Early Voters Breaking Records For Mid-Terms, Churches Planning More Migrant Shelters

Nov 1, 2018

Early Voting Shatters Records In New Mexico– Associated Press

Early voting is shattering previous records for mid-term elections in New Mexico.

Election regulators said Thursday that early voting surpassed 322,000 ballots the previous day.

That exceeds early in-person and absentee voting of nearly 298,000 in 2010 — the last time there was an open seat for governor. In 2014, about 255,000 people voted early or by absentee ballot.

New Mexico voters are picking a new governor, one U.S. senator and deciding on two open congressional seats, as they fill a long list of statewide public offices including attorney general and secretary of state.

Registered Democrats accounted about 53 percent of early votes a week before Election Day.

Republicans accounted for 34 percent. Libertarian, minor party and unaffiliated voters accounted for just over 12 percent of votes.

Navajos Head To Polls In Potentially Historic County Race– Associated Press

As tribes around the United States fight for increased access to the ballot box, Navajo voters could tip the balance of power in one Utah county in the first general election since a federal judge overturned their voting districts as illegally drawn to minimize Native American voices.

The San Juan County Commission race highlights tensions between white residents and Navajos, who face huge disparities. After a fight to get on the ballot, candidate Willie Grayeyes is hoping to begin to address issues like neglected dirt roads that tear up buses and can wash out in storms, leaving students unable to get to school.

Though county leaders acknowledge the historical inequities Navajo people face, they say those issues go far beyond their reach, and court battles over voting are part of their ongoing struggle against the federal government.

New Mexico Launches New Legal Document Website– Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

The New Mexico judiciary has launched a new online service that lets self-represented litigants in divorce and domestic abuse cases prepare certain documents from home.

The Albuquerque Journal reportsstate District Court Judge Nan Nash said in a release that the site "should alleviate some of the stress that an extra trip to the courthouse adds to situations that are inherently emotional, such as filing for divorce."

The new Guide and File service, available at www.nmguideandfile.com, works like tax preparation software, taking users through a series of questions and then generating a court form, which must be filed in person at the courthouse.

Forms available on the site include petitions for protective orders in domestic abuse cases, divorce petitions, responses, finalizations and applications for free case processing.

Police Say Albuquerque Girl Bit Into Candy Bar With Needle– Associated Press

Albuquerque police are encouraging parents to check their children's Halloween candy after a girl says she bit into a chocolate bar with a sewing needle in it.

Police say the 12-year-old was trick-or-treating at a park Wednesday in northeast Albuquerque. Police noted that the girl's mother said a person in a vehicle was handing out candy there, though it wasn't known if the candy bar with the needle came from that person.

The girl's mother told officers other motorists were giving candy to children at the park too.

The girl felt a prick from the needle in her mouth after taking a bite at home.

She was taken to a hospital, where she had lab work done. Police say the candy bar's wrapper is being tested for DNA evidence.

Candidates Aim To Keep Up High Profile Of New Mexico Auditor – Associated Press

The office of the state auditor in New Mexico has served as a springboard for aspiring politicians and has made headlines for some of its special investigations.

The agency in recent years helped to quantify the statewide backlog of untested evidence kits in sexual assault cases and investigated the University of New Mexico's troubled athletics department, finding among other things that the school overpaid three coaches and provided perks to some people who didn't donate money to the university or its fundraising arms.

The office ensures the finances of government agencies and many other entities are examined each year.

Republican Wayne Johnson inherited the office less than a year ago and is running for re-election.

He's being challenged by Brian Colón, a former chairman of the state Democratic Party.

Concrete Foundations Poured For Texas Panhandle Wind Farm– Associated Press

Officials with a utility building a 239-turbine wind farm in the Texas Panhandle say more than half of the concrete foundations have been poured.

Xcel Energy on Thursday updated the Hale Wind Project, meant to generate electricity for Texas and New Mexico. An Xcel statement says turbines and blades are being delivered to the site southeast of Plainview, in Hale County.

Trenching has begun for 190 miles of underground cable to collect the 478-megawatts of electricity generated by turbines.

Regulators in New Mexico and Texas earlier this year approved the overall $1.6 billion plan. Xcel in July announced the completed purchase of the project from Florida NextEra Energy Resources.

Commercial operations should begin by mid-2019.

Minneapolis-based Xcel also plans a 522-megawatt wind farm complex near Portales, New Mexico.

Southern New Mexico Churches Eye Expanding Migrant Shelters– Las Cruces Sun-News, Associated Press

A network of churches in southern New Mexico is seeking to expand the number of temporary shelters for immigrants amid an expected jump in demand.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reportsa Catholic-run project in Las Cruces that offers short-term refugee housing says the rise of Central American refugees to the U.S.-Mexico border and a recent change in federal practice in housing asylum-seekers is putting a strain on the current number of shelters.

Project Oak Tree coordinator Leonel Briseño says advocates are seeking to expand the number of churches who could offer temporary housing.

Briseno says St. Genevieve Catholic Church and Our Lady of Health Catholic Church, both in central Las Cruces, are planning to open shelters.

Several Methodist and Lutheran churches also are operating small shelters.

First Woman To Score In Division I Football Seriously Ill– Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

A former University of New Mexico kicker who was the first female to play and score in a Division I football game faces months of recovery after becoming seriously ill from an adverse reaction to a prescribed medicine.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the family of Katie Hnida says the 37-year-old's condition has stabilized but that she might need a liver transplant.

Hnida played three seasons, from 2002-2004, with New Mexico.

She became the first woman to play in a Division I game in December 2002 when she unsuccessfully attempted an extra point against UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl.

She became the first woman to score in a Division I game in August 2003 when she kicked two extra points for New Mexico in a game against Texas State-San Marco.

Hnida never appeared in a game during one season with Colorado before transferring to New Mexico.

 Energy Department Says US Is Now World's Top Oil Producer– Associated Press

The United States is pumping record amounts of oil, vaulting over Russia to become the world's biggest producer of crude.

The Energy Information Administration said Thursday that the U.S. produced more than 11.3 million barrels a day in August, a 4 percent increase over the old record set in July.

Russia's energy ministry estimates that country pumped 11.2 million barrels a day in August. OPEC reports Saudi Arabia pumped 10.4 million barrels a day.

It's the first time since 1973 that the U.S. leads the world in oil production.

Several states hit record production in August including Texas, which accounts for about 40 percent of U.S. crude. The energy agency says pipeline bottlenecks in Texas and New Mexico are causing more use of trucks and rail cars to haul oil.

Church Covered Up Priest's Abuse Of 50 Boys - Associated Press

A Roman Catholic diocese in Iowa is acknowledging that it kept quiet for 32 years about a priest's admission to having sexually abused dozens of boys.

The Diocese of Sioux City told The Associated Press in a statement Wednesday that it never contacted police or informed the public about the Rev. Jerome Coyle, despite his 1986 admission.

Diocese spokeswoman Susan O'Brien says two alleged adult victims recently came forward with old allegations against Coyle that will be reported to law enforcement.

She says the bishop removed Coyle's priestly duties in 1986 and sent him to a facility in New Mexico for evaluation and treatment. O'Brien says Coyle never returned to a parish and worked as a civilian in Albuquerque.

The diocese recently moved Coyle to a care facility in Fort Dodge that is across the street from a Catholic school. O'Brien says the diocese didn't tell school officials about Coyle's past when he was placed there.

New Mexico Candidates Court Native American Voters - Associated Press

Candidates for governor of New Mexico are courting Native American communities that account for roughly one in 10 voters statewide ahead of Election Day.

Democratic Congresswoman and gubernatorial candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Wednesday she has the endorsement of 10 tribes and many chapter houses across the vast Navajo Nation.

Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo Lieutenant Gov. Matthew Martinez says Lujan Grisham has shown a commitment to consulting with tribal governments on public policy. He also praised Lujan Grisham's support for a court order that seeks greater resources for the education of Native American and bilingual students.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Pearce is touting his work in Congress toward creating housing opportunities for Native American communities. He has the endorsement of leaders including former Navajo Supreme Court Justice Tom Tso.

New Mexico Lottery To Offer Game Linked To Sporting Events – Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

The New Mexico Lottery Authority is moving ahead with plans for a new game that will be tied to the outcome of sporting events.

The lottery board voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of the new game, which could go on sale in a few months.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the move is the first by state government to cash in on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that struck down a federal law that largely prohibited sports betting outside of Nevada.

Lottery CEO David Barden says the goal is to make the lottery more attractive to younger generations.

Details of the game are being worked out, but it will involve a parlay-like wager. A player will pick possible outcomes of at least three sporting events and will have to choose all correctly to win.


Work On Netflix Series 'Daybreak' To Begin In New Mexico - Associated Press

Filming of the Netflix series "Daybreak" is scheduled to begin in New Mexico at the end of November.

Officials with the state film office said Wednesday that principal photography on the series will continue through April, resulting in work for around 260 crew members and thousands of extras.

"Daybreak" is among the projects happening at Albuquerque Studios, the complex Netflix is working to buy as part of its move to establish a production hub in New Mexico's most populous city.

Albuquerque officials have approved a measure that includes a $4.5 million incentive package for Netflix to assist in the company's purchase of Albuquerque Studios. The state also is kicking in $10 million in economic development funds.

Netflix plans to invest more than $30 million in the studio complex.