Migrant Surge Prompts Deming To Declare Emergency, Intel To Add 300 Jobs In Rio Rancho

May 14, 2019

Migrant Surge Prompts Second City To Declare EmergencyDeming Headlight, Associated Press

Another New Mexico community has declared an emergency in response to the increasing number of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Deming City Council voted Monday to make the declaration after City Administrator Aaron Sera noted that federal authorities dropped off migrants in Deming last weekend.

The Deming Headlight reports that at last count, 170 Central American migrants have been released in the community.

Shelters in Las Cruces also have been overwhelmed and are running low on food. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's office recently paid to bus several dozen migrants to Colorado, and officials say more bus trips north are possible.

In April, Otero County declared an emergency over concerns that Border Patrol checkpoints in southern New Mexico were forced to close since agents were reassigned to help with the migrant surge.

New Mexico Forest Project Sparks Ire Of EnvironmentalistsAssociated Press

Environmentalists say the U.S. government must go back to the drawing board or risk violating federal laws if it moves ahead with a plan to restore portions of a national forest in southern New Mexico.

The proposed project would cover more than 218 square miles in the Sacramento Mountains over the next decade or two. A combination of prescribed fire, thinning and herbicides would be used to create healthier stands of trees and reduce the wildfire threat.

Environmental groups sent a letter to forest officials Monday, asking that a revised study be done. They have concerns about the effects on Mexican spotted owls and other wildlife.

Officials said in a draft environmental review released earlier this year that the work would have benefits over the long term.

US Bills Calls For DOJ Review Of Indian Country ProbesAssociated Press

Federal lawmakers are re-introducing legislation that calls for the Justice Department to review how law enforcement agencies respond to cases of missing and murdered Native Americans.

The legislation is named Savanna's Act for 22-year-old Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, whose body was found in a North Dakota river in 2017.

It was re-introduced Tuesday in the U.S. House. It also seeks to expand tribes' access to missing persons databases.

The bill was unanimously approved in the U.S. Senate last year but died in the House.

Reps. Norma Torres, of California, Deb Haaland, of New Mexico, and Dan Newhouse, of Washington state re-introduced the legislation Tuesday as lead sponsors in the House. Torres and Haaland are Democrats, and Newhouse is a Republican.

U.S. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, introduced the legislation in the Senate earlier this year.

Border Wall To Go Up In National Monument, Wildlife RefugeAssociated Press

The U.S. government plans on replacing barriers through 100 miles of the southern border in California and Arizona, including through a national monument and a wildlife refuge.

The Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday waived environmental and dozens of other laws to build more barriers along the southern border. It's already demolished refuge land in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

New barriers will go up at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a 513 square-mile park named after the unique cactus breed that decorates it, and Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, which is largely a designed wilderness.

Funding will come from the Defense Department following the emergency declaration that President Donald Trump signed this year after Congress refused to approve more border wall funding.

Intel To Add 300 Jobs At New Mexico Manufacturing PlantAssociated Press

Chipmaker Intel plans to add 300 jobs at its manufacturing plant in New Mexico in 2019.

The New Mexico Economic Development Department said Tuesday in a statement that Intel now employs 1,200 people at its plant in Rio Rancho, an Albuquerque suburb.

According to the announcement, Intel is growing beyond its traditional PC and server businesses into products to process, analyze, store and transfer data.

Officials said the new jobs are expected to be both local hires and relocations.

Santa Clara, California-based Intel is New Mexico's largest manufacturing company. The Rio Rancho facility opened in 1980.

Survey Indicates Shortage Of Medical MarijuanaAssociated Press

A survey of licensed medical marijuana producers in New Mexico indicates that a majority cannot meet customer demand.

The survey was commissioned by the Department of Health and obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday. It found that 55% of producers say they are unable to keep pace with patient demand for marijuana and related products.

Nearly all of the state's 34 medical cannabis producers say they have plans to expand operations. The number of patients enrolled in New Mexico's medical cannabis program increased by 39 percent during the year ending in March. Active patients now number over 72,000.

Regulators surveyed producers as the state reconsiders limits on how many plants each provider may grow at once and other provisions for ensuring adequate supplies to patients.

Franciscans Say Credibly Accused Gallup Priest Has DiedGallup Independent, Associated Press

A former Gallup priest listed as a credibly accused abuser by New Mexico's three Catholic dioceses has died.

The Gallup Independent reports the Albuquerque Franciscan province confirmed last week the Rev. Diego Mazon died in November 2018.

The Franciscan province did not issue a public announcement about Mazon's death since both the Diocese of Gallup and the Diocese of Las Cruces listed Mazon as a living credibly accused abuser.

Mazon was removed from ministry at Gallup's St. Francis Parish after an adult woman leveled a complaint against him. She alleged the Franciscan friar sexually abused her when she was a child in Roswell.

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe and the Franciscan Province of St. John the Baptist of Cincinnati, Ohio, Mazon's original religious order, settled with the woman in 2006.

Planes, Buses Move Migrants From Crowded Border Shelters - By Cedar Attanasio And Morgan Lee Associated Press

U.S. authorities are using aircraft to move migrants to less-crowded areas for processing, while others have been bused as far north as Colorado to alleviate the strain on overwhelmed shelters along the border in New Mexico and Texas.

Several dozen migrants were bused to Denver overnight with the help of the New Mexico governor's office to help crowded shelters in El Paso and neighboring Las Cruces, New Mexico, where one shelter reported running low on food.

It's likely the bus trips will continue. In addition, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has scheduled daily flights out of Texas' Rio Grande Valley at least through Tuesday for some migrants.

The flights aim to ensure adults don't slip through the cracks as agents scramble to process the increasing number of families crossing the border.

Provider Says Medical Cannabis Sales Trail Enrollment Growth - Associated Press

Patient enrollment in New Mexico's medical marijuana program grew at a fast clip in April.

The New Mexico Department of Health says patient enrollment in the cannabis program for health ailments such as cancer, chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder increased by 1,632 to 72,375 in April. That's the equivalent of a 28% annual growth rate.

New Mexico's largest medical marijuana seller said Monday that statewide growth in medical cannabis sales trailed far behind enrollment gains between March 2018 and March 2019.

Albuquerque-based Ultra Health says annual medical marijuana sales grew by 16%. That's less than half the 39% growth rate for enrollment.

State limits on medical marijuana production are currently under review. Ultra Health wants the state to increase purchase limits for patients and allow discounts by volume.

Georgia O'Keeffe Museum's Interim Director To Be Permanent - Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum's acting director will now take on the position permanently.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the Santa Fe museum's board of trustees announced Monday the appointment of Cody Hartley.

Hartley has been serving on an interim basis since director Robert Kret departed in January.

Hartley was hired by the museum to be director of curatorial affairs in 2013.

He said in a statement that taking the "acting" part out of his role will be a welcome change.

A major figure in the American Modernist movement, O'Keeffe became inspired by the state after her first visit in 1929. She eventually made northern New Mexico her permanent home in 1949.

2nd Death In Bernalillo County Linked To Hepatitis A Virus - Associated Press

New Mexico Department of Health officials have confirmed 103 acute hepatitis A virus infections since last October with two associated deaths in Bernalillo County.

An acute case of hepatitis A infection also has been confirmed in Santa Fe County.

The current outbreak has primarily impacted people who use both injection and non-injection drugs and people experiencing homelessness.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the hepatitis A virus.

It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months.

Hepatitis A infection typically causes fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, and yellowing of the skin and eyes.

New Mexico School Bus Driver Accused Of Rape  - Associated Press

A New Mexico school bus driver is accused of raping a 7-year-old student on the way home after school.

Stephen George Meek made his initial appearance in court Monday and was ordered held on charges that include criminal sexual penetration, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and enticement of a child.

It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.

According to an initial investigation by state police, the 66-year-old Meek allegedly assaulted the girl after all the other students had been dropped off last Wednesday.

Police say Meek pulled the bus over and walked back to the girl's seat, pulled off her clothes and assaulted her.

The girl told her grandparents that Meek raped her, and police say a physical exam indicated that she had been assaulted.