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NM Democrats Must Choose New Leader, Feds Review NM Land Boss' Border Issues

Mar 15, 2018

New Mexico Democrats Have 60 Days To Select New LeaderThe Associated Press

The Democratic Party of New Mexico is without a leader and has roughly two months to find a new one.

The party has 60 days according to its rule to select its next chair after Richard Ellenberg resigned this week amid criticism over his handling of sexual misconduct claims.

Its state central committee is tasked with selecting a new leader but no formal timetable has been set. The committee is scheduled to meet April 21.

The move comes as Democrats are hoping to recapture the governor's seat and are working to flip a closely watched congressional seat in southern New Mexico.

Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, a Democratic candidate for an open congressional seat in central New Mexico, says the party's next leader shouldn't ignore complaints from victims of sexual misconduct.

Feds Review New Mexico Land Boss' Concerns On Border AccessThe Associated Press

Real estate experts with U.S. Customs and Border Protection are looking into concerns raised by New Mexico's top land manager about rights of way and easement issues along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Federal officials sent Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn a letter earlier this month about his concerns regarding the installation years ago of a border wall, infrastructure and roads on New Mexico state trust land. The letter was made public Thursday.

Dunn contends the federal government never got authorization to access the trust land and has not compensated the state for using the property near the Santa Teresa port of entry.

The letter was sent to Dunn after he posted signs and cordoned off the land along the border.

There are indications federal and state officials could meet in April to discuss the issues.

US, States Agree To Collaborate On Mexican Wolf RecoveryThe Associated Press

The U.S. government and state officials have signed an agreement that furthers their intentions to work together to recover an endangered wolf that once roamed the American Southwest.

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish announced the agreement with Arizona and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Thursday. The agreement is aimed at getting Mexican gray wolves to the point where they can eventually be removed from the endangered species list.

As part of the effort, a field team that includes members from the states' wildlife management agencies will provide input to determine the timing, location and the circumstances for releasing wolves into the wild in Arizona and New Mexico.

New Mexico Game and Fish Director Alexandra Sandoval called the new agreement an act of good faith.

Mayor: Exempt City Employees Must Reapply For JobsThe Associated Press

A newly elected mayor in New Mexico is asking every exempt employee at City Hall to reapply for their job.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports a release Wednesday says Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber and City Manager Brian Snyder made the decision to "ensure the city has the best possible people in place in each position, and that the city is delivering service at the highest level of efficiency."

The release also states the Webber administration will consider the "full spectrum of qualified and interested candidates for each position."

Webber also announced Wednesday his council appointments to the city's three legislative committees, six advisory committees and five joint powers boards with other public entities.

Feds Say Opioid Epidemic's Full Impact On Tribes May Be UnknownAssociated Press

Federal officials say the scope of the opioid epidemic's impact on Native American communities is immense and straining tribal resources.

But the toll it has taken also may be greater than what federal figures show.

Citing federal statistics, the Indian Health Services' chief medical officer told the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on Wednesday that Native Americans and Alaska Natives saw a five-fold percentage increase in overdose deaths between 1999 and 2015. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures indicate the increase in that period was higher for Native Americans than any other group.

Indian Health Services' Dr. Michael Toedt also added that there may be an undercount of overdose deaths among Native Americans and Alaska Natives by as much as 35 percent because death certificates often list them as belonging to another race.

Hundreds Of Aztec Students Gather For 'Walk-Up'Associated Press

Hundreds of students at a New Mexico high school still reeling from a deadly shooting in December gathered Wednesday to remember the 21 students who have died in school shootings across the U.S. in recent months, including two of their own.

Student leaders at Aztec High School had asked administrators for time to "walk up" rather than walk out. Many students donned the school colors and one held a sign that read "Time for Change."

Jesse Smith was among the crowd. The 17-year-old senior said the event was not about protesting for gun safety but rather for honoring the students who have died and setting the stage for what he called a positive movement.

In Albuquerque, about 300 students at La Cueva High School held a 17-second moment of silence for the victims of last month's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Many students in Santa Fe also walked out in memory of the Florida victims and to push for stricter gun laws.

In Las Cruces, hundreds of students walked out. Some held signs reading "#Enough" and "#NoMore." Others had signs in support of the Second Amendment.

Teddy Bear With Toy Gun Sparks Anxiety In New Mexico TownKOB-TV, Associated Press

A giant stuffed teddy bear sitting on a park bench holding a toy gun near an elementary school has sparked anxiety in one New Mexico town.

KOB-TV in Albuquerque reports the teddy bear was spotted Tuesday in Socorro, New Mexico, but police say no laws were broken.

Socorro Police Chief Mike Winders says police investigated the matter and there was no specific threat attached.

Resident Dennis Wright says he believed the apparent prank was a threat made against elementary school children.

No arrests were made.

New Mexico Democrats Have 60 Days To Select New LeaderAssociated Press

The Democratic Party of New Mexico is without a leader and has roughly two months to find a new one.

The party has 60 days according to its rule to select its next chair after Richard Ellenberg resigned this week amid criticism over his handling of sexual misconduct claims.

Its state central committee is tasked with selecting a new leader but no formal timetable has been set. The committee is scheduled to meet April 21.

The move comes as Democrats are hoping to recapture the governor's seat and are working to flip a closely watched congressional seat in southern New Mexico.

Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, a Democratic candidate for an open congressional seat in central New Mexico, says the party's next leader shouldn't ignore complaints from victims of sexual misconduct.

Progressive Democrat Ends New Mexico Gubernatorial CandidacyAssociated Press

Progressive gubernatorial candidate Peter DeBenedittis of Santa Fe is ending his campaign for governor in the June Democratic primary and endorsing one of three remaining candidates.

DeBenedittis announced Wednesday that he was fully throwing his support behind former media executive Jeff Apodaca.

DeBenedittis, an alcohol prevention counselor from Santa Fe, says he and Apodaca see eye-to-eye on efforts to provide universal health care, legalize recreational marijuana and seek a statewide $15 minimum wage.

Apodaca is leveling accusations about underhanded favoritism toward Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham in the primary-election process.

Limited support from Democratic county delegates has forced Democratic state Sen. Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces to collect more registration signatures to stay in the primary race.

Albuquerque School Board Resolution Opposes Arming TeachersAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

An Albuquerque school board has passed a resolution in opposition to the idea of arming teachers.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Tuesday that the resolution by the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education comes after a February shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 dead.

President Donald Trump is promoting the idea of arming gun-adept educators and trusted staff.

The resolution passed by the board states that teachers are not trained law enforcement officers and should not be asked or incentivized to bring weapons into the classroom.

The board's resolution says research does not show that arming teachers or adding guns to school settings would prevent acts of violence.

Fla. Couple Sues Over Texas Shooting Blamed On ImmigrantsAssociated Press

A Florida couple is seeking more than $1 million in damages from a group of hunting guides following a shooting at a remote Texas border camp that initially was blamed on immigrants crossing the border from Mexico.

Edwin and Carol Roberts of Pensacola, Florida, filed the lawsuit Monday against several parties, including a New Mexico guiding company and two of its guides.

The lawsuit stems from a January 2017 incident where deputies found Edwin Roberts and a guide, Walker Daugherty, with gunshot wounds.

An investigation by the Presidio County sheriff's office determined Daugherty shot Roberts and the other guide shot Daugherty.

Roberts says in the lawsuit that he was shot while driving a motor home to safety after a late night break-in attempt.

Daugherty didn't immediately reply to a phone message left Wednesday seeking comment.

Albuquerque To Rename Library After Novelist Rudolfo AnayaAssociated Press

Chicano writer Rudolfo Anaya is receiving another honor in Albuquerque.

Bernalillo County and the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Library are scheduled Thursday to rename a library in the city's North Valley neighborhood after the author of "Bless Me, Ultima."

Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O'Malley says the Rudolfo Anaya North Valley Library will be a memorial to the novelist's literary legacy.

Anaya, sometimes called the godfather of contemporary Chicano literature, was born in Pastura, New Mexico, and raised in nearby Santa Rosa.

Experts say Anaya's World War II-era novel about a young Mexican American boy's relationship with an older curandera — a healer of Mexican Indian heritage — influenced a generation of Latino writers because of its imagery and cultural references that were rare at the time of its publication.

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