Hispanic Catholics Protest Priest For Ending Spanish Mass – The Associated Press and KOB
Some Hispanic Catholics in a New Mexico town want a priest removed after he ended Spanish Mass and allegedly told one parishioner he needed to pray for what he did in the Vietnam War.
KOB-TV in Albuquerque reports more than two dozen parishioners in the small mountain hamlet of Tijeras picketed outside of Hold Child Parish on Sunday to demand that Rev. Mark Granito be replaced.
Teresa Armenta says Granito has ended Spanish Mass and halted the playing of Spanish music in church. She also says the priest told her Vietnam veteran husband that he needed to pray for his actions in the war.
Leroy Gonzales says Granito also preaches his political views in church.
Archdiocese of Santa Fe spokeswoman Celine Baca Radigan did not immediately return an email.
New Mexico Education Secretary Closes Another Charter School – The Associated Press
New Mexico Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski is upholding a decision to close a charter school in northern New Mexico with 200 students.
Publican Education Department spokeswoman Lida Alikhani confirmed Sunday that Taos International Charter School is having its operating charter revoked. The school unsuccessfully appealed a December vote of the Public Education Commission to close the school.
The commission opposed the school's initial charter in 2012, but was overruled by the administration of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.
The state has moved to close at least half a dozen charter schools based on academic results and reviews.
In a statement, the Public Education Department said it is committed to strengthening the charter school sector overall. Taos Municipal Schools has indicated it can accommodate students from the moribund charter school.
Teen Charged In Fatal Library Shooting To Undergo Evaluation – The Associated Press & The Eastern New Mexico News
A New Mexico judge has ordered that a teenager charged in the Clovis library shooting undergo a mental "evaluation and assessment."
The Eastern New Mexico News reports Fifth Judicial District Judge James Hudson recently ruled that Nathaniel Jouett must go through a treatment plan so the court can address the 17-year-old's mental health.
Hudson denied the transfer motion for Jouett to go to an adolescent treatment facility in Albuquerque.
Jouett will be tried as an adult on charges including first-degree murder. He is accused of killing two people and injuring four at the Clovis-Carver Public Library in late August.
The Associated Press generally does not identify juveniles accused of crimes. It is identifying Jouett, however, because of the seriousness of the crime and because authorities are seeking adult sanctions.
Pre-Evacuation Notices Prompted By Fires Near Grants Lifted – The Associated Press
Pre-evacuation notices prompted by wildfires burning near Grants in northwestern New Mexico have been lifted for several subdivisions in the Zuni Mountains.
Authorities say an evacuation center also has been closed.
The fires are burning on a mountain and a mesa about 15 miles northwest of Grants.
They started Thursday, one from an abandoned campfire and the other from an unknown cause.
Authorities say one wildfire has charred about 9.5 square miles while the other wildfire some four miles to the north has burned nearly 4 square miles.
Small Oil Producers Struggling To Keep Running Aging Wells – The Associated Press
Small- and medium-sized oil and gas producers in New Mexico are struggling to keep running aging wells based on outdated technology.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that independent producers might soon be swallowed up by an unprecedented oil and gas boom in southeastern New Mexico as ExxonMobil and other industry titans pump billions of dollars into previously untapped sections of the state's oil patch.
The smaller companies don't have the resources to invest in the drilling technology needed to dig into the oil-rich, hard shale-rock formations where the majors are now concentrated.
Local government officials and economic development professionals say the investment pouring in from the major players will easily make up for economic losses from the decline in traditional, or legacy operations that fueled past booms.
Soccer Advocates Rally As UNM Considers Cutting Sports Teams – The Associated Press
Administrators at the University of New Mexico are considering the elimination of multiple sports teams as part of an effort to get finances under control, but advocates for the men's soccer team at the state's flagship school are speaking out.
Coach Jeremy Fishbein on Monday said he was told his program was among those being "very seriously" considered for elimination. Fishbein and other alumni plan to address the Board of Regents regarding proposed cuts at a meeting Tuesday.
Fishbein said in a statement that no sports should be cut and that the university's new president and its athletics director need time to develop a plan to address the deficit.
Officials with the athletics department said Monday that nothing has been decided as to which teams could be cut.
Finances Favor Native American Congressional Candidate – The Associated Press
A Native American candidate for an open Congressional seat in central New Mexico has widened her financial advantage over a crowded field of candidates for the Democratic nomination.
Laguna Pueblo member of former state Democratic Party chairwoman Debra Haaland has raised about $298,000 during the first three months of the year. Campaign finance statements filed on Sunday with the Federal Election Commission show that Haaland's campaign has a $684,000 cash balance.
Former U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez's campaign says it raised $145,000 in the first financial quarter and has stockpiled $456,000 ahead of the state's June 5 primary.
Janice Arnold-Jones is running unopposed for the Republican nomination and raised $32,000.
Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham is campaigning for governor and will not seek re-election to the first congressional district that encompasses Albuquerque.
UNM Dermatology Department Regains Accreditation –The Albuquerque Journal
The University of New Mexico medical school will soon be able to train dermatologists again.
The Albuquerque Journal reports the dermatology department regained accreditation as of last week, which means it will be able to restart its residency program.
The department lost its accreditation in 2016 after all but one full-time faculty retired or left. It’s now back up to seven faculty members.
UNM is the only dermatology program in a state with what the department chair called a “tremendous shortage” of dermatologists.
Film Industry Officials Hope New Governor Boosts Business – The Associated Press, The Santa Fe New Mexican
Officials in New Mexico's film and television industry say a new governor may help boost business for film production in the state.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports there is a sense within the industry that the changeover promised by the November election is to buoy the business of film and television work in New Mexico.
Gubernatorial hopefuls seeking to succeed term-limited Gov. Susana Martinez say some potentially consequential tweaks to the state's film and television tax incentive program could round out this increasingly prominent piece of the state economy.
Some candidates are proposing removing or raising the payout cap for productions some view as an impediment to future growth.
Albuquerque Police Investigating Fatal Shooting On NW Side – The Associated Press
Police in Albuquerque say they're investigating a deadly shooting on the city's northwest side.
Officers were called to the Laundry Quarters at about 2 p.m. Saturday about reports of shots fired.
They say a man died after he was shot at least once.
Police say the victim has been identified as 24-year-old Cody Fair.
They say he died from his injuries about an hour after the shooting.
Detectives say a car was parked in front of the Laundry Quarters with what appeared to be at least two bullet holes through the front windshield.
Police say witnesses have been questioned and evidence taken from the scene, but there's no word yet on any suspects in the case or a possible motive for the shooting.
Crews Report Progress On Two Wildfires Near Grants – The Associated Press
Firefighters report making progress on wildfires burning near Grants in northwestern New Mexico in advance of expected windy conditions Monday.
The fires are burning on a mountain and a mesa about 15 miles (24 kilometers) northwest of Grants.
They started Thursday, one from an abandoned campfire and the other from an unknown cause.
As of Sunday, authorities say one wildfire has charred about 9.5 square miles (2,741 hectares) while the other wildfire some four miles to the north has burned nearly 4 square miles (1,024 hectares).
Firefighters took advantage of lighter winds Saturday to do some burnout operations with more done on Sunday.
Residents of several subdivisions in the Zuni Mountains remain under a pre-evacuation notice.
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez says this may be a very difficult fire season.