Rep. Ben Ray Lujan To Run For Senate, Pecan Growers Say Thin Pest Control Hurts Bug Fight

Apr 1, 2019

New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Lujan Announces Senate RunAssociated Press

New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Lujan is making a run for the state's open U.S. Senate seat in 2020.

The Democrat had been consulting for weeks with family and supporters about getting into the race and announced his decision Monday in a video posted on Twitter.

He says the Senate needs fixing in the video that was recorded on Lujan's New Mexico farm.

Lujan holds the No. 4 leadership post in the House. He says he will formally launch his campaign in the coming weeks.

Lujan so far is the most prominent Democrat to make a bid for the seat being vacated by Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, who isn't seeking a third term.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said he would not run, citing personal and professional reasons.

New Mexico Adopts First Minimum Wage Increase In A DecadeAssociated Press

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed into law the first statewide minimum wage increase in a decade.

Signed Monday, the legislation raises the state's hourly base wage gradually from $7.50 to $12 in 2023. The first increase to $9 an hour begins at the start of next year.

Union activists and advocates for low-wage workers celebrated the new law with cheers and live mariachi music outside the governor's office in the state Capitol.

Lujan Grisham campaigned on establishing an hourly $12 minimum wage. Democratic House and Senate sponsors of the legislation say it will help feed and clothe children, while allowing rural businesses time to adjust.

Local governments including Santa Fe and the county encompassing Albuquerque already have higher minimum wage requirements than the state.

2nd Guatemalan Child Dead In US Custody Had Flu, InfectionAssociated Press

Guatemalan authorities say an 8-year-old boy who died in custody of the U.S. border patrol on Christmas Eve died of the flu and a bacterial infection.

Oscar Padilla is Guatemalan consul in Phoenix, Arizona. He said Monday the autopsy report for Felipe Gomez Alonzo was delivered in recent days.

Alonzo, who died in a New Mexico hospital, was the second Guatemalan migrant child to die in U.S. custody in December.

An autopsy released Friday on 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin found she too died of a bacterial infection.

That report found bacteria in her lungs, liver, spleen and adrenal glands. It says she suffered a rapid, progressive infection that led to multiple organ failure.

More Officers May Be Reassigned To Help Border CrushAssociated Press

The Trump administration says it may pull as many as 2,000 inspectors from border crossings to handle a surge of families arriving at the U.S.- Mexico border, many of them Central American asylum seekers.

The temporary reassignments, up from 750 inspectors previously, threatens to slow the movement of trucks bringing televisions, medical devices and other goods to the U.S. It also could create delays for cross-border commuters who come for work and school.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Monday the reassignments are necessary to help manage a massive influx of migrants straining the system and overflowing border facilities.

The administration is also ramping up its efforts to return asylum seekers to Mexico, and planning to expand the program to other areas beyond the Calexico and El Paso ports in Texas and the San Ysidro port in California.

US Immigration To Close Holding Area Under El Paso BridgeAssociated Press

U.S. immigration officials say they will close a holding area under a bridge connecting El Paso, Texas, with Juarez, Mexico, that is just a short distance from where a senior official declared an "operational crisis" at the border last week.

In a statement Sunday, Customs and Border Protection says that migrants being held under the Paso Del Norte International Bridge will be relocated to a place with more space and shelter.

The holding area is a few hundred yards from where Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan Wednesday announced that 750 border inspectors will be reassigned to cope with an influx of families from Central American seeking asylum.

The area held hundreds of migrants in a pen lined with concertina wire under the shade of a bridge.

Police ID Pilot Killed In New Mexico Plane Crash As Texas ManAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Authorities have identified a Texas man as the pilot who died after his small plane crashed in northwestern New Mexico.

New Mexico State Police told the Albuquerque Journal Monday that 59-year-old Marvin Monroe Casey was found dead at the scene of Sunday's crash.

Federal Aviation Administration officials say the single-engine Cirrus SR22 was reported missing around 3:15 p.m. Air traffic radar showed it as being 50 miles south of Farmington.

Police located the wreckage around 4 p.m. between Farmington and Crownpoint.

Police spokesman Dusty Francisco says Casey was the only occupant on board.

Officials say Casey was heading back to his home in Big Springs.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

Fugitive Priest Accused Of Abusing Boy Faces Trial - By Mary Hudetz Associated Press

A priest who was captured after fleeing the U.S. decades ago is facing a federal trial on charges that he sexually abused a New Mexico boy in the early 1990s at an Air Force base and veterans' cemetery.

Arthur Perrault, a one-time pastor in Albuquerque, has pleaded not guilty to aggravated sexual abuse and others counts. His trial is set to begin Monday in Santa Fe with jury selection.

The church sent Perrault to New Mexico in the 1960s for treatment at a center for pedophile priests.

Federal authorities have said in court documents that he had as many as eight other victims. But the charges against him only involve an 11-year-old altar boy.

Perrault was returned to the United States in September after his arrest in Morocco.

His attorney did not respond to a request for comment.

New Mexico Growers: Thin Pest Control Hurts Pecan Bug Fight - Hobbs News-Sun, Associated Press

Southeast New Mexico pecan growers say there aren't enough qualified pest control professionals in the area to help eradicate an invasive bug.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports growers told New Mexico Department of Agriculture officials last week they want to get rid of the weevil but it's hard to get overworked pest control workers to sites.

Eddy, Chaves, Lea and Curry counties were quarantined since last November, but Curry was later deemed controlled.

In late 2016, and January 2018, the weevil was found in pecan orchards in multiple southeastern New Mexico counties. The quarantine was intended to prevent the spread of the pecan weevil to the rest of the state until March 1, 2023.

Pecans were the highest crop commodity in the state in 2016 with cash receipts totaling $213 million.

Another Protest Planned Near Annual Trinity Site OpeningBy Russell Contreras Associated Press

Residents of a New Mexico Hispanic village near the site of the world's first atomic bomb test are planning another protest outside the annual opening of the site.

The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium say they will picket near the gates of the White Sands Missile Range April 6 as tourists travel to see the location of the Trinity Test.

The picket comes as a proposal to include New Mexico residents in the federal Radiation Exposure Compensation Act remains stalled in Congress.

Scientists working in Los Alamos developed the atomic bomb as part of the Manhattan Project, which provided enriched uranium for the weapon. The bomb was tested in a stretch of the New Mexico desert near towns with Hispanic and Native American populations.


New Mexico To Put Up Roadblocks For Hunting, Fishing Seasons - Associated Press

New Mexico wildlife managers will be setting up roadblocks statewide during the upcoming hunting and fishing season to gather harvest data and to look for people who are violating state wildlife laws.

The next season starts Monday, and the state Game and Fish Department says all hunters and anglers are required to purchase a new license. Guides and outfitters also must register with the state.

At the roadblocks, conservation officers also will be checking compliance with the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Act, and drivers of those vehicles hauling wood will be asked to show their permits under the Forest Conservation Act.

The agency also is asking people to report any wildlife crimes or suspected crimes to the Operation Game Thief toll-free hotline or online.

Vigil Held For An Albuquerque Woman Fatally Struck By A Car - KOB-TV, Associated Press

Friends and family held a candlelight vigil for a woman killed in a possible street-racing crash in southeast Albuquerque.

KOB-TV reports that people gathered Saturday evening at the spot where 39-year-old Angelica Baca died on March 23 to share memories and sell baked goods to raise money for her funeral.

Baca was crossing a street when she was fatally hit by a car.

The driver of the car was taken into custody and police are looking into whether street racing played a role in the crash.

Baca's children attended the vigil. Her family says Baca loved life, music and was a happy person.

Police investigators are reconstructing the accident scene to determine whether it stemmed from drag racing.

New Mexico Filmmaker Examines The Children Of Prison Inmates - By Russell Contreras Associated Press

Filmmaker Denali Tiller started capturing footage of a former inmate's life four years ago. A Rhode Island School of Design student at the time, she soon was introduced to a few children of inmates serving prison sentences for violent crimes.

On Monday, Tiller's project, "Tre Maison Dasan," is scheduled to air on most PBS stations as part of the series "Independent Lens."

It comes after the Albuquerque Academy graduate filmed more than 350 hours of three Rhode Island boys coping with incarcerated parents. The film follows Tre Janson, Maison Teixeira, and Dasan Lopes over three years as they struggle with anger, loneliness and uncertainty from having a parent behind bars.