KUNM

Attorneys Clash At Griego Fraud Hearings, Heinrich Seeks Halt On Trafficking Tribal Objects

Jul 5, 2016

Prosecutors, Defense Clash At Fraud Hearings - The Associated Press

The New Mexico attorney general's office says it will present evidence that former Sen. Phil Griego used his influence over the legislative process as a lawmaker to profit from the sale of a state owned building as a real estate broker.

Assistant Attorney General Zach Jones on Tuesday described Griego as a sophisticated politician who communicated with state officials, fellow lawmakers and legislative staff to help approve the sale of a state owned building in downtown Santa Fe, and later earn a commission as a real estate broker without proper disclosure.

Defense attorney Thomas Clark says the evidence will show that prosecutors are overreaching. He said Griego was hired by a private party to help negotiate the purchase of a state building because of Griego's knowledge as a real estate broker, and not to exert political influence.

Griego has pleaded not guilty to charges that include fraud, bribery, tampering with public records and unlawful interest in a public contract.

Heinrich Wants Tougher Law Against Trafficking Tribal Items By Mary Hudetz, Associated Press

U.S Sen. Martin Heinrich plans to introduce legislation that would prohibit items considered sacred by Native Americans and protected by U.S. laws from being exported to international markets.

The legislation also proposes stiffer penalties for stealing and trafficking tribal religious and cultural objects, while setting an amnesty period for people to voluntarily return cultural items collected in violation of existing laws.

Heinrich, a Democrat, and tribal leaders plan to discuss the legislation Monday in Albuquerque.

His proposal comes as Acoma Pueblo awaits final word on whether a ceremonial shield leaders say was stolen and taken to Paris will be returned to their reservation.

The sale of the shield was suspended after top U.S. officials and pueblo leaders lobbied French authorities to review claims it had been illegally removed from a home atop a mesa.

Santa Fe Airport Gets $500K Fed Grant For Phoenix Service - The Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a $500,000 grant to Santa Fe to help its airport add direct flights to Phoenix.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said last week Santa Fe was one of nine small communities to win a portion of $5.15 million in grants to help improve local air service.

Santa Fe Municipal Airport will receive the money over two years for marketing an American Airlines flight to Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport.

The grant is part of the Small Community Air Service Development Program.

It comes as business officials are pushing a plan to promote the Santa Fe Municipal Airport to draw more traffic to northern New Mexico.

Energy Secretary Moniz Visits New Mexico For Forum - The Associated Press

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz is in New Mexico for a forum on energy challenges in the Southwest.

Moniz on Tuesday joined researchers, leaders from some of the nation's government laboratories and industry representatives for the meeting at the University of New Mexico.

A panel discussion on hydrogen technology was on the agenda along with making solar photovoltaics more efficient and less expensive to manufacture.

Moniz and the others discussed the importance of innovation for the research and development of energy technologies to ensure the nation is competitive in the global marketplace.

According to solar experts, New Mexico already is on track to install more than 1,400 megawatts of capacity over the next five years. That's more than five times the amount of solar installed in the last five years.

Fire Burns Up To 200 Acres In Bosque Del ApacheKOB-TV, Albuquerque Journal

A fire that started Monday afternoon has burned betwee 150 and 200 acres of the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge.

KOB-TV reports the fire is burning on both sides of the Rio Grande and was possibly sparked by lightning. A cold front caused the blaze to shift to the south, reported the Albuquerque Journal.

About 100 people were fighting the fire late Monday, but officials were optimistic about containing the blaze thanks to more humidity.

Oil Company To Build New Headquarters In New Mexico - The Associated Press & The Carlsbad Current Argus

A Texas-based oil company is constructing a $6 million headquarters in southeastern New Mexico's Permian Basin.

The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports that the Mewbourne Oil Company says it is building the 32,000-square-foot headquarters in Hobbs to provide more space for its 120 employees in the region.

Mewbourne operates about 2,000 total wells. It has added modular offices and trailers to accommodate its growth.

President Ken Waits says the private company was doing very well before the downturn in the oil and gas industry.

He says Mewbourne is working with Carlsbad-based NPSR Architects and Hobbs-based Lasco Construction. Construction began last month and is expected to take a year to complete.

Economic Development Corporation of Lea County President Steve Vierck says the project is a vote of confidence in southeastern New Mexico.

New Mexico Announces More 'Record-Breaking' Tourism - The Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez has announced the state saw record-breaking tourism for the fourth year in a row.

The governor said Tuesday around 700,000 more trips were taken in New Mexico last year, bringing the total number for 2015 to 33.4 million.

Last year, Martinez said half a million more people visited New Mexico in 2014 than in 2013 and credited the state's New Mexico True campaign. That campaign features the state's famous outdoor locations and New Mexico celebrities, such as mixed-martial arts fighter Carlos Condit.

New Mexico True advertisements have been spotted in airports around the country.

Martinez is scheduled this month to visit Taos, Elephant Butte Lake State Park and White Sands National Monument as part of her tour.

New Mexico Court Considers Evidence Against Former Senator Associated Press

A New Mexico district court is scheduled to begin hearing testimony from state lawmakers on accusations that former Sen. Phil Griego used his public office to profit from the sale of a state-owned building.

Griego has pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud, bribery and tampering with public records. Four days of evidentiary hearings are scheduled to start Tuesday at a courthouse in Albuquerque to decide whether the case warrants a trial.

State District Judge Brett Loveless has ordered state lawmakers and their staff at the Legislative Finance Committee to testify at the hearings, overruling efforts to limit the scope of questioning ahead of time.

Griego resigned from the Senate last year after acknowledging to a Senate investigative subcommittee that he violated the state Constitution.

International Art Market To Draw Thousands To New MexicoAssociated Press

From fine embroidery to handwoven baskets, the 13th annual International Folk Art Market has something from every corner of the globe.

The market is already the largest of its kind in the world, and organizers say this year will be even bigger, with nearly 200 artists representing several dozen countries.

At a time of global strife, co-founders Judy Espinar and Carmella Padilla are aiming to bring people together to celebrate talent and tradition.

The festivities open Friday evening and run through Sunday on Santa Fe's Museum Hill. Some 20,000 visitors are expected.

About 850 folk artists from more than 90 countries have participated since the market's inception. Sales have totaled $23 million — nearly all of which has gone home with the artists to finance countless community improvement projects.

New Mexico To Announce More 'Record-Breaking' TourismBy Russell Contreras, Associated Press

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is expected to announce the state saw "record-breaking" tourism for the fourth year in a row.

The governor is scheduled Tuesday to unveil new tourism numbers during an event in Albuquerque to launch her tour around the state to promote state travel.

Last year, Martinez said a half a million more people visited New Mexico in 2014 than in 2013 and credited the state's New Mexico True campaign. That campaign features the state's famous outdoor locations and New Mexico celebrities, such as mixed-martial arts fighter Carlos Condit.

New Mexico True advertisements have been spotted in Phoenix and New York airports.

Martinez is scheduled to visit Taos, Elephant Butte Lake State Park and White Sands National Monument later this month as part of her tour.

Santa Fe Airport Gets $500K Fed Grant For Phoenix Service Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a $500,000 grant to Santa Fe to help its airport add direct flights to Phoenix.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said last week Santa Fe was one of nine small communities to win a portion of $5.15 million in grants to help improve local air service.

Santa Fe Municipal Airport will receive the money over two years for marketing an American Airlines flight to Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport.

The grant is part of the Small Community Air Service Development Program.

It comes as business officials are pushing a plan to promote the Santa Fe Municipal Airport to draw more traffic to northern New Mexico.

Second Fire In 40 Days Hits Albuquerque Route 66 Motel KOB-TV, Associated Press

A second fire in two months has struck an Albuquerque Route 66 motel and apartment complex made famous in the 2007 movie "No Country for Old Men."

KOAT-TV in Albuquerque reports firefighters were called Sunday to the blaze in a unit at the Desert Sands Motel. Investigators believe the fire may have been started by a homeless person who managed to get into the boarded up property for shelter.

A May 24th fire destroyed most of the complex's 63 units and forced residents out of their homes. A 37-year-old woman faces an arson charge in connection with that massive blaze.

No arrests were reported from the latest fire.

The hotel was the scene of a final shootout in the movie "No Country for Old Men" starring Oscar-winner Javier Bardem.

New Jersey Teen Killed After ATV Crash Rolls Over In Malaga Associated Press

Authorities say a 13-year-old girl has died in an all-terrain vehicle accident in southeastern New Mexico.

New Mexico State Police say in a news release that Zoe Carr of Marlton, New Jersey was critically injured in the Sunday night accident in Malaga and pronounced dead at a hospital.

Officers had responded to the crash to find that an ATV carrying Carr and a 13-year-old boy had rolled over. Police say the boy sustained minor injuries.

Authorities say Carr had not been wearing a helmet.

The incident remains under investigation.

Artesia Man Faces DUI Charge After Injuring Family Of 6 Associated Press

Authorities say a man suspected of drunken driving crashed into an SUV carrying a family of six in Artesia, leaving three people critically injured, and then fled the scene.

Blake Bollema was arrested after the Friday incident and charged with aggravated DWI, great bodily harm by vehicle and other crimes.

New Mexico State Police spokeswoman Elizabeth Armijo says Bollema ran through a stop sign in his pickup truck and collided with the SUV.

Three family members were not seriously injured, while the mom, an 8-year-old girl and 5-year-old boy sustained critical injuries.

The mom and boy have improved to stable condition, but the 8-year-old girl remained in critical condition Monday.

Armijo says Bollema returned to the crash site an hour after the incident and told authorities he had been involved.

Ruidoso Downs Lifts 14-Day Equine Herpes QuarantineAssociated Press

Ruidoso Downs has lifted its 14-day equine herpes quarantine of one barn after a horse was euthanized for the virus.

Officials said last week there have been no positive tests in that barn or any other stable at Ruidoso Downs since and racing has not been affected.

The horse was euthanized June 18.

The New Mexico Livestock Board and New Mexico Racing Commission worked with Ruidoso Downs officials to ensure a horse-specific virus is limited to one racehorse.

Ruidoso Downs' racing integrity liaison Dennis Monroe says the quick response was a key factor to eliminate this individual case from spreading.

An EHV-1 outbreak in January led officials to shut down racing for several weeks at Sunland Park and quarantine at the track near the New Mexico-Texas border.

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