Judge Sides With NM Over Gaming Compact, NM Supreme Court Agrees To Hear State Budget Dispute

Apr 24, 2017

Judge Sides With New Mexico In Dispute Over Gaming CompactThe Associated Press & The Santa Fe New Mexican

A federal appeals court has rejected an appeal by the U.S. Department of the Interior and Pojoaque Pueblo in a dispute over a gaming compact with New Mexico.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Sunday that the court blocked the department from taking any action in the dispute, which is between the pueblo and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez's administration.

The two parties disagree about the amount of money the tribe should have to hand over to the state from its gambling operations.

The pueblo has been operating Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino and other operations without a compact with the state since a previous compact expired in June 2015. The tribe hasn't reached a new deal with the state because it disagrees with the revenue-sharing requirement.

New Mexico Supreme Court Agrees To Hear State Budget DisputeThe Associated Press

The New Mexico Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear a lawsuit by the state Legislature that accuses Republican Gov. Susana Martinez of overstepping her authority by vetoing funding to the state Legislature and all state universities and colleges.

Martinez was ordered to respond to a petition from the Democratic-led Legislature that says her line-item vetoes would "effectively abolish" state institutions of higher education and upset the balance of powers between branches of government outlined in the state's constitution.

Oral arguments were scheduled May 15 at the Supreme Court in the extraordinary legal challenge that springs from an escalating feud over how to resolve the state's financial crisis.

Lawmakers sent Martinez a $6.1 billion budget package in March that would slightly boost spending and includes several tax increases designed to shore up wobbly state finances.

New Mexico Senator Criticized For Stalling Latino AppointeeThe Associated Press

Asserting that Hispanics are routinely kept from key positions, the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce wants to know why its outgoing CEO has not been named to the board of New Mexico's largest university.

In a letter sent last week to Sen. Linda Lopez, the business group asked why she failed to hold a confirmation hearing for Alex Romero.

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez nominated Romero in February to the University of New Mexico's Board of Regents. But the nomination has been held up by the Senate Rules Committee, which is chaired by Lopez.

It was one of many Martinez appointments that did not get a hearing during the previous legislative session.

Lopez has decried the lack of diversity on state college boards.

Lopez did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

UNM Drops Stipend Program For Teacher Mentors To Cut CostsThe Associated Press & The ABQ Journal

University of New Mexico is halting a stipend program for teachers who host student assistants in their classrooms due to budget reasons.

The Albuquerque Journal reported (http://bit.ly/2oo7XEf) Monday that the university's College of Education recently announced it would temporarily stop payments to student teachers who help mentor and prepare UNM students pursuing education careers.

The stipend program offers student teachers $50 or $100 each. The program costs less than $10,000 per year.

Education Dean Hector Ochoa issued a letter last month saying the decision to cut the program comes as UNM faces a significant budget shortfall. He says the only way to continue the program would have been to raise fees for students.

New Mexico law requires student teaching experience for people to obtain a teaching license.

Navajo Nation Gets Federal Grant To Improve Route 36 SafetyThe Daily Times, Associated Press

The Navajo Nation has received a federal grant to assist its transportation division in identifying areas of improvement for Navajo Route 36.

The highway is about 29 miles long and runs between Farmington and Shiprock.

It provides access to several chapters, residences, farms and schools in addition to the Four Corners Power Plant and the Northern Edge Casino.

The Daily Times reports that the Navajo Division of Transportation will use the $72,000 grant to begin the preliminary design for replacing sections of the road, placing additional signage and identifying areas in need of pothole repairs.

The grant comes from the Federal Highway Administration's Tribal Transportation Program Safety Fund, which is designated to help tribes improve highway safety and safety planning.

Meow Wolf Buys Manufacturing Plant To Create ExhibitsThe Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

A plant formerly owned by a mining and construction equipment company in Santa Fe will become space for arts production company Meow Wolf to help create its exhibits as it seeks to expand nationwide.

The arts collective bought the former Caterpillar facility where workers assembled engine components until it closed last year. The space will become a fabrication, welding, wood shop, art, design and manufacturing facility, The Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper reported Thursday.

Vince Kadlubek, Meow Wolf co-founder, said the 52,000-square-foot building will allow the collective to grow and build its brand outside New Mexico. The first project will be a mobile traveling exhibit, followed by a permanent display in Denver or Austin, Texas.

Albuquerque Man Accused Of Shaking His 3-Month-OldKOB-TV, Associated Press

Bond has been set at $100,000 for an Albuquerque father accused of shaking his baby boy.

According to court documents, Anthony Serna told police he was playing with the 3-month-old when his eyes rolled back and mucus started coming out of the child's mouth.

Serna says he tried to wake the baby by shaking him for 10 seconds.

That's when the boy's body stiffened up, so he put him down and called 911.

KOB-TV reports doctors at University of New Mexico Hospital told police the child had multiple brain bleeds, bruises on his head and face, a tear in his mouth and a big bruise on his lower back.

Police say Serna was arrested for alleged child abuse because the injuries did not match his story.

Thousands in Albuquerque March For ScienceAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Marchers gathered Saturday in downtown Albuquerque in a March for Science event to support science and defend it from U.S. budget cuts and censorship.

The Albuquerque Journal reported approximately 4,000 people collected at Civic Plaza.

Some participants' signs said "Ignorance is not bliss" and "Grab ‘Em by the Data."

Attendees said that they marched for numerous reasons, including the safeguard of air and water quality.

Other cities in the region where marches for science were held included Reno, Las Vegas, and Phoenix.

Missing 12-year-old Albuquerque boy with autism is found OK KOB-TV, Associated Press

Authorities say a 12-year-old Albuquerque boy with autism who went missing earlier this week is safe and is being reunited with his family.

They say Xander Mares went missing Tuesday night.

Bernalillo County Sheriff's deputies made contact with the boy Friday afternoon and confirmed he's physically OK.

The boy's father told KOB-TV that his son was being bullied at school and got into a fight Tuesday and was then suspended for three days.

James Mares says he thinks his son decided to run away from home because he got embarrassed.

Las Cruces Police Arrest Suspect In A Fatal Shooting CaseAssociated Press

Authorities say a suspect in a fatal shooting in Las Cruces is in custody.

Las Cruces police say 21-year-old Joel Arciniega-Saenz is facing a charge of an open count of murder.

Saenz has been booked into the Dona Ana County Detention Center. He's being held without bond in connection with Saturday morning's shooting death of 21-year-old Benjamin Montoya.

Officers dispatched to a reported shooting found Montoya suffering from at least one gunshot wound to the chest.

Police say Montoya was transported to a hospital and pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

Investigators say Montoya and his girlfriend were at Saenz's apartment when they began to argue with each other and then went outside.

A witness says Saenz and the woman were later seen standing over Montoya's body in the parking lot.

Young Entrepreneurs Launch Their Own Startups In Las CrucesLas Cruces Sun News, Associated Press

A new group of entrepreneurs has emerged in the Las Cruces business scene, and they're too young to drive themselves to the office.

The roughly 40 junior executives, ages 6 to 14, from the Acton Academy and other city schools will be participating in a nationwide Children's Business Fair on Saturday during the downtown Las Cruces Farmers & Crafts Market, The Las Cruces Sun-News reported.

The students will be introducing various projects for sale, which include arts and crafts, spa services, custom-crafted woodwork, jewelry and other items.

Anna Biad is one of the founders of Acton's Las Cruces school, which launched last year. She said the goal was for students to work independently on the projects so they would learn the challenges of developing their own startup business.