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NM Gov Makes Amends With Trump, Ceremonies To Honor New Mexico Veterans

Donovan Shortey
Creative Commons
Gourd Dance in Gallup, NM

New Mexico Governor Makes Amends With Trump –The Associated Press

New Mexico Gov. Susan Susana Martinez is calling Donald Trump's election victory a testament to frustrations with Washington and the federal government.

The second-term Republican governor congratulated the president-elect Wednesday in a statement and downplayed the Democratic takeover of New Mexico's state House of Representatives.

Martinez says a lot of House districts were swayed by a few hundred votes or less and that she was able to get things done previously with a Democrat-dominated Legislature. Martinez says she is in contact with the Democratic House floor leader Brian Egolf so that they can work together.

The nation's only Latina governor is calling Trump a better choice than Hillary Clinton, while acknowledging that she took issue with the New York businessman's rhetoric on the campaign trail.

Gourd Dance, Ceremonies To Honor New Mexico Veterans – The Associated Press

Veterans Day ceremonies are planned around New Mexico, including an hours-long traditional gourd dance to recognize Native American veterans in Albuquerque.

The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center says multiple tribes will participate in Friday's commemoration. A panel discussion is also planned.

At the University of New Mexico, the name of Sgt. 1st Class Matthew McClintock will be added to the Memorial Wall. McClintock, who attended the university, was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his actions during a firefight in Afghanistan.

Events are also planned at the New Mexico Veterans' Memorial in Albuquerque and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park in Angel Fire.

On Thursday afternoon, the unclaimed cremated remains of 22 veterans will be laid to rest at a special Forgotten Heroes Funeral at the Santa Fe National Cemetery.

Motion: New DA Should Consider Retrial In Police ShootingThe Associated Press & The ABQ Journal 
A special prosecutor appointed to the criminal murder case against two formed Albuquerque police officers charged with an on-duty shooting has asked that the next district attorney consider whether there should be a retrial.

The Albuquerque Journal reports hat attorney Randi McGinn filed motions on Wednesday asking a judge for rulings that would allow 2nd Judicial District DA-elect Raul Torrez to decide if Dominique Perez and Keith Sandy should be retried.

A judge declared a, mistrial Oct. 14 after a jury deadlocked over whether to convict Perez and Sandy in the death of James Boyd.

The officers fatally shot the 38-year-old Boyd after an hours-long standoff in the Sandia Mountain foothills in 2014.

Lawyer: City May Appeal Ruling On Ten Commandments MonumentThe Associated Press 

An attorney for Bloomfield says the northwestern New Mexico city will consider whether to appeal a court ruling that the town's Ten Commandments monument violates the U.S. Constitution.

Attorney Jonathan Scruggs of the Alliance Defending Freedom says Bloomfield may appeal the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling Wednesday to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 10th Circuit said Bloomfield's monument violates a constitutional prohibition against endorsing religious partly because of the apparent motivation in allowing installation of the monument on a lawn in front of city hall.

The case stems from a suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of by two residents who practice the Wiccan religion and who said they were offended by the monument.

New Mexico Adds Safety Markings To Freeway InterchangeThe Associated Press & The New Mexican 

The New Mexico Department of Transportation is adding new safety markings to interstate interchanges near Santa Fe.

The New Mexican reports that officials are adding bright white directional arrows and reflectors to the Interstate 25-U.S. 285 interchange near Eldorado.

Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales asked in September if the state could look into whether a design flaw in the area has been contributing to deadly wrong-way crashes. He said Wednesday that the markings are good first step but don't address what he sees as structural safety issues.

Los Alamos County Votes To Keep Sheriff's OfficeThe Associated Press & The Los Alamos Monitor

Los Alamos County voters have decided to keep the sheriff's office.

The Los Alamos Monitor reports that Sheriff Marco Lucero says he is happy about the decision, but he believes the issue to keep or abolish his office should never have reached voters. Tuesday voters defeated the ballot question by about 450 votes.

In October, Lucero and the New Mexico Sheriff's Association filed a lawsuit against the county in an attempt to stop the Los Alamos County Council from abolishing the sheriff's office.

County attorneys had argued that the services the sheriff provides can be done through the Los Alamos County Police Department.

Lucero said he will be meeting with the Sheriff's Association to discuss the future of their lawsuit in the wake of Tuesday's election.

New Mexico Judge Orders Fastbucks To Pay $32M In Restitution – The Associated Press

A New Mexico judge is ordering a short-term loan company that operates online and in five states to pay more than $32 million in restitution to customers for unfair and unconscionable business practices.

The state attorney general's office on Wednesday announced Judge Francis Mathew's judgment against FastBucks.

Attorney General Hector Balderas says the judgment represents a step toward ending predatory business practices. He also said it will take time to work through the legal process to get customers what they're owed.

FastBucks did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

In a case filed years ago, prosecutors accused the company of fashioning loans to circumvent the passage in 2007 of legislative reforms aimed at regulating payday loans.

The company had unsuccessfully argued for the loans in question to be recast.

Navajo Code Talker dies in New Mexico – The Associated Press

Navajo Nation officials say Navajo Code Talker George Paul James has died in New Mexico.

Tribal officials say James died Wednesday at an Albuquerque hospital at age 92.

The code talkers used the Navajo language to outsmart the Japanese in World War II.

James graduated from high school in Newkirk, Oklahoma and enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 17.

He reached the rank of corporal in the 5th Marine Division.

James fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II and later returned to Iwo Jima for the 60th anniversary of the raising of the flag on Mount Suribachi.

He's survived by seven children.

Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday in Lukachukai, Arizona.

Tribal officials say James will be buried on a family plot in Tsaile, Arizona.

New Mexico VA Sets Up Transportation Network – The Associated Press

Officials with the New Mexico Veterans Affairs Healthcare System are looking to a fleet of five new vans to ease the transportation challenges of veterans around the state.

The VA unveiled the vans Wednesday in Albuquerque. They're supplementing an existing transportation network that operates with the help of volunteers with Disabled American Veterans and other organizations.

The new program is run by VA staff. Officials say the VA drivers made 88 trips for veterans in the program's first full month of operations.

Five vans — each capable of carrying eight veterans — are currently located in Albuquerque to serve the metro area and eastern New Mexico. Two of the vans eventually will serve Gallup and Artesia.

Forest Officials Kick Off Prescribed Fire In Valle Vidal – The Associated Press

Forest officials are warning residents in northeastern New Mexico that they might see smoke from a prescribed fire on the east side of the Valle Vidal.

The Questa Ranger District started the project Wednesday. It's designed to clear out a couple of square miles of overgrown forest north of the McCrystal campground.

The work is expected to last two to three days as long as conditions remain favorable.

Forest officials say the project is meant to improve wildlife habitat by decreasing the density of tree stands and increasing the diversity of tree size and age. The burn also will help with the restoration of meadows and reduce the potential for a high-intensity fire.

Smoke will be visible from Eagle Nest, Cimarron and the community of Ute Park.

Anti-Semitic, Anti-Trump Graffiti Found On UNM Sculpture

University of New Mexico officials say an unknown person has defaced several buildings on campus with anti-Donald Trump graffiti.

The Albuquerque Journal says that a student reported early yesterday morning that references to Nazis along with the president-elect's last name were scrawled on an outdoor sculpture.

The suspected vandal had spray-painted a swatstika and the German phrase commonly used as a Nazi salute on the concrete art piece.

University spokeswoman Dianne Anderson says graffiti was also found on three other buildings including a library.

She says maintenance crews are working to clean it all off.

Campus police is asking anyone with information about the vandalism to contact them.