Mexico Opens First Shelter For Asylum Seekers, Sewage Cleanup Near Santa Fe Hospital Sparks Probe

Aug 2, 2019

Mexico Opens First Government Shelter For Asylum Seekers- Associated Press

The Mexican government opened its first shelter Thursday in the border city of Juarez to house Central Americans and other migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. who have been sent back to Mexico to await the process.

Government officials said the shelter at a former assembly plant in the city across from El Paso, Texas, can house 3,500 migrants.

Labor ministry official Horacio Duarte Olivares said the facility will provide shelter, meals, medical attention and access to the local labor market for migrants.

Duarte said that similar shelters would open in the coming days in Tijuana and Mexicali and that there are plans for one in Nuevo Laredo.

New Mexico Seeks Concussion Safeguards For More Youth Sports- Associated Press

New Mexico is seeking to shore up safeguards against brain injuries in youth sports beyond schools in non-scholastic athletic leagues and clubs.

Coaches and many youth athletes automatically would undergo training to detect signs of a concussion and potential consequences of a brain injury, under rules proposed by the Department of Health.

State Sen. Bill Soules of Las Cruces helped enact similar safeguards for school sports and  applauded the new, expanded effort.

Young athletes who receive a brain injury would sit out at least 10 days and return only with a written medical release. Annual education would be required of parents and children over 10.

In 2015, a New Mexico judge overruled concussion protocols to allow a high school football player to play in a title game.

The U.S. government has returned more than 20,000 asylum seekers to wait in Mexico since the program began in January.

Sewage Cleanup Near Santa Fe Hospital Sparks Probe- Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

Three wastewater workers say the city of Santa Fe failed to protect them from exposure to hazardous waste and needles during a sewer backup near a hospital.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the state Occupational Health and Safety Bureau has launched an investigation into the condition of the cleanup by Santa Fe Wastewater Management Division employees.

A complaint says city wastewater employees were assigned to clean up "effluent discharge from waste created" by Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center last month. Documents say the only protective gear they were given to clean the backup were steel-toe shoes, gloves and hard hats.

City Public Utilities Director Shannon Jones says the Wastewater Management Division and the City Manager's Office are cooperating with state investigators.

Archeologists Searching Area Of Historic New Mexico Church- KQRE-TV, Associated Press

Archeologists are searching through the remnants of the first Catholic church in a central New Mexico community and hope to find details of its history.

KRQE-TV reports the team this summer worked to uncover the remains of Nuestra Senora de Belen in Belen which was destroyed by floods more than 100 years ago.

University of Massachusetts-Amherst anthropology professor Ventura Perez says the church was built in 1793 and scientists are trying to find the church floor. He says scientists want to protect around 5,000 burials because human remains have been coming to the surface for the last 100 years.

Scientists say it could take three to five years to complete the excavation.

Lawsuit Claims Urgent Care Center Missed Cancer That Later Spread- Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

A Santa Fe singer-songwriter says an urgent care center failed to diagnose her condition in 2017 and 2018, leading to a terminal cancer diagnosis.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Elizabeth "Betsy" Scarinzi recently filed a lawsuit in state district court against Presbyterian Medical Group over the diagnosis.

According to the lawsuit, medical staff at Presbyterian Medical Group's urgent care facility in Santa Fe examined her three times between 2017 and 2018 and failed to notice an early indication of lung cancer.

The lawsuit says the lung cancer went undiagnosed and untreated for nearly a year.

Presbyterian Healthcare Services declined to comment on pending litigation.

The complaint alleged medical negligence, breach of warranty and breach of contract.

Officials Say El Salvador Man Dies In Border Patrol Custody- Associated Press

Authorities say a 32-year-old man from El Salvador died while in Border Patrol custody in New Mexico.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say the man died Thursday after being taken into custody the night before.

He was at the Border Patrol's station in Lordsburg when he "fell into medical distress." Agents couldn't revive him.

CBP didn't release the man's name or say where he had been apprehended. The agency's oversight office will review the death.

On Tuesday, agents apprehended a group of 225 people near Antelope Wells, about 95 miles south of Lordsburg.

The Border Patrol has seen a spike in border crossers in that remote area, especially families with children. Guatemalan 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin crossed through there in December before later dying of sepsis shock.

Some School Districts Protest Proposed Medical Cannabis Rule – Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

New Mexico education officials have proposed requiring school districts to designate someone to administer and store students' medical cannabis — a rule some districts have protested.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Wednesday that Albuquerque and Rio Rancho public schools have submitted comments against the state Public Education Department rule set to go into effect next month.

State law and the rule prevent students from self-administering medical cannabis at school.

Matias Trujillo says his 14-year-old son who is entering Rio Rancho High School takes medical cannabis oil three times daily to treat a severe form of epilepsy.

He says he needs a school employee to give his son the midday dose or else his son could suffer seizures in school.

New Mexico Regulators Decline To Grant 6th 'Racino' License – Associated Press

New Mexico horse racing regulators have declined to grant a sixth state horse track and casino license after months of uncertainty.

The New Mexico Racing Commission announced Thursday it would not approve another license following months of debates and millions spent by applicants.

Commission chair Beverly Bourguet says the decision was in "the best interest" of the state but the panel may reopen an application process in the future for another license.

The decision follows appointments to the commission by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. A commission previously appointed by former Republican Gov. Susana Martinez called for applicants.

Under the state's compacts with casino-operating tribes, only six racinos are allowed in New Mexico. The five existing racinos are in Hobbs, Ruidoso, Farmington, Albuquerque, and Sunland Park.

Albuquerque Police Launch Internal Investigation Into ChaseAssociated Press

The Albuquerque Police Department says its officers were following a stolen truck suspected of hitting a teen for longer than they initially said.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Thursday that 15-year-old Manny Tapia died after he was hit while crossing a street on July 17.

The department initially said officers did not pursue the truck. It later said officers were following the vehicle for a few seconds.

Witness Helen Taylor said she saw police vehicles with their lights on following the truck.

Department spokesman Gilbert Gallegos says new information indicates that officers were pursuing the truck for a longer time, but he doesn't know how long the chase lasted.

He says officers did not see Tapia get hit.

The department has launched an internal investigation to see if policy was followed.

Hopi Tribe Takes Over Law Enforcement From Federal AgencyAssociated Press

A small northeastern Arizona tribe now is the primary law enforcement agency on its reservation.

The Hopi Tribal Council voted last month to take over some duties from the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs police. The tribe says it's a move to promote self-governance.

The Hopi rangers had long assisted the BIA in policing. They were created in 1989 to enforce natural resource laws but have expanded their role over the years.

All emergency calls now go to the Hopi Law Enforcement Services, instead of Bureau of Indian Affairs dispatchers. The BIA will continue doing criminal investigations and oversee a temporary holding facility.

Hopi police Sgt. Glenn Singer says much of the crime on the Hopi reservation is tied to substance abuse and family violence.

Video Shows Inmates Beating Officers At New Mexico PrisonAssociated Press

Video of an assault on two corrections officers at a New Mexico prison shows inmates rushing them inside a pod before the altercation moves into a hallway.

Officials released surveillance video showing the July 16 altercation at the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility on Thursday, the same day prosecutors announced seven inmates had been indicted in the 30-second attack on charges that include kidnapping and conspiracy.

Two of the inmates — 32-year-old Rico Sena and 47-year-old Gabriel Sedillo — have been charged with attempted murder.

Authorities say Officer Alex Benecomo and Sgt. Mitchell Lamb were accompanying a nurse delivering medication to the pod.

Video shows inmates throw punches and kick the officers after they fall to the floor.

Officials say the officers were treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Several Public Transit Systems Report Declining PassengersAssociated Press

Several public transportation systems in New Mexico are reporting declining ridership that officials are attributing to low gas prices and broader economic changes.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Friday that ridership on the Rail Runner Express decreased 3% last year, dropping 36% since its 2010 peak of 1.2 million passengers.

The commuter train runs 97 miles from Belen to Santa Fe.

Rio Metro Regional Transit District chairwoman Diane Gibson says low fuel prices seem to encourage residents to drive more instead of taking the train.

The bus systems in Albuquerque and Santa Fe reported 5% declines this year. The Las Cruces system recorded a 3% drop.

The North Central Regional Transit District reported a 4% increase in passengers last year that officials attributed to a good ski season.

Police: Woman Threw Dog Out Third-Floor Apartment WindowAssociated Press

Albuquerque police say a woman is accused of throwing her dog out of a window of her third-floor apartment and killing it and of then kicking officers who arrested her.

Police said in a statement that 28-year-old Ashley Scott was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of extreme cruelty to animals and battery on a police officer.

Police also say Scott allegedly threw the dog's body into a trash container.

Scott remained in jail Friday and online court records don't list an attorney who could comment on her behalf regarding the allegations.

Bill Would Expand Health Care Options For Native Veterans Associated Press

A bill introduced in Congress would expand health care options for Native American veterans.

New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall and California Rep. Ro Khanna announced the bill Friday. A bipartisan group of lawmakers has signed on as co-sponsors.

The measure would allow the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to reimburse about three dozen health care facilities in 20 states for services provided to Native veterans in urban areas. California leads in the number of urban Indian health centers.

A reimbursement system already exists for about 185 hospitals and clinics run by the federal Indian Health Service or by tribes in more remote areas. Udall's office says those agreements helped more than 9,300 Native veterans last year.

Census figures show about three-quarters of Native Americans live in urban areas.