Environmental Groups Protest Forest Thinning Plan, Police Say Bobcat and Raccoon Briefly Escape Zoo

Jul 8, 2019

Groups Appeal Ruling Over Santa Fe Thinning ProjectAssociated Press

Environmentalists are going back to court in hopes of putting the brakes on plans to thin thousands of forested acres in the mountains bordering Santa Fe.

Wild Watershed and others filed their appeal Monday, arguing that a U.S. district court judge erred when allowing the Santa Fe National Forest to move ahead with its plans for Pacheco Canyon and areas near Hyde Memorial State Park.

The plaintiffs say forest officials failed to analyze the cumulative and indirect effects of clearing and burning in the area.

In initially approving the projects, forest managers said the work needed to be done to reduce risks posed by disease, insect infestation and catastrophic wildfire.

The environmentalists are concerned that the projects will end up targeting larger, older trees that are critical for many species.

State Police Investigating Fatal Police Shooting In TularosaAssociated Press

New Mexico State Police say they're investigating a fatal shooting involving a Tularosa police officer.

They say the officer responded to a report of a man with a rifle who allegedly was firing shots near a restaurant around 9 p.m. Sunday.

The policeman arrived on the scene and had some kind of encounter with the victim, who's been identified as 43-year-old Johnny Vigil of Tularosa.

Authorities say Vigil was shot and transported to a hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

State Police say details about the incident including what led up to the officer firing his weapon still are under investigation.

State Senator Misses Committee Meeting After DWI ArrestAssociated Press

A New Mexico state senator charged with drunken driving has missed a legislative hearing in Santa Fe for a committee that he chairs.

Sen. Richard Martinez, a Democrat from Espanola, was included on the agenda published ahead of the Courts, Corrections and Justice Committee meeting held on Monday morning.

Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas, who ran the meeting, said Martinez was unavailable.

Rep. Gail Chasey, an Albuquerque Democrat, was the other lawmaker listed as a co-chair for the meeting and arrived late because of a scheduling conflict.

Martinez pleaded not guilty last week to aggravated DWI.

He was arrested after a June 28 collision at an intersection in Espanola, and booked into jail before being released the following day.

He has not responded to requests for comment.

Police Searching For 2 Who Left Juvenile Supervised ReleaseAssociated Press

Police are searching for two 19-year-olds who they say walked away from a juvenile supervised release center.

New Mexico State Police said Sunday that 19-year-old Deacon Castillo of Las Cruces and 19-year-old Jose Romero of Albuquerque left the Albuquerque Boys Reintegration Center late Saturday.

Authorities say Castillo was sent there for aggravated and auto burglary. He is described as Hispanic, standing 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighing 145 pounds. He has brown hair and hazel eyes.

Police say Romero was committed for armed robbery. He is described as Hispanic, 5-feet-5-inches tall and weighing 151 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or the New Mexico State Police at (505) 841-9256, option 3.

New Mexico Police Investigating Death Of 2-Week-Old ChildAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

New Mexico authorities are investigating the death of a two-week-old child at an Albuquerque apartment complex.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Sunday that Albuquerque police responded to a report of an unresponsive infant Sunday afternoon.

Medical investigators have determined the child's injuries were suspicious.

A police official says emergency medical personnel attempted treatment, but determined the baby was "beyond help."

The police department's Crimes Against Children Unit is investigating.

An official says detectives are conducting interviews to determine the cause and circumstances of the child's injuries.

4 People Shot In Parking Lot Outside New Mexico Nightclub - Associated Press

Four people have been shot outside a nightclub in Albuquerque.

News organizations reported that all four people were transported to hospitals after the shooting in an Albuquerque parking lot around 2:30 a.m. Sunday.

The names and conditions of the victims were not immediately reported.

Police say they responded to a report of shots fired in the lot adjacent to Lotus Night Club Downtown.

Authorities say three individuals were taken into custody for questioning, but no arrests were made due to conflicting reports and insufficient evidence.

Police say they sealed a vehicle at the scene that had "visible firearms."

Authorities say the investigation is continuing.

Zoo Vandals Let Bobcat, Raccoon Briefly Escape, Police Say - Associated Press

Police are searching for whoever cut locks and fencing on exhibits at a New Mexico zoo, allowing four animals, including a bobcat, to escape before they were quickly found nearby.

Police in Roswell, New Mexico, say they discovered the vandalism after a visitor noticed cut fencing at the red-tailed hawk exhibit Sunday. The zoo was evacuated as staff discovered that other vandalized enclosures had freed a raccoon, two raccoon-like coatimundis and a bobcat.

Officials say the animals were all found within 20 minutes in non-public zookeeper areas.

Spring River Park and Zoo staffers believe only the raccoon might have ventured into a visitor area.

Authorities say they're glad the animals stayed in their "comfort zones," but the vandalism could have put people and animals in danger.

New Mexico Ghost Town Saloon Uses Civility To Draw Crowd - Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A saloon in a New Mexico ghost town attracts regulars with diverse backgrounds and opinions with a promise to "have dialogue."

The Albuquerque Journal recently reported that the No Scum Allowed Saloon in White Oaks, New Mexico, pulls in people from around the state and sometimes tourists from overseas because of its reputation and catchy name.

Saloon owner Karen Haughness, one of nine people who live in White Oaks, says the saloon's regulars often exceed the town's population. She says the saloon cultivates civil discourse among visitors.

The town was founded after gold was discovered in the region in 1879. Outlaw Billy the Kid is said to have visited White Oaks often looking for a good time.

White Oaks is 160 miles southeast of Albuquerque.

2 Rescued From Flood Channels After Albuquerque Rains - Associated Press

Authorities say firefighters rescued two people swept away in flood channels after heavy rains in the Albuquerque area.

Albuquerque Fire Rescue says both people were exhausted, bruised, and hypothermic when they were hospitalized after being pulled from the water at two separate locations on Saturday.

The Albuquerque Journal reports scattered thunderstorms moving through Bernalillo County and Rio Rancho on Saturday were part of the monsoons.

National Weather Service meteorologist Andrew Church told the newspaper the evening storms dumped rain sporadically for a few hours, resulting in minor flooding in streets and small streams.

He says the rain was heavy but the soil absorbed most of the moisture.

New Mexico Authorities Identify Woman Found After Explosion - Roswell Daily Record, Associated Press

New Mexico authorities have identified a woman whose body was found at the scene of an explosion and fire.

The Roswell Daily Record reported Saturday that the body of Juanita Edwards was located at the scene north of Roswell city limits Wednesday.

Although Edwards was found at the fire, authorities say the cause of her death has not been determined.

Officials do not yet know whether an autopsy will be performed.

State Police and Chaves County Sheriff's deputies responded along with Roswell and other area fire departments around 8:30 a.m.

Authorities say the cause of the explosion and fire is still under investigation.

New Mexico Gas Company says it detected a gas leak in the area after the fire was brought under control.

Environmentalists Push For Changes In New Mexico On Beavers - Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

Environmental advocates in New Mexico are pushing for the state to change its policies around beavers — pesky animals they say provide ecological benefits for rivers and streams.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that WildEarth Guardians and other groups want New Mexico wildlife officials to rethink how it manages beaver populations, including policy revisions on beaver removal and relocation.

The push comes two months after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham appointed seven new members to the State Game Commission, which is responsible for creating regulations regarding fish and wildlife in the state.

The Department of Game and Fish doesn't have current data about how many beavers are in New Mexico, but an agency document from about eight years ago estimated there were around 6,000 in the state.