to lure the plant to New Mexico.

He says those efforts are being kept quiet at Tesla's request, but he assured the legislature's Economic and Rural Development Committee that "we are still very much in the game."

New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Nevada and California are competing for Tesla Motors' planned battery plant, which will represent a $5 billion investment from the California-based car company and its partners.

Film Office Wants To Lure Game And App Developers - The Associated Press

New Mexico Film Office director Nick Maniatis says the industry is thriving in the state, and he hopes to expand the momentum by luring gaming and app developers.

Maniatis discussed his efforts Wednesday at an Albuquerque hearing of the legislature's Economic and Rural Development Committee. He says he is trying to set up a private fund to also grow the gaming and app industries.

Maniatis says that since the state passed its so-called "Breaking Bad" bill to up incentives for television productions, the number of series being filmed in New Mexico has grown from two to five. And two more potential shows are on the horizon.

The state's film industry slumped after Gov. Susana Martinez took office in 2011 and tried to cut an incentive program that helped lure major productions here to film. But the state has seen a steady uptick over the past two years.

Los Alamos Post Office Closer To 'Designation' - The Associated Press and Los Alamos Monitor

The Los Alamos post office is on its way to being listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Los Alamos Monitor reports that the New Mexico Cultural Properties Review Committee recently recommended its listing on the national registry.

Constructed in 1948, the building was part of a multi-million dollar community center funded by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.

It was one of several projects aimed at developing Los Alamos into a permanent scientific and civilian city.

Supporters say the designation will help to maintain the post office, since it will open up funding earmarked for preservation of historic properties.

The designation still needs final approval from the National Park Service and the Federal Preservation Officer for the Postal Service.

El Pinto To Be Subject Of Reality Show - The Associated Press

Albuquerque's El Pinto Restaurant and its identical twin brother owners have reached a deal to develop a reality show.

In a press release, El Pinto says the 1,000-seat New Mexican restaurant in Albuquerque's far North Valley was chosen for its unique setting, its onsite salsa manufacturing plant and its bachelor owners, John and Jim Thomas.

The sprawling restaurant has a number of rooms and shaded patios that has made it a favorite for locals and tourists. Pictures of the celebrities who have visited line its walls.

It is also known for its salsa, which sold in grocery stores across the country.

El Pinto says it was chosen over nearly a million restaurants across the country.