Bernalillo Officials Want To Amend Leave Ordinance, Chile Farmers Say Labor Shortage Hurting Harvest

Sep 10, 2019

New Mexico County To Propose Changes To Paid Leave OrdinanceAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

New Mexico county officials have announced plans to suggest an amendment to a newly approved paid leave ordinance.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Monday that Bernalillo County Commission approved a law in August that would take effect July 2020 requiring businesses in the county to offer workers at least one hour of paid leave for every 32 hours worked.

Officials say a gradual implementation schedule would keep the final at 56 maximum hours of paid time, but not all companies would have to go that high under the changes.

Companies with 10 or less employees would offer up to 28 hours of paid time, those with 11 to 34 employees could offer up to 44 hours and those with 35 or more employees would offer up to 56 hours.

New Mexico Coach Bob Davie Said He Will Be Back Eventually - By Glen Rosales Associated Press

New Mexico coach Bob Davie, who will miss the Lobos' trip to South Bend to face No. 7 Notre Dame because of an undisclosed health issue, said Tuesday he will eventually be back on the sidelines for the team, though it's not clear when.

Davie has turned the reins of the team over to offensive line coach Saga Tuitele and he said he will leave the game planning for Saturday's matchup in the hands of his coaching staff. He said he'll be back when he's ready.

Davie was taken to the hospital after having what he described as a "serious medical situation" that came on unexpectedly during New Mexico's season-opening win over Sam Houston State on Aug. 31.

Davie said he expects to make a full recovery.

New Mexico Senate Leader To Wait On Lawmaker's FateAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

New Mexico legislative leaders apparently will take a wait-and-see approach on whether embattled Democratic Sen. Richard Martinez gets to keep his post on a key Senate committee.

Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen tells the Albuquerque Journal that Senate leaders are waiting for a resolution in Martinez's court case.

Martinez has pleaded not guilty to aggravated drunken driving and reckless driving charges following a June arrest. Police say he slammed into the back of another vehicle that was stopped at a red light in Española.

Police lapel video showed Martinez responding to officers with slurred speech following the crash. He refused a breath test to determine his blood-alcohol level.

Martinez says he has no plans to resign, even if convicted. He's currently chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

States Sue SEC, Claiming Investors Left Behind By New RulesAssociated Press

Seven states and the District of Columbia have sued the Securities and Exchange Commission, saying the regulatory agency is putting investors in jeopardy by relaxing rules for brokers.

The lawsuit filed Monday in Manhattan federal court asks a judge to order the agency to scrap new rules that weaken protections for consumers.

A message seeking a response was left Tuesday with the SEC. The states say they are harmed because bad investment advice leaves consumers with less money to spend, and thus they collect less in taxes.

New York Attorney General Letitia James says in a release that new rules let broker-dealers consider their own interests when recommending investments. She says that favors "Wall Street over Main Street."

Other state plaintiffs include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Mexico and Oregon.

Emails: Albuquerque Spent $1.6M On Canceled Mexico Flights  - Associated Press

Documents show Albuquerque spent nearly $1.6 million to promote a Mexico-based airline that had promised — then canceled — regular international flights.

The Albuquerque Journal reports emails obtained through a public records request show panicked Albuquerque officials after hearing rumors low-cost airline Volaris was planning on suddenly canceling the scheduled direct service to Mexico.

Officials in the emails tried to seek answers to rumors that Volaris was scrapping the flights despite planned media events and fanfare.

In the end, Volaris did scrap the flight after Albuquerque refused to give the airline more money and following low ticket sales.

Volaris was to begin direct flights from Albuquerque and the city of Chihuahua and from Albuquerque to Guadalajara, Mexico.

Albuquerque has struggled to attract and retain direct flights to Mexico.

Search Underway For Missing New Mexico GirlAssociated Press

Authorities have arrested a man who might be connected to the case of a 5-year-old New Mexico girl who disappeared over the weekend.

Federal and local law enforcement said the man was arrested on outstanding warrants Sunday. That's around the same time police issued an Amber alert for Renezmae Calzada.

Detectives are trying to determine if there's a connection between the man and the girl. They did not release his name and provided few details about their search for the girl.

Rio Arriba County Sheriff James Lujan says the investigation is ongoing.

The girl was last seen in the front yard of her home in Española on Sunday morning. Her mother reported the girl missing that evening.

Investigators interviewed family members and friends and canvassed the neighborhood. Volunteers were helping with the search.

University Of New Mexico Provost Warns Against Faculty Union – Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

The provost of New Mexico's largest university says he is against a faculty union and is warning against its creation.

The Albuquerque Journal reports University of New Mexico Provost James Paul Holloway in a campus memo emailed Thursday said while he doesn't have a vote in the matter, he doesn't think a union would be in the best interests of the university.

Holloway wrote that "a system driven by distinction, quality of the ideas and impact of individuals" are inconsistent with the core labor protection ideas of unionism.

Law Library professor Ernesto Longa called Holloway's email a classic union-busting technique.

Faculty members at New Mexico's largest university will vote on the creation of a faculty union on Oct. 16 and 17.

Green Chile Farmers Say Labor Shortage Hurting Harvest - KVIA-TV, Associated Press

New Mexico is in the height of green chile harvest season, but farmers say a labor shortage is hurting them.

KVIA-TV in El Paso, Texas, reports green chile farmers say the shortage of workers this season is causing farms to lose some crops to weeds and other elements.

Hatch farmer Alonso Grajeda says the labor shortage also is allowing workers to pick and choose where to work and to demand higher wages.

Grajeda also says extreme shifts in weather this year have made it a harder year to harvest.

However, farmers say the quality of the crop hasn't been affected by the labor shortage or the weather.

Education Secretary Greets Immense Challenges With OptimismAssociated Press

New Mexico's newly arrived secretary of public education sees an unprecedented moment of promise at schools as the state spends more on teachers and overhauls its student testing, teacher evaluations and school ratings.

In his fifth active day on the job, Secretary Ryan Stewart said Monday that he already has traveled to an ethnically diverse school district on the U.S.-Mexico border as he takes the reins of a public education system that is under court order to improve.

Stewart says the Public Education Department currently is choosing among contract proposals to create a new statewide student testing system to start in the spring of 2020.

He wants to reverse a teacher shortage and says New Mexico can meet "immense needs with immense resources."

New Mexico Officer Faces Charges After Girlfriend Injured - KRQE-TV, Associated Press

A New Mexico police officer is facing charges after deputies found his girlfriend bleeding from the head.

KRQE-TV reports Cuba Police Officer Christopher Blea was arrested Saturday evening following a phone call from a neighbor.

Rio Arriba Sheriff's Office Major Randy Sanches says an argument between Blea and his girlfriend turned violent and allegedly Blea pointed a weapon at himself and then his girlfriend.

Blea has been with the Cuba Police Department for a few months and previously worked with New Mexico State Police and the Rio Arriba Sheriff's Office.

Sanches says Blea lost his job with the Rio Arriba Sheriff's Office because of his history with domestic violence.

Blea is charged with aggravated battery and assault, and false imprisonment. It's not known if he had an attorney.

Navajo Utility Wants To Build On Project To Electrify Homes - Associated Press

The Navajo Nation wants to build on a pilot project that connected more than 230 homes to the electric grid.

The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority worked with volunteer utility crews from 13 states on the project that wrapped up in May.

Spokeswoman Deenise Becenti says the utility now is seeking volunteers to connect more homes next spring. A planning meeting is scheduled in October.

About a third of the residents on the vast Navajo Nation don't have electricity. Many rely on kerosene lamps, generators, solar panels, candles and flashlights.

The tribal utility typically connects from 400 to 450 homes a year on the reservation that lies in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

Show Bans Horses From Counties In 7 States Affected By Virus - Associated Press

Officials say horses from affected counties in seven states have been banned from participating in a Columbus horse show to protect livestock from contracting a viral disease.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture says next month's All American Quarter Horse Congress is not allowing horses from counties with confirmed or suspected cases of Vesicular Stomatitis (VSV).

The highly contagious virus has been detected in areas of Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

The disease primarily affects horses, but can also infect cattle, swine, sheep and goats. It causes lesions that burst, leaving open wounds. The most common method of transmission is insect bites.

Humans can contract the disease if they come into contact with lesions or secretions of infected animals.

The disease hasn't been found in Ohio.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar To Speak On Literacy In New Mexico - Hobbs News-Sun, Associated Press

The NBA's all-time leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is coming to southeastern New Mexico as part of a lecture series.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports the 72-year-old retired basketball star is scheduled in November to participate in the Jack Maddox Distinguished Lecture Series.

The event is hosted by the JF Maddox Foundation and University of the Southwest in Hobbs.

Abdul-Jabbar will speak on the value of literacy and growing your mind.

He is a six-time NBA champion and the league's only six-time MVP.

Abdul-Jabbar played 20 seasons in the NBA for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers.