KUNM Regular Programming

State GOP Courts Latinos And Native American Voters, Officials Screening Pregnant Women For Syphilis

Jan 13, 2020

New Mexico GOP Courting Latinos, Native American Voters - By Russell Contreras, Associated Press

New Mexico Republicans say they will embark on an aggressive strategy to win over Hispanic and Native American voters in 2020 as the party experiences its most diverse primary races in recent history.

State GOP Chair Steve Pearce said Republicans will appoint Hispanic and Native American outreach coordinators in all of the state's 33 counties.

Native Americans and Latinos are running in two GOP primaries for U.S. House seats and for the U.S. Senate in New Mexico.

The Democratic Party of New Mexico has faced criticism for not reaching out to Hispanic voters enough and for maintaining largely white leadership. Latino Democrats in the state Senate created a Hispanic Caucus in 2017 after fellow Democrats elected an all-white leadership team. In 2018, however, New Mexico elected an all-Democratic, all-minority U.S. House delegation for the first time.  

US Lawmakers From New Mexico Hold Out On Review Of Nuke Plan - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

Members of New Mexico's congressional delegation are finding themselves in an awkward position as watchdog groups claim the U.S. government is skirting one of the nation's key environmental laws.

Critics say the government is refusing to take a bigger look at the consequences of ramping up production of key plutonium components for the nation's nuclear arsenal.

As supporters of bringing more defense spending to the state, the Democratic lawmakers have been reticent to speak about on whether there should be a more in-depth review of the plutonium core project.  

This latest controversy follows their intense criticism just days earlier of the Trump administration's plans to roll back environmental oversight of other federal projects.

New Mexico Man In House Arrest Sues To Use Medical MarijuanaKOAT-TV, Associated Press

A New Mexico man serving a house arrest sentence for drunken driving is suing to be allowed to use medical marijuana.

KOAT-TV reports attorney Jacob Candelaria recently filed a lawsuit in state district court on behalf of Joe Montaño, who said authorities recently seized his medical cannabis.

According to court documents, correctional officers searched Montaño's home while he was on house arrest, found the marijuana, and put him in jail for a month as punishment.

The petition is seeking a judge to order the jail to allow him to possess and use his medical marijuana. Metropolitan Detention Center Chief of Corrections Ralph Fernadez says medical marijuana use is prohibited in the detention center and by those in house arrest.

Colorado Man Arrested With Uber Driver's Car In New MexicoKOB-TV, Associated Press

A man accused of trying to kidnap his Uber driver in Colorado is being held in New Mexico.

KOB-TV reported Sunday that 23-year-old Adam Salaz was arrested in Carlsbad over the weekend by local deputies. Police say Salaz ordered an Uber near Grand Junction on Saturday.

When the driver arrived, Salaz allegedly flashed a gun at her and ordered her to drive him to the desert.

Authorities say the driver escaped by jumping out of the car as it was moving. She only suffered minor injuries. Salaz is now facing kidnapping charges.

Attorneys Expect More Santa Fe Police Evidence ProblemsSanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

Attorneys say a scathing report that found dozens of issues with the Santa Fe Police Department's handling and storage of evidence is just the beginning.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports an audit from a public safety consultant release Friday found that evidence for a sexual assault from 2015, "could not be located after a prolonged search."

The audit also found that 40 percent of inventory for misdemeanor cases should be disposed of because it was held past the statute of limitations.

Chief Public Defender Bennett Baur says the report shows that police and prosecution practices have to be challenged around the state. 

New Mexico Kicks Carlton Bragg Jr. Off Team After DWI ArrestAssociated Press

New Mexico forward Carlton Bragg Jr. has been dismissed from the Lobos basketball team following his arrest on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and marijuana possession.

In a statement Sunday, coach Paul Weir said Bragg needs to focus on his personal well-being.

The arrest comes nine days after the 24-year-old Bragg was reinstated to the team. He had received a three-game suspension while university officials investigated sexual misconduct allegations against him by another student.

Bragg was arrested at a sobriety checkpoint in Albuquerque Sunday, hours after the 15-and-3 Lobos beat Air Force.

Health Officials Order Screening For More Pregnant Women For Syphilis - Associated Press

New Mexico health officials are ordering physicians and other medical professionals to step up screening of pregnant women for syphilis.

The state Department of Health says an order issued Friday is intended to prevent congenital syphilis. That's a disease that occurs when a mother with sexually transmitted syphilis passes the infection on to her baby during pregnancy.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that congenital syphilis has increased annually in the US since 2012. Under the order, medical professionals must test all pregnant women in their first and third trimesters and again at delivery. 

Governor, Executives Attend Aerospace Summit - Las Cruces Sun-News, Associated Press

The governor has hosted about 30 executives in the aerospace industry at a closed-door summit to reportedly collaborate on strategies promoting business development in the state.

Las Cruces Sun-News reported Thursday that Gov. Lujan Grisham on Wednesday spoke to leaders from Spaceport America, Virgin Galactic and multiple laboratories and businesses at the Space Valley Summit held at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.

Officials say technical experts and industry leaders planned to use the four-hour summit to discuss and refine concepts and strategies that develop the state's aerospace economy.

Santa Fe Attorney Fills Vacant Judgeship In First District - Associated Press

Santa Fe attorney Shannon Broderick Bulman has been appointed to fill a vacant judgeship in the First Judicial District left by the Dec. 31 retirement of state District Judge Raymond Ortiz. Bulman's appointment was made by the Governor.

As the Division III judge in the First Judicial District, Ortiz presided primarily over civil cases in Santa Fe, Rio Arriba and Los Alamos counties since 2005.  

Chief Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer has shuffled dockets slightly in the eight-judge district, giving Judge Maria Sanchez-Gagne the civil case docket.

Bulman will preside over family court cases, which is more in keeping with her professional experience. 

New Mexico Health Officials Report First Child Flu Death Associated Press

Health officials in New Mexico have confirmed the first death of a child due to the flu this season.

The state Health Department says the 1-year-old boy was from Roosevelt County. Officials have recorded a total of 52 pneumonia and flu-related deaths since the start of the season in October.

The health department is warning that flu is still spreading in all regions of the state and that peak activity hasn't been reached.

The agency says this season is already unusual for how early the illness became widespread and vaccinations are recommended.