Study Finds Flaws In Albuquerque Police Crime Statistics, Art Exhibits At Sunport Draw Attention

Dec 2, 2019

Statistics Find Crime Still Plagues New Mexico's Largest CityAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

New Mexico's largest city is taking more heat for flaws in its crime statistics.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the numbers released in July and at the end of 2018 have been revised dramatically to include hundreds — and in some cases thousands — more incidents than were reported initially.

The city blames a lack of staffing at the records unit that prepared the data and a software glitch.

Reasons for the inaccuracies come two months after The Associated Press first reported in October that the city amended many of its midyear statistics, noting that several categories of crimes had declined by far lesser percentages than originally touted by city officials.

The corrected figures showed aggravated assaults declined by just 7.5%, not 33%. Rape decreased 3%, not 29%, and auto theft decreased 22%, not 39%.

Former Executive To Return As Sandia National Labs DirectorAssociated Press

Sandia National Laboratories has chosen a former lab executive as its next director.

James Peery's appointment was announced Monday. He will succeed Stephen Younger, who will retire at the end of the year.

Peery will become the 16th director to oversee Sandia in its 70-year history. He currently serves as associate lab director of national security sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

Peery says the opportunity to lead the nation's largest laboratory and the institution where he started his career will be an honor.

Peery was selected following a national search that included a review of more than 80 candidates. Officials say he was chosen because of his knowledge of Sandia, nuclear weapons and cybersecurity as well as his leadership experience within the national laboratory system.

Study Focuses On Perishable Items From Guadalupe MountainsAssociated Press

A team of researchers is getting federal funding to analyze perishable artifacts to better understand the early inhabitants who lived in and around caves in southeastern New Mexico and West Texas.

Officials say the region is under-researched and the $200,000 grant from the Bureau of Land Management will help fund more work in the Guadalupe Mountains.

The University of New Mexico is partnering with the Lincoln National Forest, the New Mexico Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Guadalupe Mountains National Park and the Carlsbad Museum and Art Center.

The team will use existing museum collections to build a chronology of basket and sandal styles used by those who lived in the area centuries ago.

They also will re-document two of the area's rock shelter sites with new technologies, including a drone and photogrammetric mapping.

Democratic Senate Candidate Highlights Stance On AbortionAssociated Press

U.S. Rep. and Democratic Senate candidate Ben Ray Luján is affirming his commitment to preserving abortion rights for women.

The six-term congressman said Monday in a statement that he will fight attempts to weaken the right of women to make their own reproductive health decisions.

The abortion-rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America is endorsing Luján's campaign to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Udall.

Existing New Mexico statutes could prohibit most abortion procedures if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns its Roe v. Wade decision. Udall voted against confirmation of President Donald Trump's two successful Supreme Court nominations.

Luján is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Anti-abortion activist Elisa Martinez recently launched a campaign for the Republican Senate nomination. She is the founder of New Mexico Alliance for life.

Report Finds Funding Fails To Stop Domestic Violence - Associated Press

The number of domestic violence incidents in New Mexico has remained steady over the last three years despite an increase in funding for services.

Analysts with the Legislative Finance Committee also found that the number of clients receiving services over the same period has dropped.

According to their findings, domestic violence affects a large number of New Mexicans. Law enforcement in 2018 responded to almost 19,000 reports of domestic violence, roughly the same as in 2014.

About one-third of the cases generally have children present.

The analysts say the number of children receiving services has dropped 20 percent over the last three years.

Although the state Children, Youth and Families Department has failed to implement some programs mandated by legislation, the report says the agency is doing better at assessing the effectiveness of its programs.

New Mexico Joins International Natural Gas Export Initiative - Carlsbad Current-Argus, Associated Press

New Mexico is the newest member of an international natural gas initiative focused on finding balance between energy production and environmental goals.

The Western States and Tribal Nations group announced the addition of New Mexico last week, saying the state would be a strong advocate for rural economies and environmentally sound production.

As part of the initiative, the group is working to establish export markets for liquefied natural gas sourced from basins in western North America.

Another focus has been the infrastructure needed to connect those basins to the export supply chain.

Officials say New Mexico's addition creates the potential for other export avenues for gas from the San Juan and Permian basins.

The group also is pursuing export options for basins in Colorado and Utah and from Wyoming's Green River basin.

Bernalillo Deputy Shoots, Injures Person During Traffic Stop - KOB-TV, Associated Press

Authorities say a Bernalillo County sheriff's deputy shot and wounded a person during a traffic stop.

The sheriff's office says the shooting happened after the deputy pulled over a vehicle on Albuquerque's west side Saturday evening.

KOB-TV reports the person's injuries are not life threatening. 

Authorities say the deputy fired after perceiving a threat but did not elaborate.

Three people were in the vehicle that was pulled over. One of them, who was not shot, was arrested on a felony warrant.

Beloved Snowman Made Of Tumbleweeds Returns To Albuquerque - Associated Press

A beloved snowman made of tumbleweeds is returning to Albuquerque.

The snowman goes up along Interstate 40 the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, called Tumbleweed Tuesday.

The Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority says the tradition goes back to 1995. The agency builds the snowman with tumbleweeds collected from arroyos in the metro area and with recycled material.

Field engineer Nolan Bennett says the tumbleweed used are bigger than the usual tumbleweed most people have on their property.

The snowman typically dons a scarf and blue cap.

Last year's snowman was 8 feet tall and 12 feet wide.

Art Exhibits At Albuquerque Airport Draw Attention - KRQE-TV, Associated Press

Albuquerque's airport is getting international attention for its current display of art.

The Sunport's Lowriders and Hot Rods Car Culture exhibit has landed a spot on the latest list of top airport exhibits in the world by the quarterly publication ArtDesk.

The current exhibit features an array of photos and a 1964 Chevy Impala.

The airport also has a permanent collection of more than 100 pieces that include Native American, Hispanic and Southwestern works overseen by Max Baptiste, who has taken on the airport's newly added role of art curator.

Baptiste tells Albuquerque television station KRQE he's not surprised about the recent recognition since New Mexico is what he describes as "an amazing arts community."

He says the aim is to create a sense of pride and that airports are a great spot for doing that.

Sheriff's Deputy Recovering After Rollover Crash On Duty - Associated Press

Doña Ana County Sheriff Kim Stewart says a deputy is doing "remarkably well" after his patrol car rolled over.

Stewart said Sunday that 31-year-old deputy Christopher Patton was responding to a call for help from another deputy when his Ford Crown Victoria rolled Saturday night.

Patton was taken to a hospital in the Las Cruces area and later to University Medical Center in El Paso for treatment of head trauma. 

Patton has two years of experience with the sheriff's office.