Sessions May Put More Rules On Money For Sanctuary Cities, AFT President To Visit Santa Fe

May 22, 2017

Sessions May Put More Rules On Money For Sanctuary Cities- Associated Press

The Justice Department is looking for more ways to deny coveted federal grant money to so-called sanctuary cities.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a department memorandum Monday that the department may "tailor grants to promote a lawful system of immigration." That suggests officials could seek ways to withhold money from communities that refuse to honor detainer requests from federal immigration authorities.

A judge in April blocked President Donald Trump's attempt to withhold funding from some localities, saying the president doesn't have the authority to attach new conditions to spending by Congress. But the Sessions memo suggests the Justice Department still can attach more stringent conditions to the money it doles out.

Sessions already has threatened to pull money from jurisdictions that hinder communication between local police and immigration authorities.

New Mexico Budget Woes Bring National Teachers Union LeaderAssociated Press

The national president of the American Federation of Teachers is coming to New Mexico amid the state's budget woes.

Randi Weingarten is scheduled to visit Santa Fe on Wednesday as state lawmakers begin a special session that will likely address education funding in one of the nation's poorest states.

Weingarten will speak with a coalition of Democratic lawmakers to urge Republican Gov. Susana Martinez to not push for education funding cuts.

Lawmakers and Martinez mostly agree on a $6.1 billion state budget that would slightly increase spending. But they remain at odds over how to fill a roughly $150 million shortfall in revenues.

The governor has repeatedly vowed that she will not raise taxes. Recently, she said she was open to reinstating gross receipts taxes on grocery sales if it would help lower overall tax rates.

Roswell Police ID Body Found Buried Outside A Vacant House – Associated Press

Police have identified the body of a woman found buried outside a vacant south Roswell house and continue to look for a suspect in the homicide case.

Roswell police investigators say the body found May 9 was that of Ambra Lynn Taylor, who was 41 when she disappeared in April 2016.

Police say they were able to make the identification based on the woman's tattoos and other information provided by the public.

Investigators believe Taylor came to Roswell from Albuquerque and had only been in town a short time before her disappearance and murder.

Police didn't say how Taylor died.

The body was discovered after police executed a search warrant.

They now are asking for help from the public for information that could lead to an arrest in the case.

Elvis And Red Velvet Boost Value Of Jet Up For Auction- Associated Press

A private jet once owned by Elvis Presley and featured on the National Geographic Channel is set to be auctioned after sitting on a runway in New Mexico for 30 years.

The red 1962 Lockheed Jetstar, one of many owned by the King of rock 'n' roll, has no engines and needs a restoration of its cockpit. But Elvis designed the interior that has red velvet seats and red shag carpet. The plane had been a source of mystery in Roswell, New Mexico where it has sat largely untouched and tucked away at a small airport's tarmac.

Liveauctioneers.com, which is handling the bidding, said the jet was owned by Elvis and his father, Vernon Presley. "This jet has the potential of being fully restored, and placed on exhibit for the world to come see," the auction website said.

The auction house estimates the Elvis plane's value at $2 million to $3.5 million.

Elvis also owned more well-known planes. The Lisa Marie plane, for example, can be seen at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.

Gallup-McKinley Schools To Incorporate Dual Language CourseGallup Independent, Associate Press

Gallup-McKinley County Schools students will have the chance to speak and write in another language.

The Gallup Independent reports the district Board of Education last week approved plans to incorporate the New Mexico State Bilingual Multicultural Education Program for middle school and high school students who plan to become bilingual and biliterate in a second language other than Spanish and English.

The Coordinator of tribal initiatives for Dual Language Education of New Mexico, Patrick Werito, says he plans to incorporate other indigenous languages, particularly Navajo, into area schools.

Werito says Dual Language Education of New Mexico coordinators will speak with schools that already have indigenous language courses about what a dual language education will look like if mandated as a language course.

Settlement Leads To Order On How Police Handle Misdemeanors- Associated Press & The Albuquerque Journal

The police chief of Albuquerque has instructed officers to issue citations, instead of making arrests, for certain misdemeanor crimes as part of a settlement of a longstanding lawsuit over jail conditions and arrest procedures in Bernalillo County.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the settlement calls on police to take several actions, such as issuing an order explaining that people suspected of nonviolent misdemeanors, not including drunken driving, will be issued citations instead of being arrested "when there are no circumstances necessitating an arrest."

Chief Gorden Eden issued the order on May 10.

It hasn't been approved by a judge or filed in court.

Crimes affected by the new order include drinking in public, marijuana possession, prostitution, some shoplifting offenses, littering, panhandling, criminal trespass and others.

New Mexico Case Centers On Funding, Classroom Opportunities- Associated Press

The Center on Law and Poverty and other advocates are asking a state judge to find that New Mexico's education system fails to meet its constitutional responsibilities when it comes to Native American students and those learning English as a second language.

Lawyers gathered in Santa Fe on Monday for a pre-trial hearing.

The case, which incorporates two lawsuits that make similar claims about inadequacies within the education system, is scheduled for trial in June.

The plaintiffs argue that New Mexico has a constitutional obligation to provide children the support necessary to learn and succeed but that the state isn't providing enough funding or enrichment opportunities equitably to all students.

State officials have denied the allegations, saying more money is being spent on education in New Mexico than ever before.

Audit: Former Public School Bookkeeper Stole $47KAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A former bookkeeper at Bernalillo Public Schools is under suspicion of stealing about $47,000.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Saturday that state Auditor Tim Keller's office released an audit.

According to the audit, the allegedly stolen cash was raised by teachers, parents, staff and students from 2013 to 2016.

She worked at Bernalillo Public Schools from January 2008 until she was fired in March 2016.

No criminal charges have been filed in the case.

New Mexico To Honor Dryland Farming PioneerAlbuquerque Journal

New Mexico is honoring a dryland farming pioneer.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division and the Department of Transportation will dedicate a state historic marker to Mollie Klapp.

The dedication will be held Wednesday at the intersection of N.M. 41 and Madrid Avenue near Moriarty.

Klapp was a widow with seven children who moved to New Mexico in the 1900s.

She was a dryland farmer who took advantage of the climate and sandy soils to grow pinto beans in Estancia Valley.

Klapp as a homesteader at the time contributed to the 2.5 million pounds of pinto beans that were annually harvested and shipped from central New Mexico.

A state historian called her a brave woman whose life illustrated the hardships of a homesteader.

New Mexico School District Looking For Money To Fund CutAssociated Press

A New Mexico school district has announced it will restore 30 spots for students interested in an elementary summer program.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the public school district said Friday that it will reallocate $40,000 so that some children from three schools where the K-3 Plus program was recently cut can still attend it at other sites.

The district has also teamed up with the Santa Fe Community Foundation to raise money to fund an alternative summer school program for students from the fourth school where the program was also eliminated.

The district cut the program from four schools because of reduced state funding. K-3 Plus gives participants an additional 25 school days. About 1,000 students took part in the program last year.

New Mexico River Benefiting From Heavy SnowmeltAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

New Mexico kayakers and farmers are taking advantage of heavy snowmelt feeding the Rio Grande.

Hydrologist Royce Fontenot tells the Albuquerque Journal that the Rio Grande flow at Embudo has reached 4,111 cubic feet per second this spring. That is the highest it has been since 2014, and Fontenot says there still more snowmelt from Colorado and the Rio Grande Basin to come.

Kayakers on the Rio Grande in Pilar last week said the area was considered a Class 4, which they say is an ideal kayaking condition.

The water is also good news for farmers. A New Mexico association says farmers can grow more crops and afford to have more livestock when river flows are high.

Expert Finds High Alcohol Use In New Mexico 2014 Murder CaseLas Cruces Sun-News, Associated Press

An expert believes a former New Mexico deputy had a blood-alcohol level three times the legal driving limit the night he allegedly killed his partner.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports psychologist Cecile Marczinski gave her testimony at Tai Chan's retrial on Thursday. Chan is accused of murder in Jeremy Martin's 2014 death.

Marczinski says she calculated Chan's blood-alcohol level from that night by using receipts, witness statements, his body weight and an accepted scientific formula.

She thinks Chan most likely had a blood-alcohol level of 0.24 grams per 100 milliliters — three times higher than the legal limit for driving.

The report says Marczinski's calculation was necessary because Chan's blood-alcohol level was not measured the night of the shooting.

3 Accused Of Operating A Sex Trafficking Ring In AlbuquerqueAssociated Press

Federal authorities have accused two men and a woman of operating a sex trafficking ring in Albuquerque.

Prosecutors say 34-year-old Cornelius Galloway, 28-year-old Matthew Woods and 43-year-old Danielle Galloway were indicted on charges of commercial sex trafficking, commercial sex trafficking of a minor and conspiracy.

Woods also has been indicted for attempting to recruit a victim.

Cornelius Galloway allegedly ran the sex trafficking organization that started last October.

Prosecutors say two unidentified members of the conspiracy killed two people in January "because their activities were contrary to the objectives of the criminal sex trafficking organization."

Danielle Holloway pleaded not guilty to the charges Thursday and was ordered detained pending her trial.

Cornelius Galloway remains detained pending May 22 arraignment and detention hearings.

Woods is facing a May 30 arraignment hearing.

Los Alamos Lab Starts Treatment Of 60 Drums Of Nitrate SaltsAssociated Press

Workers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in northern New Mexico have started treating 60 drums of remediated nitrate salts.

They plan to treat about one drum per day and have the job completed this summer.

The drums contain an incompatible combination of nitrate salt waste mixed with an organic absorbent added during repackaging to absorb liquids and neutralize the combustible characteristic of the salts.

The drums need to be treated to be safely disposed of at southern New Mexico's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, the nation's only underground nuclear repository.

The Carlsbad plant was forced to close in February 2014 after an improperly packed drum of waste from Los Alamos ruptured and caused a radiation release.

Shipments of waste only recently began making their way to the plant for disposal.