Major State DWI Fugitive Captured, Gov. Martinez Meets With Mike Pence

Nov 15, 2016

One Of New Mexico's Most Wanted DWI Fugitives Is CapturedThe Associated Press

One of New Mexico's most wanted DWI fugitives has been captured. Authorities say Thomas Frank was captured by police in Farmington after he had absconded from parole and officers say he allegedly was drunk again.

Frank had been released after serving time for his seventh DWI offense. Authorities say it was the second time he had absconded from supervision.

Gov. Susana Martinez says there is a statewide effort to locate and capture repeat DWI offenders who have skipped out on parole or probation and are now running from the law.

Authorities say many of the offenders also are violent criminals who drove drunk and either seriously injured or killed another driver or they are repeat offenders who are at high-risk for causing an accident.

New Mexico Governor Travels To Meet With Mike PenceThe Associated Press 

A spokesman for New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez says she is traveling to Florida to meet with Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

Martinez planned to travel Tuesday to Orlando for a meeting of the Republican Governors Association and to speak with Pence, the head of Donald Trump's transition team.

Martinez is chairwoman of the association that helps elect GOP candidates for governor. The second term GOP governor has offered congratulations to Trump on his election after refusing to endorse his campaign.

The election that propelled Trump to the White House also resulted in Republican wins in a trio of governorships previously held by Democrats in Missouri, New Hampshire and Vermont.

The Republican Governors Association spent more than $50 million on this year's races. The association is paying for Martinez's travel.

University Police: Man Shot, In Stable ConditionThe Associated Press 

Authorities say a man is hospitalized in stable condition after being shot during a confrontation with a New Mexico State University police officer on the main NMSU campus in Las Cruces.

Campus police and university spokesman Justin Bannister say the shooting occurred late Monday night after an officer responded to a report of a man with a gun at apartments on campus.

Bannister says initial reports indicate that the officer fired his gun during the incident and that the man was wounded, but Bannister says he doesn't have confirmation that a bullet from the officer's gun is what struck the man.

The wounded man's identity hasn't been released but Bannister says officials expect to release additional information later Tuesday.

A university police Facebook post says the officer was not injured and that a multi-agency task force is investigating the incident.

Investment Returns Surge At New Mexico Pension FundThe Associated Press

Managers of New Mexico's public retirement fund for educators say investment returns surged by 3.7 percent during the three-month period ending in September.

A quarterly investments report released Monday by the New Mexico Education Retirement Board shows its pension assets climbed to an all-time high of $11.7 billion at the end of September.

The board oversees pensions for employees of public school districts, charter schools and universities across New Mexico. The fund is confronting long-term challenges as unfunded liabilities climbed to $6.6 billion at the end of the most recent fiscal year.

Chief Investment Officer Bob Jacksha says assets grew even as pension benefit payments outpaced contributions from employees by about $100 million from July through September.

Program To Release 54,000 Silvery Minnow Into Rio GrandeThe Associated Press & The ABQ Journal

An Albuquerque zoo's program is releasing 54,000 endangered fish into the Rio Grande this year, almost half as many as last year.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that officials with ABQ BioPark's silvery minnow program say they could release 40,000 fewer fish into the river because natural breeding in the river has been successful this year.

BioPark Aquatic Conservation Facility Curator Kathy Lang says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requests releases of specific numbers of fish based on population data collected by its employees.

The silvery minnow is a 2- to 4-inch-long fish that was once the most common species in the Rio Grande. By 1994 the population had declined enough that it was placed on the endangered species list.

Dispute Stops Gallup Diocese From Exiting BankruptcyThe Associated Press & The Gallup Independent

Though the Diocese of Gallup had its bankruptcy proceedings confirmed in June, legal disputes have stalled the case's exit from court.

The Gallup Independent reports that Phoenix attorney Robert E. Pastor has filed a lawsuit against the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, the Pennsylvania religious order that founded St. Michael Indian School in St. Michaels, Arizona, claiming a Navajo woman was sexually abused at the school by a Franciscan friar.

The Gallup Diocese, the Franciscans and St. Michael Mission Church have already entered a settlement agreement with another Navajo woman related to the abuse. That settlement was part of the diocese's bankruptcy case that was confirmed in June.

Because St. Michael already was part of the settlement, the diocese argues they should be allowed to exit the court.

Firms, Patients Brace For Changes In Health Care LawAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Health care companies in New Mexico are bracing for the likelihood that some parts of President Barack Obama's signature health care overhaul could be undone by President-elect Donald Trump.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that New Mexico-based insurance and hospital system executives believe it's too early to tell how things would proceed.

But most of them agreed they would have to adjust their business operations after Trump begins working with a Republican Congress eager to end or at least significantly change the law.

The reaction was immediate for one group of policy-holders as phone lines burned up last week at the offices of the state health care exchange after the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

New Mexicans moved quickly to lock in another year of coverage.

Trump Starting To Sound Like Obama On ImmigrationAssociated Press

President-elect Donald Trump is starting to sound an awful lot like President Barack Obama on immigration.

In his first postelection interview, Trump says he'll focus on deporting criminal immigrants and not everyone living in the United States illegally. He says as many 2 million to 3 million immigrants could be immediate deportation targets.

And that "big, beautiful wall" at the Mexican border? Trump says he may be open to a fence along some parts of the roughly 2,000-mile border.

The softened stance contrasts sharply with Trump's rhetoric from the campaign trail. As a candidate for president, he called for everyone living in the country illegally to return to their home countries and for Mexico to pay billions of dollars for the wall.

Attorney: Officer Rejects Plea Deal In Homeless Man's DeathAssociated Press

A defense attorney says a former Albuquerque police detective charged with second-degree murder last year in the on-duty shooting death of a homeless camper turned down a plea deal offer from a special prosecutor.

The attorney for retired Detective Keith Sandy said Monday he rejected the offer to plead guilty to a lesser charge of conspiracy to commit aggravated battery in the 2014 shooting because the shooting was justified and he did not commit a crime.

In exchange, special prosecutor Randi McGinn would have cleared charges against Dominique Perez, the other officer in the case.

McGinn says she wouldn't have presented arguments at Sandy's sentencing hearing had he accepted the offer.

Jurors deadlocked last month on whether to convict the officers in the shooting after a two-week trial. A judge rescheduled a new trial for July.

PNM To Cut 30 JobsKOB-TV, KUNM

New Mexico’s largest electric utility company confirmed Monday it will cut approximately 30 staff and management positions.

KOB-TV reports that Public Service Company of New Mexico employs about 1,500 people, and the cuts are part of an effort by the company to reduce costs.

Spokesman Pahl Shipley told KOB-TV in an email that PNM is constantly evaluating how they do things, and examines the best practices across their industry.

Albuquerque’s First Freeze Of Winter To ComeAlbuquerque Journal, KUNM

Winds gusting at 45 to 60 mph on Thursday are expected to drop Albuquerque’s temperatures, ending the abnormally long growing season. 

The Albuquerque Journal reports Friday will be one of the coldest days of autumn, and freezing temperatures are on the way.

National Weather Service meteorologist Kerry Jones told the Journal that things can change quickly in the second half of November.

New Mexico Driver's License Overhaul Provides 2 New OptionsAssociated Press

New Mexico driver's licenses are getting an overhaul to comply with tougher federal identification requirements without forsaking people who are in the country illegally.

The state's Motor Vehicle Division on Monday began issuing two kinds of identification. One is a driver's license that complies with the federal REAL ID Act, and the other is a driving authorization card geared toward immigrants.

Existing driver's licenses will continue to be valid for boarding flights and accessing certain federal facilities until October 2020. Delays are expected nonetheless at Motor Vehicle Division offices.

State officials recommend applicants for the new driver's license bring a birth certificate, social security card and two proofs of residency. Immigrants in the country illegally must submit fingerprints for a background check to obtain a driving authorization card.

California Couple Allegedly Drive A Stolen Car To New MexicoAssociated Press

Authorities say a California couple suspected of driving a stolen car to New Mexico face several other charges.

Las Cruces police say 35-year-old Christopher Cairati and 20-year-old Sabrina May Burns were arrested on suspicion of one count each of possession of a stolen vehicle and conspiracy.

They say Burns also is facing a charge of possession of a controlled substance.

The couple from Santa Rosa was arrested Nov. 8 after being involved in a three-car crash.

Police say one of the vehicles had a fake license plate and was reported stolen from Santa Rosa on Nov. 4.

During the booking process, police say Burns was found to be concealing methamphetamine and a glass pipe.

She was also issued citations for driving with a suspended license and without insurance or registration.