Attorney General Seizes Ex-UNM Official's Records, Mosquitoes That Can Carry Zika In Albuquerque

Oct 16, 2018

New Mexico Officials Warn Of Troubling Mosquito SpeciesAssociated Press

State and local health officials say a species of mosquito capable of transmitting Zika and other viruses has been found along the Rio Grande in the Albuquerque area.

The Aedes aegypti mosquitoes also have been found in more than a dozen counties in the southern half of New Mexico.

Albuquerque's Environmental Health Department has been monitoring mosquito populations for decades, and officials say this is the first time the agency has collected this species.

The department's deputy director, Mark DiMenna, says early detection gives officials the best possible opportunity to track and prevent illness.

There has been no local transmission of Zika, dengue or chikungunya virus in New Mexico and although the mosquitoes can be found in several counties in the state, health officials say the risk remains low for New Mexicans.

AG's Office Seizes Credit Card Records Of Ex-UNM AD In ProbeAlbuquerque Journal

Authorities have seized the credit card records of former University of New Mexico Athletic Director Paul Krebs as they search for evidence of possible money laundering, fraud and embezzlement.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the state Attorney General's Office served a search warrant on Krebs' credit card company.

The newspaper says authorities are trying to determine whether Krebs made a $25,000 donation to cover the school's loss on a 2015 Scotland fundraising golf trip.

Last year, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas launched an investigation after it was discovered the university used nearly $25,000 in public money to pay some private donor expenses on the Scotland trip.

Krebs became the athletic director in 2006 and retired last year.

He has said the Scotland trip was meant to strengthen relationships with donors.

New Mexico Lawmaker Serves Day In Jail For DWI SentenceAssociated Press

Records show a New Mexico state lawmaker has served her one-day sentence in jail after she was found guilty of aggravated drunken driving.

The Metropolitan Detention Center's website says Rep. Monica Youngblood, an Albuquerque Republican, was released Tuesday.

A judge earlier this month sentenced Youngblood to two days in jail, but gave her a one-day credit for time served at the time of her May arrest at a checkpoint stop.

Police found that she performed poorly on a field sobriety test and that she smelled of alcohol. She refused a breathalyzer test.

Police video shows her saying she hadn't had anything to drink since the day before, and that she had frequently advocated for police as a lawmaker.

She was found guilty of the misdemeanor charge against her after a bench trial in September.

Pennsylvania Man Arrested At Forrest Fenn's HouseAssociated Press

A Pennsylvania man arrested for burglarizing Forrest Fenn's New Mexico house told police he believed the famed art and antiquities collector's treasure would be there.

Robert Miller, of Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, was arrested Friday and charged with residential burglary, breaking and entering and criminal damage to property after he used an ax to break into Fenn's Old Santa Fe Trail home.

Online court records don't list a defense attorney for Miller who could comment on the allegations.

Miller told a Santa Fe police officer that he flew to Santa Fe because he believed the treasure chest that Fenn says he's stashed somewhere in the Rocky Mountain region, said to be filled with gold coins and other valuables worth more than $1 million, was at the house.

At least four people have died searching for the treasure.

Officials Concerned About Contamination At Cannon Air Force BaseAssociated Press

Chemicals associated with firefighting foam once used at a U.S. Air Force base in New Mexico have been detected in groundwater on and near the military installation.

The New Mexico Environment Department confirmed the contamination Tuesday, saying officials at Cannon Air Force Base notified state environment, health and agricultural officials about the compounds.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, have been detected in a small number of the 19 off-base wells tested so far. Some of the wells supply water to local dairies.

The Air Force is making bottled water available for drinking and cooking for residents who rely on wells that exceed levels set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The compounds have been detected in on-base monitoring wells at concentrations more than 370 times the lifetime federal advisory level.

New Mexico Gubernatorial Contenders Debate Amid Ad BlitzAssociated Press

Candidates for governor in New Mexico are scheduled to meet for a second public debate.

The televised debate on Tuesday evening on KOB-TV between Republican Congressman Steve Pearce and Democratic Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham arrives amid a torrent of advertising by the campaigns and independent groups.

Pearce describes himself as an experienced businessman who can invigorate the New Mexico economy and improve public education by giving teachers greater autonomy in the classroom.

Lujan Grisham has tied her own economic plan to the renewable energy economy and has won over major teacher unions with pledges to boost spending on public schools and provide universal access to pre-school.

Pearce's attack ads highlight Lujan Grisham's track record in the public and private sector.

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez cannot run this year for a third term.

Candidates In US House Race For Albuquerque Clash In DebateAssociated Press

Candidates in a race for an open U.S. House seat that represents Albuquerque are trying to win over voters in a rapid debate.

Democrat Debra Haaland, Republican Janice Arnold-Jones, and Libertarian Lloyd Princeton repeated on Monday party-line stances on health care and crime as records show Haaland outpacing everyone in fundraising.

The 30-minute debate sponsored by KOB-TV in Albuquerque allowed the three candidates to quickly touch upon their talking points around military spending and partisanship.

The latest Federal Election Commission filings show Haaland raised $605,000 from July 1 to Sept. 30 — more than four times as much as Arnold-Jones did in the same period. Arnold-Jones reported pulling in $138,000.

Haaland reportedly has $416,735 cash on hand while Arnold-Jones has $44,000.

Records show Princeton raised $6,000 and has $788 cash on hand.

New Mexico Police Chief Resigns 2 Weeks Into Job -Associated Press

A newly hired police chief in a northern New Mexico city has resigned after less than two weeks on the job.

Las Vegas Mayor Tonita Gurule-Giron told The Las Vegas Optic last week that Police Chief Jerry Delgado stepped down but declined to give a reason why.

After the city council narrowly voted to award Delgado a nine-month contract earlier this month, social media posts accused him of sexually abusing a woman years ago when she was a child.

Delgado said in a statement that the allegation was untrue.

Gurule-Giron says the city is conducting an internal inquiry.

Court records show Delgado agreed to a plea bargain in a 1992 case where he pleaded guilty to domestic abuse.

New Mexico GOP Candidate Files Taxes, Prepares To Share Info -Associated Press

Republican New Mexico gubernatorial candidate Steve Pearce has filed 2017 tax returns with the IRS and plans to make the documents public soon.

Pearce campaign spokesman Kevin Sheridan said the congressman plans to release his tax returns Tuesday.

The Democratic candidate for governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, posted five years of tax returns in late May in the final days of the Democratic primary race. Leading state Democrats have been pressuring Pearce to do the same.

New Mexico does not require candidates for public office to release tax information, nor is it a past tradition.

On the campaign trail, Pearce has invoked his past financial success at the helm of an oilfield services company as evidence of his administrative abilities and intuition about what it takes to improve New Mexico's economy.

National Democratic Organizer Highlights New Mexico Efforts -Associated Press

The chairman of the Democratic National Committee is highlighting efforts in New Mexico to encourage voter participation in ongoing fall elections.

National Committee Chairman and former U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez is scheduled Tuesday to help local Democrats stoke voter enthusiasm during visits to Albuquerque's Northeast Heights area and the nearby city of Rio Rancho.

In a news release, the state Democratic Party said it recently received a $100,000 grant to engage and organize voters at the Navajo Nation and boost statewide infrastructure and support for Democratic candidates.

New Mexico voters are choosing a new governor to succeed Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, who cannot serve a third consecutive term.

Republican Congressman Steve Pearce is running for governor against Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham. Open races are underway for their congressional seats.


US Seeks More Info On Proposed Nuclear Waste Storage Project -Hobbs News-Sun, Associated Press

Federal regulators are seeking more information from developers who have proposed building a storage facility at a site in southeastern New Mexico for spent fuel from commercial reactors around the United States.

Holtec International, a New Jersey-based company specializing in nuclear storage, has applied to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a license to construct the nuclear waste storage facility about 35 miles (56 kilometers) east of Carlsbad.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports the commission staff is currently conducting a detailed security review of Holtec's security and safeguards plan for the proposed $2.4 billion storage facility.

According to a letter sent to Holtec last week, the staff determined more information is necessary for its review.

New Mexico-based Holtec spokesman Gerges Scott says the questions were anticipated and Holtec is preparing responses.

New Mexico Dem Outraises GOP Hopeful In Key US House Race - Associated Press

Federal documents show Democrat Xochitl Torres Small raised more than three times as much money last quarter as Republican Yvette Herrell in a closely watched U.S. House race in southern New Mexico.

Federal Election Commission filings show water attorney Torres Small pulled in $1.9 million while Herrell raised $564,000.

According to the filings, Torres Small took in $1,883,667 from July 1 to September 30. Her campaign reported that she had $1,085,381 cash on hand.

Record show Herrell, a state lawmaker, raised $564,027 during the same filing period. She reportedly has $419,124 cash on hand.

Democrats are hoping that Torres Small can flip the traditional GOP-leaning congressional district that sits along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The seat currently is held by Republican Rep. Steve Pearce, who is running for New Mexico governor.

Democrats have long targeted the heavily Hispanic congressional district.

Democrats Are Dominating Early Voting In New Mexico -Associated Press

Democrats are dominating early voting across New Mexico, including the state's two largest metropolitan areas.

Voting statistics from the Secretary of State's Office on Sunday showed that Democrats account for 56 percent of early ballots, though they make up 46 percent of registered voters.

Absentee and walk-in voting at county clerks' offices started Oct. 9 to elect the state's next governor, a senator, three members of Congress, and a long list of statewide and judicial office holders. The election concludes Nov. 6.

In Bernalillo County, which includes the city of Albuquerque, Democrats comprised 71 percent of the early vote and Republicans cast 16 percent of ballots.

In Doña Ana County, including Las Cruces, Democrats cast 57 percent of ballots, while Republicans cast 30 percent.