Albuquerque On Track To Surpass Homicide Record, Republican Lawmaker Unveils Bail Reform Proposal

Nov 21, 2019

Police Say Albuquerque To Surpass Year-End Homicide Record – Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

New Mexico authorities have announced three people were shot in less than two days pushing the number of homicides in Albuquerque to 72 and matching the highest year-end total in recent history.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Wednesday that the Albuquerque Police Department confirmed two people were killed and another was rushed to the hospital after suffering from gunshot wounds, each in unrelated cases.

Authorities say neither of the alleged homicide cases have been solved.

Mayor Tim Keller says officials expect this year to be one of the worst years on record and announced plans to double the number of homicide detectives among other initiatives.

Keller says Albuquerque was regarded as worst or second-worst nationwide in violent crime, auto theft and robbery leading into 2018.

New Mexico Task Force Rolls Out Climate Change StrategiesAssociated Press

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says her administration is committed to addressing the causes and effects of climate change.

She reiterated her environmental focus Thursday with the release of a report prepared by her climate task force.

The document summarizes the steps taken by the first-year Democratic governor since assuming office and details upcoming regulatory strategies.

It also suggests New Mexico officials need to work faster if they want to reach a statewide target of reducing net emissions by 45% over the next decade.

According to the report, New Mexico's top greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants and the transportation sector as well as methane, largely from oil and natural gas production.

The state is in the midst of drafting methane rules for the industry.

Another Woman Accuses Epstein Of Abuse, Sues His Estate - By Verena Dobnik, Associated Press

A woman who says she suffered lasting damage from sexual abuse by Jeffrey Epstein when she was 17 years old has sued his estate.

Teala Davies on Thursday joined the growing list of women who have sued the wealthy financier. She filed her lawsuit in Manhattan federal court.

Davies appeared at a news conference with attorney Gloria Allred.

She says she still hurts from abuse suffered over two years at Epstein's residences in New York, Paris, Florida, New Mexico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Epstein killed himself in August while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. A message was left seeking comment from a lawyer for his estate.

New Mexico Police Arrest 2 Students Suspected Of Having GunsAlamogordo Daily News, Associated Press

New Mexico authorities have arrested two middle school students on charges of possession of deadly weapons on school property.

Alamogordo Daily News reports that Chaparral Middle School administrators were alerted that two 13-year-old students allegedly had unloaded firearms on the campus Wednesday.

A school resources officer says she found the students and their backpacks.

Authorities say a pistol was found in the backpack of one student and another pistol and two knives were found on the other student.

The names of the minors were not released.

Alamogordo police say both students were charged with possession of a deadly weapon and unlawful possession of a firearm by a minor while one student was also charged with larceny of a firearm and larceny.

They are held at the Otero County Detention Center.

New Mexico Environment Officials Want $1.2M To Study PlumeSanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

New Mexico's Environment Department is asking state lawmakers for $1.2 million to study a plume of toxic chemicals seeping from two U.S. Air Force bases.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports state Environment Secretary James Kenney said the requested money would be used to investigate the plume and is "a critical first step" in knowing how to contain it.

He says the department would hire a private contractor to study the pollution if the Legislature approves the special funding request.

New Mexico regulators first issued a notice of violation to the Air Force last year for failing to address the contamination at the base near Clovis adequately. They followed up earlier this year on Holloman, saying that base had yet to respond to concerns about the pollution near Alamogordo.

US Special Tactics Airman To Receive Silver Star MedalAssociated Press

A U.S. Special Tactics airman is scheduled to be presented a Silver Star Medal during a ceremony at Cannon Air Force Base.

The U.S. Air Force said this week U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Cody Smith will be awarded on Friday the nation's third highest medal for gallantry against an armed enemy of the U.S. in combat.

Smith will be honored for his role in securing the safety of his joint and partner force members during national parliamentary elections in Afghanistan.

The U.S. Air Force says Smith exposed himself to danger to control airstrikes and assist dozens of civilians injured and killed from the enemy's ambush. Smith was specifically targeted and hit by hostile fire.

Smith is an ST combat controller with the 26th Special Tactics Squadron.

New Mexico GOP Lawmaker Unveils Bail Reform Proposal Associated Press

New Mexico Republicans have unveiled a proposal aimed at changing how state judges decide who remains jailed before trial.

State Rep. Bill Rehm said Wednesday he will push a bill that would force judges to consider the seriousness of the suspect’s charge and criminal history when considering release.

The Albuquerque Republican says he will work with Democrats to come up with a bipartisan proposal to safeguard against violent defendants being released from jail before trial.

The move comes after a state judge ordered a defendant charged in the 2016 brutal killing and dismemberment of a 10-year-old Albuquerque girl to be released from jail pending his trial.

Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez, the top prosecutor in New Mexico's busiest court district, wants lawmakers to tackle a similar proposal.

Mayor Seeks Help In Stopping ‘Cycle’ Of Violence, HomicidesAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Albuquerque’s mayor and police department are pleading for investigative leads in the shooting death of the mother of two State Police officers as the city’s annual homicide tally approaches record levels.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller on Wednesday said a surge in local homicides is the culmination of a decade-long trend linked to drug abuse, gangs and depleted police ranks.

He says the city is preparing an anti-violence initiative while seeking $30 million in new funding from the Legislature to combat crime.

Albuquerque Police Lieutenant Scott Norris says police are searching for a 2000 Jeep Cherokee in connection with the death of a woman whose husband reported she was shot Tuesday morning. Police provided no further details.

The Albuquerque Journal identified the deceased woman as the mother of State Police officers.

GOP Navajo Nation Member Joins US Senate Race In New Mexico By Russell Contreras Associated Press

Elisa Martinez, a Latina Republican and member of the Navajo Nation, is joining the race for an open U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico.

Martinez formally announced Wednesday she will seek the GOP nomination to take on likely Democratic nominee U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján.

The anti-abortion activist will face contractor Mick Rich and college professor Gavin Clarkson in the Republican primary.

Martinez says she’s an advocate for “traditional, New Mexican issues” and blasted “liberal socialist Democrats” for seeking to reform health care.

Martinez grew up in Gallup, New Mexico. Her father has deep Hispanic roots in the state going back 15 generations and her mother’s family is Zuni Pueblo and Navajo.

If elected, Martinez would become the first Native American woman elected in the U.S. Senate.

Petition Seeks Medical Marijuana For Ailing Household Pets - By Morgan Lee Associated Press

New Mexico is considering whether to extend its medical cannabis program to dogs with epilepsy and people with attention deficit disorder.

Petitions for new qualifying medical conditions have been filed with the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board at its upcoming meeting in December. The Department of Health withheld the names of petition sponsors.

One petition cites recent studies in veterinary medicine to suggest authorization of cannabis for animals coping with seizures. Cannabidiol derived from hemp or marijuana already is widely marketed for pets.

Another petition would allow marijuana for attention deficit-hyperactivity, anxiety disorder and Tourette's syndrome.

New Mexico's medical cannabis program has opened its doors to nearly 80,000 patients who cope with conditions from cancer to HIV. A large majority are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or severe chronic pain.

New Mexico State Senator To Propose Buying Small Plane Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A New Mexico state senator has announced plans to propose purchasing a plane to help cabinet secretaries and other officials travel throughout the state.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Tuesday that Legislative Finance Committee chairman and Democratic Sen. John Arthur Smith is expected to introduce a bipartisan plan that would use funding in next year's state budget to buy an aircraft.

Smith says he is thinking of something more modest than the executive jet sold in 2011 by then-Gov. Susana Martinez.

Officials say Smith did not reveal any potential cost estimates, but a small airplane could cost about $2.5 million used or $4 million new compared to a $10 million jet.

Officials say the plane would encourage officials to visit remote parts of the state and better respond to community needs.

Results Elusive As New Mexico Combats Alcohol, Drug Deaths Associated Press

The state with the nation's highest alcohol-related death rate and a longstanding opiate problem is looking for answers in three afflicted communities that have deployed extensive resources to address an epidemic of destructive substance use.

An expert study released Wednesday by the Legislative Finance Committee traces a doubling of annual state spending on services to people with drug and alcohol problems across New Mexico, with attention to special programs across the state’s largest urban area in Albuquerque and two small, impoverished communities in the north and west of the state.

The aggressive deployment of opioid overdose antidotes and closer monitoring of prescriptions has helped stabilized overdose death rates as alcohol-related deaths continue to climb.

At the same time, many emergency rooms and physicians appear ill-equipped to screen and treat addiction.

Taos Air To Start Charter Flights To Los Angeles, San Diego - Associated Press

Taos Air has announced it will begin direct charter flights from Taos to Los Angeles and the San Diego area.

The company said this week it will start direct charter flight service to and from Hawthorne Municipal Airport in Los Angeles and McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad, California, beginning Jan. 9.

Taos Air says it will provide flights under two and a half hours one way at prices comparable to commercial services. That will make it easy for Southern Californians to experience northern New Mexico's ski resorts.

The new winter California service is expected to run from Jan. 9 through March 29 and consist of one flight to and from each destination every Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.