Bernalillo Commissioners Keep Immigrant-Friendly Policy, Air Force Testing Planes In Southern NM

Aug 9, 2017

Bernalillo County Keeps Immigrant-Friendly Policy In PlaceAlbuquerque Journal

Bernalillo County has rejected a push by a county commissioner to change a resolution approved earlier this year declaring the county to be friendly to immigrants.

The Albuquerque Journal reports commissioners rejected a proposal by Wayne Johnson, a Republican who is also running for mayor. The proposed change also would have allowed federal immigration officials into detention facilities operated by the county.

Immigrants and advocates, including the American Civil Liberties Union, packed the meeting chamber to oppose Johnson’s proposal.

The rejection by commissioners comes at a time when the U.S. Justice Department is stepping up its promises to withhold some federal funds from “sanctuary cities” that limit how law enforcement work with federal immigration officials. Chicago sued DOJ this week over the policy.

US Air Force Test Flights Focus On Off-The-Shelf OptionsThe Associated Press

Over a U.S. Air Force base in the southern New Mexico desert, pilots are testing some off-the-shelf options as the military looks for its next light-attack aircraft, a plane that could partly replace the A-10.

Test flights for the light-attack experiment known as the OA-X initiative were being conducted Wednesday at Holloman Air Force Base in southern New Mexico. Air Force Secretary and former New Mexico congresswoman Heather Wilson was on hand along with other top officials.

Pilots are putting commercially available planes through various scenarios that would emulate combat missions and other tasks such as search and rescue and reconnaissance.

The testing includes the A-29 Super Tucano made by Sierra Nevada Corp. and Textron Aviation's Scorpion jet plane and its AT-6 Wolverine turboprop.

Albuquerque Police: Encounter With Woman Involved GunfireThe Associated Press

Albuquerque police say a woman was hospitalized and an officer placed on standard administrative leave following an encounter that involved gunfire.

Circumstances of what happened during the Tuesday night incident haven't been released and it's not clear if the woman was armed or was shot, but Police Department spokeswoman Celina Espinoza says it is being investigated as an officer-involved shooting.

According to Espinosa, officers initially used "less lethal means" to try to get the woman in custody.

Officer Simon Drobik previously said the woman called police and said she wanted to "commit suicide by cop."

Drobik also said responding officers found the woman sitting in a car, the situation escalated rapidly and the woman's injuries weren't life threatening.

New Mexico City Vows To Support Climate InitiativesAssociated Press

The mayor of one New Mexico city has vowed to continue supporting efforts aimed at reducing his community's environmental footprint despite intentions of the U.S. government to pull out of the 2015 Paris climate pact.

Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima made the reaffirmation in a statement Tuesday.

He says his city has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20 percent, invested in hybrid vehicles and reduced emissions among its vehicle fleet by consuming less fuel.

The mayor says the effort has resulted in an annual savings of about $1 million.

At a meeting earlier this summer, the Las Cruces City Council officially joined a network of other cities that support the goals of the Paris agreement, which calls for countries to establish their own national plans for cutting emissions.

Bandelier National Monument Plans Restoration WorkAssociated Press

Officials at Bandelier National Monument in northern New Mexico are planning to replace the wooden ladders that visitors use to reach some of caves and alcoves in the surrounding cliffs.

Monument staffers say maintenance and preservation crews will lay out and fit all the parts that make up the ladders and then do the actual assembly where each ladder will be used.

The long logs will be transported as far as possible by all-terrain vehicles on the trails and then hoisted up on the workers' shoulders and carried the rest of the way.

Rehabilitation of the roof on the kiva inside the Alcove House is also scheduled to begin in September along with trail work along the switchbacks that connect the monument's campground to the archaeological sites in Frijoles Canyon.

Utah Seeking $1.9 Billion From EPA Over Mine-Waste Spill - Associated Press

Utah officials have confirmed the state is asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for $1.9 billion in damages after the EPA inadvertently triggered a multistate spill from an old gold mine in Colorado.

Dan Burton, a spokesman for the Utah attorney general's office, said Tuesday the state filed the claim in February but never publicly announced it. Word of the claim first surfaced Friday when the EPA made a passing reference to it in a news release.

Utah's claim is by far the largest stemming from the August 2015 spill from the Gold King Mine. Rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah were polluted with heavy metals, and Indian lands were also affected.

The Navajo Nation filed a claim for $162 million, and the state of New Mexico sought $130 million.

Mayoral Race In New Mexico's Biggest City To Focus On CrimeAssociated Press

State Auditor Tim Keller has officially declared his candidacy for mayor of New Mexico's largest city while rolling out a plan to tackle growing crime rates in Albuquerque.

Keller on Tuesday described crime in the city as being out of control, setting the stage for a recent rash of shootings, vehicles thefts and break-ins to be the focus as candidates compete for the city's top leadership post.

Albuquerque's beleaguered and understaffed police force has struggled to keep up as the city now ranks first in the nation for the number of cars stolen daily per capita. Downtown businesses also have complained about their workers feeling unsafe.

Keller wants to overhaul police leadership and hire more officers. He's also proposing a drug treatment center and other programs to address homelessness and substance abuse.

New Mexico County Ambulance Accused Of Not Responding To Calls  - Associated Press

After a teenage boy died before an ambulance could get to him, Mora County Ambulance must now prove to the State of New Mexico that it's capable of responding to medical emergencies.

KOB-TV reported Tuesday more than a dozen other patients in need of emergency transport were also left stranded since last October. The Public Regulation Commission is keeping an eye on the county ambulance by demanding a monthly status report that will show the time and date of every ambulance call and response.

A frantic relative called 911 May 31 when 15-year-old Nazareth Lara was crushed under a truck at a work site. Lara died instantly and a Mora County ambulance never arrived. Instead, an ambulance from San Miguel County showed up nearly 40 minutes after the accident.

Albuquerque Woman Acquitted In Husband's DeathAssociated Press

A jury has acquitted a woman accused of killing her Air Force major husband after a party at the couple's Albuquerque home more than five years ago.

Jurors had begun deliberations Tuesday morning after five days of testimony.

The judge told the jury to decide one of three outcomes: guilty of second-degree murder, guilty of voluntary manslaughter or not guilty by self-defense.

Amy Herrera was accused of fatally shooting her husband Marc Herrera after the two hosted a party for Ecuadorian exchange students in June 2012.

Prosecutors say the two disappeared into their room after Marc Herrera pulled a gun on one of the students and Amy Herrera intervened. Minutes later, he was lying dead in the master bedroom closet.

Prosecutors argued that Amy Herrera shot him and wasn't acting in self-defense.