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Aztec High School Students Return To Class After Shooting, Pelosi Asked To Probe Lujan Grisham Case

Dec 18, 2017

Aztec High School Return To Class After Deadly ShootingThe Associated Press

Students of a New Mexico high school are back in class more than a week after a deadly shooting on campus.

Aztec High School students and staff returned Monday and were greeted by residents of this small northwestern New Mexico community who lined the streets to welcome them.

Casey Jordan Marquez and 17-year-old Francisco "Paco" Fernandez were killed on Dec. 7 when a gunman disguised as a student opened fire inside Aztec High School.

Police say the gunman later killed himself.

School officials say students began the day on Monday with an all-school assembly.

The school will be back on a regular schedule Tuesday and Wednesday.

Pelosi Asked To Probe Lujan Grisham's Discrimination Case - The Associated Press

A Democratic New Mexico gubernatorial hopeful is asking U.S. House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to investigate claims Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham discriminated against a transgender intern.

Jeff Apodaca said Monday that Pelosi should launch a formal congressional ethics investigation into the charges from a former intern with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

Riley Del Rey says she was fired from Lujan Grisham's office because of her transgender identity.

Apodaca says "harassment and discrimination are totally unacceptable."

Lujan Grisham said through a spokesman that neither she nor her office would discriminate against anyone.

Apodaca is running against Lujan Grisham for the Democratic nomination for New Mexico governor.

Lujan Grisham told Democratic Sen. Michael Padilla last month to abandon his bid for lieutenant governor over decades-old harassment claims.

New Mexico Pulls Plug On Virtual Charter SchoolThe Associated Press

New Mexico education authorities are pulling the plug on the largest online charter school in the state.

State Public Education Commission Chairwoman Patricia Gipson said Monday that the commission turned down renewal of the charter for New Mexico Connections Academy. She says the school failed to show adequate yearly progress in academic performance.

The Santa Fe-based virtual charter school provides online lessons to more than 1,300 students across the state. The New Mexico Department of Education says that student proficiency rates in math dropped to 11 percent in 2017 and opposed renewal of the school's charter.

Representatives for New Mexico Connections Academy could not immediately be reached for comment. The school can appeal the Public Education Commission's decision and could reorganize under the authority of a local school district.

New Mexico Senate Dems Oust Colleague From Leadership PostThe Associated Press

Majority Democrats in the New Mexico Senate have ousted one of their members from a party leadership post amid renewed controversy over past sexual harassment complaints, but the lawmakers didn't immediately pick a replacement for the upcoming legislative session.

The caucus released a statement Saturday saying a majority of Democratic senators voted "to vacate the position" of majority whip that had been held by Sen. Michael Padilla.

The second-term lawmaker from Albuquerque's South Valley withdrew this month from the lieutenant governor's race amid mounting concern among Democrats over decade-old allegations that he harassed women at a prior job.

Padilla has long denied the accusations.

The Senate Democrats' statement says the caucus will meet early in January to elect a new majority whip.

Woman Last Seen In New Mexico Still Missing After 35 YearsThe Associated Press

It's been 35 years since Ann Riffin, a New Jersey native, disappeared in a remote corner of New Mexico.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported earlier this month that her parents suspected she might have run off to join a cult or maybe even a convent or commune. Where else could she have gone?

There are still many unanswered questions decades after police found her car parked off a lonely stretch of highway near Mora.

Riffin had been living in Ruidoso, a village in south central New Mexico, when she disappeared.

According to police reports, Riffin was last seen in 1982 heading for Colorado to visit relatives.

But she never made it.

To this day, law enforcement officials have yet to find the 33-year-old's body or any sign of her.

Memorial Held For 2nd Victim Of New Mexico School Shooting Associated Press

Hundreds of people gathered Sunday in northwestern New Mexico for a memorial service and bonfire to remember a 17-year-old student killed in a school shooting rampage in the small city of Aztec.

Casey Jordan Marquez and 17-year-old Francisco "Paco" Fernandez were killed on Dec. 7 when a gunman disguised as a student opened fire inside Aztec High School.

Authorities have said 21-year-old William Atchison planned the attack, but the victims weren't specifically targeted.

School officials plan to transform a space damaged by the shooting into an open-learning commons area and dedicate it to the victims.

Students are scheduled to return to school Monday. They'll start off the day with a special assembly before heading to class.

New Mexico Senate Dems Oust Colleague From Leadership Post Associated Press

Majority Democrats in the New Mexico Senate on Saturday ousted one of their members from a leadership post amid controversy over past sexual harassment allegations.

The Senate Democratic caucus held a closed-door meeting Saturday and later released a statement saying a majority of Democratic senators voted "to vacate the position" of majority whip that had been held by Sen. Michael Padilla. The lawmakers didn't immediately pick a replacement for the upcoming legislative session.

The second-term lawmaker from Albuquerque's South Valley, once a rising figure, withdrew this month from the lieutenant governor's race amid mounting concern over decade-old allegations that he harassed women at a prior job. Padilla has long denied the accusations.

The Senate Democrats' statement says the caucus will meet early in January to elect a new majority whip. The 30-day legislative session starts on Jan. 16.

Padilla is among numerous officeholders across the country who have faced accusations related to sexual misconduct.

The Legislature is in the process of overhauling sexual harassment rules and disciplinary procedures for lawmakers, legislative staff, lobbyists and others who visit or work in the Statehouse.

3rd Man Arrested In Pizza Delivery Robberies In Albuquerque Associated Press

Police in Albuquerque say they've arrested a man wanted in connection with a string of pizza delivery driver robberies that began almost two years ago.

They say Julian Enriquez-Vargas is one of three men accused of ordering pizza over the phone, then robbing the delivery driver.

Enriquez-Vargas is the last of the three to be taken into custody.

The robberies began in February 2016 when multiple pizza delivery drivers reported being robbed at gunpoint.

KRQE-TV reports that two of the suspects were tracked down because they used their cellphones to place the pizza orders.

Enriquez-Vargas was arrested early Saturday and police say he's facing multiple charges.

New Mexico Lawmakers Unveil First Bills For 2018 Associated Press

New Mexico lawmakers began filing legislative proposals Friday for the upcoming legislative session that starts in January.

Anti-crime proposals and budgetary changes are expected to dominate the agenda during the 30-day legislative session that begins on Jan. 16.

Second-term Republican Gov. Susana Martinez is preparing for her final year in office and is expected to back public safety legislation and push other longstanding priorities such as tax reform.

The Democratic-led Legislature will be racing to extend an agreement that allows nurses licensed in New Mexico to work in participating states and vice versa.

Lawmakers have prepared a bill that would insert exceptions to new pretrial release rules, focusing on defendants accused of repeated drunken driving infractions.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has announced a bill to combat auto theft with a system for auto recyclers to verify that decommissioned vehicles have not been stolen.

Border Arrests Surge, Erasing Much Of Trump's Early Gains Associated Press

The U.S. government on Friday announced a seventh straight monthly increase in people being arrested or denied entry along the Mexican border, erasing much of the early gains of President Donald Trump's push to tighten the border.

Denials of entry for people at official crossings and border arrests reached 39,006 in November, up 12 percent from 34,855 in October and more than double the 15,766 who were stopped or arrested in April. But November's figure was still down 38 percent from 63,361 for November of 2016, shortly before Trump took office.

Border arrests don't capture how many people got away from agents but are widely used to understand trends in how many attempt to enter the country illegally.

Trump touted the dramatic decline in arrests during the early months of his presidency as evidence that his administration was making the border more secure. Reasons for the drop and recent rise are unclear but Trump's pledge to build a wall with Mexico may have initially discouraged people from trying and now be having less impact.

Border Patrol arrests of people traveling as families totaled 7,018 in November, up 45 percent from 4,839 in October. Arrests of unaccompanied children reached 4,000, up 26 percent from 3,168 a month earlier.

Trump made his pledge for a "big, beautiful wall" with Mexico a centerpiece of his presidential campaign. Last week, the government announced that Border Patrol arrests plunged to a 45-year low in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.

Congressional Democrats have balked at Trump's request for $1.6 billion to build or replace 74 miles (118 kilometers) of wall in San Diego and Texas' Rio Grande Valley by October.

New Mexico State Police Report Fatal Crash North Of Portales Associated Press

New Mexico State Police say they're investigating a fatal crash on U.S. 70 north of Portales.

They say a car left the roadway for an unknown reason and crashed into a tree about 2 a.m. Sunday.

The driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

State Police say that person's name is being withheld pending the notification of family members.

They say the crash remains under investigation.

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