Friday News Roundup: Report: New Mexico Prisons Need $277M In Repairs

Jun 13, 2014

Report: New Mexico Prisons Need $277M In Repairs - The Associated Press

A new legislative report says New Mexico's state-run prison system has a $277 million backlog of needed infrastructure repairs.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the Legislative Finance Committee report released Thursday says prisons have holes in cell walls and floors, and flawed electrical, plumbing and sewer systems. The report says some of the problems could pose security threats to both inmates and correctional officers.

Limited state dollars and aging facilities are to blame.

The report recommended the construction of new housing units for inmates within the current prisons.

Corrections Department spokeswoman Alex Tomlin says the agency does not dispute most of the report's findings.

Corrections Secretary Gregg Marcantel says the department is creating a master plan looking at prison design issues and halfway houses or other alternative living arrangements.

ABQ Mayor, Councilors Call For APD Community OutreachAlbuquerque Journal and KUNM News

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry and a bipartisan pair of city councilors say they want Albuquerque residents to help craft an action plan for repairing the police department.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Mayor Berry and Councilors Ken Sanchez and Trudy Jones gathered yesterday to announce a community outreach plan involving online surveys and public meetings.

There's a page about it on the city's website with a "Community Outreach Meetings Application" form.   

The page says "Mayor Berry enthusiastically welcomes your constructive ideas, and will be facilitating a series of broad-based community meetings to share thoughts and recommendations for the city, our communities, and the department moving forward. All are welcome. “

It continues “Upon submission of your application to participate, you will be sent information about the date, time, and location of the community meetings.”

The website URL is cabq.gov/community-outreach.  

Vigil Eyed For Camper Killed By Albuquerque Police The Associated Press

A coalition of groups and religious leaders are planning a candlelight vigil to mark the three-month anniversary of a homeless camper shot and killed by Albuquerque police.

The coalition says the vigil will take place Sunday evening at the Sandia foothills where 38-year-old James Boyd was killed in March following a long standoff with police.

Organizers say members of Boyd's family are expected to attend.

A helmet camera video of the shooting showed Boyd, who authorities say suffered from schizophrenia, gathering his belongings before officers opened fire.

That shooting sparked widespread calls for Albuquerque police reform, and U.S. Justice Department then released a scathing review of the agency's use of force.

Albuquerque Woman Injured In Home Invasion The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

Police say a woman from Iraq who was assaulted in her Albuquerque apartment appears to be the victim of a hate crime.

Albuquerque police spokesman Simon Drobik told the Albuquerque Journal on Friday that a man forced his way into Seham Jaber's home last week and punched her in the head and stomach.

Drobik says the intruder also tore up her family's citizenship papers in the June 5 attack.

Jaber says the suspect was wearing a mask, jeans and a yellow T-shirt. He also allegedly yelled obscenities about Muslims.

Jaber, who is Catholic, says he also stole at least $20,000 in gold, which represented her family's life-savings.

Jaber, her husband and three sons immigrated to Albuquerque in 2008.

Lawsuit Broadened Over New Mexico School Funding - The Associated Press

A national civil rights group has expanded a lawsuit to challenge New Mexico's financing of special education programs for disabled students in public schools.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, filed its broader lawsuit yesterday in state district court in Santa Fe.

The group initially sued the state and the Public Education Department in April alleging that New Mexico inadequately funds schools, violating the constitutional rights of students who are at risk of failing academically such as low-income children and Spanish-speaking students.

The revised lawsuit contends that New Mexico also fails to provide a sufficient education to students with disabilities.

In the 2012-2013 school year, there were about 42,000 students with disabilities.

That's nearly 14 percent of total school enrollment, according to the lawsuit.

Albuquerque Goodwill Manager Sentenced - The Associated Press

A former manager of an Albuquerque Goodwill store is going to federal prison for lighting a fire to conceal his embezzlement.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for New Mexico says 39-year-old Daniel Edward Aaron Morgan was sentenced Thursday afternoon to a year and a day for making an incendiary device.

Prosecutors say Morgan will also have to serve two years of supervised release and repay the stolen money to Goodwill.

According to authorities, Morgan embezzled more than $2,000 from the store.

They say he set a bank deposit bag on fire before placing it inside a U.S. Bank night deposit box.

Officials say there was not enough flammable material to set the bank on fire.

Morgan was convicted of violating federal firearms laws.

NM Pueblo To Hold Graduation Ceremony For Veterans - The Associated Press

Jemez Pueblo is having a special graduation ceremony to present honorary high school diplomas to the community's few remaining World War II veterans.

Several veterans who were called to duty and were unable to complete their education upon returning home will be given diplomas during Saturday's event.

Another three veterans will be recognized posthumously.

Pueblo Gov. Joshua Madalena says the community is grateful to the veterans for their courage and service and the diplomas are well-deserved.

Tribal officials say 53 men and two women from the pueblo were called to duty during World War II.

U.S. military documents show more than 44,000 American Indians served between 1941 and 1945 in Europe and the Pacific.

Records also show more than 40,000 Indians left their homes to work in ordnance depots, factories and other war industries.

Lubbock County Jail Escapee Caught In New Mexico - The Associated Press

A West Texas jail trustee who fled while on work duty has been captured in New Mexico.

Curry County, New Mexico, jail records show Randy Allen Williams was being held without bond Friday and faces return to Lubbock.

Investigators say Williams, who turned 50 on Friday, fled from the jail garage on Tuesday by setting a fire behind the building.

Lubbock County Sheriff Kelly Rowe says Williams was caught Thursday afternoon in Clovis, New Mexico, at a recycling business.

Williams was arrested last month on charges of driving while intoxicated, possession of a controlled substance and theft.

Authorities say Williams now faces additional charges of arson, escape and theft.