KUNM News Update
Mon August 4, 2014
Monday News Roundup: Test Scores In NM Lower Than 5 Years Ago
Test Scores In New Mexico Lower Than 5 Years Ago – The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal
The percentage of students in New Mexico scoring at or above grade level in reading and math is lower now than it was five years ago.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that recently released Standards Based Assessment test scores show that 49 percent of students read at grade level or better this past spring. That's down 4 percentage points since 2010.
The drop in students on grade level in math has not been as sharp — 1.5 percentage points.
But fewer than half of students were scoring at grade level in math in 2010, when 42.2 percent scored, compared to 40.7 percent this spring.
Education Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera was encouraged that more students moved up a "proficiency level" on the last tests than those who fell backward.
Farmington Police, Nation Work On Arrest Agreement - The Associated Press and Daily Times
Farmington police are working on an agreement with the Navajo Nation that would let Farmington officers make arrests on tribal land.
Farmington police Chief Steve Hebbe tells the Farmington Daily Times that the agreement would likely be modeled after a similar one the nation signed with New Mexico State Police almost two years ago.
Hebbe says discussions are in a preliminary stage.
The police chief says the agreement would lead to better law enforcement and strengthen ties between the nation and the Farmington Police Department.
State police Sgt. Micah Doering says an important aspect of the State Police's agreement with the nation is a clause that lets officers pursue suspects into tribal land and bring them back to non-Navajo territory without filing for extradition.
Road Work To Cause Traffic Delays Near Taos - The Associated Press
Motorists traveling to Taos can expect traffic delays because of highway construction.
The Department of Transportation says repaving on State Road 68 starts today and is to be finished in mid-September.
The work will start north of Pilar and go to near Rancho de Taos.
The department says traffic delays can be expected today through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. because one lane will be closed through the work area.
State Road 68 is the main highway from Espanola to Taos.
Travelers may be able to avoid the construction project by taking what's called the High Road to Taos, which is a route through the mountains between Santa Fe and Taos.
Santa Fe Mayor Wants Shuttles To Downtown - The Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican
The Santa Fe mayor is hoping free shuttles will boost the city's nightlife.
The New Mexican reports that Mayor Javier Gonzales is proposing a shuttle service between Santa Fe University of Art and Design, downtown and the Santa Fe Railyard.
Gonzales says the system would start out as a pilot project and run between Aug. 28 and Dec. 20.
He says the transportation would mean a lot more people would be able to safely take advantage of Santa Fe in a whole new way.
He says university students would be able to attend events and help the downtown area grow.
Officials say the shuttles would run every half-hour from 6-11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
University President Larry Hinz says the service would be a welcome opportunity.
Alamogordo Official Suspended Over Water Bills - The Associated Press and Alamogordo Daily News
An Alamogordo city official has been suspended without pay for allegedly allowing the water bills of family and friends to go unpaid.
The Alamogordo Daily News reports that Customer Service Manager Armando Ortega admitted to allowing some family members' water accounts to be delinquent.
Ortega denies giving preferential treatment to friends.
Records show that 17 outstanding water accounts were tied to Ortega's relatives and associates.
The Alamogordo City Attorney says about half of the more than $9,000 in outstanding balances have been paid off.
Mayor Susie Galea says Ortega began paying back the family bills after an anonymous complaint surfaced.
Ortega has been suspended since July 14 and will return to work Aug. 12./
He says he made some bad decisions and is doing his penance.
2 Bernalillo County Sisters Found Safe In Mexico - The Associated Press
Two New Mexico sisters who were the subject of an Amber Alert have been found south of the border.
The Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office says 9-year-old Genesis Marquez and 10-year-old Trinity Marquez were found safe in Mexico.
Authorities issued the Amber Alert on Saturday night after the girls' mother reported them missing after their father took them.
Regular Schedule For Rail Runner - The Associated Press
Rail Runner service is running on a normal schedule today after being shut down on Saturday due to severe rain.
Rain caused a culvert near the top of Waldo Canyon to overflow, endangering the stability and drainage for the tracks and Rail Runner canceled all service to Santa Fe as a result.
Rio Metro crews spent Saturday repairing the railroad tracks.
Heavy rainfall hit parts of the state on Friday, including Albuquerque.
Downtown Albuquerque streets were flooded late Friday leaving cars nearly covered in water and some residents stranded. See the Albuquerque Journal for the remarkable photos.
Memorial In Albuquerque Honors Slain Homeless Men - The Associated Press
Two homeless men who were beaten to death were remembered at a memorial service at an Albuquerque shelter.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that about 100 people paid their respects Saturday to 44-year-old Allison Gorman and 46-year-old Kee Thompson.
The service was held at Noon Day Ministries and attended by others from the homeless community.
Police say three teenagers beat Gorman and Thompson using a cinder block, metal pole and their hands and feet while they slept in a vacant field.
Both victims were also members of the Navajo Nation.
Disruptive Passenger Diverts Plane To Nashville - The Associated Press and WKRN TV
An American Airlines plane flying from Dallas to Boston was diverted to Nashville after a passenger from NM became disruptive and allegedly ran toward the plane's cockpit.
American Airlines spokesman Kent Powell told The Associated Press on Sunday that Flight 2214 landed in Nashville around 9 p.m. Saturday.
Powell did not identify the passenger or provide details about what she did. However, according to WKRN-TV, police identified the woman as 55-year-old Mary Lentz of New Mexico.
Police said she ran toward the cockpit of the Boeing 737 aircraft, and allegedly kicked several officers during her arrest.
Lentz was charged with three assaults on an officer, assault bodily injury, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
She was being held in the Davidson County Jail on $30,000 bond. Jail records did not list an attorney for Lentz.