Monday News Roundup
8:43 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Headlines: Ballot May Not Fit ABQ Proposals, No Injuries From Gunfire Near UNM Campus And More...

Credit @jbtaylor via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Election Ballot May Not Fit Albuquerque ProposalsThe Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

All of Albuquerque's proposed questions for voters may not fit onto Bernalillo County's general election ballot.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that county election workers are testing different ballot combinations of questions submitted by the city.

The City Council wants to add five items to the general-election ballot, which includes state and county races.

The proposed questions include a marijuana decriminalization measure and a proposed tax increase for social-service programs.

County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver says she expects to be able to accommodate at least one city question, not all five.

According to Oliver, there are 700 ballot combinations for the questions.

No Injuries From Gunfire Near New Mexico Campus - The Associated Press

Albuquerque police say nobody was injured from multiple shots fired after a fight at an apartment complex near the University of New Mexico campus.

According to police, officers went to The Cottages apartment complex Sunday after receiving multiple calls about multiple shots fired from an automatic weapon.

Responding officers determined that nobody had been shot at the scene but they located numerous shell casings.

A vehicle that left the scene was found elsewhere later in Albuquerque, and officers arrested two non-students on suspicion of multiple felony charges.

New Mexico Lawmakers To Get Revenue Update - The Associated Press

New Mexico legislators are to receive a new revenue forecast that will help shape the debate over spending in next year's state budget.

Top officials in Gov. Susana Martinez's administration will outline the revenue projections Monday to the Legislative Finance Committee during a meeting in Las Vegas.

The report will estimate how much revenues are expected to grow next year, providing money for spending increases on programs and services. The Legislature meets in January to work on a budget for the 2016 fiscal year, which starts next July.

This year's budget calls for the state to spend almost $6.2 billion on public education and general government programs, an increase of 4.6 percent from a year earlier.

Economists for the Martinez administration and the Legislature prepare the state's revenue forecast.

Stolen NMSU Laptop Had Students' Information - The Associated Press and Las Cruces Sun-News

New Mexico State University officials say a theft of a university employee's laptop containing dozens of students' personal information is unlikely to lead to identity theft.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reported Sunday that 170 students received a letter Aug. 11 saying the thief wasn't targeting the computer's data.

NMSU head of information technology Norma Grijalva says there was no information that could make the school's central computing system vulnerable to hackers.

According to court documents, authorities arrested 19-year-old Oscar D. Quintana of Sunland Park for the theft. Quintana told police he sold the laptop after stealing it last June.

The laptop contained students' birthdates and Social Security numbers.

Grijalva says officials are trying to raise security awareness and the school continues to enhance its training in data security.

Lawsuit Argues Medicaid Evaluations Hurt Disabled - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

Family members of developmentally disabled New Mexicans suing the state say a Medicaid assessment system puts recipients of services at risk.

The Albuquerque Journal reports attorneys for eight families asked a judge last week to halt a new method for evaluating recipients to determine their level of services, which can include 24-hour residential care as well as occupational and speech therapy.

The lawsuit was filed in January to restore the services lost by individuals and stop Gov. Susana Martinez's administration from continuing with changes meant to control costs.

The governor's office says the changes were to help people get off waiting lists for services.

Officials say the program for the developmentally disabled has a waiting list of 6,200.

Attorneys for the state Health Department say the evaluation system doesn't put disabled clients at risk.

Snake Sightings On The Rise In Southern New Mexico - The Associated Press and Carlsbad Current-Argus

Officials in southeastern New Mexico say sightings of one of the most lethal rattlesnakes appear to be on the rise.

The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports that the Eddy County Sheriff's Department says more snakes have been spotted in yards this year, including the Mojave rattler.

The New Mexico Game and Fish Department says the snake is a type of pit viper that has fangs infused with a neurotoxin that is more potent than some other rattlesnakes.

Treatment for a bite from a Mojave rattler requires different anti-venom.

Carlsbad Medical Center says they have already treated five patients for snake bite wounds this year.

Experts say the rattler recently migrated from California and Arizona.

Homicide Probe Leads To Albuquerque Chop Shop - The Associated Press

Bernalillo County Sheriff's deputies say an Albuquerque man is facing charges of operating a chop shop where he sold off stolen car parts.

A judge ordered Jack McComas Jr. held on $15,000 bond. McComas faces six charges of receiving stolen property.

Authorities say investigators of a homicide went to a food equipment supply store in northwest Albuquerque in search of a truck involved in the crime.

They say they found the truck and questioned the store owner, McComas' father. The elder McComas allowed them to search a second property, where they discovered five stolen cars.

According to court documents, McComas admitted to deputies that he used the property to dismantle stolen cars and profit from selling them.

Authorities say the father is not facing charges at this time.

3 Sharks Born At ABQ Biopark Aquarium - The Associated Press

Three baby Whitespotted Bamboo sharks have been born at Albuquerque's BioPark Aquarium.

The shark babies were born last Monday.

They were hatched from eggs laid by one of the female sharks in the aquarium's Shark/Ray Encounter exhibit.

The baby sharks measure about 4 inches long. They are projected to grow up to 3 feet.

Whitespotted Bamboo sharks are harmless to people. They are known for reproducing without the need for a male presence.

Aquarium managers say the public can see them in the Pacific Gallery.

Bear And Cub Relocated To Gila National Forest - The Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

New Mexico Game and Fish officers say a bear and her cub have been safely relocated to a remote area after being treed in a Santa Fe neighborhood.

The New Mexican reports that both have already been taken to the Gila National Forest since being tranquilized near an elementary school Friday morning.

Game and Fish officials say this is the third time the tagged adult female bear and the cub have been captured in towns and relocated.

Biologist Rick Winslow says they did not euthanize her since she has cubs.

Residents called police about 6 a.m. Friday to report the roaming bruins. Officers chased the bears into a tree and called Game and Fish.

The mother weighs about 160 pounds and her cub about 75 pounds.

UNM Expands Online Courses After Early Success - The Associated Press

The University of New Mexico is expanding its global presence in the online world in a massive way.

School officials say they are increasing the number of free Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, after one course last semester drew thousands of students from nearly 200 countries.

The Albuquerque Journal reported earlier this month that UNM will offer three courses this fall.

The three courses include web application architecture, curanderismo or the art of traditional healing and a bilingual course on global business in English and Spanish.

Officials say more people than the school's entire student body have already enrolled.

UNM Provost Chaouki Abdallah says it would normally take millions in marketing costs to reach that many people.

Class credit however is not given for MOOCs.

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