KUNM

Students In ABQ Walk Out Over DACA End, Miss Navajo Nation Contest Drops Fry Bread

Sep 5, 2017

New Mexico Students 'Walk Out' Over DACA EndThe Associated Press

Students in the most Hispanic state in the U.S. have participated in a walkout to protest the Trump's administration's decision to end Obama-era immigrant protections.

High school students across Albuquerque, New Mexico, walked out of class Tuesday to protest the administration's announcement it would wind down a program protecting young immigrants from deportation.

Several hundred from Albuquerque High School left class Tuesday afternoon and held a rally outside off campus while motorists honked in support.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday called the program known as DACA as an "unconstitutional exercise of authority by the executive branch."

Yelitza Salgado says she needs the DACA program to continue her education and left Mexico as a child. The 17-year-old says she hasn't been to Mexico since. 

Most Visited State Museum Needs $2 Million In ImprovementsThe Associated Press & The ABQ Journal

New Mexico's most visited state museum needs more than $2 million in improvements.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque needs a fire-retardant curtain, smoke detectors, fire-alarm panels, improvements to heating and air conditioning systems, and other repairs.

The Department of Cultural Affairs received only $300,000 for the needs of the entire department this fiscal year from the Governmental Gross Receipts Tax.

Money from the tax is used for capital emergencies within the DCA.

The department oversees eight state-run museums and seven historical sites.

DCA Secretary Veronica Gonzales says the agency is interested in increasing the percentage it receives from the tax.

Cultural Affairs is working closely with the Finance Authority to appeal to state authorities for more capital building repair funds.

Family Says Evidence Is Gone In Albuquerque Police ShootingThe Associated Press & The ABQ Journal

The family of a woman fatally shot by Albuquerque police is claiming evidence vital to the wrongful death suit against the city wasn't properly preserved and is asking for default judgment.

The Albuquerque Journal reported on Tuesday that the family's argument centers on recordings and the cameras that failed to record the shooting of 19-year-old Mary Hawkes in April 2014. Police suspected Hawkes of stealing a truck.

Lawyers for the family argue that some videos the city has provided were altered and the faulty cameras some officers were wearing should have been preserved as evidence.

The city argued they did not have an obligation to preserve that evidence at the time and that a default judgment is a "drastic sanction."

A decision is expected in coming weeks.

New Mexico Settles Suit By Ex-Health Department OfficialThe Associated Press & The Santa Fe New Mexican

The state of New Mexico has paid nearly $103,000 to settle a lawsuit from a former Health Department bureau chief who alleged she was retaliated against for raising concerns about chronic understaffing in the agency that inspects hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the settlement ends the lawsuit brought by Amber Espinosa-Trujillo.

Her lawsuit alleged her supervisors began to impede the work of her agency in 2010 by failing to fill vacant positions, which resulted in a work backlog, and instead insisted on hiring outside contractors to perform the work.

The Health Department denied the allegations in a response filed to the lawsuit, saying Espinosa-Trujillo's "unsatisfactory work performance and unprofessional behavior" were the cause of any discipline she received.

Miss Navajo Nation Contest Is Parting Ways With Fry BreadThe Associated Press

The Miss Navajo Nation pageant is parting ways with fry bread, the fluffy, golden brown delicacy that's become a symbol of Native American culture but is rooted in oppression.

Women vying for the crown this week in Window Rock will prepare traditional Navajo foods instead, like blue corn mush.

Outgoing Miss Navajo Ronda Joe said the tribe's new ambassador must know the history of those foods and speak about them in Navajo.

The change aligns with a movement in Indian Country to refocus on traditional foods and reinforce native languages.

Campaign Finance Rules Could Wind Up In CourtSanta Fe New Mexican

A coalition of conservative and libertarian groups may take their opposition to proposed campaign finance rules in New Mexico to court.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the policies proposed by Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver had a final hearing last week and Oliver wants them in place before the next election in 2018.

The rules would require some so-called “dark money” groups that can accept and spend unlimited amounts of money to report their spending and fundraising for candidates.

The proposed rules would require such groups to identify their bigger donors if they spend more than $3,000 on a regional election or $7,500 on a statewide election.

Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed a similar proposal earlier this year, and opponents say the rules would infringe on free speech because supporters of controversial causes would be made public.

Supporter say the rules would not affect average New Mexicans, but those who spend large amounts on campaigns.

The director of Americans for Prosperity in New Mexico told the New Mexican his group is committed to taking legal action over the rules if necessary.

Memorial Bricks Installed At New Mexico Veterans SiteAssociated Press, Sangre de Cristo Chronicle

State officials say more than 400 memorial bricks bearing the names of fallen military personnel were installed at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Angel Fire.

The Sangre de Cristo Chronicle reported a special ceremony was held Saturday at the site in northern New Mexico.

Nearly 3,000 memorial bricks currently line the sidewalks and pathways at the memorial.

Two recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor were recognized at the ceremony, including Hershel "Woody" Williams, who was honored for his heroics during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II, and Hiroshi "Hershey" Miyamura, who was honored for his bravery in the Korean War.

A portion of the ceremony will also be dedicated to members of the New Mexico National Guard.

Martinez Makes Court, Education Commission AppointmentsAssociated Press

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has announced new appointments to state court in Alamogordo and to the public education commission.

The governor said Friday that Steven Blankinship of Alamogordo was appointed to first division of the 12th Judicial District Court, replacing Judge Jerry Ritter, Jr., who retired.

Blankinship was the deputy district attorney in that court and also served in the 3rd Judicial District Attorney's Office. Blankinship was a member of the governor's executive staff from 2012 to 2017. He has a law degree from the University of Akron School of Law in Ohio.

The Public Education Commission also has a new member in David Robbins of Albuquerque. Robbins will replace Commissioner Millie Pogna. Pogna passed away. Robbins previously served on the APS board and taught at the University of New Mexico.

New Mexico Book Club Raises Eyebrows Over Christian BookLas Vegas Optic, Associated Press

A book club mandated for supervisors of a New Mexico county to teach leadership is drawing scrutiny over a Christian book.

The Las Vegas Optic reports the first book required for reading among San Miguel County department directors was Tony Dungy's "The One-Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge."

That's a book by the former Indianapolis Colts head coach that includes a daily devotional with a Bible verse. Dungy also gives reflections about Christianity.

San Miguel County Manager Vidal Martinez says it was a mistake to pick the book, and he's making changes to the club aimed at teaching leadership.

Martinez is directing all eight department directors within the county government to obtain books on a monthly basis on the topic of leadership. The department heads are picking books on a rotating basis.

State Pays Whistleblower More Than $100,000Santa Fe New Mexican

A former bureau chief with the New Mexico Department of Health who claimed retaliation for raising concerns about understaffing and sued the state has received nearly $103,000 in a settlement.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Amber Espinosa-Trujillo is the former chief of the Health Facilities Licensing and Certification Bureau where she spoke out regularly about the lack of adequate staffing. The bureau inspects hospitals, nursing homes and health facilities.

Espinosa-Trujillo claimed she was retaliated against as a result and sued under the New Mexico Whistleblower Protection Act. The state denied her allegations of retaliation.

Espinosa-Trujillo claimed in her lawsuit the state hired outside contractors rather than filling positions and that cost the state more money.

The New Mexican reports the bureau had 26 vacancies out of 81 budgeted positions as of Aug. 1.

The Health Department declined to comment to the newspaper on the lawsuit settlement or ongoing vacancies.

Family Says Evidence In Cop Shooting Case Not PreservedAlbuquerque Journal

A family suing the Albuquerque Police Department over the shooting death of their daughter in 2014 is seeking a default judgment because they say key evidence was not preserved by officials.

The Albuquerque Journal reports attorneys for the family of Mary Hawkes’ are focusing on videos recorded the night of the shooting in 2014 as well as issues with officers’ body cameras.

Attorneys say the cameras that APD said malfunctioned should have been preserved as evidence and that videos the city did provide of the fatal encounter between Hawkes and then-officer Jeremy Dear were altered.

The city of Albuquerque argued at a hearing on the issues last week that officials were only required to preserve evidence when the city is notified of a pending lawsuit.

One expert on body cameras has said the files from the APD cameras were altered, but the city says a forensic investigation disputed that.

Hawkes was suspected of stealing a truck. Dear was fired from APD and the department said he had often failed to use his lapel camera. 

Tags: