Holiday Proposed For Cesar and Dennis Chavez, GOP Candidate Will Not Contest Loss In US House Race

Jan 7, 2019

Republican Herrell Will Not Contest US House Race LossAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A Republican who lost a closely watched U.S. House race in southern New Mexico and has alleged voting irregularities says she will not contest the results.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Republican congressional candidate Yvette Herrell announced Monday she will not contest her defeat to Democrat Xochitl Torres Small after her campaign inspected more than 8,000 absentee ballots cast from a key county.

Herrell faced a Monday deadline to file a court challenge contesting the 2nd Congressional District race's outcome under state law.

Herrell said she never intended to contest the results but suggested her campaign received enough claims of irregularities to warrant a review of the absentee ballots.

However, Herrell has refused to give details about any alleged irregularities and has not returned messages from The Associated Press.

New Mexico Child-Protection Agency Gets New LeaderAssociated Press

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is making appointments to agencies that oversee childhood wellbeing, environmental protection, state police and state personnel decisions.

The director of a San Francisco-based anti-poverty group was appointed Friday to lead the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department.

Brian Blalock will move to the agency from his job as law and policy director at Tipping Point Community.

New Mexico's protective services system for abused or neglected children has struggled to keep pace with high rates of mistreatment amid a string of high-profile child killings.

The Children, Youth and Families Department has increasingly emphasized early childhood interventions and guidance for parents with infants to minimize traumatic childhood experiences.

Monique Jacobson led the agency until this year under departed Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

Navajo Company Looks Into Buying Northern Arizona Coal Mine - By Felicia Fonseca, Associated Press

A Navajo Nation energy company studying the purchase of a coal-fired plant on the reservation says it's looking into the mine that supplies it, too.

The tribal government asked the Navajo Transitional Energy Company in October to look into acquiring the Navajo Generating Station. Its owners are closing it at the end of the year, citing cheaper power from natural gas.

The energy company says it wants to keep the plant and Kayenta Mine open for at least another 10 years.

Peabody Energy owns the mine and had launched an effort to find a new buyer for the power plant to sustain its own business. Peabody said Monday it supports continued operation of the mine but didn't offer specifics.

The Navajo Nation relies heavily on the coal industry for revenue.

US Delegation Takes Aim At Trump Over WallAssociated Press

Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus are taking aim at President Donald Trump's insistence that a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border will help alleviate the immigration crisis at the southern border and bolster security.

Caucus Chairman U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas argued during a visit to southern New Mexico on Monday that the administration's policies are exacerbating what he described as a humanitarian crisis.

Castro pointed to the deaths of two Guatemalan children who were ill and died in December while in federal custody.

Castro, freshman U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico and a group of their Democratic colleagues toured a border patrol station in Alamogordo where one of the children had been detained with his father.

They said despite some improvements in recent weeks, more needs to be done to boost access to proper medical care.

Woman Enters Plea Ahead Of Trial In Girl's DeathAssociated Press

A judge has approved a plea deal for a woman arrested in the slaying of a 10-year-old Albuquerque girl — just before the defendant's trial was set to start.

Jessica Kelley pleaded no contest Monday to child abuse resulting in death and other charges.

She had been set to stand trial this week on charges stemming from the killing of Victoria Martens, who authorities say was found dead in an apartment bathtub.

Kelley has said a man entered the apartment the night Victoria was killed looking for Fabian Gonzales, who was dating the girl's mother and is Kelley's cousin.

Authorities say Gonzales wasn't present when Victoria was killed, but still faces charges of tampering with evidence and reckless abuse of a child resulting in death.

The girl's mother pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death. Authorities faulted her for leaving her daughter in a dangerous situation.

Settlement Nets $1.8M Of Debt Relief For New Mexico Students - Associated Press

A settlement will provide $1.8 million in debt relief for New Mexico students who were enrolled in certain for-profit schools and online courses.

Attorney General Hector Balderas says more than 700 students in New Mexico are eligible for relief under a multistate settlement with Illinois-based Career Education Corp.

Nationally, the settlement includes CEC's agreement to reform its recruiting and enrollment practices and to forgo collecting about $493.7 million in debts owed by 179,529 students.

The company also has agreed to pay $5 million to the states. New Mexico will receive about $75,000.

State attorneys general alleged that CEC engaged in unfair and deceptive practices, including misleading prospective students about actual costs, the transferability of credits, accreditation, program offerings and accurate job placement rates.

New Mexico Holiday Proposed For Cesar Chavez, Dennis Chavez - Associated Press

A New Mexico state lawmaker is proposing a state holiday in honor of the late U.S. Sen. Dennis Chavez of New Mexico and the late farmworker union leader Cesar Chavez of California.

New Mexico Rep. Miguel P. Garcia has pre-filed a bill that would designate the first Friday of every April as "Dennis Chavez and Cesar Chavez Day."

The New Mexico-born Dennis Chavez served in the U.S. Senate from 1935 to 1962 and earned a reputation as a defender of Mexican Americans civil rights.

The Yuma, Arizona-born Cesar Chavez co-founded the United Farm Workers of America with Dolores Huerta and the pair organized boycotts and strikes to push for better working conditions for farmworkers.

Huerta was born in Dawson, New Mexico.


Albuquerque District Repairing Weather Damage To Schools - Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Crews have been busy making repairs and removing water from flooding after dozens of Albuquerque public schools sustained broken pipes and other damage from recent winter weather.

Maintenance and operations executive director John Dufay told the Albuquerque Journal that the damage at 40 schools is going to cost the district more than $230,000.

About 15 schools have had problems such as boiler breakdowns or broken water lines that were relatively quick to repair but that an additional 25 schools had flooding or other more serious problems.

Monday is the first day of the school year's second semester and Maintenance and Operations Executive Director John Dufay says he expects most of the work to be done by then.

Partnership Aims To Help New Mexico Tribe Monitor Its Land - Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A Native American community in northern New Mexico will soon get help from solar-powered drones to monitor its vast land holdings from above.

Under a new partnership with Santa Fe-based Wildflower International, unmanned aerial systems made by Albuquerque-based Silent Falcon UAS Technologies will assist Pojoaque Pueblo in managing its roaming bison herd, mapping cultural sites and improving fire control and search-and-rescue efforts.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the flights will begin this month.

Since launching in 1991, Wildflower has relied almost exclusively on federal contracts for information technology products and services to grow its business.

But given the rise of the cloud and plummeting costs for IT systems and services, the company is now pivoting to the rapidly growing market for drone services.

New Mexico Museum Has Plans To Move Fighter Jet To New Home - Alamogordo Daily News, Associated Press

The German Air Force has donated one of its Tornado fighter planes to the New Mexico Museum of Space History, and major preparations are underway to move it to its new home.

The aircraft is slated for permanent display on the museum grounds in Alamogordo. The twin-engine combat plane has been on display in front of the German Air Force headquarters at Holloman Air Force Base for the last several years.

The move is planned for Jan. 12, when the first leg of the journey will take the aircraft from Holloman to the Otero County Fairgrounds.

Museum officials say the move has presented logistical challenges given the size of the aircraft. The job involves the cooperation of 17 different agencies and businesses, including utility workers who will be taking care of power lines along the way.