KUNM

Martinez Slams Trump On Khan Remarks, Appeals Court Halts Work On Transit Project

Aug 2, 2016

Martinez Hits Trump Over Gold Star Mother RemarksAssociated Press

The nation's only Latina governor is joining a chorus of Republican lawmakers in disavowing Donald Trump's repeated criticisms of a bereaved military family.

Gov. Susana Martinez on Monday called Army Capt. Humayun Khan an American hero. He was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq in 2004.

The Republican governor says Khan's grieving parents "have every right to voice their opinions in the political process," and that disparaging them is "absolutely wrong."

Trump broke a political and societal taboo over the weekend when he criticized Khizr and Ghazala Khan. Khizr Khan strongly criticized Trump during the Democratic National Convention.

Trump stoked further outrage by implying Ghazala Khan didn't speak while standing alongside her husband at the convention because she's a Muslim woman.

Martinez, who has not endorsed Trump, previously denounced him for comments made about Mexican immigrants.

Authorities Ask For Public Help In Probe Of Church BlastsThe Associated Press

A year after small explosions outside two churches stirred a scare in Las Cruces, authorities have announced $40,000 in rewards for information leading to an arrest in the case.

The top FBI agent for New Mexico also made a public appeal on the one-year anniversary of the explosions Tuesday for anyone who believed they may be able to provide information in the case to come forward.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Terry Wade says no tip would be considered too small as investigators try piece together leads.

The explosions on Aug. 2, 2015, outside two churches caused little damage and no injuries, but authorities have said the devices could have injured people.

New Mexico State Police Say Missing 3-Year-Old Found SafeThe Associated Press & The ABQ Journal

Authorities have canceled an Amber Alert that New Mexico State Police issued for a 3-year-old girl, saying the child has been found safe.

New Mexico State Police said in a statement earlier Tuesday morning that the girl, identified as Merleah Guinn, was taken from her home in Santa Rosa, a small town east of Albuquerque. At the time, they said she had been taken by an "unknown abductor."

The girl's mother tells the Albuquerque Journal that she took the girl from her father's house because she was concerned about her.

She says the father may not have remembered that she had picked up the child because he was not fully awake at the time.

Sgt. Elizabeth Armijo says state police are continuing to investigate and will release details as they become available.

Feds Say New Mexico Homeless Veteran Numbers Fell 23 PercentThe Associated Press

Federal officials say homelessness among military veterans in New Mexico fell by 23 percent between 2015 and 2016.

The announcement from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Veteran Affairs and Interagency Council on Homelessness on Monday comes as the agencies released data showing the number of homeless veterans nationwide has decreased by nearly half since 2010.

An annual HUD estimate of the nation's homeless population shows as many as 40,000 veterans were homeless on any given night in January 2016.

The "point-in-time estimate" is based on data calculated from an annual homeless count taken on one night annually in cities nationwide.

The data from New Mexico showed there were 214 homeless veterans in January, down from 278 the year before.

UNM Athletics Facing $1.5M DeficitAlbuquerque Journal

Declining ticket revenues helped drive the University of New Mexico’s athletics department into its biggest deficit in a decade.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the department logged a deficit of $1.54 million as of June 30, the end of the fiscal year. A report by the UNM regents found ticket revenue projections fell short by nearly $1 million and fundraising goals were off by $200,000.

Meanwhile operations and other expenses cost more than $1.2 million than officials projected. The department has a total debt of $4.3 million to UNM.

The gap will be covered by university reserves and there are no plans to eliminate any of UNM’s 22 varsity sports. But the athletics department has missed its budget goals nearly every year for the past nine years.

The football program generates the largest expenses in the athletics department. Regent Marron Lee said he’s optimistic there will be more revenue generated by the program and also more accountability.

Albuquerque Transit Fight 1 Of Many Route 66 DisputesThe Associated Press

The fight over Albuquerque's plans for building a rapid transit route along a stretch of historic Route 66 is one of many Mother Road disputes.

A group in St. Louis is trying to save the famed Route 66 Warren Truss Bridge from demolition and other cities in California have seen protests against efforts to bulldoze highway landmarks.

The tension comes as planners struggle over how to revitalize areas along the 2,500-mile path.

In Albuquerque, a proposed $119-million project backed by Mayor Richard Berry would build a system of express buses and canopy-covered stations on a stretch of Route 66.

But the plan is meeting resistance for business owners who say construction would spark traffic congestion.

Decommissioned as a U.S. highway in 1985, Route 66 goes through eight states.

City Council Supports Putting Sick Leave Question On BallotAlbuquerque Journal

Supporters of an ordinance requiring paid sick leave for workers succeeded in convincing Albuquerque City Councilors to push for its inclusion on the November ballot.

The Albuquerque Journal reports councilors agreed on Monday night to ask Bernalillo County to add that and a proposal to boost public funding for mayoral campaigns to the ballot.

Supporters of the sick leave initiative gathered more than 14,000 signatures to send the question to voters. But the length of the ordinance could pose challenges to fitting it on the ballot.

Feds Say New Mexico Homeless Veteran Numbers Fell 23 Percent Associated Press

Federal officials say homelessness among military veterans in New Mexico fell by 23 percent between 2015 and 2016.

The announcement from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Veteran Affairs and Interagency Council on Homelessness on Monday comes as the agencies released data showing the number of homeless veterans nationwide has decreased by nearly half since 2010.

An annual HUD estimate of the nation's homeless population shows as many as 40,000 veterans were homeless on any given night in January 2016.

The "point-in-time estimate" is based on data calculated from an annual homeless count taken on one night annually in cities nationwide.

The data from New Mexico showed there were 214 homeless veterans in January, down from 278 the year before.

Appeals Court Halts Work On Albuquerque Route 66 TransitAssociated Press, KOB-TV

A federal appeals court has halted Albuquerque's plans for building a rapid transit route along a stretch of Historic Route 66 amid a challenge from businesses.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that it wanted both sides to argue their cases before work could begin.

Construction on the project was scheduled to start this week after a federal judge declined Friday to issue an injunction against a $119-million project backed by Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry. The project would build a system of express buses and canopy-covered stations.

Business owners say the project would spark traffic congestion and ruin the car-friendly persona of the largest urban stretch of Route 66 in the country.

The appeals court gave the Federal Transit Administration and the city of Albuquerque until Tuesday to respond to an appeal by a coalition of businesses.

Meanwhile, KOB-TV reports City Councilor Diane Gibson introduced a resolution Monday night to put the project on the ballot in November. That would have to go to the full council, then the mayor’s office and the county commission.

Authorities Recover Body From Water In Albuquerque CanalAssociated Press

Authorities say a man's body has been pulled from the water in Albuquerque where the North Diversion channel meets the Rio Grande.

The Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department reported spotting the body about 4:15 p.m. Monday.

Albuquerque police say the body hasn't been identified yet and the cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner's office.

The discovery comes two days after crews came up empty-handed in the search for a person reportedly swept away in a flooded arroyo.

The sheriff's department is investigating the incident along with the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Vaccines Available At Little To No Cost Under State Program Associated Press

The state of New Mexico is partnering with healthcare providers to make vaccines available to children at little to no cost.

Gov. Susana Martinez says the "Got Shots? Protect Tots!" program runs through Aug. 13 as the start of the school year approaches.

It'll make vaccines free at all state Public Health Clinics, and discount them at dozens of health providers across the state. In some cases, they'll be open on Saturdays, during lunch hour and after 5 p.m.

Last year, more than 2,200 children were vaccinated through the program.

Parents should bring a copy of insurance or Medicaid cards if they take their children to a private health care provider.

The New Mexico Primary Care Association, New Mexico Immunization Coalition, Molina, United Healthcare, Presbyterian, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico are partnering in the program.

Criminal Investigation Into Gold King Mine Spill UnderwayAssociated Press

The Environmental Protection Agency's internal watchdog says there is an ongoing criminal investigation into last year's massive wastewater spill from an abandoned Colorado gold mine.

EPA's Office of Inspector General sent letters to members of Congress saying it couldn't answer some questions about its review of the Gold King Mine spill without jeopardizing a criminal investigation being conducted with the Justice Department. The statement did not say how long the probe has been underway.

An EPA-led contractor inadvertently triggered the spill in August last year while doing preliminary cleanup work at the old mine. The resulting 3-million-gallon blowout turned rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah a sickly shade of yellow from wastewater contaminated with toxic heavy metals.

EPA says water quality in the rivers quickly returned to pre-spill levels.

Regents Panel Tables Proposal For On-Campus Dorm ResidencyAssociated Press

A proposal that would require hundreds of additional University of New Mexico first-year students to live in on-campus dorms is being set aside at least for now.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the finance and facilities committee of the university Board of Regents shelved the proposal at least temporarily.

University administrators said students who live on campus do better academically in the long run than those who don't live on campus.

Members of the regents committee cited concerns about increased cost to students and available services in tabling the proposal.

However, committee members indicated a willingness to reconsider the proposal.

16 New Mexico Towns, Cities Eye More 'Main Street' FundsAssociated Press

Sixteen New Mexico cities and towns have received accreditation from the National Main Street Center setting up more possible funding for revitalizing downtowns.

The accreditation means places like Raton, Albuquerque, and Truth or Consequences can apply for capital outlay funds and technical assistance to preserve historic sites.

Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela says the accreditation means the 16 communities have firm plans to revamp their downtowns and energized their local economies.

The announcement comes as Barela is pushing small towns to refurbish historic theaters using Main Street funding.

State officials believe reviving theaters in old mining towns and small cities near American Indian reservations will help create jobs in struggling downtown districts and spark renewed interest in entertainment.

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