KUNM

Facebook Opens Los Lunas Data Center, Ex-UNM Athletic Head Charged With Fraud

Feb 7, 2019

Facebook Marks Opening Of Sprawling New Mexico Data CenterAssociated Press

Facebook has marked the opening of its New Mexico data center, a sprawling complex where the social media giant says servers have begun storing some of the millions of videos and other media its users post daily.

The data center in Los Lunas, a village south of Albuquerque, includes six buildings for data storage. Each are roughly the size of four football fields with "data halls" storing rows of towering servers.

Facebook on Thursday marked the opening of two of those halls in one of the data center's buildings.

Construction that began more than two years ago at the site remains underway.

New Mexico officials in 2016 touted the data center as a much-needed boon for the area after Facebook announced it had selected Los Lunas.

New Mexico Lawmakers Seek Compromise On Coal, Clean PowerAssociated Press

The Legislature will consider a complex bill that could reshape electricity production in New Mexico by phasing out a major coal-fired power plant and boosting state quotas for the production of renewable energy from sources such as wind and solar.

A Democrat-sponsored bill introduced to the New Mexico Legislature on Thursday would help ensure the retirement of the San Juan Generating Plant in northwest New Mexico by allowing owners to recover undepreciated investments. Utility customers would pay a new "energy transition" charge.

The bill sets a 2030 deadline for utilities to generate 50 percent of electricity from renewable sources.

Other provisions aim to offset the impact of the plant closure on the surrounding community with job training and the likely addition off clean-energy power plants in San Juan County.

New Mexico Bill To Ban Wildlife Traps Ignites Emotions – Associated Press

A state bill that would outlaw most wildlife traps and snares on public land in New Mexico ignited three hours of emotional testimony at its first legislative hearing.

Rural and suburban attitudes toward wildlife and protecting household pets collided Thursday at a hearing on the bill before a House committee on natural resources.

The proposal from Democrats including Rep. Matthew McQueen of Galisteo would outlaw the use of traps, snares and poison with the intent capture or kill animals such as coyotes, foxes and feral hogs on state or federal land. It allows for misdemeanor fines of up to $2,000.

Proponents of the bill described the indiscriminate cruelty of traps, while opponents said a ban would infringe on longstanding tradition and endanger livestock. Panel deliberations and voting were postponed.

New Mexico Lawmakers Seek Compromise On Coal, Clean PowerAssociated Press

The Legislature will consider a complex bill that could reshape electricity production in New Mexico by phasing out a major coal-fired power plant and boosting state quotas for the production of renewable energy from sources such as wind and solar.

A Democrat-sponsored bill introduced to the New Mexico Legislature on Thursday would help ensure the retirement of the San Juan Generating Plant in northwest New Mexico by allowing owners to recover undepreciated investments. Utility customers would pay a new "energy transition" charge.

The bill sets a 2030 deadline for utilities to generate 50 percent of electricity from renewable sources.

Other provisions aim to offset the impact of the plant closure on the surrounding community with job training and the likely addition off clean-energy power plants in San Juan County.

New Mexico Officials Say Holloman Air Force Water Contaminated Associated Press

New Mexico environmental officials say Holloman Air Force Base has violated its state permit after toxic chemicals were found in groundwater.

The New Mexico Environment Department said Wednesday it issued a "notice of violation" to Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo, New Mexico, following the contamination discovery.

New Mexico officials say pollutants were found in groundwater at levels nearly twice the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's drinking water health advisory.

A site inspection report in November said groundwater below Holloman tested positive for unsafe pollutants.

Environment Department Secretary-designate Jim Kenney says state officials are "dismayed" by the U.S. Air Force's lack of prompt response to the contamination found.

A spokesman for the Holloman Air Force Base's 49th Wing Public Affairs Office did not immediately respond to an email.

Police Are Investigating After 11-Year-Old Kills HerselfAssociated Press

Authorities are investigating after an 11-year-old girl killed herself after allegedly being bullied.

Delia Watson's family and friends, who gathered Wednesday night for a vigil, say they believe the suicide was preventable.

Watson died on Friday.

Watson's friend, Malaya Martinez, says Watson reported the bullying to officials at Mount Taylor Elementary School in Grants.

Grants-Cibola County Schools released a statement Tuesday addressing the "unexpected death" of Watson.

The statement says community health representatives and school counselors are available to anyone "who wishes to talk about the student's death."

A spokesman for the Grants Police Department confirmed the agency is investigating the death, but could not elaborate on details citing an ongoing investigation.

4 Las Cruces Police Officers Cleared In Man's Fatal ShootingAssociated Press

Authorities say four Las Cruces police officers have been cleared in a fatal shooting five months ago.

The Third Judicial District Attorney's Office reviewed evidence from the Sept. 27 shooting near a Las Cruces high school and concluded the use of force was justified.

They say lapel camera video from the incident shows 32-year-old Juan Angel Pinedo failed to obey at least 11 commands and lunged toward a handgun before being shot by police.

Pinedo died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Authorities say Pinedo had an active felony warrant for his arrest from a shooting that occurred six days earlier.

The shooting was investigated by an incident task force that included investigators from New Mexico State Police, Las Cruces police, Dona Ana County Sheriff's Office and New Mexico State University Police.

Arkansas Guard troops moving from New Mexico to TexasAssociated Press

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has ordered Arkansas National Guard troops deployed along the Mexican border in New Mexico to relocate to Texas to help with border security there.

Up to eight Arkansas troops and two helicopters have been deployed in New Mexico since May 2018 to help secure the nation's southwestern border. Hutchinson says he has directed Adjutant General Mark Berry to shift those troops to Texas, where the security needs are greater.

Earlier this week, New Mexico Gov. Lujan Grisham ordered the New Mexico National Guard withdrawn from border deployment and directed troops from other states to return home.

Last week, Arkansas troops and one of the state's LUH-72 Lakota helicopters helped federal officials seize 136 pounds of marijuana and arrest four men along the New Mexico border.

Site Of Alleged 1947 UFO Crash Under New ManagementRoswell Daily Record, Associated Press

The site of an alleged 1947 UFO crash site near Roswell is under new management.

The Roswell Daily Record reports Bogle Ltd. Co. of Dexter has sold the Lincoln County ranching property about 75 miles northwest of Roswell to Dinwiddie Cattle Co. LLC.

A deed filed with the Lincoln County clerk's office shows that the crash-site property was transferred to the Dinwiddie Cattle Co. on Nov. 26.

Something crashed at what was then the J.B. Foster ranch in 1947, with the U.S. Army announcing it had recovered a "flying disc" but later saying the debris was merely the remnants of a high-altitude weather balloon.

Speculation about extraterrestrials and government cover-ups has existed ever since, inspiring books, movies and TV shows.

House Votes To Rescind New Mexico Abortion Ban - Associated Press

The state House of Representatives has approved a bill that would remove New Mexico's dormant criminal ban on abortion in case the U.S. Supreme Court overturns a 1973 decision that made the procedure legal.

The bill now moves to the state Senate for consideration after the 40-29 vote Wednesday in the House. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has vowed to sign the measure if it reaches her desk.

A 1969 New Mexico statute made it a felony for an abortion provider to terminate a pregnancy, with exceptions for rape, birth defects and serious threats to a woman's health. The law has been unenforceable for 45 years because of the high court's ruling.

Several House Democrats have joined with Republican in opposing the bill. They are Reps. Patricia Lundstrom of Gallup, Wonda Johnson of Church Rock, Anthony Allison of Fruitland, Candy Sweetser of Deming, Patricio Ruiloba of Albuquerque, and Joseph Sanchez of Alcalde. Republican Rep. Paul Bandy was absent.

More than 4,000 abortions are performed each year in the state. New Mexico is home to one of the nation's few providers of late-term abortions.

Ex-New Mexico Athletic Head Charged With Fraud, Laundering - By Russell Contreras, Associated Press

Former University of New Mexico athletic director Paul Krebs has been charged with fraud and money laundering.

The attorney general's office filed a criminal complaint Wednesday against Krebs in connection with a 2015 golf trip to Scotland and allegations he tried to conceal a $25,000 donation.

The complaint accused Krebs of fraud, money laundering, evidence tampering, criminal solicitation and making or permitting false public voucher.

The charges come after authorities seized records in October.

In 2017, Attorney General Hector Balderas launched an investigation after it was discovered the university used nearly $25,000 in public money to pay some private donor expenses on the Scotland trip.

Krebs served as New Mexico athletic director from 2006 to 2017.

Gene Gallegos, Krebs' attorney, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

New Mexico Marijuana Dispenser Wins State Fair Legal Fight - Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

The state's largest medical marijuana dispenser has won a legal battle with the New Mexico State Fair.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports U.S. District Judge James Parker ruled this week the state fair's prohibition on displaying the images from dispenser Ultra Health were unreasonable and unconstitutional.

Parker says restrictions "violated Ultra Health's First Amendment right to free speech."

The New Mexico State Fair had refused to allow Ultra Health to exhibit photos and videos of cannabis plants and some of the tools used to grow the plants and produce medical products.

Ultra Health in 2016 had a booth at the annual fair in Albuquerque but was told to leave by state police because the display included an actual cannabis plant.

New Mexico Bill Mimics Obamacare Consumer Protections - Associated Press

The Legislature is considering a bill to incorporate provisions of President Barack Obama's health care law into state law to ensure access to medical insurance for patients with pre-existing conditions.

Advocates for the bill from state Democratic Rep. Liz Thomson of Albuquerque said Wednesday that consumer protection provisions of the Affordable Care Act are at risk from a lawsuit by Republican state attorneys general.

Colin Baillio of Health Action New Mexico also says the bill shores up minimum insurance requirements as the Trump administration pushes for cheaper, skimpier health plans. He says states including Virginia, New York, Colorado and Hawaii have codified protections for coverage of pre-existing conditions.

Other pending bills would ensure low-cost access to contraception and open up Medicaid access to paying customers.

New Mexico Superintendent Who Allegedly Fled Crash Resigns - Las Vegas Optic, Associated Press

A northern New Mexico school superintendent who was cited after police say he drove through a resident's fence and fled has resigned.

The Las Vegas Optic reports the Las Vegas City Schools' Board of Education accepted Superintendent Kelt Cooper's resignation this week.

The outgoing superintendent had been on paid leave since November and the board has given no reason why.

After being placed on administrative leave, Cooper was cited for moving violations after he crashed his pickup truck into a resident's fence near his Sapello, New Mexico, home, and left the scene of the wreck.

Board President Dennis Romero says all terms of Cooper's resignation had been negotiated, but he could not disclose any further information.

Border Governor Takes Aim At Trump In Video - Associated Press

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is promoting her agenda for education reform and opposition to President Trump's border wall in a video that shows her crashing through plaster walls.

The video segment paid for by Lujan Grisham's campaign fund shows the diminutive governor crashing through a make-believe school classroom and taking aim at a wall bearing Trump's portrait. A twitter post of the video went viral Wednesday.

Southern New Mexico rancher and Republican state Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell says the governor's video makes light of serious issues of security along the state's southern border.

Lujan Grisham is pressuring lawmakers to tap a multibillion-dollar state trust fund to provide greater access to early childhood education.

The video says the state needs to "bust through some walls" to improve public education.

Jury Finds Daycare Workers Guilty Of Abuse - Eastern New Mexico News, Associated Press

Two New Mexico daycare workers could spend up to 36 years in prison after leaving two toddlers in a hot car.

The Eastern New Mexico News reports a jury on Tuesday found the mother-daughter pair of Mary and Sandi Taylor guilty of abuse of a child (results in death) and abuse of a child (results in great bodily harm).

Defense Attorney Tye Harmon says his clients, who operated Taylor's Tots daycare, were "extremely disappointed" and intend to appeal the verdict.

Prosecutors say the Taylors left Maliyah Jones and Aubriauna Loya, both under the age of 2, in a vehicle in July 2017 for more than two hours with no air conditioning.

Maliyah was dead on arrival at the Portales hospital. Aubriauna survived, but was seriously injured.

Sentencing is scheduled to take place within 30 days.

University Raises $1M For Endowed Chile Research Chair - Las Cruces Sun-News, Associated Press

New Mexico State University has announced it has raised $1 million to fund an endowed research chair to study chile.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports the announcement was made recently at the 2019 New Mexico Chile Conference and officials hope the endowment will keep chile research alive at New Mexico State University for decades.

An endowed chair is a permanent pool of funding that's invested. The interest earned then goes to pay the salary of the researcher holding the position.

New Mexico State University senior major gifts officer Cindy Nicholson says the effort recently was around $5,471 short of its $1 million goal. But some supporters finally came in and donated the rest of the money.

Tags: