Santa Fe Firm Seeks Funding For Space Wi-Fi, No Jail For Superintendent Convicted Of Fraud

Jul 5, 2018

New Mexico Tech Firm Crowdfunding For Wi-Fi Space ProjectSanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

A Santa Fe-based tech firm that wants to bring commercial Wi-Fi to space is offering a stake in the company.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Solstar Space Co. founder and CEO M. Brian Barnett filed an offering statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission seeking approval to raise investment capital through the online crowdfunding platform Wefunder.com. The newspaper reported he filed the offering statement last week.

Barnett says he is looking to raise $1 million in equity funding through the crowdfunding investment site. He says the campaign is soliciting investments, not donations.

Solstar Space is working to create reliable internet connections in the orbital realm. The first customers for internet in space will likely be passengers aboard commercial spacecraft flown by Blue Origin, SpaceX or Virgin Galactic.

Accident Closes Part Of Tramway After Pedestrian Killed - KRQE-TV, KOB-TV

Police closed Tramway Boulevard in both directions Thursday morning between Comanche and Candelaria after a pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle.

KRQE-TV and KOB-TV reported police were investigating the accident and advised commuters to find different routes this morning.

Firefighters Extinguish Bosque Blaze In AlbuquerqueKOB-TV, KRQE-TV

A fire that broke out in the wooded area along the Rio Grande in Albuquerque Wednesday afternoon burned about two acres before firefighters brought it under control.

KOB-TV reported firefighters were patrolling the bosque when the fire broke out around 3 p.m. near Central Avenue and Sunset Road.

The fire was fully contained, according to KRQE-TV. The cause is under investigation. But KRQE reported Thursday morning there is smoke near the site.

Fire officials delayed the annual fire works display at Balloon Fiesta Park for nearly an hour because of high winds.

Ex-Superintendent Won't Face Jail Time For Fraud Conviction- Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A former northern New Mexico school superintendent accused of using fraudulent credentials will not face jail time under his guilty plea to a fraud charge.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that Charles Trujillo will serve no more than five years of probation under a plea deal accepted Monday.

Trujillo was accused of doctoring credentials such as college transcripts that allowed him to secure a $100,000 per year job as superintendent of Mora Public Schools.

The agreement would let Trujillo seek an early release from probation after 30 months and contains a provision that would remove the felony conviction from his record if he successfully completes probation.

District Attorney Richard Flores defended the agreement and said none of the victims wanted to see Trujillo go to jail.

Human Bones Found Near Where Mass Grave Was Found In 2009Associated Press

Investigators say bones discovered in an area of Albuquerque where 11 women and an unborn child were found buried nearly a decade ago are human remains.

Police say the bones discovered Tuesday by construction workers building a park on the city's West Mesa are being examined by the Office of the Medical Investigator.

It's not known whether the remains were those of a woman or man.

Investigators will resume the search after workers scan the dirt lot for power lines.

The discovery less than a mile from the mass grave where human remains were unearthed in 2009 has sparked fears that there may have been more victims in an unsolved serial killing.

Investigators say nearly all the dead women disappeared between 2003 and early 2005 and had worked as prostitutes.

Psychiatrist Linked To Six Patient DeathsAlbuquerque Journal

A psychiatrist in Albuquerque facing allegatinos six  of his patients died of drug overdoses has surrendered his medical license.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Edwin B. Hall also faces allegations he allowed someone without a medical license to treat patients in his practice and bill Medicaid under Hall’s Medicaid number.

A spokesman for the New Mexico Medical Board told the Journal the organization had evidence Hall prescribed medications in a manner that posed a threat to his patients.

Hall was called a “high-risk prescriber” by the New Mexico Board of Pharmacy. His license was suspended in October 2017, but the board contends he continued signing patient applications for patients seeking medical marijuana.

Hall admits no wrongdoing in the agreement that resulted in him surrendering his license, but he must pay $7,500 in fines and fees. He also agreed not to reapply for a medical license in the state.

Man Arrested After Shot Fired At Vehicle Driven By DetectiveAssociated Press

Bernalillo County authorities say a man is accused of shooting at a vehicle driven by a sheriff's detective who was not injured.

The Sheriff's Office says 40-year-old Enrique Christopher Torres was arrested after a bullet shattered a window of the detective's vehicle Monday.

Torres was jailed on suspicion of shooting at a vehicle, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and abandonment or abuse of a child.

According to sheriff's officials, Torres allegedly had fired from a residence at another vehicle on Monday and that two children were in the residence.

Jail records indicate Torres also was sought on several warrants alleging crimes that included drug and weapons violations.

It's not known whether Torres has an attorney who could comment on the allegations.

Xcel Energy Buys Hale Wind Project In Texas Panhandle Associated Press

The Texas Panhandle is getting another wind farm to generate electricity for the state and for New Mexico.

Xcel Energy spokesman Wes Reeves said Thursday that the 478-megawatt Hale Wind Project will cost about $735 million build. The company on Tuesday announced the completed purchase from Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources. Terms weren't released.

New Mexico regulators in March approved the overall $1.6 billion plan that calls for building two massive wind farms along the Texas-New Mexico border. The Public Utility Commission of Texas on May 25 also approved the deal.

An Xcel statement says construction should begin this month. Turbines are expected to be delivered in October, with commercial operations by June 2019.

Minneapolis-based Xcel also plans to add a 522-megawatt wind farm complex near Portales, New Mexico.

Libertarians Seek Recount To Preserve Major Party StatusAssociated Press

The Libertarian Party of New Mexico is requesting a recount of primary election ballots in 15 counties after its write-in candidates for governor and lieutenant governor failed to garner enough votes to compete in the November general election.

Libertarian Party attorney A. Blair Dunn on Thursday said he believes many Libertarian voters wrote down candidate names without also filling in an oval to complete the selection. Libertarians could lose their major party status without a gubernatorial candidate.

The Libertarian Party achieved major party status with a strong showing in 2016 by failed presidential candidate Gary Johnson, allowing candidates to qualify for the statewide ballot with just 230 signatures or votes.

On first count, Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Bob Walsh received 175 votes, while the aspirant for lieutenant governor received 177 votes.

Forecasters Cite Risk Of Flash Flooding From Storms, Showers  - Associated Press

Forecasters warn that a significant increase in showers and thunderstorms will cause a threat of flash flooding Thursday through Saturday and that the threat will be greatest over recent wildfire burn scars in northern New Mexico.

The National Weather Service says "significant impacts" are possible in and near the burn scar of a wildfire that started in late May near Cimarron and continued burning well into June.

Flash flooding in burn scars can cause rock and mud slides, debris flows and damage to roads and culverts.

The office also says heavy rainfall and flooding are also possible in urban drainage systems and areas prone to flash flooding and that lightning strikes will pose an additional threat to outdoor activities.

Afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms are expected to increase dramatically.

Carson National Forest Fire Closes D.H. Lawrence Ranch – Associated Press

A northern New Mexico ranch where novelist D.H. Lawrence once sought spiritual renewal has been closed thanks to a nearby wildfire.

The Carson National Forest imposed restrictions last week that closed the University of New Mexico's D.H. Lawrence Ranch.

Forest officials said in a statement Wednesday that a fire in the drought-stricken Carson National Forest has charred around 3.6 square miles (9.3 square kilometers) since June 24 and remains only 12 percent contained. The blaze is under investigation.

Lawrence and his wife, Frieda, made summer visits to the ranch in 1924 and 1925. After Lawrence's 1930 death, the ranch still hosted many famous visitors. Among them was Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, author Willa Cather and artist Georgia O'Keeffe.

Frieda Lawrence, who died in 1956, left the property to the school in her will.

Wait Ensues For Summer Rains As Drought Blankets New Mexico – Associated Press

Water levels at New Mexico's largest reservoir are dropping and more rivers around the state are being reduced to a trickle as residents, farmers and water managers anxiously await the start of summer rains that could offer some short-term relief to the dry conditions.

The federal drought map released Thursday shows every square mile of New Mexico is dealing with some form of drought as neighboring states across the American Southwest are faring just as poorly.

Climate forecasters who prepare the map each week said significant rains from the monsoon have yet to reach most of Arizona and that only scattered locations across southern and eastern New Mexico recorded over an inch of rain this past week.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque said Thursday the most noticeable increase in the coverage of showers and thunderstorms so far this season is expected through the weekend.

The lack of snowpack over the winter and little meaningful runoff and rainfall during the spring has left Elephant Butte reservoir in southern New Mexico about 18 feet lower than last year. Park authorities say they may have to close areas where visitors typically boat because of the lower water levels.

Upstream, the river bed of the Rio Grande north of Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge has been reduced to a dry wash. What is left of the cracked mud has been trampled by animal hooves and vehicle tracks.

The Bureau of Reclamation reports that about 23 miles (37 kilometers) in the San Acacia reach have dried along with another swath drying south of Isleta Pueblo.

Agency spokeswoman Mary Carlson said the bureau is doing what it can to keep the Rio Grande wet in the Albuquerque reach. That means releasing water that has been leased from the San Juan-Chama project — which provides drinking water to Santa Fe, Albuquerque and others.

But between leases from the previous year and what was secured this year, there's not much left and managers are trying to stretch it until the rains arrive.

"We live in the desert and people are just so passionate about the little bit of water that we have," Carlson said.

In northwestern New Mexico, the flow of the Animas River at Farmington registered last week as zero. U.S. Geological Survey data showed the previous record for lowest flow in that area was in 2002.

The city of Farmington has imposed mandatory watering restrictions due to the drought as voluntary restrictions are in place in many other communities around the state.

The drought map shows more than 86 percent of New Mexico has been hit by severe drought or worse. This time last year, less than a quarter of the state was dealing with only abnormally dry conditions.

Crews Digging At Albuquerque Site Where Remains Were Found Associated Press

Crews are excavating a patch of land in Albuquerque where human remains were recently found and near the spot where 11 women were discovered buried almost a decade ago.

The excavation effort Thursday comes two days after construction workers who were building a park on the city's West Mesa discovered the remains.

The discovery less than a mile from the mass grave where human remains were unearthed in 2009 has sparked fears that there may have been more victims in an unsolved serial killing.

Investigators say nearly all the dead women disappeared between 2003 and early 2005 and had worked as prostitutes.

Police spokesman Officer Simon Drobik says it's not yet known whether the remains found on Tuesday were connected to the case from nearly a decade ago.