Farmers Will Likely See Another Dry Year, 3 Starbucks Hit With Vandalism

Nov 26, 2016

New Mexico Farmers Brace For Another Dry YearLas Cruces Sun-News, Associated Press

Farmers in southern New Mexico are bracing for what could be another dry year.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports there's not much water in Elephant Butte and other key reservoirs upstream, meaning any new water would have to come from snowmelt runoff next spring in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado's Rocky Mountains.

Snowmelt isn't looking promising either, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts warm weather and low precipitation over the next 90 days in those areas.

Farmers in Doña Ana County were allocated about 13 acre-inches per-acre of water from the Rio Grande in 2016. The district considers a full allotment to be 3 acre-feet but that hasn't happened in years. Water district officials say it's unlikely to occur next year.

Confrontation With Santa Fe Deputies Ends In SuicideAssociated Press

A spokesman for the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office says an armed man has taken his own life after being confronted by law enforcement in the Rancho Viejo area on the southern outskirts of Santa Fe.

Sheriff's Office spokesman Juan Rios said an armed man took his life in an open field near the Santa Maria de la Paz church on Friday evening at about the time the sun was setting. Deputies had shut down roads in the area as they responded to a report of a distraught, armed man.

Rios says a helicopter from the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department assisted in the response by law enforcement. He declined to release more information about the identity of the man who died or how police were alerted to the situation.

County Leaders Urge Revamp Of Whistleblower LawSanta Fe New Mexican

The head of a county government organization outlined problems with the state’s whistleblower law at a meeting of the Legislative Jobs Council this week.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Steven Kopelman, executive director of the New Mexico Association of Counties, said since the law took effect in 2010 the state’s counties have spent $5.5 on claims and municipal governments paid $8 million in claims or settlements.

The average claim amount has also risen to $76,000 from $20,000 before the law took effect. The law protects public employees and contractors from being fired or retaliated against if they report unlawful behavior.

Kopelman says the association does not want to overturn the law, but modify it.

There is also a push to exempt contractors from the law. But a spokesman for the union that represents many state and local government employees says the law is necessary to protect workers.

Officials: State Accidentally Sponsored Wrong Film FestivalSanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

Officials with the New Mexico Tourism Department say the state spent $40,000 to sponsor the wrong film festival in Santa Fe.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that state officials say the accidentally gave the funds to the Santa Fe Film Festival in 2015 instead of the similarly named Santa Fe Independent Film Festival.

The Tourism Department also paid the Independent Film Festival $40,000.

Santa Fe Film Festival chairman Omar Hamid says the group spent the money on the festival's expenses and therefore cannot give it back.

State officials say the money went to the wrong film festival because of a clerical error.

Feds, Police Investigate Vandalism At 3 Starbucks LocationsAssociated Press

Federal authorities and police are investigating vandalism at three Starbucks locations in Albuquerque.

FBI spokesman Frank Fisher said suspicious devices were placed at the coffee shops early Friday morning and that one of them caused minimal damage. The shops were closed at the time, and no one was injured.

Fisher did not provide any details about the devices but noted that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was investigating along with the FBI and Albuquerque police.

Authorities released an image from a security camera at one of the stores showing a suspect entering as broken glass from the shattered front door covered the entrance. The suspect was dressed in dark clothing.

Authorities are asking anyone with information about the incidents to call the FBI or submit tips online.

Police: Missing Wisconsin Girl FoundAssociated Press

Santa Fe Film Festival chairman Omar Hamid says the group spent the money on the festival's expenses and therefore cannot give it back.

State officials say the money went to the wrong film festival because of a clerical error.

Albuquerque police say a 15-year-old Wisconsin girl who had been reported missing while visiting in New Mexico has been found safe.

Spokesman Fred Duran says Synderelia Trujillo was found Friday with friends.

Duran previously said the girl was at her grandfather's house Thursday morning when she didn't return after going to the family vehicle.