Organizers Cancel Dia De Los Muertos Parade, Jill Biden To Raise Money In New Mexico

Jul 24, 2019

Albuquerque's Annual 'Dia De Los Muertos' Parade CanceledAssociated Press

The annual parade celebrating Día de los Muertos in Albuquerque's South Valley has been canceled this year.

Organizers of the Día de los Muertos Marigold Parade recently announced it will not hold the event in 2019 because it has grown too big.

The Marigold Parade said in a statement on its website last year's gathering attracted around 17,000 people and the group has decided to scrap the November event amid concerns from residents and county officials.

The group says it intends to "restructure the event."

Held annually in the historic Hispanic enclave of the South Valley, the parade attracts thousands of attendees in Día de los Muertos attire.

Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, honors departed souls of loved ones who are welcomed back for a few intimate hours.

New Mexico Aims To Have New Ed Chief Before Schools StartsAssociated Press

New Mexico is conducting a nationwide search for a new public education chief, and officials with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's administration said Wednesday they're optimistic they will find a candidate before the start of the school year.

The search was announced Monday when Lujan Grisham abruptly fired Public Education Secretary Karen Trujillo. She was picked for the job just months earlier by the first-year governor.

Lujan Grisham expressed dissatisfaction with progress on sweeping reforms.

Trujillo says she was blindsided and disappointed that the governor's office didn't really give her a reason.

The dismissal is reverberating through the department, with chief of staff Daniel Manzano submitting his resignation Tuesday. State lawmakers also have voiced concerns.

The shake-up comes as the administration deals with court-ordered mandates and a push to roll out extended learning times for students.

Groups Seek To Intervene In New Mexico Power Plant CaseAssociated Press

County commissioners in northwestern New Mexico and a water utility that serves the state's largest metro area want to intervene in a regulatory case over the upcoming closure of the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station.

San Juan County Commissioners and the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority filed their requests with the Public Regulation Commission this week.

The regulatory panel is considering Public Service Co. of New Mexico's plans for shutting down the power plant and financing the move through bonds that will be paid off by utility customers.

Options for replacing the lost capacity also will be weighed.

The case marks the first test for how the state's new Energy Transition Act will be applied.

San Juan County commissioners are concerned about how the closure will affect the region's job market and tax revenues.

State Flags To Be Lowered In Honor Of Firefighter Who DiedAssociated Press

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has ordered state flags be lowered to half-staff on Friday in honor of a Roswell firefighter who has died from injuries suffered in the line of duty.

Authorities say 46-year-old Jeff Stroble died Sunday.

He was injured in a June 5 explosion that occurred while members of the Roswell Fire Department were preparing for the city's annual Fourth of July fireworks display.

Stroble was a 17-year veteran of the department.

Under the governor's executive order issued Wednesday, flags will fly at half-staff from sundown Thursday through sundown Friday.

New Mexico AG 'Frustrated' With Response To ContaminationAssociated Press

Top New Mexico officials want the U.S. Air Force to immediately begin defining the boundaries of plumes of contamination at two bases and provide alternate water supplies to affected residents.

Attorney General Hector Balderas and the state environment department are seeking a preliminary injunction in federal court to require regular groundwater and surface water sampling as the case proceeds.

The state sued in April, saying the federal government has a responsibility to clean up toxic chemicals left behind by past military firefighting activities.

The contamination is linked to chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.

The Air Force has argued its response to PFAS contamination in New Mexico and elsewhere has been aggressive. Officials have said they've been working to identify and implement long-term solutions to prevent exposure.

New Mexico Air Base Hosts Open House For Cleanup ProjectAssociated Press

The U.S. Air Force is inviting the public to learn about the work being done to clean up jet fuel contamination at a base bordering New Mexico's largest city.

The open house at Kirtland Air Force Base will be Thursday. Experts from the Air Force and the state Environment Department will be on hand to answer questions.

A coalition of environmental groups has threatened to sue, saying the contamination is a danger to public health and the environment.

The Air Force already has spent $125 million cleaning up soil and water around the site, but the group is seeking an agreement that would establish a schedule with clear deadlines and penalties.

The fuel leak was detected in 1999. It was believed to have been seeping into the ground for decades.

Campaign Videos Serve As Backdrop To State WebsitesAssociated Press

Webpages for two independent state agencies are blurring the lines between governance and politicking by using video footage from campaign ads as a backdrop for information about government services.

On the State Land Office website, agency chief Stephanie Garcia Richard runs along the rim of a vast desert canyon in video images from a political ad paid for by her campaign committee.

Agency spokeswoman Angie Poss on Tuesday said no state money was used in the video's production and that it also shows landscapes, industries and interests that affect work at the agency.

The backsplash for the Office of the State Auditor's home page is the same video footage from a 2018 campaign ad for State Auditor Brian Colón that was paid for by his campaign committee.

Koch-Funded Group Hosting School Supply Give-Away Events - Associated Press

A Koch brothers-funded group is hosting a school supply give-away in 10 cities with more 6,500 backpacks.

The LIBRE Institute is scheduled Thursday to begin its school supply give-away campaign in Aurora, Colorado, and will then travel to the New Mexico cities of Roswell and Española.

This campaign is an annual effort aimed at talking to parents about charter schools, Education Savings Accounts, and online tutoring options.

A school supply give-away event in Albuquerque is planned for Aug. 4.

The LIBRE Institute in recent years has held forums around President Donald Trump's tax reforms and other conservative policies but has been vocal on pushing immigration reforms.

Wife Of Candidate Joe Biden To Raise Money In New Mexico – Associated Press

The wife of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is scheduled to visit New Mexico for campaign fundraising events.

The campaign said Jill Biden plans to attend fundraising events on Friday in Santa Fe and Saturday in Albuquerque. Further details were unavailable.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton narrowly edged out Bernie Sanders in New Mexico's Democratic presidential primary and went on to beat Donald Trump in the state's general election by 9 percentage points.

Albuquerque Plans Shift From In-State Police RecruitmentAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller says the city will shift police recruitment efforts away from targeting officers in other departments in the state.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Monday that the city aims to now attract 100 new recruits each year from schools and other states instead of luring officers from New Mexico cities that pay less.

Albuquerque hired several officers last year from nearby departments, including the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office, the Rio Rancho Police Department and the Santa Fe Police Department.

Spokeswoman Jessie Damazyn says lateral recruiting was always part of the plan, but the city is now in a better position to look outside the state.

Missing New Mexico Man Found In River, Identified By Family - Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

The body of a missing man who jumped into a New Mexico river to escape police was found by family.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Monday that Sylvia Encinias Mendoza identified the body as her 46-year-old brother Brian Encinias on Monday.

Authorities say officers investigating another case recognized Encinias as someone with an active arrest warrant before he fled into the Pecos River in May.

Police say a body was recovered from the river, but the identity cannot be confirmed until it is examined by a medical investigator.

Mendoza says she found the body about a mile from where he reportedly jumped into the river 26 miles east of Santa Fe.

Mendoza says the family now has closure, and is waiting for more answers from state police.