Bones Unearthed On ABQ West Mesa Are Ancient, Pearce Has Pile Of Cash For Governor Race

Jul 6, 2018

OMI Determines Remains Found On Albuquerque's West Mesa ­Are Ancient 

Human remains found this week on Albuquerque’s West Mesa are ancient and not connected to a series of murders over a decade ago, according to the Office of the Medical Investigator.

A press release from the Office of the Medical Investigator Friday says the OMI's forensic dentist and anthropologist have determined the remains are Native American and are associated with an archaeological site that dates back to 1100-1300 A.D.

A team of archaeologists had been digging in the area just a few years earlier.

The remains were found Tuesday in Anderson Heights Park, a half-mile from where the bodies of 11 murdered women were found buried in 2011. That case is still unsolved. Police this week were looking into whether the newly found remains could be connected to the serial killing and the other women who went missing around the same time period. 

The OMI says the State Archeaologist will now assume control of the site and ensure that any remains are "collected and removed for appropriate reburial."

Republican Candidate For New Mexico Governor Stockpiles CashAssociated Press

The Republican candidate for governor of New Mexico has stockpiled more than twice as much campaign cash as the Democratic nominee ahead of the November general election.

Republican Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Steve Pearce on Thursday reported a campaign account balance of nearly $2 million as of the end of June. He alone sought the GOP nomination in the June 5 primary to succeed Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, who cannot run for a consecutive third term.

The Democratic contender for governor, U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, spent $694,000 from May 30 to June 30, as she emerged victorious from a three-way primary race.

Lujan Grisham reported a cash balance of roughly $873,000 for her campaign, after contributions of about $433,000.

Remains Found In Albuquerque Near Archaeological Site ­– Associated Press, The Albuquerque Journal

Human remains recently found near the Albuquerque spot where 11 women were discovered buried almost a decade ago also is near an archaeological site.

The Albuquerque Journal reports a team of archaeologists had been digging in the park just a few years earlier. They were researching a 1,000-year-old food-storage pit, a campsite and pottery fragments found there in 2015.

Matt Schmader, an archaeologist on the dig, says it's possible the remains found Tuesday are historical.

Police spokesman Officer Simon Drobik says it's not yet known whether the remains found on Tuesday were ancient or connected to the case from nearly a decade ago

Investigators say nearly all the dead women disappeared between 2003 and early 2005 and had worked as prostitutes.

Koch-Funded Group To Hold Forum On Immigration In New MexicoAssociated Press

A Koch brothers-funded group is hosting a New Mexico forum to push immigration reform amid outcry about the Trump Administration's move to separate migrant families.

The LIBRE Institute is scheduled July 18 to hold a forum in Albuquerque that seeks to bring together activists, religious leaders and attorneys. The conservative-leaning group is organizing similar forums in other states.

The LIBRE Institute has held forums around President Donald Trump's tax reforms and other conservative policies but has been vocal on pushing immigration reforms.

The group also has pushed for permanent protections for immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children despite opposition from some Republicans.

Researchers Collect Oral Histories From Rural New MexicoAssociated Press

Two New Mexico State University researchers are traveling the state to collect stories about daily life in rural New Mexico during the early- and mid-1900s.

Associate professor Mary Alice Scott and assistant professor Kelly Jenks say the goal is to record these oral histories before the memories are forgotten.

Scott says this era marked a turbulent time in the state's history and the interviews done so far say a lot about how rural families and communities were affected by events like World War II.

Jenks says the team is targeting regions and communities that have often been neglected.

They're working with the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum to transcribe and archive the interviews. They plan to share some stories in a series of public talks next spring.

Rains Bring Flooding And MudslidesAssociated Press, KRQE-TV

Widespread rain yesterday caused mudslides and flooding in parts of New Mexico.

KRQE-TV reports cleanup has begun in Belen after a levee breach sent floodwaters into homes around Mesa Road. The Red Cross opened a shelter at H.T. Jaramillo Elementary School.

KRQE reported firefighters also rescued a driver in Rio Rancho after rain flooded Paseo del Volcan.

New Mexico State Police say there's a large mudslide on U.S. Highway 64 near Eagle Nest.

They say the highway is closed from mile post 287 before Eagle Nest to mile post 309 in Cimarron.

State Department of Transportation crews are working to clear the roadway.

There's no immediate estimate to how long the closure will last and motorists are being asked to seek an alternate route.

Forecasters Cite Risk Of Flash Flooding From Storms, ShowersAssociated Press

Forecasters warn that a significant increase in showers and thunderstorms will cause a threat of flash flooding through Saturday and that the threat will be greatest over recent wildfire burn scars in northern New Mexico.

The National Weather Service says "significant impacts" are possible in and near the burn scar of a wildfire that started in late May near Cimarron and continued burning well into June.

Flash flooding in burn scars can cause rock and mud slides, debris flows and damage to roads and culverts.

The office also says heavy rainfall and flooding are also possible in urban drainage systems and areas prone to flash flooding and that lightning strikes will pose an additional threat to outdoor activities.

Afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms are expected to increase dramatically.

Drought Hitting Elephant Butte State Park Water LevelsKDBC-TV, Associated Press

New Mexico's severe drought is affecting water levels at Elephant Butte State Park.

KDBC-TV in El Paso, Texas, reports officials at Elephant Butte State Park said this week that water levels are about 18 feet lower compared to last year.

The water levels at Elephant Butte have dropped dramatically thanks to the lack of snow and rainfall in the Colorado Rockies.

Elephant Butte State Park marine enforcement officer Jacob Townsend says the park may have to close areas where visitors typical boat because of the water level decreases.

According to the Federal Drought Monitor, around 86 percent of New Mexico is under severe drought or worse. About 58 percent of the state is under extreme drought or worse.

Libertarians Seek Recount To Preserve Major Party StatusAssociated Press

The Libertarian Party of New Mexico is requesting a recount of primary election ballots in 15 counties after its write-in candidates for governor and lieutenant governor failed to garner enough votes to compete in the November general election.

Libertarian Party attorney A. Blair Dunn on Thursday said he believes many Libertarian voters wrote down candidate names without also filling in an oval to complete the selection. Libertarians could lose their major party status without a gubernatorial candidate.

The Libertarian Party achieved major party status with a strong showing in 2016 by failed presidential candidate Gary Johnson, allowing candidates to qualify for the statewide ballot with just 230 signatures or votes.

On first count, Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Bob Walsh received 175 votes, while the aspirant for lieutenant governor received 177 votes.

Navajo Community Still Uneasy After Gang Members ArrestedAssociated Press

A Navajo Nation community where authorities say they dismantled a violent gang that trafficked drugs and frightened residents wants law enforcement to remain vigilant about criminal activity.

Federal and tribal authorities say they arrested major players in the Red Skin Kingz gang in Lukachukai. A handful of the gang members pleaded guilty to a federal racketeering charge.

Hank Blair runs the trading post in the community, part of the vast reservation, near the Arizona-New Mexico border. He says the gang had instilled fear in residents for years.

Some residents remain hesitant to say anything, not knowing whether authorities were able to charge all gang members.

Navajo Nation police Capt. Michael Henderson says he's seen the number of crimes in the community drop in recent years.

Scout Ranch Closes Backcountry Activities Due To Fire ThreatAssociated Press

A Boy Scouts ranch in northern New Mexico is closing its summer backcountry season due to continued threat from extreme wildfire conditions in the region.

Philmont Scout Ranch's announcement Thursday says the closure of backcountry activities such as camping, hiking and climbing was forced by a lightning-caused wildfire that closed activity areas used since a previous fire burned part of the ranch.

The mountainous ranch covers 219 square miles and includes hundreds of miles of trails and dozens of camps.

Philmont says its backcountry will be closed the rest of the summer but the headquarters, base camp, museum and training center courses aren't affected.

A fire that started May 31 burned 57 square miles, including 41 square miles on the ranch.

Carson National Forest Fire Closes D.H. Lawrence RanchAssociated Press

A northern New Mexico ranch where novelist D.H. Lawrence once sought spiritual renewal has been closed thanks to a nearby wildfire.

The Carson National Forest imposed restrictions last week that closed the University of New Mexico's D.H. Lawrence Ranch.

Forest officials said in a statement Wednesday that a fire in the drought-stricken Carson National Forest has charred around 3.6 square miles (9.3 square kilometers) since June 24 and remains only 12 percent contained. The blaze is under investigation.

Lawrence and his wife, Frieda, made summer visits to the ranch in 1924 and 1925. After Lawrence's 1930 death, the ranch still hosted many famous visitors. Among them was Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, author Willa Cather and artist Georgia O'Keeffe.

Frieda Lawrence, who died in 1956, left the property to the school in her will.

Crews Digging At Albuquerque Site Where Remains Were FoundAssociated Press

Crews are excavating a patch of land in Albuquerque where human remains were recently found and near the spot where 11 women were discovered buried almost a decade ago.

The excavation effort yesterday  comes two days after construction workers who were building a park on the city's West Mesa discovered the remains.

The discovery less than a mile from the mass grave where human remains were unearthed in 2009 has sparked fears that there may have been more victims in an unsolved serial killing.

Investigators say nearly all the dead women disappeared between 2003 and early 2005 and had worked as prostitutes.

Police spokesman Officer Simon Drobik says it's not yet known whether the remains found on Tuesday were connected to the case from nearly a decade ago.

Albuquerque Names Harvard Grad Michelle Otero Poet LaureateAssociated Press

A southern New Mexico-raised Mexican-American writer has been named Albuquerque's poet laureate.

The city of Albuquerque recently announced that Michelle Otero will be Albuquerque's fourth poet laureate and will serve two years.

The Deming High School product holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Harvard University and a Master's in Fine Arts Creative Writing from Vermont College. Otero has written about women's issues and the lives of Latinos living along the U.S.-Mexico border.

She has worked with writers of color at various writing retreats and lives in Albuquerque's South Valley.