Friday News Roundup
Fri August 22, 2014
Headlines: New Sex Abuse Suits Vs. NM Catholic Diocese, APS To Name Interim Chief And More...
4 New Sex Abuse Suits Name NM Catholic Diocese – The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal
Four new lawsuits have been filed against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe by men who say they were molested by priests in New Mexico decades ago.
The four suits filed this week by Albuquerque attorney Brad Hall bring the number of lawsuits he's filed on behalf of alleged victims to 25 and 11 have been settled.
The lawsuits include one naming a former priest who was recently released from a prison in Michigan after serving nine years for molesting two boys in the 1970s. The new suit alleges the former priest molested a now-47-year-old man in the mid-1970s at a church in a community about 15 miles west of Abiquiu.
The Albuquerque Journal reports three other victims allege they were molested by different priests.
Albuquerque Schools Set To Name Interim Chief - The Associated Press
The school board of New Mexico's largest school district is preparing to name an interim superintendent amid questions surrounding the former school chief's departure.
The Albuquerque Public Schools board is scheduled to meet Friday for a special meeting where board members are expected to discuss interim candidates.
Embattled Superintendent Winston Brooks resigned last week after board members said he was being investigated for a personnel matter. Both sides declined to elaborate.
The school board then approved a $350,000 settlement to buy him out of his contract.
Hispano Round Table of New Mexico president Ralph Arellanes says the next superintendent should be Latino since the majority of students in the district are Hispanic.
New Mexico Governor Candidates Agree To TV Debates - The Associated Press
Republican Gov. Susana Martinez and Democratic challenger Gary King have agreed to televised gubernatorial debates in October, including one by a Spanish-language TV station.
Martinez campaign spokesman Chris Sanchez and King campaign manager Keith Breitbach confirmed Thursday the candidates will participate in debates Oct. 6 by Univision affiliate KLUZ-TV and Oct. 19 by KOAT-TV and the Albuquerque Journal.
Martinez will speak in Spanish during the Univision debate. Breitbach said King will use a translator.
The candidates previously agreed to a Sept. 22 forum in Albuquerque by a real estate group and they'll appear separately Sept. 18 at a New Mexico State University conference.
Martinez hasn't committed to other forums or debates, but Breitbach said King has agreed to others and "is willing to debate Susana Martinez anytime."
New Mexico City May Pay Farmers To Not Use Water - The Associated Press and KRQE TV
An eastern New Mexico city still struggling with drought is considering a plan to pay farmers with federal grant money to stop watering their crops.
KRQE-TV reports under a proposed conservation program aimed at changing the way Clovis area farmers use their water supply, farmers would be paid about $400 an acre to make the switch.
The change would mean farmers would have to rely on rain to water their land and some may have to change crops to those requiring less water.
Despite recent rainfall, much of New Mexico remains under moderate to severe drought.
In Clovis, officials say years of drought and extensive irrigation has nearly depleted the Ogallala Aquifer which is the city's only source for drinking water.
Scientists Urge Rehiring Of Fired Nuke Lab Worker - The Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican
A group of scientists who work to limit the spread of nuclear weapons is urging the U.S. Energy Secretary to intervene on behalf of a fired worker at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Santa Fe political scientist James Doyle says he was fired after 17 years on the job in July after writing an article for a nonprofit web site in support of abolishing nuclear weapons. Doyle worked on the lab's non-proliferation team.
Federation of American Scientists President Charles Ferguson urged Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to ensure that that Doyle isn't penalized for participating in the national dialogue over nuclear policy.
Doyle tells the Santa Fe New Mexican he was fired after lab officials claimed his article raised classification concerns. He says the article had been cleared for publication.
More Delays Expected On La Bajada Mesa Mine Plan - The Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican
The Santa Fe County Commission may sidestep a decision on a proposed 50-acre basalt mine on La Bajada mesa a little longer.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports commissioners are scheduled to vote next week on an ordinance that would place a 12-month moratorium on developments with countywide impacts. Those developments would include landfills, junkyards, and sand and gravel mining that requires blasting.
Under the ordinance, new or existing development applications, like the one for a basalt mine on La Bajada mesa, would be affected.
Commissioners postponed a final decision last week on an application by Rockology and Buena Vista Estates to create a mining zone on the La Bajada escarpment.
Rockology wants to mine basalt and crush it into aggregate for construction material.
New Mexico Woman Tests Negative For Ebola - The Associated Press
Health officials say test results show a New Mexico woman is not infected with the deadly Ebola virus.
The New Mexico Department of Health and University of New Mexico Hospital received the results from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday.
The unidentified woman returned earlier this month to New Mexico after teaching in Sierra Leone, one of several countries in West Africa with known cases of the virus.
The woman was admitted to the hospital in stable condition with a sore throat, headache, muscle aches and a fever. The flu-like symptoms can be initial signs of Ebola so the hospital and health department worked with the Centers for Disease Control to test for the virus.
Health officials say the woman didn't have any known exposure to Ebola, but the tests were done out of an "abundance of caution."
Immigrant Advocate Arrested Near Pearce's Office - The Associated Press
The head of an immigrant rights advocacy group is facing charges following his arrest during a protest outside of Congressman Steve Pearce's office.
A Las Cruces Police Department spokesman says 43-year-old Fernando Garcia was arrested yesterday for misdemeanor resisting or obstructing an officer. Garcia was arrested after a group of protesters pushed their way inside the Republican's Las Cruces office and Garcia refused to follow officers' orders to leave.
Garcia is the executive director of the El Paso-based Border Network for Human Rights. He says the arrest and charges "were inappropriate."
The protest was part of a two-state walk along to border to draw attention to the use of the National Guard along the U.S.-Mexico border and to call for President Obama to act on immigration reforms.
New Mexico Sheriff's Enforcement License Suspended - The Associated Press
The indicted sheriff of New Mexico's Rio Arriba County has had his law enforcement license suspended.
Tommy Rodella apparently doesn't need law enforcement certification to serve as sheriff, although now he can not perform police duties such as making arrests.
Rodella and his son were indicted last week for conspiracy to violate a motorist's civil rights during a traffic stop in March.
The county commission has issued a strongly worded letter calling for Rodella to resign.
Rodella says he won't step down and he and his son want a speedy trial.
Gov. Susana Martinez Travels To Meeting In Mexico - The Associated Press
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez traveled across the international border to attend a meeting with officials from the Mexican state of Sonora.
The governor's office said Martinez went Thursday to the Sonoran city of Hermosillo to attend a meeting of the New Mexico-Sonora Commission along with Sonora Gov. Guillermo Padres Elias.
Martinez is scheduled to return to New Mexico on Friday.
The commission was created by state law to deal with issues of mutual concern to New Mexico and Sonora, including public safety, the economy and cultural affairs. The governor has the power to negotiate cooperative agreements with Sonora.
New Mexico members of the commission include Martinez, secretaries of the Economic Development and Tourism departments and up to nine members of the public appointed by the governor.