US Senator To Award Medal To Navajo Code Talker's Family, Asian-American Monument Gets Approval

Mar 31, 2018

US Senator To Award Medal To Navajo Code Talker's Family Associated Press

One of New Mexico's U.S. senators plans to honor a deceased Navajo Code Talker posthumously for his service during World War II.

Sen. Martin Heinrich will present the Congressional Silver Medal to the family of Adolph Nagurski during a ceremony Tuesday at the New Mexico Veterans' Memorial.

Heinrich's office says Nagurksi had earned the medal but never received it.

The Navajo Code Talkers were a group of Marines who developed a code based on their language to communicate during wartime. The Japanese never deciphered it, and the Code Talkers were credited with helping win many key battles in the Pacific during World War II.

In 2000, the Congressional Silver Medals were authorized by Congress and produced by the U.S. Mint to recognize the dedication and valor of the Code Talkers.

Asian-American Monument Gets County ApprovalAssociated Press

Commissioners in New Mexico's most populous county have approved a purchase agreement for a public art sculpture that will recognize a landmark Chinese-American civil rights case that predates statehood.

Bernalillo County commissioners voted unanimously earlier this week in support of a motion authorizing the county manager to approve the purchase agreement.

Artists Cheryll Leo-Gwin and Stewart Wong are the creators of "View from Gold Mountain." The sculpture will be installed near the state district courthouse in downtown Albuquerque.

Officials say the monument will commemorate the Yee Shun case of 1882, which resulted in Chinese Americans being granted the right to testify in court and have their testimony accepted.

Funded with a combination of local and state sources, the project has been in the works for a few years.

Albuquerque Mayor Pushes Police Officer Recruitment Associated Press

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller wants to hire 100 new police officers in the coming fiscal year as New Mexico's largest city looks to curb crime.

Keller focused on public safety Friday as he unveiled his first budget proposal.

Nearly $13 million would be used over multiple years for the officer recruiting effort. The goal is to grow the force to 1,200 officers in four years.

The mayor contends new officers would address shortfalls across the city and would increase police presence on the streets as Albuquerque tries to stem vehicle thefts and other property crimes.

Another $2.3 million would go toward mandated police reforms.

To balance the budget, a new tax increase will start to be collected July 1 and the city is planning for an increase in gross receipts tax revenues.

Officials Set April Date For New Mexico Border Wall Work Associated Press

Officials are hoping to break ground on a project replacing 20 miles of border wall in Santa Teresa, New Mexico in early April.

That's according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Deputy Commissioner Ronald D. Vitiello.

Vitiello briefed reporters Friday on how the administration plans to spend the $1.6 billion Congress authorized for border wall construction this year.

It's much less than the $25 billion Trump wanted. But officials are eager to show they're nonetheless making progress.

Vitiello says the money will provide for about 100 miles of new and replacement wall, including replacing 14 miles of steel landing mat in densely populated San Diego with a bollard-style wall.

Barriers currently blanket 654 miles of the 1,954-mile southern Mexico.

Some New Mexico Candidates Certified For Public Financing Associated Press

The New Mexico Secretary of State's Office has certified some candidates to receive public financing during this election season.

The decision announced Friday by Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver involved candidates for two seats on the Public Regulation Commission and four statewide judicial seats.

Under state law, candidates for the regulatory panel or any statewide judicial seat can apply for public financing.

Interested candidates must first file a declaration of intent and then collect $5 qualifying contributions from a number of voters equal to at least one-tenth of one percent of voters from their party in the state or district.

The period to collect qualifying contributions for this year's election cycle began in October 2 and ended March 20.

New Mexico's Largest Metro Area Invokes Water Restrictions Associated Press

The water utility that serves New Mexico's largest metropolitan area is invoking its annual watering restrictions.

Officials with the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority say the time-of-day water rules will remain in effect from April 1 through October 31.

The rules prohibit customers from using sprinkler irrigation between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. to minimize losses to wind and evaporation. Those who water during prohibited times face could fines.

Conservation program manager Carlos Bustos said Friday the rules are especially important this year as New Mexico is in a severe drought.

Overall, per capita use per day in 2017 was 128 gallons. That's the target again this year, and utility officials say so far customers have used about 30 million gallons less than during the same period last year.

New Mexico Begins Search For New Boss Of Wildlife Agency Associated Press

The New Mexico State Game Commission is launching a nationwide search for a new director to lead the agency that manages wildlife throughout the state and oversees enforcement of off-highway motor vehicle regulations.

The commission made the announcement late Friday, just days after it was made public that Director Alexa Sandoval would be retiring in the coming months. It's unclear when her last day will be.

As the second woman to ever lead the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Sandoval has worked for the agency for more than two decades.

She started as a game warden in Roswell and Clayton in 1994 and eventually became the chief financial officer before being appointed director in 2014.

The department has about 300 employees and an annual budget of nearly $40 million.

Throngs Trek To Adobe Church In New Mexico On Good Friday Associated Press

An annual pilgrimage is underway that attracts thousands of Catholics to an adobe church in the hills of northern New Mexico.

Throngs of participants set out Friday for El Santuario de Chimayo in an annual act of prayer, reflection and sacrifice.

The Easter-week tradition dates back more than two centuries. Many participants walk more than 30 miles (48 kilometers) along highways from Santa Fe or as far as Albuquerque.

At the shrine, the faithful file through an adjacent room that holds a small pit of dirt that some say has curative powers. Visitors often arrive with small container to take away pinches of dirt, and have left behind crutches as testimony that they've been helped.

The small, Spanish colonial-style church at Chimayo is listed as a National Historic Landmark.