Monday News Update: National Teachers Union President Visits NM

Jan 20, 2014

National Teachers Union President Visits NM The Associated Press

The head of the American Federation of Teachers is visiting New Mexico to push the importance of early childhood education.

Union officials say president Randi Weingarten met with local AFT leaders, teachers, parents and community members Monday morning at the Parkside Child Development Center in Albuquerque.

Weingarten is also visiting Santa Fe, where she will meet with Santa Fe Mayor David Coss, educators and others who are rallying for the "Keep the Promise" agenda as the New Mexico Legislature gets ready to begin its 30-day session.

The campaign centers on concerns over increasing class sizes, decreasing diversity in curriculums and controversial teacher evaluations and student testing.

Also, finding a permanent source of funding for efforts to improve early childhood education is expected to be hashed out during the session.

Alcohol-Related Crashes Down In Santa Fe County The Associated Press and The Santa Fe New Mexican

Santa Fe County has seen the number of crashes involving alcohol drop sharply over the past year, and experts say that's evidence New Mexico's drunken driving laws, police enforcement and education are making the state safer.

Ignition interlock advocate Tom Starke tells The New Mexican  there's a real trend going on.

The report prepared by the Santa Fe Prevention Alliance shows the number of alcohol-related crashes decreased from 128 in 2012 to 106 last year — a drop of 17 percent.

The number of DWI arrests was also down, and one less person died in a drunken driving crash in 2013 than the previous year.

Starke and others believe one factor is New Mexico's ignition interlock law, which mandates one of the devices for all DWI offenders. Another factor is city and county forfeiture laws.


Santa Fe Surgery Center To Close Next Month - The Associated Press

Facing a decline in surgeries, a Santa Fe medical facility is closing its doors next month.

The New Mexican reports 30 employees will lose their jobs at Physicians Plaza Surgery Center when it closes its same-day operating room Feb. 28.

Facility administrators say physicians handled 7,900 procedures in 2006. Last year, there were only 5,800 procedures.

David Delgado, president of SVH Support, the nonprofit which owns the building, said he is hoping staff can find positions at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center.

Arturo Delgado, a spokesman for Christus St. Vincent, says the hospital is prepared to handle increased patient volume.

David Delgado says at least 40 percent of the surgery center is owned by a partnership of Santa Fe physicians. He says the surgical business will be liquidated.

New Mexico Firefighter Fighting For Seat In Legislature - The Associated Press

Despite allegations that she is breaking city rules, state Rep. Emily Kane is trying to hold down her second job as an Albuquerque firefighter.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Republican Mayor Richard Berry's administration is appealing a 2012 court ruling that found Kane, a fire captain and a Democrat, was not violating city rules by holding public office.

The New Mexico Court of Appeals panel will hear arguments in the case Jan. 28, a week after Kane begins the legislative session.

City officials say Kane flouted policies that prohibit municipal employees from running for office.

Lawyers for Kane, 57, say a state law permitting public-safety workers to seek office trumps city restrictions.

Kane initially sued when officials said she would be disciplined if she ran for the Legislature.

Dogs Help New Mexico Students Traumatized By Shooting - The Associated Press

Roswell students traumatized by a school shooting that left two classmates injured are getting some help from four-legged friends.

KOB-TV reports that a crisis team brought therapy dogs to Berrendo Middle School this week following Tuesday's shooting.

Carrie Leigh-Cloutier, who brought the service dogs, says the canines are trained to help people after a trauma has occurred.

Two dogs greeted students who returned to class Thursday and Friday. They also sat in kids' laps during interviews with police.

Leigh-Cloutier says one dog has also visited the victims, who are hospitalized in Lubbock, Texas.

Police say a 12-year-old boy is accused of bringing a shotgun to the school and opening fire in a crowded gym.

A 12-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl were wounded.


Missing Farmington Teen With Autism Found - The Associated Press

A Farmington teenager with autism who was reported missing by his family has been found.

The Daily Times reports authorities say 17-year-old Travis Brown was found Friday night at a gas station in Albuquerque.

Farmington police spokesman Roque Velarde says Brown wandered into the station between 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. and told the clerk he was lost.

The clerk notified police and the boy's family drove to Albuquerque to pick him up.

Police say Brown, who has Asperger syndrome, was last seen on surveillance video getting into a car Thursday near Farmington high School.

This is the second time Brown has gone missing.

In September, multiple law enforcement agencies helped search for him after he left the city.

He was later found in Durango, Colo.

Airplane Misses Landing At Albuquerque Airport - The Associated Press

Authorities say no one was hurt when a single-engine airplane ended up landing in a field near an Albuquerque airport.

The Albuquerque Fire Departments says the small plane missed its landing at Double Eagle Airport because of mechanical problems.

Fire authorities say the airplane ended up in a field south of the airport. They did not say how many passengers were onboard.

They say the aircraft appears not to have sustained any damage.

Double Eagle Airport is a general aviation airport that doesn't handle commercial passenger traffic.