Governor Pulls National Guard Troops From Border, Acting Interior Secretary To Visit NM Oil Region

Feb 6, 2019

New Mexico Governor Pulls National Guard Troops From Border - Associated Press

The governor of New Mexico is withdrawing the majority of the state's National Guard troops from the U.S. border with Mexico in a move that challenges President Trump's description of a security crisis.

Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the withdrawal in a statement Tuesday, shortly before Trump's State of the Union address.

She says a small portion of the state's 118-troop deployment will remain in the southwest corner of New Mexico to assist with humanitarian needs in what is a remote corridor for cross-border immigration.

New Mexico deployed troops to the border in April at Trump's suggestion.

Lujan Grisham is rejecting assertions about a national security crisis at the border, while acknowledging concerns about a tide of asylum-seekers.

Acting Interior Secretary To Visit New Mexico Oil Region - Associated Press

Federal officials say acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt plans to visit a city at the center of New Mexico's oil country on Wednesday to promote energy development on public lands.

A department spokeswoman says Bernhardt will visit residents and federal workers in Hobbs, where oil production has led to a recent economic boom in the region.

Officials say Bernhardt will visit residents and Bureau of Land Management employees in Hobbs.

President Donald Trump on Monday said he intended to nominate Bernhardt — a Washington veteran with lobbying ties to U.S. energy companies — to lead the department.

Democrats and environmental groups say he's vulnerable to conflicts of interest.

Fiesta De Santa Fe To Allow Married, Divorced 'La Reina' - Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

Organizers of an annual Santa Fe fiesta that once honored a 17th-century Spanish conquistador have changed rules for the high-profile role of La Reina.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports organizers of the centuries-old Fiesta de Santa Fe announced this week they are scrapping a long-standing requirement that only single women without children could serve as Fiesta queen.

Under the new rules, contestants now can be married, divorced or widowed, and have children.

The revamped requirements are the latest in a series of changes to the Fiesta de Santa Fe.

The council last year agreed to eliminate the Entrada, a controversial re-enactment of Spanish conquistadors retaking Santa Fe from Native Americans 12 years after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.

Lawmakers Table Proposal To Add Homeless To Hate Crimes Law - Associated Press

A New Mexico bill that had proposed adding homelessness as a protected class under the state's hate crime's statute has been tabled in the Legislature.

The statute proposed by Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero, an Albuquerque Democrat, initially had been listed on a legislative schedule for a hearing Tuesday before the House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee.

But it did not go before the committee after it was tabled last week, with lawmakers recommending that any efforts to enhance guidelines for crimes targeting the homeless be proposed under a different statute.

New Mexico's hate crime law allows for increased penalties for crimes that target people because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, ability or religion.

Police Suspect New Mexico Blast That Killed 1 Was Suicide

Police said Tuesday they suspect a person who died in an explosion behind an Albuquerque strip mall intended to kill himself.

The improvised device exploded Monday in an alley near a busy intersection, killing one person. No one else was injured in the afternoon blast that shook nearby homes and businesses.

A cement wall and dumpster were destroyed in the explosion.

Businesses at the mall on the west side of the city were evacuated.

Preliminary evidence indicates the incident was a suicide, police spokesman Officer Simon Drobik said.

Police have said the blast did not appear to be linked to terrorism, and no suspects were under investigation.

New Mexico Man's Child Sexual Assault Cases Stirs Anger - Associated Press

A New Mexico man arrested in three cases involving alleged sexual assaults on children and who was released twice now may remain in jail until trial.

Raymond Hernandez is scheduled Wednesday to appear before a state district judge as prosecutors seek to have him held without bail.

The 29-year-old Questa resident was first arrested Jan. 14 and accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl. He was released on a $10,000 bond.

He was arrested two days later and charged with raping a 19-month-old girl on the same day as the previous case. He was released on a $20,000 bond.

New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts director Artie Pepin says prosecutors didn't ask a magistrate judge to hold Hernandez in either case.

Hernandez was arrested again and charged with raping a 5-year-old girl but those charges were dismissed.

New Mexico Seeks Riches, Enrichment In Outdoor Recreation

New Mexico lawmakers want to rev up the state's outdoor recreation economy with help from a new state promotional and planning office and a public-private trust fund to ensure youth from low-income households have access to the area's natural wonders.

Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Tuesday offered her endorsement as lawmakers introduced a bill to create an outdoor recreation office, adapted from similar state staffs in Utah and Colorado. The bill seeks $1.6 million in initial funding.

The office of roughly six employees would recruit outdoor businesses to the state, assist with recreation infrastructure proposals, and promote educational initiatives and collaborative programs with Native American tribes.

The bill is backed by legislators including Rep. Angelica Rubio, who rode a bicycle across the state to attend the Legislature this year.

New Mexico High School Warned On Rowdy Basketball Fans - KRQE-TV, Associated Press

A New Mexico high school has been warned: Keep your rowdy fans in check or no one will be allowed into the stands at basketball games.

KRQE-TV in Albuquerque reports the New Mexico Activities Association sent a letter last week to Estancia High School Athletic Director Stewart Burnett and put the central New Mexico school on notice.

Officials told Burnett that if there are any more official reports of bad behavior at boys' or girls' basketball games, all fans could be barred from attending games for the rest of the season.

The governing body for state high school sports says too many Estancia High School parents and fans have been behaving badly at games.

Burnett says the disorderly fans are a "very small representation" of the fan base.

MMA Coach Greg Jackson Launches Effort To Promote New Mexico - Associated Press

A mixed martial arts coach who has trained fighters like Jon Jones and Holly Holm has announced he will launch an effort to promote New Mexico businesses and tourism.

Greg Jackson, who co-owns Jackson Wink MMA Academy in Albuquerque said Tuesday he will push the "New Mexico Experience" in Melbourne, Australia while coaching at UFC 234 this weekend.

Jackson says he will promote the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Santa Fe's Meow Wolf and Organ Mountain Outfitters of Las Cruces.

The trainer says he will share sports and gift apparel, and speak to international media, government officials, athletes, coaches, and celebrities about New Mexico Experience companies.

Ex-New Mexico Athletic Head Charged With Fraud, LaunderingAssociated 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.

Jury Finds Daycare Workers Guilty Of AbuseAssociated 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.

Utility: 69 Turbines Set Up For Texas Panhandle Wind FarmAssociated Press

Utility officials say a wind farm meant to generate electricity for Texas and New Mexico is taking shape with more than one-fourth of the 239 turbines set up.

Xcel Energy on Wednesday said crews working on the Hale Wind Project in the Texas Panhandle have erected 69 turbines. The final height will be nearly 500 feet at the tip of the blade.

About 400 workers are building the wind farm southeast of Plainview, in Hale County. Xcel officials say about 20 full-time jobs will be created when the wind farm is completed in June.

An estimated 190 miles of underground cable will be used to collect the 478-megawatts of electricity generated by the turbines.

Xcel is based in Minneapolis.

Votes On Minimum Wage, Abortion Rights Loom In New MexicoAssociated Press 

The state House of Representatives is poised to vote on Democratic-sponsored bills to raise the statewide minimum wage, guarantee abortion rights, and replace the Columbus Day holiday with Indigenous Peoples' Day.

House Speaker Brian Egolf planned for lengthy deliberations Wednesday on the initiatives.

The minimum wage bill has the backing of Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and would raise base pay to $12 an hour in 2021. Restaurant owners opposed a provision to do away with exemptions for tipped workers and were petitioning the governor.

Leading Democrats want to remove the state's criminal ban on abortion in case the U.S. Supreme Court overturns a decision that made the procedure legal.

Votes also are looming on bills to expand background checks on firearms and ensure medical insurance coverage for contraception.