Senator Charged With DWI Says He Won't Resign, SF Schools Limit Conquistador Reenactors' Visits

Sep 6, 2019

State Senator Charged With DWI Says He Won't Resign - Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A Democratic state lawmaker charged with drunken driving says he won't resign from the New Mexico Senate even if convicted.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Sen. Richard Martinez spoke to reporters Thursday following a court hearing in Santa Fe. He says his experience will probably make him a better senator.

Martinez has pleaded not guilty to aggravated DWI and reckless driving charges following a June arrest.

Police say he slammed into the back of another vehicle in Española, which is part of his district.

Police lapel video showed Martinez responding to officers with slurred speech following the accident.

He refused a breath test to determine his blood-alcohol level.

Martinez is the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He says he'll seek re-election next year.

New Mexico Issues Medical Pot Cards To Outsiders- Associated Press

New Mexico has begun issuing medical marijuana registry cards to people who live outside the state.

Two people in Texas and an Arizona resident have received cards to purchase medical marijuana in New Mexico after successfully suing to enroll.

Marissa Novel of medical cannabis producer and dispenser Ultra Health said that a card was delivered Friday to her company's Arizona-based CEO.

Ultra Health CEO Duke Rodriguez served as co-plaintiff in the legal challenge of residency requirements and qualified for enrollment based on his post-traumatic stress disorder.

Reforms to New Mexico marijuana laws this year dropped the in-state residency requirement. The administration of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says that change was inadvertent and it intends to appeal.

Novel says it will be difficult to appeal the court order.

Navajo President Bans Candy At Parade- Associated Press

Thousands of people will line a highway on the Navajo Nation this Saturday for the largest Native American fair parade in the country. But children gripping grocery bags, pillowcases or empty flour sacks eager to scoop up candy might not get any.

Tribal President Jonathan Nez banned participants from handing out candy and other junk food — encouraging them instead to give out fruit, vegetables and bottled water. He cited the high prevalence of diabetes among Navajos and said the drastic measure would help people think differently about the food they eat.

Tens of thousands of Navajos are diabetic or pre-diabetic, and about half the population is considered obese or overweight, said tribal health executive director Jill Jim.

Nez took office in January and raised money for the campaign by holding walking and running events. He has called on the Tribal Council to extend a 2% sales tax on food with little to no nutritional value — known as the junk food tax — beyond 2020.

15-Year-Old In Northwestern New Mexico Dies From Hantavirus- Associated Press

Hantavirus has claimed the life of a teenager in northwestern New Mexico.

The state Department of Health said Friday the death of a 15-year-old McKinley County boy is the third case of hantavirus in New Mexico this year and the second death.

Hantavirus is a deadly disease transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings or saliva. People can contract the disease when they breathe in the virus that is suspended in the air.

Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel says people need to avoid contact with mice and other rodents and be careful when cleaning up and avoid disturbing rodent droppings and nests, particularly in closed spaces such as sheds.

The department says the deer mouse is the main source for the hantavirus strain most commonly found in New Mexico.

Schools Now Limit Spanish Conquistador Re-Enactors' Visits- Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

Annual school visits by Spanish conquistador re-enactors in Santa Fe are being limited under new rules amid criticism their visits whitewashed the violent history of the Spanish conquest of Native Americans in New Mexico.

The Santa Fe school board voted last year to shrink the presence of re-enactors in schools as views of their visit drew more attention, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports.

The visits had been part of an annual September celebration marking the Spanish re-entry into the city a dozen years after the Pueblo Revolt in 1680, when Native American pueblos revolted and expelled Spanish settlers for more than a decade.

But the celebration of the re-enactment of the Spanish retaking Santa Fe has been forced into a major revamp after protest from Native American activists. Under the new rules, conquistador re-enactors can visit New Mexico history students but not all students in schools.

In recent years, the annual visits and re-enactments drew protests and criticism from Native Americans who said the events excluded the pain that indigenous people experienced during colonial Spanish rule.

Organizers of the annual re-enactment of a 17th-century conquistador reclaiming Santa Fe after a Native American revolt they would hold a new ceremony that seeks to include different members of the city's diverse history.

Amid public outcry, the Catholic fraternal organization Caballeros de Vargas last year retired the Entrada — the dramatization of the Spanish re-entry into Santa Fe after abandoning the city during the Pueblo Revolt.

The fraternal group had organized the Entrada for years.

Native American activists had long complained the re-enactment of the re-entry was offensive.

Country Singer Kylie Rae Harris Dies In New Mexico Crash - Associated Press

Country singer Kylie Rae Harris was one of two people killed in a three-vehicle crash in northern New Mexico.

Harris' publicist confirmed her death Thursday, saying family and friends of the 30-year-old Texas native were heartbroken.

Harris was on her way to Taos when the crash happened Wednesday night along State Road 522. She was scheduled to take the stage Thursday afternoon at the annual Big Barn Dance Music Festival.

The Taos County Sheriff's Office says one of the other drivers — a 16-year-old girl who The Santa Fe New Mexican has identified as Maria Cruz — also was killed. The third driver, whose name has not been released, escaped injury.

The sheriff's office says alcohol is suspected as a factor in the crash but they did not release details.

Harris released her self-titled album earlier this year.

New Mexico's Bob Davie Won't Make The Trip To Notre Dame - Associated Press

New Mexico coach Bob Davie won't make the trip next week when the Lobos travel to face his former team, No. 8 Notre Dame.

Davie said in a statement Thursday that he will be involved with the team next week but that run game coordinator Saga Tuitele will serve as acting head coach for the Sept. 14 game in South Bend.

The 64-year-old Davie was rushed to an Albuquerque hospital Saturday after New Mexico's season-opening victory over Sam Houston State.

He says he expects to make a full recovery but will be following his wife and doctors' advice in not making the trip. The nature of his medical issue has not been disclosed.

Davie is in his eighth season leading New Mexico, where he is 34-54. He coached Notre Dame from 1997 to 2001, compiling a 35-25 record and leading the Irish to three bowl games.

Opioid Users Trickle Into New Mexico Medical Pot Program - Associated Press

Just a few dozen patients seeking relief from opioid dependency have enrolled in New Mexico's medical cannabis program since opioid use disorder became a qualifying condition in June.

Statistics confirmed Thursday by the state Department of Health show that 33 patients have sought out medical marijuana to reduce suffering from opioid use or addiction.

The state's medical cannabis program had more than 77,000 participating patients on Aug. 31. Enrollment increased 34% from a year ago.

At least nine states from Maine to California, along with Washington, D.C., already recognize opioid dependency as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana use.

Other recent additions to New Mexico's qualifying conditions include Alzheimer's disease, autism spectrum disorder and three degenerative neurological disorders.

Federal Funds To Benefit New Mexico Water Projects - Associated Press

Three water projects in New Mexico will benefit from federal grant funding.

The Bureau of Reclamation says the projects will share more than $120,000 being distributed as part of the WaterSMART program.

Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman says the cost-shared funding provides an opportunity for utilities and tribes to invest in using their water more efficiently.

The Fort Sumner Irrigation District will receive nearly $25,000 for telemetry equipment to monitor real-time flow data.

The Ponderosa Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association in northern New Mexico will receive $25,000 to replace 202 mechanical water meters with new sonic meters.

At Zia Pueblo, 40 radio-read meters will be installed as part of the first phase of a larger effort to get more accurate water usage data and to develop a fee scale for users.

6 Cases Of The Mumps Being Investigated In Bernalillo County - Associated Press 

State health officials say they're investigating six cases of the mumps in Bernalillo County.

New Mexico Department of Health officials say the patients range in age from 7 to 41.

Mumps is a highly contagious disease that is typically preventable through vaccination.

It is spread through the air and by droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose or throat of an infected person, usually when the person coughs or sneezes.

The virus can be spread through shared use of drinks, cups or eating utensils.

Health officials say people exposed to mumps could become ill 12 to 25 days later.

But some people who get mumps have very mild or no symptoms and often they don't know they have the disease.

Federal Judge Delays Hearing On New Mexico Drilling Lawsuit - Gallup Independent, Associated Press

A federal judge in New Mexico has delayed a hearing for a motion by a coalition of environmental groups to block oil and gas drilling in the Greater Chaco region.

The Gallup Independent reported Wednesday that the chief district judge for New Mexico listed numerous reasons for the delay, including increased immigration activity on the state's southern border.

The coalition that filed the lawsuit Aug. 1 includes Diné Citizens Against Ruining our Environment, San Juan Citizens Alliance, WildEarth Guardians, Western Environmental Law Center, and the Sierra Club.

The court in May reversed the federal Bureau of Land Management's approval of 25 drilling permits issued prior to 2016 as the result of a similar lawsuit filed by environmental groups.

The new lawsuit concerns permits issued from 2016 to present.

New Mexico Adds Automation As It Ramps Up Film Tax Rebates - Associated Press

New Mexico says it will streamline its system for delivering multimillion-dollar tax rebates to film productions by certifying in-state vendors to automatically qualify for the incentives.

The state serves as the recent backdrop for "Better Call Saul," ''The Goldfinch" and "Godless" and offers rebates of up to 35 percent to video productions for in-state spending and resident employees.

The Taxation and Revenue Department on Thursday announced the creation of a voluntary certification for film-industry contractors that ensures eligibility for the credit.

Taxation officials will verify that businesses have a physical presence in New Mexico and are up-to-date on tax obligations. Certification is valid for two years.

New Mexico recently increased its annual cap on rebates to $110 million, not including companies such as Netflix with long-term business commitments.