KUNM

ABQ Added To Federal Effort To Fight Opioids, NM Utility Execs Could Earn $8.6 Million

May 17, 2017

Albuquerque Added To Federal Effort To Fight Opioid EpidemicThe Associated Press

Federal law enforcement officials have included Albuquerque to a program aimed at helping similar cities deal with the scourge of heroin and prescription drug addiction.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on Wednesday will formally add Albuquerque as its seventh city selected to participate in the agency's 360 Strategy program.

Under the program, the DEA coordinates with local law enforcement agencies against drug cartels and traffickers. It also fosters community outreach and works to engage drug manufacturers in increasing awareness of the opioid epidemic.

The DEA first rolled out the 360 Strategy in November 2015 in Pittsburgh.

Last month, New Mexico became the first U.S. state to require all local and state law enforcement agencies to provide officers with antidote kits as the state works to curb deaths from opioid overdoses.

New Mexico Utility Execs Could Earn $8.6M In CompensationThe Associated Press

The top executives who oversee the parent company of New Mexico's largest electric utility could earn more than $8.6 million in total compensation if they meet their performance goals.

New salaries, benefits and incentive pay were approved Tuesday at the annual shareholders meeting for PNM Resources.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the combined compensation is down from about $10 million in 2015 but up from nearly $7.5 million in 2014.

PNM spokesman Pahl Shipley says ratepayers are responsible for just a small percent of the executives' base pay. Shareholders pay for all of the incentive-based compensation.

On Tuesday, shareholders also voted against climate change-related proposals, including one that would have required the utility to prepare a report on transitioning away from fossil fuels.

The utility already has plans to go coal-free by 2031.

3 Wanted On Fraud Charges Arrested During SWAT SituationThe Associated Press

Albuquerque police say three people sought in a fraud and identity-theft investigation were arrested during a SWAT situation that included a three-hour standoff involving one of the suspects.

Police identified the suspects arrested Tuesday on felony warrants as 39-year-old Shawn Torrez, 52-year-old Anthony Cordova and 42-year-old Christina Torrez. It was not clear whether they have attorneys who could comment on the allegations.

Police say Cordova and Christina Torrez were taken into custody right after police arrived at a home in search of the three but that Shawn Torrez retreated inside and refused to surrender until police used gas to force him out.

Police say Shawn Torrez shot and damaged a police robot sent to the residence's front door and also fired shots toward officers but that nobody was injured.

Santa Fe School District To Save $1.6M In New BudgetThe Associated Press

The Santa Fe school district is cutting about a dozen jobs and consolidating some high school programs in its recently approved budget.

The Santa Fe Public Schools board approved the new $185.2 million operating budget Tuesday in a 4-1 vote. The district approved the budget before New Mexico lawmakers have settled on a budget for state government. The district is cutting back on administration, school site budgets, special needs education and alternative high school programs to save about $1.6 million.

Officials have not said which jobs will be eliminated.

Chief Financial Officer Carl Gruenler says the school sites and special education reductions are in line with a decrease in enrollment.

The school district needs to submit its budget to the state Public Education Department for approval by the end of the month.

Editor's Note: A grammatical error was corrected in this story to clarify the number of proposed job cuts. 

New Directive Dictates No Arrests For Non-Violent Misdemeanors – KOB-TV

Albuquerque Police have a new directive to no longer arrest people who commit non-violent misdemeanors but instead issue citations.

KOB-TV reports APD Chief Gorden Eden issued the guidlines in a letter Tuesday directing officers to use citations instead of arresting non-violent offenders “when there are no circumstances necessitating an arrest.”

DWI offenses are not part of the directive, but other crimes are. Those include prostitution, shoplifting items worth less than $500, criminal trespass and criminal damage to property less than $1,000.

Officers can make arrests in these instances, but must justify those actions in a report. A spokeswoman for APD said the letter is a formality and officers are already taking these steps.

But Shaun Willoughby, president of the Albuquerque Police Officers Association, said he does not like removing options for officers to use their discretion on how to handle cases.

The change is the result of a 20-year lawsuit against the city of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County that was settled by a judge and addressed conditions in the Metropolitan Detention Center.

'Graves' Returns To Film Second Season In New MexicoAssociated Press

The political satire television series starring Nick Nolte has returned to New Mexico to film its second season.

The New Mexico Film Office says "Graves" is being shot starting this week in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Bernalillo and Santa Fe. Crews will be working on the production through July.

The series is produced by Lionsgate for the EPIX network. It tells the story of the character Richard Graves and his journey to reclaim his sense of authenticity two decades after serving as the president of the United States.

Aside from Nolte, the series stars Sela Ward, Skylar Astin, Helene Yorke, Chris Lowell and Callie Hernandez.

The series was created by Joshua Michael Stern, a director and writer who is also known for the movie "Swing Vote."

Authorities: No Apparent Abduction; Both Parties SafeAssociated Press

The FBI and Santa Fe police say the apparent abduction of a young girl Tuesday was instead a domestic dispute and both people have been found safe.

An FBI spokesman says in a statement late Tuesday that an investigation revealed both of the people involved are accounted for and their identities will not be released because no charges have been filed.

The incident was reported near the Tuscany Apartments in Santa Fe around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Witnesses told authorities they saw a man throw a girl into the back of a car.

Republicans Propose Fix For New Mexico State BudgetAssociated Press

Republicans in the New Mexico House of Representatives want to use money from pensions and construction projects to shore up state spending and resolve a budget crisis.

GOP House minority leader Nate Gentry on Tuesday announced a plan to restore vetoed funding to the Legislature and state universities for the coming fiscal year by suspending capital outlay projects.

The proposal also would claw back retirement funds set aside for the state's unsalaried legislators to help bridge a projected $70 million deficit.

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez has called a special legislative session next week to resolve a feud with the Democrat-led Legislature over how to solve the state's budget crisis. Martinez is signaling support for a House Republican plan that slightly increases spending on student aid and a university cancer center.

Last month Martinez vetoed all spending for the legislative branch and institutions of higher education for the fiscal year starting July 1, emphasizing her opposition to companion tax increases.

Man Shoots, Damages Police Robot During StandoffAssociated Press

Albuquerque police say a man shot and damaged one of their robots during a SWAT situation.

Police spokesman Officer Fred Duran says authorities first arrived at the home on Albuquerque's northwest side Tuesday morning to arrest the man on a felony warrant.

The suspect opened fire as police sent in the robot. No one was injured and the man was taken into custody hours later after officers fired gas into the home.

Authorities have not identified the man but confirmed he had been under investigation for some time.

Duran says other people were also detained but it wasn't clear if they will face any charges.

The SWAT situation forced roads in the area to be shut down while police negotiated with the suspect.

New Mexico State Police Release Name Of Man Killed By TrainAssociated Press

New Mexico State Police have released the name of a pedestrian who was killed last week after he ran onto the tracks and was hit by a Rail Runner Express commuter train in Santa Fe.

They say 21-year-old James Chavarria of Santa Fe was pronounced dead at the scene Saturday.

Police say the incident occurred on the tracks nearest Interstate 25 in Santa Fe County.

Witnesses told police that Chavarria got out of his vehicle that was parked on the shoulder of the interstate and crossed the roadway.

Police say Chavarria ran onto the tracks as the train was passing him and sustained fatal injuries.

AG Balderas Won't Be Entering Race For New Mexico GovernorAssociated Press

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas will not be entering the race for governor and instead will focus on his re-election as the state's top prosecutor.

The Democrat ended the speculation Tuesday with a statement that detailed the work his office has done — from pursuing internet criminals who target children to recovering Medicaid fraud dollars.

Balderas also said his office has a responsibility to hold the federal government accountable. He pointed to recent filings against President Donald Trump's travel ban and the sale of federal coal leases.

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez is limited to two terms. No Republican has entered the race, though U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce says he may pursue the GOP nomination.

The Democratic nomination is being sought by Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, former media executive Jeff Apodaca and Peter DeBenedittis of Santa Fe.

New Mexico Utility Execs Could Earn $8.6M In CompensationAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

The top executives who oversee the parent company of New Mexico's largest electric utility could earn more than $8.6 million in total compensation if they meet their performance goals.

New salaries, benefits and incentive pay were approved Tuesday at the annual shareholders meeting for PNM Resources.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the combined compensation is down from about $10 million in 2015 but up from nearly $7.5 million in 2014.

PNM spokesman Pahl Shipley says ratepayers are responsible for just a small percent of the executives' base pay. Shareholders pay for all of the incentive-based compensation.

On Tuesday, shareholders also voted against climate change-related proposals, including one that would have required the utility to prepare a report on transitioning away from fossil fuels.

The utility already has plans to go coal-free by 2031.

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