UNM Provost Against Proposed Faculty Union, ABQ Mayor Submits Package Of Infrastructure Projects

Sep 9, 2019

University Of New Mexico Provost Warns Against Faculty UnionAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

The provost of New Mexico's largest university says he is against a faculty union and is warning against its creation.

The Albuquerque Journal reports University of New Mexico Provost James Paul Holloway in a campus memo emailed Thursday said while he doesn't have a vote in the matter, he doesn't think a union would be in the best interests of the university.

Holloway wrote that "a system driven by distinction, quality of the ideas and impact of individuals" are inconsistent with the core labor protection ideas of unionism.

Law Library professor Ernesto Longa called Holloway's email a classic union-busting technique.

Faculty members at New Mexico's largest university will vote on the creation of a faculty union on Oct. 16 and 17.

Authorities Arrest Possible Suspect In Girl’s Disappearance  – Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Authorities say they're searching for a 5-year-old Española girl who has been missing since Sunday morning and they have a possible suspect in custody.

The Rio Arriba County sheriff announced late Sunday that an Amber alert was issued for the girl. The Albuquerque Journal reports the sheriff’s office and the FBI announced at a joint press conference Monday that someone is in custody.

The name of the suspect was not released, but authorities said he is being held on outstanding warrants out of Bernalillo County.

The girl has been identified as Renezmae Calzada. Authorities say she is 4 feet tall. Photos released by authorities show her with long, dark hair and brown eyes.

She was reportedly last seen wearing blue shorts with stars and a "Frozen" shirt.

Authorities ask anyone with information to call the Rio Arriba County Sherriff's Office at 505-753-5555.

Rio Arriba covers more than 5,800 square miles in northern New Mexico, stretching from the county line north of Santa Fe to the Colorado border.

Education Secretary Greets Immense Challenges With OptimismAssociated Press

New Mexico's newly arrived secretary of public education sees an unprecedented moment of promise at schools as the state spends more on teachers and overhauls its student testing, teacher evaluations and school ratings.

In his fifth active day on the job, Secretary Ryan Stewart said Monday that he already has traveled to an ethnically diverse school district on the U.S.-Mexico border as he takes the reins of a public education system that is under court order to improve.

Stewart says the Public Education Department currently is choosing among contract proposals to create a new statewide student testing system to start in the spring of 2020.

He wants to reverse a teacher shortage and says New Mexico can meet "immense needs with immense resources."

Suspicious Fires On Navajo Nation Spark InvestigationFarmington Daily-Times, Associated Press

Investigators are asking for help from the public in connection with a string of suspicious fires on the Navajo Nation.

The Farmington Daily Times reports the Bureau of Indian Affairs Wildland Fire Management Navajo Region is offering a reward to anyone with information about fires that have occurred since July at Navajo Agricultural Products Industry.

An alert was posted on Sept. 4 on the agency's Facebook page, stating that a series of fires have occurred at Navajo Agricultural Products Industry in areas south and east of Ojo Amarillo.

Authorities say there have been at least four fires since July 26.

Johnson Benallie, regional assistant fire management officer for the Navajo Region of the BIA Fire and Aviation Management, says the investigation remains open.

New Mexico Corrections Tried To Keep Damning Report SecretSanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

The New Mexico Department of Corrections has spent the last six months fighting the release of a 2014 report faulting the agency for not monitoring its inmate medical care contract.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the document is part of a whistleblower lawsuit filed by the department's former behavioral health bureau chief and details an investigation about the lack of audits on the medical care of inmates in New Mexico's prison system.

State District Judge Raymond Ortiz says Corrections Department officials "willful" tried to conceal evidence in the case.

The report also says former behavioral health bureau chief Bianca McDermott face retaliation for reporting the failures.

Corrections Department spokesman Eric Harrison says the strategy regarding the case was made by the prior administration.

Number Of Border Crossers, Families With Kids, Falls Again Associated Press

The Trump administration says it saw a 30% drop in the number of people apprehended at the southern U.S. border from July to August, amid summer heat and aggressive crackdowns on both sides of the border to deter migrants.

Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan said Monday that the percentage of border crossers who are traveling as families also slid from roughly 65% to 70% of all migrants to 55%.

Morgan credited President Donald Trump's efforts to reduce immigration as well as the Mexican government's clampdown on migrants traveling north, which it says resulted in a 56% reduction in three months.

The Border Patrol apprehended just over 50,600 people at the southern border in August.

A majority of immigrants coming to the U.S. are Central American families who turn themselves in and are fleeing violence and poverty.

Albuquerque Mayor Submits Package Of Infrastructure Projects - Associated Press

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller is proposing a package of six infrastructure projects that he says will help grow the city's tourism and convention industries.

Keller's announcement of the $28 million package submitted Friday to the City Council says it would be funded by proceeds from refinancing existing bonds and not increased taxes.

The package includes facilities for softball, soccer, track, baseball tournaments and the convention center.

The projects include replacing the city's 16-year-old indoor track, constructing a multi-use soccer facility and rebuilding, upgrading and expanding other sports facilities.

Other projects include upgrading the convention center, connecting downtown and the convention center with a new multi-use trail and preserving open space for Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta landings.

As Clinics Close, More Women Go Out Of State For Abortions - Associated Press

An analysis by The Associated Press shows that at least 276,000 women in the U.S. sought abortions outside of their home state between 2012 and 2017. 

The share of non-residents getting abortions grew markedly in some states, including New Mexico, where The Associated Press reports the number more than doubled in that 5-year time period. 

New Mexico County Using App To Battle Illegal Dumping - Farmington Daily Times, Associated Press

A northwestern New Mexico county is hoping to fight illegal trash dumping with a new mobile app.

The Farmington Daily Times reports San Juan County recently released the Clean Up San Juan app through the Apple App and Google Play stores and is asking residents to use it to report illegal dumping.

The app allows residents to report illegal trash dump sites by uploading GPS coordinates and photos of sites to county officials.

Before the app, county officials had to rely on word of mouth to find the illegal dump sites, and sometimes vague directions to sites.

Officials say San Juan County crews have cleaned up about 35 tons of trash at illegal dump sites on public lands since November.

Racing Chaplain In New Mexico Seeks To Help Jockeys, Horses - Carlsbad Current Argus, Associated Press

A southern New Mexico chaplain has been working for years to calm the nerves of competitive jockeys and often asks prayers for racing horses.

The Carlsbad Current Argus reports Chaplain Darrell Winter has offered his services at the Ruidoso Downs Racetrack in Ruidoso for nearly 20 years and believes his role gives needed spiritual relief amid pressures of big purses.

The 66-year-old Winter offers prayers to jockeys in the sauna and barns before races. He assists anyone visiting his racetrack chapel.

A Southern Baptist preacher, Winter is ordained by both the North American Mission Board and Racetrack Chaplaincy of America.

Winter says he knows the importance of being in the right state of mind before racing a half-ton or heavier animal.

Sheriff: Country Singer Kylie Rae Harris Caused Deadly Crash – Associated Press

Authorities say country singer Kylie Rae Harris caused a three-vehicle crash in northern New Mexico that left her and a 16-year-old girl dead.

Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe told the Taos News that investigators believe Harris caused Wednesday's crash and that speed appeared to be a contributing factor when she clipped the back of another vehicle, sending her into oncoming traffic. She then crashed head-on into an SUV driven by Maria Elena Cruz.

The Taos High School student died at the scene. The responding emergency crew included her father, Pedro Cruz, the deputy chief of the San Cristobal Volunteer Fire Department.

The community is holding a fundraising dinner to help the Cruz family.

Harris , a 30-year-old single mom, was in Taos to perform at an annual music festival.

White Sands To Hold Oct. 5 Open House At Nuclear Bomb Site - Associated Press

White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico has scheduled an Oct. 5 open house at Trinity Site, the second of two such events planned this year.

Trinity Site is where the world's first atomic bomb was detonated July 16, 1945.

Range officials said the open house is free and that no reservations are required. Entry will be allowed from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Visitors can walk to ground zero where a small obelisk marks the spot where the bomb was detonated. Historical photos are mounted on the fence surrounding the area.

Visitors can also ride a shuttle bus to travel the 2 miles from ground zero to ranch houses where scientists assembled the bomb's plutonium core.