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TUES: Pro-Palestinian encampment intends to stay at the duck pond despite removal from the SUB, + More

The pro-Palestinian encampment at the University of New Mexico's duck pond hours after New Mexico State Police forcibly removed and arrested protestors in the Student Union Building.
Mia Casas
The pro-Palestinian encampment at the University of New Mexico's duck pond hours after New Mexico State Police forcibly removed and arrested protestors in the Student Union Building.

Pro-Palestinian encampment intends to stay at the duck pond, despite removal from the SUB–  Mia Casas, KUNM News

After New Mexico State Police removed the University of New Mexico pro-Palestinian encampment from the Student Union Building early Tuesday morning, organizers say the group intends to continue gathering. The protest began last Monday, following similar actions nationwide.

Later that morning, students and community members were still gathering at the duck pond on campus. Several students walked up to the encampment asking after friends who were at the SUB the night before, saying they hadn’t heard from them, and wanted to know if they were okay.

Aida, a student who did not want to give her last name, was not at the protest that was broken up by police, but has been at the encampment for a week now. She knew a few of the five UNM students who were among the 16 people arrested.

“My heart aches for my classmates, for my peers, who are brave enough to be there,” she said. “I'm extremely worried about them.”

A vigil is scheduled for Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. at the duck pond. Organizers said it is in solidarity with the Palestinian people and UNM students who police forcibly removed from the Student Union Building and arrested.

UNM officials issued a statement Tuesday saying the university has long been a place where free speech and peaceful protest have been permitted and protected, but it noted that "those who occupied the building were not peacefully protesting, they were engaged in criminal activity by entering, remaining in, and damaging the SUB after its closing hours."

15 hurt by SUV crashing into New Mexico thrift store– Associated Press

More than a dozen people were injured Tuesday after a sports utility vehicle crashed through the front glass wall of a thrift store in Las Cruces, authorities said.

First responders said 10 of the 15 injured in Tuesday's crash were taken to hospitals for treatment and one person had life-threatening injuries.

They said the injured included employees and customers inside the Savers store.

Dan Trujillo, a spokesman for the Las Cruces Police and Fire Department, said the cause of the crash is unclear but didn't appear to be intentional.

Elijah Sanchez, a Savers employee, said he heard people "screaming in pain" after the 10:30 a.m. crash.

"It was pretty chaotic," Sanchez told Las Cruces TV station KFOX 14/CBS 4. "I didn't know what to think, but I just knew that the best thing to do was to try and go help the people who needed help."

The name and age of the SUV driver wasn't immediately released by authorities.

Governor appoints new head of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department - Bryce Dix, KUNM News 

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has appointed New Mexico native Melanie A. Kenderdine as the new Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department Cabinet Secretary.

In a press release, Gov. Lujan Grisham said Kenderdine has “proven” herself to be a strategic thinker in energy policy, and her expertise is “recognized both nationally and internationally.”

Currently serving as the co-founder of a Washington D.C-based nonprofit focused on the transition from fossil fuel to clean energy, Kenderdine will begin on May 8.

She will fill the shoes of Sarah Cottrell Propst, who left the cabinet secretary post last year for a job outside of state government, and is widely praised for her part in advancing the state’s environmental, energy and economic goals.

NM Supreme Court hears ‘bloody Indian’ lawsuit in front of high school students - Rodd Cayton, City Desk ABQ

This story was originally published by City Desk ABQ

A campus auditorium became a courtroom Monday morning as the New Mexico Supreme Court convened in Albuquerque as part of an annual outreach program called The Rule of Law.

At Central New Mexico Community College’s Smith Brasher Hall, the justices heard oral arguments in a case involving a student’s discrimination claim against Albuquerque Public Schools.

Teacher Mary Eastin, according to the lawsuit, allegedly addressed a Navajo student as a “bloody Indian” during a Halloween class session at Cibola High School in 2018.

McKenzie Johnson, then a junior, sued in District Court, alleging a New Mexico Human Rights Act violation. The initial judge dismissed the lawsuit, agreeing with APS that the school wasn’t a “public accommodation,” under terms of the act.

The state Court of Appeals sided with the plaintiff, allowing the matter to go to trial; the district then appealed to the state Supreme Court.

Today’s hearing centered on whether the act, as it read at the time, regarded a public school as a public accommodation.

“This case is not about whether the actions of the teacher were wrong,” said APS attorney Roxie Rawls-De Santiago. “They were, in fact, wrong. There’s no question about that.”

She argued that a public school didn’t fit the statutory definition of public accommodation, as it wasn’t open to the public at-large.

American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico attorney Leon Howard, representing Johnson, noted that public schools have a mandate to offer education to children within their boundaries and therefore should be considered open to the public at large, despite not being accessible to everyone in the community.

Last year, the state Legislature changed the language of the act to specify that its anti-discrimination provision applies to governmental entities.


Johnson, according to published reports, had been dressed as Little Red Riding Hood; her costume included fake blood on her cheek. Eastin and some other students were also wearing costumes.

According to the lawsuit, Eastin asked the student “what are you supposed to be? A bloody Indian?'”

In the same class, Eastin reportedly cut off part of another Indigenous student’s braid.


The Supreme Court’s Rule of Law program, now in its fourth year, is an effort by the court to inform students of the way the court decides cases. About 260 students from high schools around the state were expected to attend the session, which was also streamed online in English and Spanish.

After the arguments, the justices and attorneys answered presubmitted questions from students about their process, preparation and sources of inspiration.

“It is important to us, my colleagues and myself, that New Mexico students understand the importance of the rule of law on society, their government and our court system,” Chief Justice David K. Thomson said. “And hopefully we may inspire a new generation of leaders.”

Carlos Chavez, a junior at Albuquerque Talent Development Academy, said he found the case interesting, and is pleased that discrimination is meeting more opposition than in the past (Eastin ceased to be employed by APS shortly after the incident). Chavez commended the Legislature for moving to clarify the law.

Emily Salt, a junior at Native American Community Academy, said Howard and Rawls-De Santiago seemed nervous — the attorneys admitted as much.

“But they handled the justices’ question really well,” she said.

Salt said she may consider the law as a career; Chavez also thinks it may suit him.

“I am still considering many options, but it is an interest,” he said.

Governors oppose Air National Guard move to Space Force - Robin Opsahl, Iowa Capital Dispatch via Source New Mexico 

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed on to a letter Monday alongside 47 other state governors, as well as five territories and commonwealths, opposing the Biden administration’s move to incorporate Air National Guard service members into the Space Force.

The letter from the National Governors’ Association is addressed to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in opposition to a legislative proposal submitted by the Department of Defense to the Senate Armed Services Committee that would transfer some Air National Guard personnel and equipment currently being used on space missions to the Space Force.

The Defense Department proposal would require Congress to override existing law requiring that governors approve changes to National Guard units, through Title 10 and 32 of the U.S. Code, that outlines gubernatorial authority over their states’ National Guard.

The bipartisan group of governors signing the letter said the proposed measure would hurt governors’ abilities to use the National Guard in response to crises. Governors must retain full authority over these units “to protect operational readiness and America’s communities,” the letter states.

“Legislation that sidesteps, eliminates or otherwise reduces Governors’ authority within their states and territories undermines longstanding partnerships, precedence, military readiness and operational efficacy,” the letter states. “This action also negatively affects the important relationships between Governors and DOD at a time when we need to have full trust and confidence between the two to meet the growing threats posed by the era of strategic competition as well as natural disasters.”

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told federal lawmakers earlier in April that the proposal would shift roughly 700 National Guard members to Space Force as part of a one-time transfer. There are currently 14 units, with about 1,000 personnel, working on space-related missions in seven states — Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, New York and Ohio — that could be impacted by the move, according to the National Guard Association of the United States.

The National Guard advocacy group also released a statement opposing the draft legislation. Kendalltold reporters in April that he doesn’t “see a reason why a state needs a Space Force militia.” But Retired Maj. Gen. Frank M. McGinn, the organization’s president, said keeping space missions within the National Guard keeps the personnel current serving on space missions in work, as many are not able to move or take on full-time responsibilities. It allows states to retain the same defense and military capabilities as other parts of the country, he said — comparing the issue to states having artillery and cyber units in the National Guard, separate from the U.S. military.

“Here is what Secretary Kendall is asking to do: Skirt federal law to transfer nearly empty units to the Space Force, thereby reducing the nation’s military space capabilities at a time when our nation is seeing growing competition in space,” McGinn said. “I don’t see why he wants to take this action. And a growing number in Congress wonder the same.”

Only two state governors, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, did not sign on to the letter. Both states have a vested interest in Space Force operations and development, with Patrick Space Force Base in Brevard County, Florida being one of the five current bases of the military branch. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) also has operations in both states.

Iowa Capital Dispatch is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Iowa Capital Dispatch maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kathie Obradovich for questions: info@iowacapitaldispatch.com. Follow Iowa Capital Dispatch on Facebook and Twitter.

NM to meet with Pueblos in May on Rio Grande governance - Danielle Prokop, Source New Mexico 

The Rio Grande Compact Commission meeting on Friday had a small portion dedicated to describing future meetings with six Middle Rio Grande Pueblos to get tribal perspective on governing the state’s largest river.

The three-member commission met for its annual meeting Friday, hearing from legal advisors and New Mexico State Engineer Mike Hamman on the proposal. The commission is made up of appointees from Colorado, Texas and New Mexico and a non-voting chair from the federal government.

A coalition of six Pueblos – Cochiti, Santo Domingo, San Felipe, Santa Ana, Sandia and Isleta – have approached the commission for the past two years. Through spokespeople, the coalition said they sought a “seat at the table” to address the exclusion of tribal governments from the commission itself and to have more representation beyond the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, who makes presentations at the meeting.

Legal and engineer advisors described “multiple multi-hour discussions” over a series of months but had not developed a protocol for Pueblos to make a presentation to the commission.

Hamman, during commissioner comments, expanded on that report, saying that other commission business, such as the lawsuit before the Supreme Court over Rio Grande water, caused competing priorities.

“The Rio Grande Compact Commission has been engaged on a number of really important issues that included Texas v. New Mexico Original No. 141 case, and a number of other matters that did not allow us to fully formalize any kind of proposal in that regard.”

Hamman said he met with coalition leaders on April 4, securing an agreement to consult with all tribal governments on the Rio Grande governance in May, as part of his duties in the Office of the State Engineer. He said this was modeled after tribal consultation efforts on the Colorado River.

He said the goal would be a half-day meeting used to develop the process for regular meetings between tribal governments and the Rio Grande Compact Commission.

“We also acknowledge that six Middle Rio Grande Pueblos have probably the most direct impact on operational issues associated with the Rio Grande compact. But with that said, we have a responsibility to consult with all of the tribes and basin,” Hamman said.

U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs Engineer Sarah Delavan ceded some of her presentation time to the coalition, inviting Glenn Tenorio, the former governor of Santa Ana Pueblo and vice chair of the coalition, to address the commission.

Tenorio acknowledged that other Pueblo leadership was in attendance and read from a prepared statement.

He said the coalition was looking to learn more about tribal consultation in the Colorado River negotiations and determine if a similar model can be used for the Rio Grande.

“The coalition looks forward to working with the Commission in the coming months to find the most appropriate means of future engagement,” he said.

New Mexico reaches record settlement over natural gas flaring in the Permian Basin - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

New Mexico has reached a record settlement with a Texas-based company over air pollution violations at natural gas gathering sites in the Permian Basin.

The $24.5 million agreement with Ameredev announced Monday is the largest settlement the state Environment Department has ever reached for a civil oil and gas violation. It stems from the flaring of billions of cubic feet of natural gas that the company had extracted over an 18-month period but wasn't able to transport to downstream processors.

Environment Secretary James Kenney said in an interview that the flared gas would have been enough to have supplied nearly 17,000 homes for a year.

"It's completely the opposite of the way it's supposed to work," Kenney said. "Had they not wasted New Mexico's resources, they could have put that gas to use."

The flaring, or burning off of the gas, resulted in more than 7.6 million pounds of excess emissions that included hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and other gases that state regulators said are known to cause respiratory issues and contribute to climate change.

Ameredev in a statement issued Monday said it was pleased to have solved what is described as a "legacy issue" and that the state's Air Quality Bureau was unaware of any ongoing compliance problems at the company's facilities.

"This is an issue we take very seriously," the company stated. "Over the last four years, Ameredev has not experienced any flaring-related excess emissions events thanks to our significant — and ongoing — investments in various advanced technologies and operational enhancements."

While operators can vent or flare natural gas during emergencies or equipment failures, New Mexico in 2021 adopted rules to prohibit routine venting and flaring and set a 2026 deadline for the companies to capture 98% of their gas. The rules also require the regular tracking and reporting of emissions.

Ameredev said it was capturing more than 98% of its gas when the new venting and flaring rules were adopted, and the annual capture rate has been above 98% ever since.

A study published in March in the journal Nature calculated that American oil and natural gas wells, pipelines and compressors were spewing more greenhouse gases than the government thought, causing $9.3 billion in yearly climate damage. The authors said it is a fixable problem, as about half of the emissions come from just 1% of oil and gas sites.

Under the settlement, Ameredev agreed to do an independent audit of its operations in New Mexico to ensure compliance with emission requirements. It must also submit monthly reports on actual emission rates and propose a plan for weekly inspections for a two-year period or install leak and repair monitoring equipment.

Kenney said it was a citizen complaint that first alerted state regulators to Ameredev's flaring.

The Environment Department currently is investigating numerous other potential pollution violations around the basin, and Kenney said it was likely more penalties could result.

"With a 50% average compliance rate with the air quality regulations by the oil and gas industry," he said, "we have an obligation to continue to go and ensure compliance and hold polluters accountable."

Granholm says Inflation Reduction Act expanded manufacturing in America, New Mexico - Hannah Grover,New Mexico Political Report

Jennifer Granholm, the secretary of the Department of Energy, spoke about how the federal Inflation Reduction Act has created jobs and led to business expansions during a visit to Albuquerque on Friday.

While in Albuquerque, Granholm celebrated the groundbreaking of an expanded solar tracking manufacturing campus.

Array Technologies is building a new facility in west Albuquerque in addition to an already existing site.

The new $50 million facility in west Albuquerque is expected to provide more than $300 million in economic benefits to the city over the next ten years.

The new campus will be about 216,000 square feet and will employ more than 300 people who will work producing, assembling, designing and engineering solar tracking technology as well as assisting customers.

Array received $2.5 million in economic assistance from the state’s Local Economic Development Act job-creation fund, and both Albuquerque and Bernalillo County provided $250,000 in LEDA funds as well as a partial property tax abatement through an industrial revenue bond.

The company is also benefiting from incentives in the federal Inflation Reduction Act, a 2022 law that includes the largest investment in addressing climate change in the country’s history.

In particular, Array Technologies says the production tax credit made the expansion possible.

Array Technologies is among hundreds of businesses nationwide that have benefited from the incentives available through the Inflation Reduction Act.

Granholm said that in the energy sector alone more than 600 companies have announced that they are expanding operations or opening up a facility in the United States because of President Joe Biden’s Investing In America Agenda. That agenda includes the Inflation Reduction Act as well as other key pieces of legislation such as the bipartisan infrastructure law and the CHIPS and Science Act.

Those expansions and new facilities represent tens of thousands of good paying jobs, she said.

“That’s just so far,” Granholm said. “These credits last 10 years to give industry certainty about expanding. And so we’re excited. Everyday we open up the newspaper and there’s another factory that’s announced that it is opening up.”

Granholm not only visited the groundbreaking at Array Technologies on Friday. She also headed south to Belen for a ribbon cutting at Arcosa Wind Towers, a wind turbine manufacturing facility that has also benefited from the Inflation Reduction Act. Arcosa previously hosted Biden during a visit last year where he described the facility as an example of the Inflation Reduction Act at work.

Granholm said that the Inflation Reduction Act has led to eight companies in New Mexico saying they will expand operations. Those companies include Array Technologies.

She said the United States has an incredibly low unemployment rate, which can also be seen in New Mexico.

“Part of that is due to this explosion of manufacturing across the country as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act, the bipartisan infrastructure law, (and) the CHIPS and Science Act,” she said.

Granholm said New Mexico’s senators played important roles in drafting sections of the Inflation Reduction Act that have brought those benefits to the state.

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, a Democrat representing New Mexico, said at the groundbreaking that the three laws that Granholm referenced have “created incredible demand” for workers to fill manufacturing jobs.

“It’s a great time to be in the skilled trades or in manufacturing in the state of New Mexico,” he said.

He said the growth in the industry has led to challenges in filling job openings.

“Our biggest challenge right now is creating the workforce to fill that demand,” Heinrich said. “And that’s a good problem to have.”

One way that the Inflation Reduction Act is helping build that workforce is through incentivizing apprenticeships. The Inflation Reduction Act provides increased tax credits for companies that meet certain criteria including utilizing apprentices and pay prevailing wages.

U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján described the Inflation Reduction Act, bipartisan infrastructure law and CHIPS and Science Act as job creators. He said the policies were focused on bringing back jobs that were no longer available in the United States.

He said those jobs are “now here and they’re in New Mexico. That’s why I’m so proud to be a part of this and to have supported this legislation.”

During the groundbreaking at Array Technologies, Granholm commented on the shirts that employees were wearing. The shirts all had the phrase #SolarJobs on their back. She said workers are crucial to the current industrial revolution.

She said the industrial strategy starts by “making America irresistible to investments.”

One way of doing that is through tax credits like those seen in the Inflation Reduction Act.

“We’re giving tax credits to manufacturers who supply these clean energy products, including trackers and of course solar panels, etc,” she said. “And we’re giving tax credits to utilities and to individuals to create demand for the products.”

The Inflation Reduction Act passed in 2022 and only one member of New Mexico’s congressional delegation opposed it at the time. That member was former U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell, a Republican who was ousted from her seat a few months later by current Rep. Gabe Vasquez, a Democrat. Herrell is now running against Vasquez for that same seat.

The Inflation Reduction Act has brought more than just expanded businesses to New Mexico.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that the state will receive $156 million to expand access to solar thanks to a funding from the Inflation Reduction Act.

Funding from the Inflation Reduction Act is also being used to expand access to clean water and to reduce emissions from the transportation sector.

'Vampire facials' were linked to cases of HIV. Here's what to know about the beauty treatment - By Alexa St. John, Associated Press

Three women were diagnosed with HIV after getting "vampire facial" procedures at an unlicensed New Mexico medical spa, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report last week, marking the first documented cases of people contracting the virus through cosmetic services using needles.

Federal health officials said in a new report that an investigation from 2018 through 2023 into the clinic in Albuquerque, VIP Spa, found it apparently reused disposable equipment intended for one-time use, transmitting HIV to clients through its services via contaminated blood.



Vampire facials, formally known as platelet-rich plasma microneedling facials, are cosmetic procedures intended to rejuvenate one's skin, making it more youthful-looking and reducing acne scars and wrinkles, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

After a client's blood is drawn, a machine separates the blood into platelets and cells.

The plasma is then injected into the client's face, either through single-use disposable or multiuse sterile needles.

Vampire facials have gained popularity in recent years as celebrities such as Kim Kardashian have publicized receiving the procedure.

HIV transmission via unsterile injection is a known risk of beauty treatments and other services, officials say.

Despite this, the Academy says vampire facials are generally safe.

Health officials say spa facilities that offer cosmetic injection services should practice proper infection control and maintain client records to help prevent the transmission of bloodborne pathogens such as HIV.


Platelet-rich plasma injections were initially most used medically for bone grafting and osteoarthritis, and then became popular in cosmetic treatments.

Other services, such as Botox and lip fillers, are also delivered with needles, as are tattoos.

Though this procedure works for hair growth, its use for rejuvenation purposes is not Food and Drug Administration-approved, said Zakia Rahman, a clinical professor of dermatology at Stanford University.

But as such procedures grow in popularity, she said, it is "important for people to know and understand a medical procedure should be done in a medical setting."


The New Mexico Department of Health was notified during summer 2018 that a woman with no known HIV risk factors was diagnosed with an HIV infection after receiving the spa's vampire facial services that spring.

During the investigation, similar HIV strains were found among three women, all former clients of the spa. Evidence suggested that contamination from services at the spa resulted in the positive HIV infection tests for these three patients, according to the CDC report.

Another woman, who also received services at the spa, and her male sexual partner, who did not go to the spa, were both found to have a close HIV strain as well, but the HIV diagnoses for these two patients "were likely attributed to exposures before receipt of cosmetic injection services," the CDC said.

Health officials found equipment containing blood on a kitchen counter, unlabeled tubes of blood and injectables in the refrigerator alongside food and unwrapped syringes not properly disposed of. The CDC report said that a steam sterilizer, known as an autoclave — which is necessary for cleaning equipment that is reused — was not found at the spa.



Through the New Mexico Department of Health's investigation, nearly 200 former clients of the spa, and their sexual partners, were tested for HIV, and no additional infections were found.

According to the CDC, free testing remains available for those who previously frequented the spa.

"Having a medical procedure in a nonmedical setting, I think is the biggest danger of all," Rahman said. "Having that discount or the lower cost is not worth potentially putting your life at risk."

"There are a number of procedures and processes in place to make sure that these treatments are done safely and in medical settings," she said. "All of these things are in place to really reduce that risk, and when done safely, the risks are extraordinarily low."


The former owner of VIP Spa, Maria de Lourdes Ramos de Ruiz, pleaded guilty in 2022 to five felony counts of practicing medicine without a license, including conducting the unlicensed vampire facials.

The New Mexico Attorney General's office said Ramos de Ruiz also did illegal plasma and Botox-injection procedures.

According to prosecutors, inspections by state health and regulation and licensing departments found the code violations, and the spa closed in fall 2018 after the investigation was launched.

Ramos de Ruiz was sentenced to 7 1/2 years, with four years being suspended on supervised probation, 3 1/2 years time in prison and parole, according to court documents.

Raul A. Lopez, attorney for Ramos de Ruiz, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


Alexa St. John is an Associated Press climate solutions reporter. Follow her on X, formerly Twitter, @alexa_stjohn. Reach her at ast.john@ap.org.