Las Cruces Businessman Jumps In Race To Unseat Congresswoman - By Russell Contreras Associated Press
A Las Cruces businessman is jumping in the race for Congress and wants to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small.
The Federal Election Commission website shows that Chris Mathys has filed papers to seek the Republican nomination in the 2020 election for New Mexico's 2nd Congressional District. Mathys joins former state lawmaker Yvette Herrell in vying for the GOP nomination.
Torres Small defeated Herrell in 2018 by less than 3,000 votes to flip a traditional Republican-leaning district.
Mathys says unlike Herrell he intends to debate Torres Small should he win the Republican nomination.
The 61-year-old U.S. Army veteran says he supports President Donald Trump's call to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Mathys ran unsuccessfully for the Public Regulation Commission last year.
Spurned Bills Included State Dance, Tinted Windshields - Associated Press
Bills that would make it simpler for the elderly to avoid jury duty and allow tinted auto windshields have been shunned by New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
The Democratic governor vetoed those initiatives by taking no action before an April 5 signing deadline. Updated legislative records on Tuesday show so-called pocket vetoes for at least 13 bills.
They include a bill from Democratic Senate majority leader Peter Wirth to allow legislative appointments to a powerful commission that oversees water resources across the state. Interstate Stream Commission appointments will continue to be made by the governor.
Lujan Grisham rejected efforts to adopt an official state dance known as "La Marcha de Los Novios."
She also refused to boost retirement benefits for retired police officers who become school security personnel.
Firm Picked To Manage Proposed Route 66 Visitor Center - Associated Press
Officials in New Mexico's most populous county have chosen the company that will run a proposed visitor center along historic Route 66.
The Bernalillo County Commission announced Tuesday that it has selected West Central Community Development Group to operate and manage services for the center.
The proposed venue will be built near Interstate 40 on the county's west side.
During the design and construction phases, West Central Community Development Group will work on an exhibit masterplan for the building to include artwork that will support the mission of education and outreach.
County Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada says it's a community driven project and will offer visitors a chance to see great art and experience views of the county, the city of Albuquerque and the Sandia Mountains.
Autopsy: Transgender Migrant Died From AIDS Complications - By Russell Contreras Associated Press
An autopsy has concluded a Honduran transgender migrant who died while in the custody of U.S. federal immigration officials died of complications from AIDS.
The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator released Tuesday its findings on the death of 33-year-old Roxsana Hernandez whose mysterious 2018 death in Albuquerque sparked protests.
According to the autopsy, the cause of death was multicentric Castleman disease due to AIDS.
Multicentric Castleman disease is a rare disorder of the immune system.
The autopsy also found Hernandez suffered from broken ribs after medical staff performed CPR in response to at least 10 heart attacks.
Hernandez had traveled with a caravan of Central American asylum seekers and was taken into custody in San Diego.
She was later transferred to El Paso, Texas, before being taken to the Cibola County Detention Center in western New Mexico.
US Jury Finds Ex-Priest Guilty Of Sex Abuse In New Mexico – Associated Press
A U.S. jury found a former Roman Catholic priest who was captured in Morocco guilty Wednesday of sexually abusing a boy at a veterans' cemetery and Air Force base in New Mexico.
The jury reached the verdict against 81-year-old Arthur Perrault following a trial in Santa Fe in which several men testified that they had been abused by him as children.
Authorities believe Perrault had numerous victims in New Mexico. However, the federal charges against him stemmed only from the treatment of one boy who said Perrault had touched him inappropriately as many as 100 times.
Authorities said the federal charges of aggravated sexual abuse and abusive sexual contact carry no statute of limitations and the two sites are within federal jurisdiction.
Church officials in Connecticut sent Perrault to a retreat in the secluded mountain town of Jemez Springs north of Albuquerque in the 1960s after he was accused of inappropriately touching young males.
The FBI returned Perrault to the United States to face charges in September after he was arrested in Morocco a year earlier on an Interpol warrant. Before his arrest, Perrault had been teaching for a decade at an English language school for children, authorities said.
He could face a maximum penalty of life in prison on the charge of aggravated sexual abuse. The charge of abusive sexual contact carries a maximum of 10 years in prison.
A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.
Magistrate Judge Censured For Misconduct Against Neighbor – Associated Press
A New Mexico magistrate judge has been censured by the state Supreme Court for alleged acts of willful misconduct against a neighbor.
The Alamogordo Daily News reported on Tuesday that Otero County Magistrate Judge Steve Guthrie gave up his right to a formal hearing as part of a stipulation agreement that also involved public censure and unsealing of the case's records.
Records state that between October 13, 2017, and April 20, 2018, Guthrie parked his vehicle in front of his next-door neighbor, Leticia Coyazo's home as a way of preventing the Coyazo grandchildren from playing basketball.
Guthrie allegedly told Coyazo that if he heard the basketball bouncing one more time, he would impede Coyazo's husband, Ysidro Coyazo, from receiving disability benefits.
Records say Ysidro is a disabled veteran who receives a monthly disability check.
Nearly $1B In Contracts Awarded For Border Fence Sections – Associated Press
The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded contracts totaling nearly $1 billion for removal and replacement of vehicle fencing with pedestrian fencing along two sections of the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Corps of Engineers said in a statement Wednesday that 46 miles of bollard-style barrier will be installed near Columbus, New Mexico and 11 miles of bollard-type barrier will be installed in a Border Patrol sector centered on Yuma, Arizona.
The statement said SLSCo. of Galveston, Texas, got a $789 million contract for the New Mexico work. Barnard Construction Co. Inc., of Bozeman, Montana, was awarded a $187 million contract for the other work.
The Corps said the fencing will help "impede and deny illegal border crossings and smuggling of drugs and humans.
University Considers Upping Tuition To Fund Pay Raises – Associated Press
University of New Mexico officials say they might need to increase tuition to fund a 4% pay raise for all employees.
The Albuquerque Journal reports state Higher Education Secretary Kate O'Neill sent a letter to universities and colleges across the state, instructing them to give employees a 4% raise.
The board of the University of New Mexico was scheduled to vote Tuesday on a budget that would have bumped up employee pay by 2%.
The board postponed the vote so officials could address the letter.
University president Garnett Stokes told the board that the 4% raise would cost about $16.6 million because of the higher salaries and related benefits.
She says funding the raise would likely require a tuition increase.
Warnings Issued For Dangerously Strong Winds In New Mexico – Associated Press
Warnings for winds that forecasters say are expected to be dangerous for travel blanketed most of New Mexico on Wednesday.
The National Weather Service says the winds will make travel very difficult on north-south oriented roads such as Interstate 25, particularly for high-profile vehicles, and cause loose objects to become airborne.
Forecasters also say the winds of up to 45 mph and gusts of up to 75 mph will combine with low humidity and an unstable atmosphere to create critical fire conditions.
Albuquerque officials issued a health alert because of blowing dust and said people with respiratory conditions should limit outdoor activity.
In southern New Mexico, the White Sands Missile Range was closed because of high winds, with only essential personnel told to report to work.
Police: New Mexico Man Hid Stolen Diamond In Anus – Associated Press
A New Mexico man is facing charges after police say he tried to hide nearly four dozen stolen diamonds in his anus.
A criminal complained filed in Albuquerque's Metropolitan Court says an officer cracked the case after seeing Eusebio Padilla remove "a baggy" from his rear end during a traffic stop on Sunday.
Court documents say Officer Daniel DeGraff found 44 small diamonds in the baggy and Padilla admitted precious stones were likely stolen.
DeGraff wrote he initially stopped the 23-year-old Padilla in Albuquerque for riding a motorcycle without a license plate.
Padilla told DeGraff that he got the diamonds from his uncle and he was looking to trade them for drugs.
Padilla was charged with tampering with evidence and receiving stolen property. It was not known if he had an attorney.