Al Hurricane, 'Godfather Of NM Music', Dies, Astronomers Measure Milky Way With Radio Waves

Oct 21, 2017

Al Hurricane, 'Godfather Of New Mexico Music,' Dies- The Associated Press

Al Hurricane, known as the "Godfather of New Mexico music" for developing a distinct sound bridging the state's unique Hispanic traditions with country and rock, died Sunday.

His son, Al Hurricane, Jr., told The Associated Press that his father died from complications related to a long battle against prostate cancer. Two of his daughters were at his side.

He was 81.

Hurricane, Jr. said his father had already said his goodbyes to his friends, fans and his children. "He didn't want people crying when it was his time to go," his son said.

His death came two years after the elder Hurricane went on a farewell tour following his announcement he had Stage 4 prostate cancer and kept performing despite chemotherapy treatment.

In his later years, Hurricane would campaign on behalf of former U.S Rep. Heather Wilson and current New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, both Republicans.

Al Hurricane, Jr., says final funeral arrangements have not been made.

Satirical 'Ask A Mexican' Column To End After 11 Years- The Associated Press

The "Ask A Mexican" column, a satirical weekly installment about U.S. Latinos that once ran in more than three dozen alternative weekly newspapers across the country, is coming to an end.

The column's founder, Gustavo Arellano, told The Associated Press on Monday the final version will appear online for Albuquerque's Weekly Alibi. The column will not appear in the OC Weekly of Fountain Valley, California, a publication where the column began.

Arellano resigned from the OC Weekly this month after he refused the newspaper's ownership's request to layoff half of the publication's staff.

Arellano says the OC Weekly owns the column and he has rejected an offer to continue it as a contractor.

The column, which began in 2016, drew national attention for asking readers to submit questions to Arellano about Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans.

3 Men, Apparently Mennonites, Killed In Northern Mexico-The Associated Press

Three men have been found shot to death in the northern Mexico state of Chihuahua, and prosecutors say they appear to be members of the state's Mennonite community.

The state prosecutors' office said Sunday the bodies were found in the cab of a pickup truck with New Mexico plates in an area known as Campo Menonita 35. The men had been shot multiple times.

While the bodies have not been identified, the office said their appearance suggested they were Mennonites.

Members of the community wear distinctive overalls and often differ in physical appearance from other farmers in the area.

Mennonites have roots in Chihuahua dating back to the 1920s and many are dual citizens of Mexico and Canada. The citizenship status of the victims is not clear.

Passenger Dead, Driver Arrested After Crash In Albuquerque- The Associated Press

Authorities say one person is dead after a vehicle crashed into construction equipment in Albuquerque on Interstate 40 and the driver may be facing charges.

Albuquerque police say officers responded to the crash on eastbound I-40 at Rio Grande around 2 a.m. Sunday after a vehicle drove through construction barricades and ran into a backhoe.

They say the passenger died on the scene while the driver was taken to the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

Police say alcohol appears to be a factor in the crash.

They say the driver likely will be arrested for vehicular homicide after she's released from a hospital for treatment of her injuries.

Police haven't released the names of the driver or the passenger.

Astronomers Measure Milky Way With Radio Waves- The Associated Press & The Albuquerque Journal

A collection of radio telescopes that spans thousands of miles and is remotely operated from central New Mexico has measured a span of 66,000 light-years (one light-year is equal to 6 trillion miles) from Earth across the Milky Way's center to a star-forming area near the edge of the other side of the galaxy.

The Albuquerque Journal reports astronomers say they hope to measure additional points around the galaxy to produce a map — the first of its kind — over the next decade.

Alberto Sanna of Germany's Max-Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy said in a news release that using the Very Long Baseline Array, which is remotely operated near Socorro, allows astronomers to "accurately map the whole extent of our galaxy."

Inmate Costs At Northwestern New Mexico Jails To Jump- The Associated Press & The Daily Times

The cost for Aztec, Bloomfield and Farmington to house inmates at northwestern New Mexico jails will increase about 20 percent soon.

The Daily Times of Farmington reports the jump comes after San Juan County Commissioners approved a contract with a Nashville, Tennessee company to provide inmate medical care at county detention facilities.

County Operations Officer Mike Stark says increase is due to the $4.48 million annual contract for Correct Care Solutions. The company provides medical services for the adult and juvenile detention centers and the alternative sentencing locations.

Correct Care Solutions took over the contract from the San Juan Regional Medical Center on July 1, which had a contract of about $2.1 million annually to provide medical services for the three detention centers.

New Mexico Lawmakers Back Albuquerque's Amazon Bid Associated Press

Nineteen New Mexico lawmakers say they're ready to work with Amazon to create "one of the best places on earth to work and live."

The New Mexico House Republican Caucus sent a letter Friday to the founder of the e-commerce giant, Jeff Bezos, in support of the city of Albuquerque's bid to host the company's second headquarters.

It comes a day after proposals were submitted by cities across the U.S. and Canada. They're all clamoring at the prospect of landing an estimated $5 billion in investments by Amazon and as many as 50,000 jobs.

Boasting about hundreds of miles of bike trails, the Santa Fe Opera and the highest number of resident PhDs per capita, the lawmakers say no other state can match New Mexico's range of cultural and recreational experiences.

State High Court Upholds Man's Conviction In 2012 Killing Associated Press

The state Supreme Court has turned down an appeal of a Cibola County man convicted of killing an Albuquerque man whose body was dumped in a large hole left from a collapsed lava tube at El Malpais National Monument near Grants in west-central New Mexico.

Bryce Franklin of San Rafael was convicted of first-degree murder and in the 2012 killing of 23-year-old Fernando Enriquez, an architecture student at the University of New Mexico.

Franklin was sentenced to life in prison plus 7.5 years.

Franklin's appeal argued that his constitutional right to a speedy trial was violated because his trial didn't start for 32 months after he was indicted, but the state high court concluded otherwise in its ruling Thursday.

Another man charged in the case testified against Franklin.

Navajo Leader Supported Death Penalty In Case Associated Press

Navajo Nation president Russell Begaye says he told prosecutors that the tribe would have supported the death penalty for the killer of an 11-year-old girl.

Tom Begaye was sentenced Friday to life in prison without parole as part of a plea deal in the 2016 rape and murder of 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike. Russell and Tom Begaye are not related.

The tribal leader told The Associated Press he told prosecutors the tribe would have supported the death penalty.

Tribes for decades including the Navajo Nation have almost always rejected that option.

Begaye says his tribe should consider backing the death penalty in killings of children and police officers.

New Mexico Prosecutor, Insurance Company In Settlement Talks Associated Press

It's possible a standoff over millions of dollars in insurance premium taxes could be resolved now that New Mexico's attorney general and the state's largest health-care insurance provider are talking.

Attorney General Hector Balderas' office confirmed Friday the parties are in settlement discussions and look forward to resolving the case for the good of the state.

The attorney general's office says it hopes to avoid a lengthy court battle.

Prosecutors had accused the for-profit insurance arm of Presbyterian Healthcare Services of using an illegal accounting procedure to avoid paying millions of dollars in taxes and surcharges on insurance premiums.

The insurance subsidiary, Presbyterian Health Plan, has denied the allegations. The company has argued in court filings that state insurance regulators reviewed and approved the company's amendments to past tax payments.

National Tribal Group Calls For Drilling Moratorium Associated Press

The National Congress of American Indians has waded into the debate over oil and gas development in northwestern New Mexico, calling for a moratorium on drilling in the region surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

The group voted Friday to approve a resolution that focuses on stopping drilling in parts of the San Juan Basin.

Friday marked the deadline for public comments on a proposed 2018 lease sale by the Bureau of Land Management that includes parcels in the region.

Earlier this year, the All Pueblo Council of Governors raised their own concerns along with Democratic members of the state's congressional delegation, archaeologists, professors and other researchers.

The critics say increased development has the potential to destroy parts of the landscape that could provide a better understanding of the ancient civilization that once inhabited the area.

New Mexico Unemployment Rate Drops Slightly To 6.2 Percent Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's unemployment rate is down slightly.

The Department of Workforce Solutions reports that the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.2 percent in September 2017, down from 6.3 percent in August as New Mexico's economy added 2,000 jobs.

The department's monthly report released Friday says Bernalillo County, the state's most populous county, had a 5.6 percent unemployment rate in September, while Dona Ana and Santa Fe counties had unemployment rates of 6.5 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively.

The counties with the highest unemployment rate in September were Luna at 10 percent and McKinley at 9 percent. The counties with the lower rates were Union at 3.4 percent and Los Alamos at 3.8 percent.

Navajo Case Challenging Utah Mail-In Ballots Heads To Trial Associated Press

A lawsuit filed by members of the Navajo Nation who say mail-in voting in southern Utah disenfranchises tribal voters is headed for trial.

U.S. District Judge Jill Parrish set a March 16 trial date on Thursday in the case challenging a 2014 switch to mail-in voting in San Juan County.

The Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission says mail-in ballots are more difficult for rural tribal voters to receive, and fewer physical polling places means it's harder to get language assistance.

San Juan County officials argue the new voting system has led to higher voter turnout. They say the lawsuit was filed in an effort to control local politics.

The county sits in the Four Corners region and covers the northern tip of the Navajo Nation that stretches into Arizona and New Mexico.

'Poor People's Campaign' Promotion Comes To US-Mexico Border Associated Press

Civil right leaders and immigrant rights advocates are promoting near the U.S.-Mexico border a new national "poor people's campaign" modeled after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s final crusade.

Rev. William J. Barber, II is scheduled Sunday to lead a community march and mass gathering in El Paso, Texas as part of an effort to highlight the "Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival."

Before King's assassination, he was organizing a new march on Washington in 1968 centered on issues of poverty.

Organizers say the new campaign on the 50th anniversary seeks to draw on the history of those efforts and include immigration.

Barber is known for his role in organizing North Carolina's Moral Mondays and is a leading figure among religious liberals.