KUNM

Police Tighten Security At Rio Rancho High School, NM Sheriff Settles Lawsuit Over Man's Death

Feb 21, 2018

Police Tighten Security Following School Shooting Threat – The Associated Press

Police are increasing their presence at a high school outside Albuquerque after a shooting threat was made against the school.

Rio Rancho police say they are investigating after someone posted a message on social media Tuesday night, threatening to "shoot up Rio Rancho High School."

Officials say district security and police officers will be placed at the school Wednesday and additional precautionary measures will be taken.

District Superintendent V. Sue Cleveland says the threat is being taken seriously, and school officials are working with police to investigate the source of the threat.

In a statement, Cleveland says schools across the country have been grappling with threats intended to create chaos, and it's "appalling that individuals would capitalize on recent tragedies to insight fear and anxiety among students and parents."

Bernalillo County Sheriff Settles Lawsuit Over Man's DeathThe Associated Press & The ABQ Journal

Bernalillo County sheriff's documents show the department has paid $1.5 million to the family of an 88-year-old Albuquerque man who died after a confrontation with deputies.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Tuesday that documents obtained through a public records request show the sheriff's office agreed to a one-time payment to Fidencio Duran's family in a lawsuit settled last year.

Duran was carrying a knife in his neighborhood the day after his wife's September 2015 death when he came into contact with deputies.

Deputies fired 60 pepper balls at Duran, and he suffered broken bones after deputies' K-9 knocked him down.

He later died from pneumonia resulting from his injuries.

His family's attorney says they also are considering litigation against the pepper ball gun manufacturer.

A sheriff's spokeswoman declined comment on the settlement.

New Mexico Legislature Gets Flurry Of Harassment ComplaintsThe Associated Press

The New Mexico Legislature received a flurry of reports about possible sexual misconduct, harassment and discrimination during the recently concluded legislative session.

In response to a public records request, the Legislative Council Service that serves as legal counsel to the Legislature said there were five direct complaints or reports by observers of potential misconduct during the legislative session that ended Feb. 15.

No probable cause was found to warrant a formal charge and few details were released.

House lawmakers were the focus of one complaint of discrimination and one report of possible sexual harassment. Two reports of possible sexual harassment were made by legislative staff against staff colleagues.

New Mexico lawmakers underwent harassment training and overhauled their anti-harassment policy on Jan. 15 to include outside counsel in evaluations.

Xcel Energy's Wind Farm Plans Hit Regulatory RoadblockThe Associated Press

A hearing examiner is urging New Mexico regulators to reject an earnings proposal related to Xcel Energy's two planned wind farms along the Texas-New Mexico border.

At issue is a proposal that would allow the utility to recover lost earnings that accumulate between the time when the wind farms actually come online and when the state Public Regulation Commission approves new rates for cost recovery and profits on the projects.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the utility would collect lost earnings through a surcharge on customers' bills once new rates take effect.

Hearing examiner Elizabeth Hurst says the proposal amounts to retroactive ratemaking.

The interim rate design is part of a settlement negotiated with consumer advocates and others. Without it, utility officials say they might have to abandon the $1.6 billion project.

Police On Alert After Online Threat Against Rio Rancho High SchoolKOB-TV

Police are investigating an online threat against Rio Rancho High School that warned of a shooting.

KOB-TV reports a post on Instagram Tuesday said “I am going to shoot up Rio Rancho High Tomorrow at 830 am” and “Humanities building first then Fine Arts.”

Police are trying to determine if the threat is credible and who posted it. School officials sent a letter to parents telling them they are working with police and the district’s security officials. There will be additional police and security at the high school.

Superintendent V. Sue Cleveland wrote in the letter that schools around the country are getting similar threats following a mass shooting at a school in Florida. She warned that even if this is a prank, law enforcement could pursue prosecution.

Albuquerque District Beefing Up Security In SchoolsAlbuquerque Journal

Albuquerque is increasing security at district schools following a mass shooting at a school in Florida.

The Albuquerque Journal reports APS is installing intrusion alarms, adding or updating cameras and putting in place key card systems to restrict access and entry.

APS officials are also working with the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to update safety plans and training for active-shooter situations in schools.

The funding for the upgrades is coming from $6.8 million in local bond and mill levy money. The legislature also recently approved $40 million over the next four years for all schools to share across the state for security issues, although the governor must still sign that bill.

Man Who Died In Yellowstone Was Looking For Buried TreasureKULR-TV, Associated Press

A 53-year-old Illinois man who fell to his death in Yellowstone National Park last year was looking for a supposed hidden cache of gold and jewels.

KULR-TV reports that Jeff Murphy of Batavia, Illinois, was looking for the treasure that Santa Fe antiquities dealer Forrest Fenn says he stashed somewhere in the Rocky Mountains several years ago.

The investigation by Yellowstone officials into Murphy's death was kept private, but KULR obtained it through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The investigative report reveals Murphy's wife told park authorities that Murphy was looking for the treasure when she called to report him missing.

Murphy's body was found June 9, 2017.  He had fallen about 500 feet down a steep slope.

The report ruled the death an accident.

Thousands have hunted in vain across remote corners of the Western U.S. for the supposed buried treasure and Murphy is one of at least several people who have died in the process. Two Colorado men died in New Mexico while searching for the treasure.

New Mexico State Regents Respond To Call For ResignationsAssociated Press

The top two regents at New Mexico State University are defending a recent vote to limit some administrative powers of the school's outgoing chancellor after critics called for their resignations.

Democratic Senate President Mary Kay Papen last week drafted a letter calling out the regents. It was signed by more than 40 legislative colleagues.

Regent Chair Debra Hicks and Vice Chair Kari Mitchell responded this week with their own letter, saying the resolution in question directs Chancellor Garry Carruthers to make only interim appointments for positions that become vacant during his remaining term. Those appointments will be determined in consultation with Hicks.

The regents argue it's best practice for universities going through a leadership transition and that it's critical for the new chancellor to be able to select as many members of his or her team as possible.

Judge Orders New Mexico Governor To Submit To DepositionDeming Headlight, Associated Press

A state district court has ordered Gov. Susana Martinez to answer questions under oath in a defamation lawsuit linked to the eviction of a group from a political event in 2014.

The Deming Headlight reports that Martinez must submit to a deposition in a lawsuit brought by Scott and Colette Chandler against the governor's State Police security detail.

Martinez is not a defendant in the lawsuit. However, a district court judge rejected arguments that she is protected from answering questions.

The Chandlers owns the Tierra Blanca Ranch program for troubled youth that has been the dogged by allegations of abuse and neglect. The Chandlers and supporters appeared in 2014 at a campaign event at Deming's Grand Motor Inn to deliver a petition to the Governor and were removed.

Autopsy Details Fatal Wound Of New Mexico School Shooter - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

A gunman in a deadly New Mexico school shooting had no drugs or alcohol in his system the day of the rampage and an autopsy revealed bruised knuckles along with faint ink markings on his leg that included a swastika symbol.

Autopsy and toxicology results for William Atchison were released Monday in response to a public records request.

Despite the markings, authorities reiterated Tuesday that the 21-year-old former student did not target specific victims and that notes left behind by the gunman detailed a plan for opening fire inside the school.

Atchison killed two students — Francisco I. Fernandez and Casey J. Marquez — at Aztec High School in December before firing randomly in a hallway and a computer lab. He then killed himself.

The report details a gunshot wound through Atchison's mouth and through the back of his head.

Xcel Energy's Wind Farm Plans Hit Regulatory Roadblock – Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A hearing examiner is urging New Mexico regulators to reject an earnings proposal related to Xcel Energy's two planned wind farms along the Texas-New Mexico border.

At issue is a proposal that would allow the utility to recover lost earnings that accumulate between the time when the wind farms actually come online and when the state Public Regulation Commission approves new rates for cost recovery and profits on the projects.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the utility would collect lost earnings through a surcharge on customers' bills once new rates take effect.

Hearing examiner Elizabeth Hurst says the proposal amounts to retroactive ratemaking.

The interim rate design is part of a settlement negotiated with consumer advocates and others. Without it, utility officials say they might have to abandon the $1.6 billion project.

New Mexico Legislature Gets Flurry Of Harassment ComplaintsAssociated Press

The New Mexico Legislature received a flurry of reports about possible sexual misconduct, harassment and discrimination during the recently concluded legislative session.

In response to a public records request, the Legislative Council Service that serves as legal counsel to the Legislature said there were five direct complaints or reports by observers of potential misconduct during the legislative session that ended Feb. 15.

No probable cause was found to warrant a formal charge and few details were released.

House lawmakers were the focus of one complaint of discrimination and one report of possible sexual harassment. Two reports of possible sexual harassment were made by legislative staff against staff colleagues.

New Mexico lawmakers underwent harassment training and overhauled their anti-harassment policy on Jan. 15 to include outside counsel in evaluations.

Roswell Woman Turns In $300 Left At ATMAssociated Press

A New Mexico man has been reunited with cash he left at an ATM after a woman found it and turned it in to police.

Roswell police say the man called authorities Monday to report he had left $300 on top of the machine. His call came in just as the woman had dropped by the station to turn in the money.

She told officers there was no receipt or other information with the money to identify the owner but that she had noticed a man making a transaction while she waited her turn.

She recognized the man and his vehicle when he arrived at the station.

Roswell police spokesman Todd Wildermuth says it was an example of the good deeds that are done daily by the city's residents.

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