N.M. May Be Home To New Deal Museum, Operator Of Guardianship Firm Gets 12-Year Sentence

Feb 25, 2019

New Mexico Angling To Become Home Of New Deal Art Museum- Associated Press

An effort is underway in New Mexico to build support for establishing a national museum dedicated to the New Deal, the Great Depression-era series of work programs and art initiatives aimed at pulling America from destitution more than 80 years ago.

Supporters say New Mexico would be an ideal home for such an institution as the state received one of the largest amounts of money per capita from the programs, resulting in new schools, post offices, visitor centers and art.

A few months after the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration started the Public Works of Art Project, more than 3,700 artists were hired and thousands of murals, paintings, crafts and sculptures were created for government buildings around the country.

An army of workers built up the national parks and community roads and water systems while musicians preserved folk music and photographers documented life in America.

Clean-Energy Push By New Mexico Democrats Attracts Attention- Associated Press

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is drawing attention from fellow Democrats outside the state for her fledgling efforts to grow the renewable energy sector.

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee on Sunday told a television talk show that he is proud of Lujan Grisham's efforts to build a clean energy economy in New Mexico.

The Democratic governors appeared together in Washington, D.C., on "Face the Nation" to talk about President Trump's declaration of a national emergency to fund a border wall.

A legislative committee on Saturday advanced a bill endorsed by Lujan Grisham that would pave the way for the retirement of a major coal-fired power plant and greater production of renewable energy.

New Mexico state government and public schools depend heavily on the state's surging oil sector for funding.

DOE To Investigate Nuclear Repository After Alleged Exposure- Carlsbad Current Argus, Associated Press

The U.S. Energy Department will be looking into the federal government's underground nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico after workers were allegedly exposed to hazardous chemicals last year.

The Carlsbad Current Argus reports that the federal agency's Office of Enterprise Assessments filed a notice in late January of its intent to investigate Nuclear Waste Partnership, the contractor that runs the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

The notice says employees were potentially "overexposed" to carbon tetrachloride, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide between July and October 2018.

The DOE says it intends to investigate the circumstances leading up to the alleged events and fines could result based on what's uncovered.

Nuclear Waste Partnership says it plans to work with the DOE.

An official with the Carlsbad Mayor's Nuclear Task Force says the problem arose due to inadequate airflow in the repository.

New Mexico May Block Right-To-Work Ordinances- Associated Press

The New Mexico House of Representatives is poised to vote on a measure that would prohibit local governments from enacting right-to-work ordinances that prevent employees from being required to join a union or pay union fees.

The bill from Democratic Reps. Daymon Ely of Corrales and Andrea Romero of Santa Fe was scheduled for debate Friday night.

Several counties in New Mexico have approved ordinances that prevent employees from being required to join a union or pay union fees. The proposed legislation asserts the state's exclusive jurisdiction over the issue. Union leaders contend the local ordinances create confusion and are undermining the labor groups.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that government workers can't be forced to contribute to labor unions that represent them in collective bargaining. The ruling involved an Illinois state worker who argued that everything unions do, including bargaining with the state, is political and employees shouldn't be forced to pay for it.

Utah Cities To Help Bring Electricity To More Navajos- Salt Lake Tribune, Associated Press

Several Utah municipal governments are planning to send city workers this spring to help the Navajo Utility Tribal Authority bring electricity to members of the Navajo Nation who have waited for years.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the test project is expected to get electricity to about 200 families. An estimated 60,000 people on the Navajo Nation live without electricity.

The Salt Lake City suburb of Murray became the latest to join the project called "Light Up Navajo" when its City Council voted to participate at a recent meeting.

"One of the most difficult parts of not having electricity is not being able to store fresh food.", said Deenise Becenti, a spokeswoman with the Navajo Utility Tribal Authority. Most people without electricity keep it in coolers and have to continually fill them with ice.

The tribally owned energy organization was created in 1959 but has struggled amid the high costs of connecting isolated rural households to the grid and the scarcity of government loans.

Expanded Exhibit Showcases Images Of Border Walls, Fences- Associated Press

A photo exhibit showcasing different barriers along the U.S. border with Mexico is reaching an expanded audience.

"Up Close with U.S.-Mexico Border Barriers" was previously shown on Ohio State University's Newark campus. Photographs and maps featuring California, New Mexico and Texas sections of the border walls and fences are now being displayed at the Dayton International Peace Museum.

Photographs and maps featuring the Arizona sections are on display at the Sinclair Community College library, also in Dayton. Both exhibits run through March.

The exhibit was created by Ohio State-Newark professor of geography Kenneth Madsen. He's traveled to border states since 1998, researching the issue and taking pictures of fences and walls along the border.

Operator Of Guardianship Firm Gets 12-Year Prison Sentence- Associated Press

The operator of a New Mexico guardianship firm has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for looting millions of dollars from trust accounts of dozens of people needing help with their financial affairs.

Paul Donisthorpe of Bloomfield, New Mexico, apologized for his actions as he was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque, and U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson later said in a statement that Donisthorpe's conduct was "particularly odious" because he enriched himself at the expense of vulnerable people he was entrusted with protecting and serving.

Anderson's office said Donisthorpe previously entered into a plea agreement acknowledging that he embezzled from client trust accounts managed by Donisthope's now-closed company, Desert State Life Management, a state-regulated guardian firm.

Terms of the plea agreement include restitution of $6.8 million.

University Of New Mexico 'Fiesta Dancers' Sculpture Restored- KRQE-TV, Associated Press

A famous sculpture by the late Luis Jimenez at the University of New Mexico has been restored.

KRQE-TV reports the restoration of "Fiesta Dancers," a standing piece of Hispanic dancers, recently was completed after university officials noticed it was showing its age.

Silo Workshop carefully applied new layers of paint to bring back the piece's original vibrancy.

Jimenez crafted the sculpture in 1996, and it sits in the middle of campus.

Students now will be in charge of the sculpture's yearly maintenance.

Jimenez was killed in his studio in Hondo, New Mexico, in June 2006, after a sculpture fell on him.

Turtle Disaster? 100-Pound Tortoise Missing- KOB-TV, Associated Press

A New Mexico woman is on a desperate hunt for her disappearing pet that can't run fast and can't be missed — a 100-pound tortoise.

KOB-TV reports Dusty the Turtle went missing earlier this month in Roswell, New Mexico after strong winds knocked open a gate that housed him.

Shana Emmert, who was pet sitting Dusty for her niece, says she believes the turtle strolled away from the backyard and into the desert during the wind storm.

According to Emmert's neighbors, the 100-pound Dusty was last spotted near Berrendo Creek in Roswell and hasn't been seen since.

The family is offering a $500 reward for the turtle's safe return.