Former UNM Athletic Director Indicted, Pence To Promote Trade Deal During New Mexico Visit

Aug 21, 2019

Former New Mexico AD Indicted On Embezzlement Charges - By Russell Contreras Associated Press

Former University of New Mexico athletic director Paul Krebs has been indicted in connection with a lavish 2015 golf trip to Scotland that was partly paid for with state funds.

Documents filed Wednesday in state district court show a grand jury indicted the 63-year-old Krebs on embezzlement, larceny, and tampering charges.

The charges are part of an investigation into questionable spending by the school's troubled athletic department.

Attorney General Hector Balderas launched an investigation in 2017 after it was discovered that 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.

Krebs' attorney Paul Kennedy says he's confident his client will be vindicated by a jury.

Court Rules Electoral College Members Not Bound By Popular VoteAssociated Press

A federal appeals court in Denver says Electoral College members can vote for the presidential candidate of their choice and aren't bound by the popular vote in their states.

The court said Tuesday the Colorado secretary of state violated the Constitution in 2016 when he removed an elector who refused to cast his ballot for Democrat Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote.

The ruling applies only to Colorado and five other states in the 10th Circuit: Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.

Colorado's current secretary of state, Jena Griswold, said the ruling takes power away from voters and sets a dangerous precedent. She didn't say if she would appeal.

The elector's attorneys say the U.S. Supreme Court will likely hear the case because it conflicts with a decision from Washington state's Supreme Court. That court said electors could be fined for not casting ballots for the popular vote winner.

New Mexico County Will Require Workers To Get Paid LeaveAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A New Mexico county will require businesses with at least two employees to offer their workers paid leave.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the Bernalillo County Commission voted 3-2 Tuesday for the measure requiring businesses in the unincorporated areas of the county to give employees at least one hour of paid time off for every 32 hours worked.

The law calls for the amount of leave that workers can accrue to increase in phases.

During the law's first year, workers cannot accrue more than 24 hours of leave. It increases to 40 hours in the second year and 56 hours in the third year.

The law takes effect July 2020.

Business advocacy groups had argued the measure would be costly and disproportionately affect small businesses.

Fired New Mexico Ed Secretary To Lead Las Cruces SchoolsLas Cruces Sun-News, Associated Press

Karen Trujillo, the former New Mexico public education secretary who was fired just six months into her job, has been chosen to lead Las Cruces Public Schools.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports the Las Cruces Public School board voted Tuesday to name Trujillo the district's interim superintendent after Superintendent Greg Ewing resigned last week.

Last month, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham abruptly fired Trujillo as leader of state's Public Education Department, raising eyebrows from some state lawmakers and criticism for some in southern New Mexico.

Lujan Grisham said the firing came after some of her "expectations were not met."

Trujillo is a former Doña Ana County Commissioner. The Las Cruces resident was most recently interim associate dean for research in New Mexico State University's College of Education.

New Mexico Agency Says Lung Disease Possible Linked With VapingAssociated Press

The New Mexico Department of Health is investigating possible cases of lung disease associated with vaping and recommends against using vaping cartridges containing an active ingredient of marijuana.

The department said in a statement Wednesday that a 29-year-old Albuquerque area man has been determined to have lung disease associated with vaping and that three additional cases are under investigation.

The department also says all of those people reporting using vaping cartridges and that those cartridges might have contained cannabinol, an active ingredient of marijuana.

According to the department, similar cases have been reported in at least 14 other states and federal and state agencies are investigating possible causes.

The department urged health providers to report cases of lung disease possibly associated with vaping.

Pence Steps Up Pressure For Trade Deal With Mexico, CanadaBy Morgan Lee, Associated Press

Vice President Mike Pence stepped up pressure on Congress to support the Trump administration's new trade deal with Mexico and Canada, taking his pitch Wednesday to a congressional swing district in New Mexico.

Pence spoke to a crowd at an oilfield services company in the Permian basin that straddles New Mexico and Texas. He linked the future prosperity of the U.S. energy sector to approval this year of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

He suggested the trade deal would result in more infrastructure to move energy from the U.S. to Mexico, without specifying whether that might mean pipelines or transmission wires.

Congressional Democrats have signaled that the trade agreement with Canada and Mexico needs stronger protections for workers and the environment before it can be ratified.

Vice President Keeps Up Pressure For Mexico Trade Deal - Associated Press

Vice President Mike Pence is renewing efforts to promote the Trump administration's trade deal with Mexico and Canada as he travels to the border state of New Mexico and then Salt Lake City.

The Office of the Vice President announced that Pence will talk about the trade pact Wednesday while visiting an Artesia-based service company for oil and natural gas production in the Permian basin that straddles New Mexico and Texas.

The trip provides Pence with an additional forum for the administration's efforts to ease federal environmental regulations and boost employment prospects in a critical location for U.S. oil and exploration.

Congressional Democrats have signaled that the trade agreement with Canada and Mexico needs stronger protections for workers and the environment before it can be ratified.

Albuquerque Police Officer Fired For Using Unnecessary Force Associated Press

The Albuquerque Police Department says an officer has been fired for using unnecessary force in an incident earlier this year.

The department announced Tuesday that findings of an investigation into alleged misconduct revealed Officer John Hill shoved a handcuffed suspect from behind and that caused the suspect to strike the wall head-first.

Police officials say the suspect wasn't resisting Hill at any point during the Feb. 17 encounter.

The findings were forwarded to the District Attorney's Office for review on March 19.

Following that review, Albuquerque police submitted a complaint/summons to Metro Court with a misdemeanor charge of battery.

Survey Shows Homeless Population Increase In Albuquerque Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A count of Albuquerque's homeless population conducted on a single night earlier this year shows an increase of at least 200 people.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Monday that the Point-In-Time survey counted 1,524 sheltered and unsheltered homeless people in the city on Jan. 28, up from the 1,318 counted in 2017.

City Housing and Homelessness Deputy Director Lisa Huval says the survey is a "snapshot taken on one night," and it's likely an undercount.

She says part of the increase could be attributed to surveyors getting better at finding and counting unsheltered homeless people.

She says the survey uses a federal definition of homelessness, so people staying in motels that they pay for or those living with family or friends are not counted.

Parents Of Accused Rio Rancho High School Shooter Indicted - Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Parents of a 16-year-old boy accused of firing a gun in a New Mexico high school have been indicted.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the couple was indicted Thursday by a grand jury after authorities say they failed to secure their gun despite warning signs.

Police say he reported hearing voices telling him to "shoot up the school."

Authorities say the teen on the anniversary of the Parkland, Florida, shooting tried to shoot at three fellow V. Sue Cleveland High School students in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, before firing into the air and fleeing.

The Associated Press is not naming the student because of his age. He is facing charges of attempting to commit murder.

College's Roswell Campus May Arm Security Guards - KOB-TV, Associated Press

A college campus in southeastern New Mexico is mulling a plan to arm its security guards.

KOB-TV reports a proposal to arm guards at Eastern New Mexico University's Roswell campus was presented to the school board last week.

University President Shawn Powell says the school's location makes it hard for local police agencies to respond quickly to possible danger on campus.

He says the school is around 10 miles from Roswell's downtown.

Under the proposal, campus guards would need to go through training and be certified to carry a firearm under state guidelines.

The proposal will be reviewed by the college board in September.

If approved, the new rule will go into effect by fall or early spring.