Border Crisis Endangers Pregnant Teens, County Treasurer Enters US House Race

Jul 4, 2019

In Border Crisis, Pregnant Teens Are Especially Vulnerable - By Astrid Galvan Associated Press

As the crisis at the border has deepened over the last year, one group of migrants is particularly vulnerable: teen moms and pregnant girls without parents of their own.

Unaccompanied minors are held by the government until a vetted sponsor, usually a relative, can take them in while their immigration cases play out in court.

Attorneys who interviewed the teens at several government facilities recently found they lacked medical care, were afraid to speak out when their babies got sick and went weeks without being able to shower or brush their teeth.

Customs and Border Protection apprehended over 56,200 unaccompanied youths in the Southwest border from October to May. Health and Human Services officials say the agency has had about 500 teens with babies in its custody since October.

Driver Dies After Being Struck By Rail RunnerKOB-TV, Albuquerque Journal

A woman was killed when her car was struck by a southbound Rail Runner train Wednesday night around 5:45 p.m. at Candelaria and 2nd Street in Albuquerque.

KOB-TV reports investigators said 27-year-old Nicole Lopez did not stop as the rail road crossing arm was coming down. No one on the train was injured.

Lopez was coming home from work. Her family told KOB she leaves behind two sons, ages 3 and 7.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the crash delayed Rail Runner travel for several hours. The Rio Metro Regional Transit District, which operates the Rail Runner, will review footage from cameras on the train to get more information about the accident.

Shrinking Rural New Mexico Villages Putting Churches At RiskAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Shrinking populations in rural New Mexico villages are putting aging churches at risk since the buildings aren't receiving the same upkeep as previous generations.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the Santa Teresita Church in Mora County is one of several participating in a fundraising project to benefit some of the state's "endangered" historic churches in an effort to save the structures.

Through cultural events starting this month, organizers of the Nuevo Mexico Profundo project hope to raise money to preserve the churches that sit in villages across the state.

Nuevo Mexico Profundo is the brainchild of Frank Graziano, an author and former professor of Hispanic Studies who lives in Chamisal.

His inspiration came from research and trips he made for his recently published book, "Historic Churches of New Mexico."

Police Say 1 Injured At Early July 4th Event In Santa FeSanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

Police say a New Mexico woman has suffered minor injuries at an early morning Fourth of July celebration in Santa Fe after cooking spray ignited.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports authorities say the woman volunteer was injured Thursday morning ahead of the annual Pancakes on the Plaza event.

Santa Fe Police Chief Andrew Padilla says emergency workers attended to the injured woman before she was sent home. He says the injured person's identity was not immediately available, and the injury appears to be minor

Santa Fe New Mexican circulation director Mike Richard says he heard a loud bang on the Plaza around 7 a.m.

Lt. Michele Williams says the explosive sound was likely caused by water on the stove mixing with cooking spray.

3 Gallup Officers Placed On Leave After Detox Center ScuffleGallup Independent, Associated Press

Three Gallup police officers have been placed on paid administrative leave in connection with a detainee who was injured in a scuffle with police.

The Gallup Independent reports Gallup Police announced this week that the three officers were placed on leave following a disturbance Friday at a detox center.

According to police, officers were dispatched to a J.C. Penney store after receiving a call about a man who was reportedly staggering.

The man, whose name has not been released, was transported to the detox center.

Authorities say the man became disorderly at the center and was injured during a struggle with officers. He was later transported to a hospital for treatment.

The man's condition is not known. The names of the officers placed on leave have not been released.

Critics Want Embattled New Mexico Mayor Removed From OfficeSanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

A northern New Mexico mayor whose home and office were raided last week by state investigators is facing calls to be removed from her seat.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Las Vegas, New Mexico, city councilor Barbara Perea-Casey said this week she wants the full council to vote to remove Mayor Tonita Gurulé-Girón.

State attorney general's office agents raided Gurulé-Girón's offices last week to look for evidence of alleged bid-rigging.

Since coming into office she has been at the center of a series of controversies, including firings of key staff and lawsuits against her.

She also was the target of a special audit of the city's procurement process.

The city's charter gives the mayor and city manager the power to decide what is placed on the council's agenda.

Appeals Court: Trump Can't Use Pentagon Cash For Border Wall - Associated Press

An appeals court has upheld a freeze on Pentagon money to build a border wall with Mexico, casting doubt on President Donald Trump's ability to make good on a signature campaign promise before the 2020 election.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco agreed with a lower court ruling that prevented the government from tapping Defense Department counterdrug money to build high-priority sections of wall in New Mexico and Arizona. 

Wednesday's decision is a setback for Trump's ambitious plans. He ended a 35-day government shutdown in February after Congress gave him far less than he wanted. He then declared a national emergency that the White House said would free billions of dollars from the Pentagon.

The case may still be considered, but the administration cannot build during the legal challenge.

Sandoval County Treasurer Enters Race For US House Seat - Associated Press

A New Mexico county treasurer has entered the crowded race for Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján's seat.

Sandoval County Treasurer Laura Montoya announced her candidacy Tuesday for the 3rd Congressional District.

She was elected treasurer in 2012 and reelected in 2016. She previously worked as a constituent services representative for former Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman.

The other Democratic candidates include First Judicial District Attorney Marco Serna, attorney Teresa Leger Fernandez, state Rep. Joseph Sanchez, and former CIA operative and author Valerie Plame.

Luján plans to run for Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Udall's seat.

New Mexico Lawmaker Pleads Not Guilty To Drunken Driving - Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

A New Mexico lawmaker who was arrested on a drunken driving charge after a crash has pleaded not guilty.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Tuesday that the lawyer for Democratic state Sen. Richard Martinez entered the not guilty plea to misdemeanor charges of aggravated DWI and reckless driving.

Martinez did not appear for his arraignment in Rio Arriba County Magistrate Court.

Martinez was arrested Friday after police say he crashed his Mercedes SUV into the back of a vehicle stopped at a red light in Española, north of Santa Fe.

Police say he smelled of alcohol and later said he had three glasses of wine. He refused a Breathalyzer test.

Martinez declined to comment. His attorney, David Foster, did not return the newspaper's call for comment.

Albuquerque Police: Man Killed In Shootout With Detective - Associated Press

Albuquerque police say a man is dead following a shootout with a police detective who suffered minor injuries.

A Police Department spokesman says the gunfire occurred late Tuesday night when an armed man approached the vehicle of the detective who was conducting a surveillance operation.

The spokesman, Officer Simon Drobik, says the detective wasn't transported to a hospital and that the shooting occurred after a surveillance operation began in one part of the city and shifted to another area.

No identities were released and no additional information on circumstances of the incident were immediately available.

Attorneys General Weigh In On LGBTQ Employment Cases - Associated Press

A coalition led by the attorneys general of Illinois and New York has filed a legal brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in hiring.

The brief comes ahead of oral arguments on three cases that may determine whether lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are protected from discrimination by existing federal civil rights laws.

Maine is among the states joining the brief filed Wednesday. State Attorney General Aaron Frey said the brief's argument is "rooted in the fundamental principle of equal treatment" and that discrimination is unacceptable.

More than 200 corporations have issued a similar call.

Others joining the brief are New Mexico, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.