PNM Pledges To Be Emissions-Free By 2040, Armed Border Group Leader Said To Have Assassination Plans

Apr 22, 2019

New Mexico Utility Says It Will Be Emissions-Free By 2040 – Associated Press

New Mexico's largest electric provider says it's the nation's first investor-owned utility to set a goal of being 100% emissions-free by 2040.

Public Service Co. of New Mexico made the announcement Monday while gathered with dozens of state, local and tribal officials and students in Albuquerque.

The announcement comes as Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and fellow Democrats in the Legislature push for more renewable energy investments and to adopt policies addressing climate change.

That includes a law passed during the legislative session that sets ambitious renewable energy goals. Utilities such as PNM must get at least half of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030. That would jump to 80 percent by 2040.

PNM CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn says technological advancements and battery storage will help the utility meet that goal five years ahead of the state's schedule.

Nevada Man Arrested For Lurking Outside Forrest Fenn's Home  - Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

Santa Fe police say a Nevada man with a history of stalking famed art and antiquities collector Forrest Fenn's family has been arrested.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Francisco "Paco" Chavez of Henderson was arrested in Nevada on Monday, two days after he allegedly went to Fenn's home.

According to jail records, he is being held in lieu of bond.

Fenn's 2010 memoir, in which he writes of hiding $1 million in treasure in the Rocky Mountain region, has drawn would-be treasure hunters over the years.

Police say Chavez was sentenced last year to three years of probation after admitting to stalking Fenn's daughter and adult granddaughter in order to find the treasure.

When reached by email, Fenn said he wished to remain "quiet" about the incident.

Teen Suspects In Triple Homicide Angry Over Party EjectionKOB-TV, Associated Press

Authorities say three teenagers shot and killed three people at a home near Los Lunas because they were kicked out of a party.

KOB-TV reported Monday that a criminal complaint details a motive for the triple homicide that occurred over the weekend.

According to the complaint, 18-year-old Brandon Dowdy, 19-year-old Robert Wilson and a 17-year-old boy were attending a party hosted by Dowdy's co-worker.

Valencia County sheriff's officials say the three suspects were told to leave after they got into an altercation with others.

The complaint states they left but returned with a shotgun.

Deputies say 40-year-old Darren Bernal and 28-year-old Nathan Morrison from Belen and 29-year-old Joseph Santiago, from Albuquerque, were killed.

The three suspects are in custody.

Court records do not list defense attorneys for them.

Las Cruces Accepts Some 1,600 Asylum Seekers Since April 12- Associated Press

City officials say Las Cruces has accepted almost 1,600 asylum seekers since April 12th.

They say 105 asylum seekers were dropped off Saturday to Las Cruces High School by the U.S. Border Patrol.

Officials say 56 immigrants were received Sunday morning in the southern New Mexico community and many from the group were transported to Albuquerque.

Las Cruces is spending $75,000 on humanitarian aid to cope with an influx of international asylum seekers.

The city council authorized spending on food, water, transportation and personal hygiene items.

Las Cruces has converted its recreation center into sleeping quarters for immigrants as local shelters for the homeless reach capacity.

New Mexico's Homeland Security Department says asylum seekers are likely to continue arriving in Las Cruces for several more weeks.

Armed Border Group's Leader Said To Have Assassination Plans - By Cedar Attanasio, Associated Press

The leader of an armed group that has been detaining asylum-seeking families from Central America near the Mexican border said two years ago that he was training supporters to assassinate Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and billionaire Democratic supporter George Soros.

That’s according to a criminal complaint filed Monday.

The FBI declined to comment on why it waited to bring charges against Larry Hopkins following a search in 2017. His arrest follows widespread criticism after videos surfaced of their members carrying firearms and detaining groups of immigrants crossing the border.

Members of the group the United Constitutional Patriots say they want to draw attention to immigration violations and assist federal law enforcement in patrolling the border.

Hopkins, 69, made an initial appearance in federal court on Monday, two days after the FBI arrested him on charges of possession of firearms by a felon.

His attorney said he will plead not guilty at a hearing next week in Albuquerque. He is being held without bond.

New Mexico Man Charged After Weapons Found At HomeAssociated Press

A member of an armed civilian group that has detained migrants near the U.S.-Mexico border was charged Monday with being a felon in possession of firearms.

The federal charges stem from a search of his New Mexico home in 2017.

Larry Hopkins made his initial court appearance Monday in Las Cruces. The 69-year-old man was arrested over the weekend near Sunland Park, where he and others members of his group have been patrolling the border.

The group gained attention last week for stopping hundreds of migrants, drawing criticism from immigrant advocates and Democratic leaders in New Mexico.

A criminal complaint states Hopkins, who has three prior felony convictions, had nine firearms and ammunition in his northern New Mexico home.

Federal officials declined to say why they waited over a year to file the charges.

Hopkins' lawyer said he plans to enter a plea of not guilty at a bond hearing in Albuquerque next week.

Report Says Man Arrested Near Border Faced Similar Weapon Charge- Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

A New Mexico man who is a member of an armed civilian group that has detained migrants near the U.S.-Mexico border and was arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of firearms reportedly faced similar charges 13 years ago in Oregon.

Larry Mitchell Hopkins, 69, also was accused of impersonating a police officer in Oregon's Klamath County in 2006 and claimed to be a fugitive bounty hunter, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

The FBI and Sunland Park police arrested Hopkins on a federal complaint Saturday.

Hopkins was booked into the Doña Ana County detention center in Las Cruces and it wasn't immediately known if he had an attorney who could comment on the allegations.

University Of New Mexico Revamps Film Program Amid Demand- Associated Press

The University of New Mexico has revamped its film and digital arts program amid the demand of film and television productions in the state.

The school announced this month it will offer new degree plans in the Department of Film and Digital Arts that will allow students to focus on film production, gaming and animation, or criticism. The department is also offering new minors in each of these areas.

Department chair James Stone said the changes were needed after Netflix announced it would be purchasing Albuquerque Studios and the state saw another increase in film production.

The department also is introducing new classes such as acting for the camera, directing, set design and construction, practical special effects and expanded coursework in screenwriting. In addition, the Department of Film and Digital Arts changed its name from the Department of Cinematic Arts.

No Prosecution In Deputy's Fatal Shootings Of 2 After Chase- Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A district attorney has decided against prosecuting a Bernalillo County sheriff's deputy in the 2017 fatal shootings of two men who were in a stolen truck following a pursuit.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that District Attorney Clint Wellborn of the 7th Judicial District said prosecutors couldn't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Deputy Joshua Mora's shootings of 23-year-old Isaac Padilla and 25-year-old Martin Jim weren't justified.

Sheriff Manuel Gonzales praised the decision, saying Wellborn "made the right legal and ethical decision."

Gonzales has said Mora fired because Padilla revved the truck's engine and Mora believed Padilla was going to run over his sergeant.

An attorney for the families of the dead men and two passengers who weren't hit, Sam Bregman, expressed disappointment and said there were grounds for prosecution.

New Mexico Unemployment Rate Holds At 5.1%

New Mexico officials say the state's seasonally adjusted rate of unemployment held steady at 5.1% in March.

The Workforce Solutions Department said Friday that the unemployment rate remained unchanged from February, while the national unemployment rate fell to 3.9% for March.

Only Alaska and the District of Columbia have higher unemployment rates.

During a year ending in March, payroll employment across New Mexico grew by 10,300 jobs or 1.3%. That doesn't include agricultural work.

The mining and construction sectors recorded the fastest job growth over the past year, followed by leisure and hospitality.

The public sector shed about 1,100 jobs, a 1.3% decline in government work.

2020 Could Disrupt New Mexico's All-Male Senate LineageAssociated Press

A woman is knocking on the door of the ultimate boys' club in New Mexico politics, as Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver signals her interest in the 2020 race for U.S. Senate.

Toulouse Oliver was viewed Monday as a likely candidate for a seat being vacated by Sen. Tom Udall. New Mexico never has sent a woman to the U.S. Senate, though it has elected consecutive female governors.

An unabashed progressive, Toulouse Oliver registered a campaign committee last week with the Federal Election Commission. The Democratic nomination already is being sought by U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján.

GOP Senate nominee Heather Wilson lost in 2012 amid a gradual Democratic electoral shift. Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich won re-election last year in a three-way contest without female or minority candidates.

New Mexico Election Regulator Seeks US Senate Seat In 2020- Associated Press

New Mexico's top election regulator has filed paperwork to run for U.S. Senate in 2020.

Democratic Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver on Friday registered a campaign account with the Federal Election Commission. Political adviser Heather Brewer confirmed that Toulouse Oliver had filed new paperwork to pursue the seat that Sen. Tom Udall plans to vacate at the end of 2020.

The Democratic nomination also is being sought by 6th-term U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján.

Toulouse Oliver previously served as Bernalillo County Clerk and won election as secretary of state in 2016.

In 2018, she won re-election by handily defeating Republican Gavin Clarkson. Clarkson now is running for U.S. Senate as a Republican.

Toulouse Oliver has aggressively pursued reforms aimed at expanding ballot access, including election-day voter registration.