State Will Not Grant Sixth Racino License, Man Dies In Border Patrol Custody In Lordsburg

Aug 1, 2019

New Mexico Regulators Decline To Grant 6th 'Racino' License – Associated Press

New Mexico horse racing regulators have declined to grant a sixth state horse track and casino license after months of uncertainty.

The New Mexico Racing Commission announced Thursday it would not approve another license following months of debates and millions spent by applicants.

Commission chair Beverly Bourguet says the decision was in "the best interest" of the state but the panel may reopen an application process in the future for another license.

The decision follows appointments to the commission by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. A commission previously appointed by former Republican Gov. Susana Martinez called for applicants.

Under the state's compacts with casino-operating tribes, only six racinos are allowed in New Mexico. The five existing racinos are in Hobbs, Ruidoso, Farmington, Albuquerque, and Sunland Park.


Some School Districts Protest Proposed Medical Cannabis RuleAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

New Mexico education officials have proposed requiring school districts to designate someone to administer and store students' medical cannabis — a rule some districts have protested.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Wednesday that Albuquerque and Rio Rancho public schools have submitted comments against the state Public Education Department rule set to go into effect next month.

State law and the rule prevent students from self-administering medical cannabis at school.

Matias Trujillo says his 14-year-old son who is entering Rio Rancho High School takes medical cannabis oil three times daily to treat a severe form of epilepsy.

He says he needs a school employee to give his son the midday dose or else his son could suffer seizures in school.

7 Inmates Indicted In Attack On 2 Las Cruces Prison GuardsAssociated Press

Prosecutors say seven inmates have been indicted in an attack on two prison guards last month at the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility in Las Cruces.

The July 16 incident left the two correctional officers with severe but non-life-threatening injuries.

Prosecutors say two of the inmates involved are facing 11 counts in the attack while three others are facing eight counts apiece and two inmates for counts each.

They say one of the inmates indicted is 29-year-old Daniel Aragon.

He's serving time for the 2012 murder of his girlfriend's 22-month old baby in Albuquerque.

Authorities say six of the seven inmates were moved after the attack to the Penitentiary of New Mexico.

'Basketball Or Nothing' Covers Hoops Dreams On Navajo NationAssociated Press

A new Netflix docuseries "Basketball or Nothing" examines the hoop dreams of a rural, Arizona town in the heart of the Navajo Nation.

The series follows the Chinle High School boys' basketball team. The players seek to capture the community's first state basketball title amid normal teen pressures and the realities that surround them in the nation's largest Native American reservation.

PGA golfer Rickie Fowler whose grandmother is Navajo served as an executive producer for the series. Fowler told The Associated Press that he wanted to show audiences the obstacles high school students face on the reservation.

Co-director and executive producer Matt Howley says filmmakers sought to allow players, fans and coach Raul Mendoza to speak for themselves without a narrator.

The six-episode series debuts Friday on Netflix.

The department says the rule isn't finalized and it's reviewing the feedback.

Officials Say El Salvador Man Dies In Border Patrol CustodyAssociated Press

Authorities say a 32-year-old man from El Salvador died while in Border Patrol custody in New Mexico.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say the man died Thursday after being taken into custody the night before.

He was at the Border Patrol's station in Lordsburg when he "fell into medical distress." Agents couldn't revive him.

CBP didn't release the man's name or say where he had been apprehended. The agency's oversight office will review the death.

On Tuesday, agents apprehended a group of 225 people near Antelope Wells, about 95 miles south of Lordsburg.

The Border Patrol has seen a spike in border crossers in that remote area, especially families with children. Guatemalan 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin crossed through there in December before later dying of sepsis shock.

New Mexico Town Closes Park After Killer Bees AttackRoswell Daily Record, Associated Press

A park in southeastern New Mexico town has been closed after a swarm of killer bees attacked two people.

Dexter Fire and Rescue Chief Justin Powell told the Roswell Daily Record two internet service provider workers were stung over 100 times Tuesday in Dexter, New Mexico.

Powell says the workers were repairing equipment on top of an unused water tower at the park when they were attacked.

He says the bees chased the workers who climbed from the tower and run away screaming.

Powell says two police officers, three firefighters and emergency medical personnel who responded also were stung.

Firefighters later doused foam onto a bee's nest in the park.

Officials say the town will let the bees calm down and seek a bee expert to remove them.

Alamogordo Drug Treatment Clinic Set To Close- Alamogordo Daily News, Associated Press

A clinic that provides opioid abuse treatment in the Tularosa Basin is set to close after its doctor announced he's moving to Albuquerque.

The Alamogordo Daily News reports the White Sands Family Practice Clinic in Alamogordo will shut its doors Aug. 30.

Gilberto Heredia says he is leaving for a change of pace but also due to the "increasing regulatory burden in the health care industry."

Heredia says it's difficult for small clinics to function because of the regulations.

Alamogordo Police Chief Brian Peete says he believes White Sands Family Practice Clinic is the largest provider of opioid use disorder treatment in the Otero County area.

Peete says he hopes another medical organization will step in to fill the gap.

Report Says Visits To New Mexico Museums, Historic Sites Drop- Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

State officials say visits to New Mexico museums and historic sites have fallen.

The Albuquerque Journal reports New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs says overall attendance for the fiscal year that ended June 30th dipped 2% from last year.

According to the agency, in fiscal 2019, 992,574 visitors were counted for the eight state-run museums and the six historic sites.

In fiscal 2018, attendance was at 1,014,041 and was largely led by the blockbuster "Da Vinci — The Genius" exhibit at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque.

The biggest drops in attendance came at the Fort Sumner/Bosque Redondo site and the New Mexico History Museum, with a 30% and 17% decrease respectively.

Candidate's Tax Returns Show 'Mountain' Of Student Debt- Associated Press

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Maggie Toulouse Oliver released her 2018 state and federal tax returns Wednesday in what her campaign called a good faith effort to be candid with voters, while urging her campaign rivals to do the same ahead of 2020 elections.

The tax documents for Toulouse Oliver — New Mexico's top campaign finance regulator in her elected role as secretary of state — show that she paid nearly $10,000 in taxes on roughly $75,000 in taxable income last year.

Campaign spokeswoman Heather Brewer said the release of the tax returns shows Toulouse Oliver, who earns an $85,000 annual state salary, had nothing to hide as a "hard-working, single mom with a mountain of student loan debt."

Toulouse Oliver reported paying about $2,900 in interest alone in 2018 on at least $60,000 in student loans for her own education at the University of New Mexico and that of her older son, who attends community college. She was able to deduct $650 of the money spent on loan interest. She holds at least $30,000 in credit card debt.

Rabies-Like Virus Confirmed In Quarantined Colorado Horses- KMGH-TV, Associated Press

Hundreds of Colorado properties are under quarantine after a rabies-like virus outbreak has been confirmed in horses.

KMGH-TV reported Tuesday that the Colorado Veterinarians Office has confirmed Vesicular Stomatitis Virus on 213 properties in Colorado after first appearing in Texas and spreading through New Mexico.

Health officials say a New Jersey strain of the virus was last in Colorado's livestock in 2014, but this current virus is a subtype from Indiana that the state's horses have no immunity against.

Officials say this highly contagious virus is transmitted through various flies and could affect county and state fairs and workers on ranches and farms.

Officials say 400 cases have been investigated this year and only one case has been confirmed in cattle, while the remaining cases are in horses.

New Mexico State Senate Leader Is Running For Re-Election- Associated Press

The New Mexico Senate president announced Wednesday that she'll seek re-election against two Democratic primary challengers.

In a written statement, 87-year-old state Sen. Mary Kay Papen of Las Cruces highlighted her legislative achievements in shoring up services for mental health patients. She joined the Senate in 2001 to represent a heavily Democratic district that now stretches from Las Cruces across farming communities of the Mesquite Valley to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Papen, who wields influence over committee assignments and procedure, faces a challenge from Carrie Hamblen, a green business advocate, and Tracy Perry, a service provider for people with developmental disabilities.

21-Year Veteran Of Arizona DPS Is New Police Chief In Hobbs- Associated Press

A 21-year veteran of the Arizona Department of Public Safety is the new police chief in Hobbs.

City officials announced Wednesday that they offered the job to John Ortolano and he accepted.

Ortolano was one of three finalists for the job.

Hobbs Police Chief Chris McCall retired in February after 6 1/2 years as the city's 24th police chief in the department's 90-year history.

Ortolano had been a captain with the DPS and served in the Criminal Investigations Division and Gang Enforcement Bureau.

The multi-agency State Gang Task Force serves the Phoenix metropolitan area and deters criminal gang activity.

Ortolano is a Navy veteran, served in the U.S. Army National Guard as a combat medical specialist and earned a master's degree in criminal justice from American Military University.

New Mexico School District Settles Public Records Lawsuit- Gallup Independent, Associated Press

A New Mexico school district has agreed to hand over nearly 12,000 pages after it was sued for the public records.

The Gallup Independent reported Tuesday that Gallup-McKinley County Schools reached a settlement with Teri Garcia and Stefanie Mortensen, agreeing to release the documents and pay $14,000 to them.

The parents of former Middle College High School students sued the district in July 2018 after the district sought to charge 50 cents per page.

The district argued the charge reflected the cost of reviewing the documents.

The two women asked for documents pertaining to a policy that excluded students outside the district's nine regular schools from participating in campus activities.

District Superintendent Mike Hyatt and school attorney Andrew Sanchez did not respond to the newspaper's request for comment.

Albuquerque Hasn't Touched $250K To Help Asylum-Seekers- Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Albuquerque's $250,000 to support asylum-seekers passing through the city has remained untouched as officials say the flow of migrants has slowed.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Tuesday that the City Council approved the spending in May to reimburse organizations that temporarily host migrants as they make arrangements to meet up with relatives or sponsors.

The city reached agreements with five organizations to pay up to $2,000 per group of migrants hosted.

City Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs coordinator Mariela Ruiz-Angel says the number of people moving through the city slowed significantly by the time the contracts were completed.

The contracts run through the end of this year. Ruiz-Angel said they could be extended to June 2020.

City Councilor Pat Davis says the funding will eventually be needed to help asylum-seekers.