UNM Regents Vote Again To Cut Sports, Former Educator Convicted In Mora Schools Forgery Scandal

Aug 18, 2018

UNM Regents Vote Again To Cut Sports– Associated Press

University of New Mexico regents have voted again in favor of cutting men's soccer and three other teams in an effort to get spending under control within the school's troubled athletics department.

The cuts also are aimed at meeting federal Title IX requirements for ensuring gender equity.

The unanimous vote came Friday after regents heard hours of public testimony that included emotional pleas to preserve men's soccer, men's and women's skiing and beach volleyball.

The regents did opt to preserve the women's diving team.

Key state lawmakers called for regents to delay their vote, saying solutions could be hashed out during the next legislative session.

But university officials voiced concerns about the lack of recurring funding to support athletics and said more uncertainty would only hurt the teams and student athletes.

Former Educator Convicted In Mora Schools Forgery Scandal – Associated Press andLas VegasOptic

A woman whose public-education license was scrutinized as a result of investigations stemming from former Mora Superintendent Charles Trujillo's arrest has been convicted of forgery.

The Las Vegas Optic reports Vanessa Sidransky-Montano was found guilty this week after a one-day trial.

Prosecutors say Sidransky-Montano knowingly obtained a falsified K-12 education license. She faces 18 months in jail. The charge stems from a multi-year New Mexico State Police investigation involving more than a half-dozen K-12 educators.

The 41-year-old's case is connected to the fraud charges against her ex-boss, Trujillo. The former Mora and Pecos school district administrator recently pleaded guilty to one felony count of forgery.

A 10-month Optic investigation discovered seven instances where the state education department's Professional Licensure Bureau awarded licenses to individuals who didn't qualify for them.

Results Show Grades For New Mexico Schools Remain Flat – Associated Press

The number of New Mexico public schools receiving top school grades remained flat while some schools face closure for constantly getting an "F."

The Public Education Department on Friday released its annual report card for schools that showed around the same number of schools received grades of "A'' and "B'' last school year than the previous year.

Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski says the number of schools earning an "F'' went down slightly.

He says the findings show many districts have made an effort to adopt reforms that focus on student performance as well as mentoring programs for struggling teachers and principals.

Although grades remain flat, Ruszkowski says the statewide student standards have gotten more rigorous.

Albuquerque Airport To Get Air Service To Guadalajara – Associated Press

The Albuquerque International Sunport is finally getting an international flight after nine years.

Volaris, Mexico's largest low-cost carrier, announced Friday that would begin twice-weekly, non-stop service from Albuquerque to Guadalajara, Mexico, in November.

It's the first international service from the Sunport since AeroMexico ended service to Chihuahua City in 2009.

Officials said the new flight would provide tourism opportunities and economic development. Guadalajara, which is one of Albuquerque's sister cities, is a hub for flights to elsewhere in Mexico and to Central America.

New Mexico Unemployment Rate Drops To 4.7 Percent In July – Associated Press

The New Mexico unemployment rate is down.

The state Department of Workforce Solutions reported Friday that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in July, down from 4.9 percent in June.

The department also says the state economy's total nonagricultural payroll employment in July grew by 17,900 jobs, or 2.2 percent, from July 2017, when the unemployment rate was 6.1 percent.

According to the department, all of the year-over-year employment gain occurred in the private sector. It added 18,300 jobs while the public sector lost 400 jobs.

In the private sector, service-producing industries outpaced goods-producing industries in adding jobs by a nearly 3-to-1 ratio.

Leisure and hospitality was the industry adding the most jobs, with an increase of 6,500.

West Texas Police Fatally Shoot Man Who Was Homicide Suspect – Associated Press

A New Mexico man who was a suspect in the shooting death of his ex-girlfriend has been killed in a confrontation with police in West Texas.

Midland police say officers encountered 41-year-old Oscar Gurrola on Thursday just outside the city. Authorities say he brandished a firearm when officers tried to arrest him on a murder warrant, leading the officers to fire on him.

Gurrola, who was believed to be a resident of Carlsbad, New Mexico, died at the scene.

A news release issued by police indicates more than one officer fired on Gurrola but it's not clear just how many.

Police had been searching for Gurrola after finding his ex-girlfriend with gunshot wounds hours earlier at a Midland residence.

The 36-year-old woman, Katrina Luna, died after being taken to a hospital.

Contractor Makes Progress On New Border Wall In New Mexico – Associated Press

Construction workers have completed more than half of a new barrier along a desolate stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border in southern New Mexico as part of President Donald Trump's fight against drug trafficking and illegal immigration.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials confirmed this week that more than 8,100 panels spanning more than 11 miles (18 kilometers) had been constructed as of Aug. 8.

Work on the $73 million project west of Santa Teresa, near New Mexico's state line with Texas, began in April.

Officials have touted the new wall as harder to get over, under and through. When finished, it will cover 20 miles (32-kilometers), replacing old post and rail barriers that were meant to stop vehicles but have been useless against people trying to cross on foot.

Environmentalists are suing over the project.