Monday News Roundup: Democratic Incumbent Legislator Bumped From Ballot

Apr 21, 2014

Democratic Incumbent Legislator Bumped From Ballot  The Associated Press

A judge in Gallup has removed Democratic Rep. Sandra Jeff of Crownpoint from the June 3 primary election ballot.

District Judge Louis DePauli determined Monday that Jeff didn't have enough valid signatures on her nominating petitions to qualify as a candidate.

Jeff has broken Democratic ranks in the House and sided with Republicans and Gov. Susana Martinez on several high-profile legislative votes.

The judge ruled in favor of an election challenge by McKinley County voter Larry King, who brought the lawsuit with the assistance of Conservation Voters New Mexico. The group contends Jeff has a poor environmental voting record.

Two other Democrats are running in House District 5 in northwestern New Mexico.

Jeff's lawyer, Germaine Chappelle, didn't immediately return telephone messages seeking comment.

Court Urges Rewrite Of Child Pornography LawThe Associated Press

New Mexico's highest court has overturned convictions in two child pornography cases, saying it's unclear under state law if prosecutors can bring multiple charges against someone for possessing dozens of pornographic images of children.

In issuing a ruling on Monday, the state Supreme Court recommended the Legislature rewrite the law against possession of child pornography.

The court, in a 4-1 decision involving two cases from the Clovis area, said James Michael Olsson and William Ballard can each be charged with only one count of possession of child pornography.

Olsson had pleaded guilty to six counts after initially being charged in 2005 with 60 counts. Ballard was convicted of 25 counts of child pornography possession in 2009, but the Court of Appeals reduced the convictions to five counts.

Albuquerque Leaders Propose Site For Tesla PlantThe Associated Press and KRQE

Some Albuquerque leaders are suggesting a site on the city's west side as a location for Tesla Motors' planned new plant to manufacture batteries for its electric cars.

KRQE-TV reports that the site consists of thousands of acres of Astrico Land Grant property south of Interstate 40.

City Council President Ken Sanchez says selection of the site would transform the city's west side. He says the area is poised for growth and development.

New Mexico is one of four states which Tesla is considering for the plant.

 Santa Fe Bicyclist Fatally Hit By Train Identified The Associated PressPolice in Santa Fe have identified a bicyclist who was killed when struck by a Rail Runner passenger train over the weekend.

Police spokeswoman Celina Westervelt says 60-year-old Suzanne LeBeau of Santa Fe was killed late Saturday morning.

Westervelt says LeBeau was riding her bike on a path parallel to Zia Road when she crossed the train tracks and was hit by the southbound train.

The police spokeswoman says the operator blew the train's horn multiple times and that the crossing's signals and lights were all working properly.


NM, Arizona Senators On Wildfire Tour - The Associated Press

U.S. Sens. Jeff Flake and Martin Heinrich are planning to visit Arizona and New Mexico to discuss forest restoration and wildfire preparedness.

Their tour will begin Tuesday at Arizona Log and Timberworks in Eagar, Ariz. They will then travel to Alpine before heading to Reserve, N.M.

The senators say the tour is focused on bipartisan efforts to address catastrophic wildfire prevention and recovery needs in the Apache-Sitgreaves and Gila national forests.

Flake and Heinrich will also stop near Luna, N.M., to view the Wallow Fire burn scar. The 2011 blaze was the largest in Arizona's history, having burned nearly 860 square miles.

The senators are supporting legislation that would give federal agencies greater incentive to contract with companies to harvest trees and other vegetation to reduce the wildfire risk.

Website Ranks Albuquerque As Top 'Beer City' In US - KRQE-TV

A website that rates U.S. cities according to what makes them ideal places to live is raising a glass to Albuquerque.

KRQE-TV reports that Livability.com recently named Albuquerque "Best Unexpected Beer City" in the U.S.

Brewery owners say they believe the city is on the brink of a business surge in the industry.

While the city is known more for red and green chile, the site says residents have their pick of micro-breweries that consistently have fresh beer on tap.

Chama River Brewing Company, Marble Brewery and Kellys Brew Pub were among those highlighted.

David Facey, assistant brewer at Chama, says residents are starting to want the same quality and bold flavors in beer that they get from chile.

'Breaking Bad' Prequel Seeks Extras In Albuquerque - KRQE-TV

Walter White's lawyer is calling on Albuquerque residents.

KRQE-TV reports that the same company that handled casting for AMC drama "Breaking Bad" is looking for extras for the show's spinoff, which will be shot in Albuquerque.

"Better Call Saul" will follow sleazy attorney Saul Goodman, played by Bob Odenkirk, as he defends drug lords, criminals and those allegedly injured in minor traffic accidents.

The show is scheduled to debut in November.

Casting Company asks that actors submit a current photo with their name, height, weight, age, availability and their city of residence.

The company also wants a description and year of an actor's vehicle.

"Breaking Bad," which ended last year and filmed in Albuquerque, followed former high school teacher Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston.

Longtime Tourism Official To Head Santa Fe Bureau - The Associated Press

A longtime New Mexico tourism official has been hired to lead the Santa Fe Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

Santa Fe officials say Randy Randall takes over as executive director of the bureau.

The executive director of the Santa Fe Convention and Visitor's Bureau overseas the sales and marketing of Santa Fe, operation of the Santa Fe Community Convention Center and the Arts Commission.

Randall has more than 45 years' experience in the industry, including 10 years as general manager of the Eldorado Hotel. He also served on the board of directors of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, chaired the New Mexico Lodging Association and worked on the Civic Center Advisory Committee that did the feasibility study for the Santa Fe Community Convention Center.

Bankruptcy Filings In New Mexico Below US Average - The Albuquerque Journal

Bankruptcy filings in New Mexico dipped in 2013, continuing a downward trend that has been going on since 2010.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the clerk's office for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Albuquerque says the state overall had a rate of two bankruptcy filings per capita last year, which falls below the national average of 3.3.

The data shows Valencia County with the highest rate of the state's 33 counties with a ratio of 2.8 filings.

Sandoval and Torrance counties came in second and third, respectively.

Bernalillo County, which showed 2.5 filings per capita, hasn't ranked in the top three in the last decade.

Experts say higher unemployment rates and longer work commutes could be potential factors for the higher rates.