Officials Confirm First Child Flu Death, Agency Asks Iranian Group About Suspicious Acts

Jan 10, 2020

New Mexico Health Officials Report First Child Flu DeathAssociated Press

Health officials in New Mexico have confirmed the first death of a child due to the flu this season.

The state Health Department says the 1-year-old boy was from Roosevelt County. Officials have recorded a total of 52 pneumonia and flu-related deaths since the start of the season in October.

The health department is warning that flu is still spreading in all regions of the state and that peak activity hasn't been reached.

The agency says this season is already unusual for how early the illness became widespread and vaccinations are recommended.

Registration Drive Seeks To Close Voting Gap Among Latinos - By Morgan Lee, Associated Press

A nonpartisan group says targeted mailings that encourage voter registration are going out to one-in-eight residents of New Mexico.

Broader registration among Latinos is one focus of the effort by the Center for Voter Information in the state with the highest ratio of Hispanics. The group brings big-data technology to bear on efforts to register populations that are underrepresented in elections.

Young adults and single, unmarried women are another focus of the drive intended to increase overall voting.

New Mexico Governor, Executives Attend Aerospace SummitLas Cruces Sun-News, Associated Press

The governor of New Mexico has hosted about 30 executives in the aerospace industry at a closed-door summit to reportedly collaborate on strategies promoting business development in the state.

Las Cruces Sun-News reported Thursday that Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham spoke Wednesday to leaders from Spaceport America, Virgin Galactic and multiple laboratories and businesses at the Space Valley Summit held at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.

Officials say technical experts and industry leaders planned to use the four-hour summit to discuss and refine concepts and strategies that develop the state's aerospace economy.

Judge Sentences Man For Killing US Army Officer For 'Fun'Associated Press

A Colorado judge has sentenced a man to 74 years in prison for the random shooting death of a U.S. Army officer in 2018.

The judge said in handing down the sentence on Friday that Gilberto Chavez Jr. had killed 28-year-old Capt. Daniel Chamberlain Lehman for "fun." Lehman, an officer at Fort Carson from Santa Fe, New Mexico, was shot in downtown Colorado Springs while walking home in September 2018.

Officials say Chavez was under the influence of drugs and bragged about the shooting afterward. A jury rejected Chavez's self-defense argument and convicted him of second-degree murder.

New Mexico Agency Asks Iranian Group About Suspicious Acts - By Russell Contreras Associated Press

Members of an Iranian American group in New Mexico say state Homeland Security recently asked them if they have seen any suspicious activities. 

Iranian Cultural Society of New Mexico President Azadeh Mehrnoush says the agency asked the group to report unusual episodes to authorities amid tensions between the U.S. and Iran. 

The Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said they wanted to make sure they were engaged with community representatives in case any issues develop around threats or hate crimes. 

But Mehrnoush says she felt the email was an attempt to seek information about actions by Iranian Americans.

City Mayor In New Mexico Resigns Amid Criminal ChargesAssociated Press

The mayor of the northern New Mexico city of Las Vegas has resigned two weeks after she was indicted on charges of bribery and accepting kickbacks.

Mayor Tonita Gurulé-Girón announced the decision in a letter read Wednesday at a City Council work session. City officials say Gurulé-Girón had previously said she would not run for reelection.

Prosecutors say Gurulé-Girón was charged in December with six felonies related to abuse of power, bid rigging and offering and receiving bribes.

Officials say she pleaded not guilty Monday to all the criminal charges against her. Officials say the criminal case against Gurulé-Girón alleges she pressured city employees to give contracts to her boyfriend's construction company.

New Mexico Rethinks Sex-Offender Registry Eluded By Epstein - By Morgan Lee Associated Press

Legislators will consider changes to the state's sex offender registration policies in response to revelations that deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein was allowed to avoid registering locally as a sex offender following a guilty plea a decade ago in Florida. 

Epstein was accused of abusing young women at his New Mexico ranch before his death last year. 

A Democratic state representative says he has filed a bill that would require people who are registered as sex offenders in another state or U.S. territory to also register in New Mexico if they spend 20 days in the state during a calendar year.

New Mexico Fines Air Force $1.7 Million Over GroundwaterAssociated Press

The New Mexico Environment Department is fining the U.S. Air Force nearly $1.7 million for not complying with rules aimed at protecting groundwater.

The agency says Cannon Air Force Base let its groundwater discharge permit expire in March 2019 and has released wastewater despite not having a permit.

The base did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment about the allegations and the penalty.

State officials are concerned because the base near Clovis is among those around the U.S. where contamination from past firefighting activities has been reported. The contamination is linked to chemicals known as PFAS.

Tri-State To Close Coal Facilities In Colorado, New MexicoDenver Post, Associated Press

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association plans to close two of its coal-fired power plants and a coal mine in Colorado and New Mexico.

The Denver Post reports the utility plans to close the Escalante Station in New Mexico by the end of this year. It also plans to close two units at the Craig Station plant in Craig, Colorado, and its operation at the Colowyo Mine in northwest Colorado by 2030.

The closures will affect about 600 employees. Tri-State serves 43 electric associations in Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Wyoming.

US Plutonium Production Plan Likely To Spur Legal Challenge  - By Susan Montoya Bryan Associated Press

The agency that oversees the United States' nuclear arsenal says it doesn't need to do a broad environmental review of a proposal that calls for ramping up production of plutonium triggers at federal installations in New Mexico and South Carolina.

A key component of every nuclear weapon, most of the plutonium cores in the stockpile were produced in the 1970s and 1980s.

The National Nuclear Security Administration has released a supplemental analysis related to the production project, saying the determination was made after reviewing documentation and public comments.  

Nuclear watchdogs and other critics argue that the decision skirts requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act.

'The Incredible Hulk' Actor To Become Deputy In New Mexico - Associated Press

Lou Ferrigno, the actor in the CBS television series "The Incredible Hulk," is slated to become a sheriff's deputy in New Mexico.  

Socorro County Sheriff William Armijo is scheduled to deputize Ferrigno next week at a special ceremony. 

Officials say Ferrigno will bring decades of law enforcement experience to the department and be instrumental in recruiting for the department and the county. 

The 68-year-old Ferrigno has served as a reserve sheriff's deputy in Los Angeles County and a member of the volunteer sheriff posse in Maricopa County, Arizona. 

Ferrigno played the Hulk in the 1970s television series. 

Man Accused Of Murder In Woman's Death And Young Son MissingAssociated Press

New Mexico authorities have issued an arrest warrant accusing a Roswell man of first-degree murder in the death of the mother of their now-missing young son.

Roswell police say 32-year-old Jorge Rico-Ruvira is sought in the homicide of 27-year-old Isela Mauricio-Sanchez. She was found dead Tuesday at her home and police say the boy is believed to be with Rico-Ruvira and possibly headed to Mexico.  

New Mexico State Police officers say the boy is missing and believed to be in danger. Authorities say the pair are believed to be traveling in a 2003 maroon GMC Yukon SUV turquoise New Mexico license plate MNF231.

Authorities urge anyone with information to contact the Roswell Police Department or call 911.

US Border Arrests Drop As Focus Turns To Mexicans - By Elliot Spagat Associated Press

Authorities say the number of people arrested or stopped entering the United States along the Mexico border fell for a seventh straight month in December, with Mexicans outpacing Central Americans among the detainees. 

U.S. authorities said they made 40,620 arrests or detentions of people on the Mexico border in December, down 5% from 42,651 in November and down 72% from a 13-year high of 144,116 in May. 

The Trump administration has begun a host of enforcement measures aimed at Mexicans, including a test to quickly determine asylum claims and deporting them to the central Mexico city of Guadalajara to discourage repeat attempts.