New Mexico Jail Completes $13.9M Energy Savings Project, Police Make 2nd Arrest In Pedestrian Case

May 25, 2019

New Mexico Jail Completes $13.9M Energy Savings Project– Associated Press

The jail that serves New Mexico's largest metropolitan area has completed a multimillion-dollar project aimed at reducing electricity demands and utility costs.

The project at the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center spanned 16 months, with substantial upgrades wrapping up this month.

The work included installation of a rooftop solar panel system; replacing 7,000 lighting fixtures with LEDs and controls; converting boilers to a methane system fueled by a nearby landfill; and putting in high-efficiency electrical transformers and new heating and cooling equipment.

Officials say they'll save about $534,000 in the first year. They expect to see a nearly 50% reduction in annual utility costs, and another $79,000 in operations and maintenance costs will be saved every year.

Navajo Leaders Mourn Death Of State Senator– Associated Press

Navajo Nation officials are expressing their sadness and condolences over the death of New Mexico state Sen. John Pinto at age 94.

Navajo National President Jonathan Nez said Friday that Pinto was both a warrior and a dedicated politician who changed many lives for the better.

In a statement, Nez said people will miss Pinto and his sense of love and compassion.

Navajo Nation Chief Justice JoAnn Jayne says Pinto recently helped secure state funding for a local justice center and that the Navajo people have lost a legendary man.

National Council Speaker Seth Damon says that Pinto's life and work will have an impact that lasts for generations.

Police Make 2nd Arrest In Pedestrian Case  – Associated Press

Authorities in northwestern New Mexico have made a second arrest in the case of a pedestrian who was repeatedly run over by a man who police say was fleeing after stealing from a dollar store.

Bloomfield police arrested 40-year-old Antoinette Gutierrez on Friday. She's being held on a felony charge of accessory to knowingly leaving the scene of an accident.

Detectives accused Gutierrez of instructing Eddie Hernandez to leave the scene and assisted him by getting into the driver's seat of the vehicle. She then told witnesses and the responding officers that she was the driver who struck the elderly woman.

Hernandez is facing five felony counts, including leaving the scene of an accident and causing great bodily harm by vehicle.

A witness told police that her grandmother was walking to her car Tuesday when an SUV hit her, and then it drove back and forth over her.

1st Hantavirus Case For 2019 Reported In New Mexico– Associated Press

New Mexico health officials report that a 50-year-old McKinley County woman is the state's first reported case this year of hantavirus, a severely respiratory illness that can be deadly.

The Department of Health's announcement Friday that deer mice are the main carries of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in New Mexico, with the virus found in mice droppings and urine.

According to the department, a person can contract hantavirus by breathing in mist or dust when droppings or urine containing the virus are stirred up and the virus is put into the air.

The department says people can also get hantavirus by touching their eyes, nose, or mouth after they have touched droppings or urine that contains the virus.

Navajo School Voucher Fix Goes To Governor– Associated Press

Legislation giving a handful of Navajo children another year to use their vouchers for tuition at a private New Mexico school is headed to Gov. Doug Ducey.

The House and Senate approved the legislation without opposition on Friday.

The proposal sidesteps a law requiring vouchers to be used at Arizona schools after the Department of Education discovered seven children were using vouchers out of state. Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman says the legislation will give the families another year to figure out their next steps without expanding the voucher program.

Lawmakers crafted legislation to help the children after a school-choice advocacy group released a video last weekend. It showed parents blasting the Education Department for letters demanding they repay the money illegally spent out of state.

Man Faces Life In Prison For Child Sexual Abuse Convictions– Associated Press

Federal prosecutors say a San Felipe Pueblo man faces life in prison after being convicted by a jury of two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for New Mexico says a life sentence is mandatory for 48-year-old Tyrone Coriz because he had a previous federal conviction for a sex crime in 1992 involving a different victim.

Federal court jurors in Albuquerque convicted Coriz in the latest case on Wednesday.

Big Names Headed To New Mexico To Film 'The Comeback Trail'– Associated Press

Oscar winners Robert De Niro, Tommy Lee Jones and Morgan Freeman soon will be on their way to New Mexico to start work on "The Comeback Trail."

The feature film will begin shooting in early June in Albuquerque, Tojajilee and other locations. Work is expected to last about a month and will include more than a dozen New Mexico actors and about 300 extras.

Directed by George Gallo, the film is about two movie producers who owe money to the mob. They set up an aging movie star as part of a scam to save themselves but wind up getting more than they bargained for.

The state film office will be hosting Gallo for a screening of his film "Midnight Run" on Saturday at the Guild Cinema in Albuquerque.

New Mexico Land Office Weighs Changes To Agricultural Leases– Associated Press

The State Land Office is considering changes to rules that govern agricultural leases.

The agency has scheduled a Friday hearing in Santa Fe to take public comments on the proposed amendments, which would modify the requirements for applications to renew an agricultural lease.

Rather than requiring applicants to provide an antiquated appraisement form to capture the value of the land, the agency would look to existing formulas to determine value and rental fees.

The changes also would allow applicants to seek a re-evaluation of the carrying capacity for grazing land.

Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard says she's been looking for ways to streamline the agency's processes.

She says agriculture accounts for the agency's largest geographical business operation, with about 12,750 square miles (over 35,612 square kilometers) of state trust land used for grazing.