Police Say Two Killed In Crash Of Small Plane in N.M., Congress Approves Colorado River Drought Plan

Apr 9, 2019

Police: Pilot and Passenger Killed In Crash Of A Small Plane In New Mexico - Associated Press

Authorities say two people are dead after the crash of a small plane at the Santa Fe Regional Airport.

New Mexico State Police originally said the pilot was the only person aboard the single-engine Light Sport aircraft, but the Santa Fe New Mexican reports Spokesman Mark Soriano later said two people died.

A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman says the crash occurred about 3:40 p.m. Monday and the plane was destroyed by fire.

The aircraft had been operating in the traffic pattern at the time of the accident.

US Congress Approves Colorado River Drought Plan - Associated Press

A plan to address a shrinking supply of water on a river that serves 40 million people in the U.S. West is headed to President Donald Trump.

The U.S. House and Senate approved the Colorado River drought contingency plan on Monday.

New Mexico, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming spent years negotiating the drought plan. They aim to keep two key reservoirs from falling so low they cannot deliver water or produce hydropower.

Mexico has promised to store water in Lake Mead on the Arizona-Nevada border if the U.S. legislation is approved by April 22.

State water managers and federal officials have cited a prolonged drought, climate change and increasing demand for the river's flows as reasons to cut back on water usage. The agreement runs through 2026.

Gov. Lujan Grisham To Give UNM Commencement Address - Associated Press

The University of New Mexico has announced that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham will deliver its spring commencement address.

The school said Monday the first-term Democrat will address graduates May 11 at Dreamstyle Arena in Albuquerque.

Lujan Grisham is a 12th generation New Mexican who was elected as the state's 32nd governor in November. She served six years in the U.S. House of Representatives and later became chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

She earned both her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of New Mexico.

Tafoya Stays On As Leader Of New Mexico State Parks Division - Associated Press

New Mexico's first woman director of state parks will continue to lead the agency under Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's administration.

The state's Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department announced Monday that Christy Tafoya has been named director of the State Parks Division.

She was initially appointed to the position in 2015 under the administration of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, making her the first woman to hold the post since the agency was created in 1933.

Tafoya has been with the parks division for more than 20 years. She started there as the first state parks archaeologist and has managed statewide outdoor classroom programming.

Tafoya says she's excited to increase offerings for park visitors.

Tafoya also serves on the executive board of the National Association of State Parks Directors.

Survey: More Mexican Gray Wolves Roaming Southwestern US - By Susan Montoya Bryan Associated Press

More Mexican gray wolves are roaming the American Southwest now than at any time since biologists began reintroducing the endangered predators two decades ago.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared progress Monday for the species in New Mexico and Arizona, saying there are at least 131 wolves in the wild in the two states.

That represents a 12% jump in the population.

While not the largest year-over-year increase, officials say it's still significant since 21 wolves were found dead during 2018.

A subspecies of the gray wolf, Mexican wolves have struggled to gain ground since the first release in 1998 due poaching, legal challenges and politics.

The population increase comes as gray wolves have marked their own turnaround, prompting federal officials to reconsider that species' endangered and protected status.

'Better Call Saul' To Begin Shooting 5th Season - Associated Press

New Mexico is hosting the fifth season of AMC's "Better Call Saul."

The New Mexico State Film Office announced Monday the AMC-TV series will begin principal photography on another season this month in Albuquerque.

Officials say the production will employ approximately 375 New Mexico crew members and 200 actors from the state.

Starring Bob Odenkirk, the series follows Jimmy McGill, who eventually becomes meth lord Walter White's lawyer Saul Goodman on "Breaking Bad."

New Mexico Man Accused In Deadly Shooting Released From JailAssociated Press

A New Mexico judge has ordered a man who is charged in a deadly shooting to be released from jail after finding that prosecutors did not meet the burden of proof to hold him without bond.

The Farmington Daily Times reports 18-year-old Isiah Ontiveros has been charged with first-degree murder and tampering with evidence in the death of 31-year-old Nathaniel Tracy.

Court documents on the case were recently unsealed following Ontiveros' release late last month.

According to the documents, a detective says Ontiveros shot Tracy during a fight in Farmington on March 5.

His public defender, Shellie Patscheck, says the only evidence against her client is a witness statement, which the judge determined not to be credible.

Ontiveros' preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 29.

Attorneys Prepare Closing Arguments In Ex-Priest TrialAssociated Press

Attorneys are scheduled to deliver closing arguments in the trial of a former New Mexico priest charged with sex abuse that authorities say occurred in the early 1990s.

Closings arguments in the trial of 81-year-old Arthur Perrault, a former Albuquerque pastor who was arrested in Morocco and returned to the United States last year, are scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

Authorities say Perrault had multiple victims in New Mexico but that the charges against him stemmed only from the abuse of one boy while at Santa Fe National Cemetery and Kirtland Air Force Base.

Perrault has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The case has marked a rare federal criminal prosecution of a priest in a state where abuse victims have won more than $50 million in settlements from the Santa Fe Archdiocese.

US Lawmakers Seek To Protect National Park In New MexicoAssociated Press

Members of New Mexico's congressional delegation are renewing a call for the creation of a formal buffer around a national park held sacred by Native Americans.

A measure reintroduced Tuesday would prevent future leasing or development of minerals on federally-owned land within a 10-mile (16-kilometer) radius of Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

A world heritage site, supporters say they want to protect the sense of remoteness that comes with making the journey to the park. They're also concerned about the preservation of ancient stone structures and other features outside the park's boundaries.

The lawmakers and tribal officials are worried about the potential of expanded drilling despite repeated decisions over the years by federal land managers to defer oil and gas interest in parcels that fall within the buffer.

Police: Motorist's Finger Partly Bitten Off In Road RageAssociated Press

Police say a man had a portion of his finger bitten off during a violent road rage fight in southern New Mexico.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports 49-year-old Robert Moore of El Paso, Texas, was injured last month following a traffic altercation with 40-year-old Marco Antonio Gomez in Sunland Park, New Mexico.

Police say Gomez was angry at Moore for cutting him off and later confronted Moore on a street.

Investigators say the men and a 17-year-old eventually came to blows and Moore says someone bit off a part of his left middle finger.

Police charged Moore and Gomez with aggravated battery. The 17-year-old also was charged with battery.

It was not known if any of the suspects had attorneys.

Autopsy: Transgender Migrant Died From AIDS ComplicationsAssociated Press

An autopsy has concluded a Honduran transgender migrant who died while in the custody of U.S. federal immigration officials died of complications from AIDS.

The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator released Tuesday its findings on the death of 33-year-old Roxsana Hernandez whose mysterious 2018 death in Albuquerque sparked protests.

According to the autopsy, the cause of death was multicentric Castleman disease due to AIDS.

Multicentric Castleman disease is a rare disorder of the immune system.

The autopsy also found Hernandez suffered from broken ribs after medical staff performed CPR in response to at least 10 heart attacks.

Hernandez had traveled with a caravan of Central American asylum seekers and was taken into custody in San Diego.

She was later transferred to El Paso, Texas, before being taken to the Cibola County Detention Center in western New Mexico.