Thursday News Roundup
8:47 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Headlines: Santa Fe Decriminalizes Pot, Police Shooting Contest Opposed...

Credit smoker's high life via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Santa Fe City Council Votes To Decriminalize PotThe Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

The Santa Fe City Council has voted to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.  City officials said in a news release that the council voted 5-4 Wednesday night to approve the pot ordinance  The measure makes possession of an ounce or less of marijuana a civil infraction punishable by a fine of no more than $25. It had been a criminal misdemeanor.  Activists had submitted enough valid voter signatures to force a public vote on the matter.  The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that with approval, the council hoped to avoid the costs of a vote and the uncertainty of the question even making the November ballot.  The newspaper says the vote makes Santa Fe the first city in the state to decriminalize pot.

Activists Protest Police Shooting Contest In NM - The Associated Press

Activists say they want a planned police shooting contest in Albuquerque canceled, especially after the city has been under scrutiny for police excess force.

Advocates held a rally Wednesday in downtown Albuquerque to call for the event's cancellation.

The city and its police department are hosting the National Rifle Association competition Sept. 13-17 for law enforcement members who can "select to fire in just one match or fire in all of the championship match events."

Officials say the NRA event typically attracts 500 officers from across the U.S. and some international competitors.

In recent months, the city has been rocked by angry protests and a U.S. Justice Department investigation over more than 40 police shootings since 2010.

Las Cruces Man Arrested For Mass Shooting Threat - The Associated Press and Las Cruces Sun-News

A Las Cruces man has been arrested for threatening a mass shooting at New Mexico State University in May.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that federal authorities took 19-year-old Zachary Hess into custody Monday and charged him with making a threat online.

According to unsealed documents, authorities say Hess threatened a mass shooting at N-M-S-U during an anonymous online chat four days after a mass shooting near a college in Isla Vista, California.

Hess was ordered held without bond Tuesday and has been appointed a federal public defender.

Bloomfield Will Appeal Ruling On City's Monument - The Associated Press

A federal court that ruled against a Ten Commandments monument at a northwestern New Mexico city has agreed to put its decision on hold until an appeals court hears the case.

A Ten Commandments monument is displayed on the lawn in front of Bloomfield's City Hall.

On Aug. 7, a U.S. District judge in Albuquerque ruled the monument has the "principal effect of endorsing religion" in violation of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Bloomfield will be appealing the case to the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

Two Bloomfield residents who say they are offended by the monument filed suit through their A-C-L-U attorneys in 2012 in an attempt to have the monument removed.

State Police: Bloomfield Police Fatally Shot Man - The Associated Press

Bloomfield police have fatally shot a man following a report of a domestic dispute involving a possible suicidal man.

Authorities say the man was shot yesterday and died after he was transported to the San Juan Regional Medical Center.

Two Bloomfield police officers responded to a domestic call around 10:15 a.m. and were confronted with a suspect with a deadly weapon.

An investigation into the incident is continuing. 

No officers were injured and the name of the man killed hasn't been released yet.

4 Killed In New Mexico Crash Of Medical Flight - The Associated Press

New Mexico authorities say all four people aboard a medical flight were killed when the plane crashed in Las Cruces.

New Mexico State Police say the twin-engine aircraft had just left the Las Cruces airport and was headed to Phoenix and at low altitude before it crashed and burst into flames Wednesday evening.

State Police identified the crew members killed as 29-year-old pilot Freddy Martinez, 27-year-old flight paramedic Tauren Summers and 35-year-old flight nurse Monica Chavez, all from El Paso, Texas. The patient who was killed was identified as 59-year-old Fredrick Green of Las Cruces.

According to State Police, the plane belonged to Amigos Aviation and was contracted by Elite Medical Transport.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash's cause.

Dona Ana County Commission May Censure Treasurer - The Associated Press and Las Cruces Sun-News

Dona Ana County commissioners are scheduled Friday to consider possibly reprimanding county Treasurer David Gutierrez.

A hearing on the possible censure of Gutierrez is the only topic on the agenda for a special meeting.

According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, it's not specified why the commission will consider the possible censure.

Commission Chairman Billy Garrett says it relates to the county's code of conduct but he says officials can't say more until the meeting.

Gutierrez declined to comment. He's been treasurer since January 2009.

The county's code of conduct specifies that an outside investigation of elected officials can be called for if there are alleged violations of the code. That process can result in a censure hearing.

WWII Albuquerque Vet's Family Gets Lost Medals - The Associated Press and KOB TV

The family of a late World War II Albuquerque veteran who had lost his service medals has received replacements.

KOB-TV reports that the New Mexico National Guard presented the family of George Ayala a Bronze Star and five additional combat medals during a ceremony in Albuquerque on Tuesday.

Ayala's daughter, Georgia Brown, says after her father died in 2012, she found documents indicating his eligibility for service medals.

Ayala joined the United States Army and served in the Philippines and Japan during World War II as a private first class.

NM Winery Gets Federal Grant For Chile Wine - The Associated Press

A New Mexico winery has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the federal government to expand production of its chile-infused wines.

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall announced the funding during a visit to St. Clair Winery in Deming on Wednesday.

With the funding, the New Mexico Democrat said the winery will be able to boost revenues and grow its customer base for its chile-infused line of wines by reimbursing production, marketing and distribution costs.

The winery's chile wines are made using hot peppers from the Hatch Valley in southern New Mexico.

The grant was awarded through a U.S. Department of Agriculture program that helps agricultural producers grow their businesses by turning raw commodities into marketable products. The grants often support development for niche and specialty products in rural communities.

No NCAA Sanctions On UNM Women's Soccer Team - The Associated Press and KOB TV

The NCAA says it won't impose sanctions on the University of New Mexico women's soccer team over hazing.

KOB-TV reports that the governing body said Wednesday it leaves all allegation of hazing for schools to address.

Last week, the University of New Mexico suspended women's soccer coach Kit Vela for a week without pay and suspended 22 players for one game over the hazing episode.

The soccer team later apologized for a hazing case that sent two players to the hospital for excessive alcohol intoxication.

Officials say the suspensions for the players will be staggered across the season so UNM can field a team.

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