SAT: Election Officials Probe GOP House Hopeful On Contributions + More

Feb 1, 2020

Election Officials Probe GOP House Hopeful On Contributions -Associated Press

Federal election officials are urging a Republican U.S. House candidate running in a critical New Mexico race to answer questions about possible illegal contributions. 

The Federal Election Commission on Thursday asked Claire Chase in a letter to give more information about $45,000 in donations to her campaign. 

The commission said the contributions appear to come from corporations that aren't from a fund set aside for political donations. 

The agency says Chase has until March 5 to respond. 

A campaign spokesman says the campaign has followed federal law and will return any contributions containing routine filing errors.


Opponents Of Gun Confiscation Bill Rally In New Mexico -Associated Press

Hundreds of advocates for gun rights rallied at the New Mexico Statehouse in a show of force against a proposed law allowing the confiscation of guns that has the support of Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

The bill from Democratic state lawmakers would allow law enforcement officials or family members to seek court orders to seize firearms temporarily from people deemed a threat to themselves or others. 

Several county sheriffs and at least one district attorney denounced the bill as an infringement on rights. 

At the outdoor rally in Santa Fe, Republican state lawmakers urged opponents of the bill to lobby their state senators and representatives. 


New Mexico Taps Chicano Studies Professor As Poet Laureate -Associated Press

New Mexico has chosen as its first poet laureate a bilingual Spanish-English writer and Chicano studies professor who will create a podcast of his encounters with wordsmiths and performers. 

Levi Romero read Friday to the state Senate for his first day on the job.

The native of the Embudo Valley in northern New Mexico has won a long list of regional awards for publication of his free-verse poetry. 

The three-year poet laureate post comes with an annual stipend of $25,000 and additional funds for travel and printing. 

The job is linked to newly commissioned poetry center at the State Library, based in Santa Fe.

New Mexico Ranchers Say Hungry Elk Are Damaging Property -Associated Press

Some northern New Mexico ranchers are asking state wildlife managers to do something about the herds of elk they say are damaging property and eating the hay they had stockpiled for cattle over the winter. 

Members of the Northern New Mexico Stockman's Association reported the damage to the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish earlier this week and notified the agency that they would have to start shooting the animals. 

State law allows for landowners to remove animals that are causing damage. 

Biologists say heavy snowpack is likely causing the elk to move into lower elevations that include private property.

Report: Albuquerque Police Hired Convicted Felon – KOAT-TV, Associated Press

Records show Albuquerque police hired a convicted felon and allowed him to continue working after officials learned he gave a wrong birth date and Social Security number. 

Documents obtained by KOAT-TV through an open records request show that Amir Chapel was hired in April as the department's policy and compliance manager. 

A department memo and court records show Chapel had been convicted of forgery in Texas, misuse of a credit card in Illinois, and robbery in California. 

Chapel told KOAT he didn't do anything wrong. 

City officials say they couldn't comment on personnel matters.

Navajo Code Talker Dies At 96; Less Than A Handful Remain -Associated Press

One of the few remaining Navajo Code Talkers who used their native language to confound the Japanese in World War II has died. 

The family of Joe Vandever Sr. says he died Friday of health complications in Haystack, New Mexico. 

He was 96. 

Tribal leaders called him a great warrior and a compassionate family man. 

He was among hundreds of Navajos who served in the U.S. Marine Corps transmitting messages using a code based on the Navajo language. 

It was never broken. 

His death leaves less than a handful of Navajo Code Talkers still alive.

Rape Trial Against Former Catholic Priest Starts In Santa Fe -Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A trial has started for a former priest accused of raping a first-grade student from Holy Cross Catholic School in Santa Fe more than 30 years ago. 

The Albuquerque Journal reports that key in the trial that began Thursday will be whether the priest was in New Mexico during the 1986-87 school year, when the boy said he was abused.

The priest has been charged with criminal sexual penetration of a child under 13 and attempting to commit kidnapping. 

His defense attorney says the priest was assigned in Maryland and that jurors would not see a single record putting the priest at the school at that time.

New Mexico Sawmill Struggling Under Revised Owl Ruling -Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

A sawmill is struggling to keep afloat amid a months long court injunction that barred logging anywhere near Mexican spotted owl habitat in New Mexico's five national forests. 

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Mt. Taylor Manufacturing in Milan, New Mexico, was silenced in mid-December because of the court battle. 

A federal judge imposed the ban on timber activities in September based on a 2013 lawsuit by the Santa Fe-based environmental group WildEarth Guardians that claimed the U.S. Forest Service failed to monitor the spotted owl adequately. 

The bird is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act since 1993. 

The business uses ponderosa pine — the trees on which the owls nest.