Tuesday Evening News Roundup

Jul 16, 2013

Cibola Lifts Fire Restrictions In Sandia DistrictThe Associated Press

Thanks to much-needed rain over the past few weeks, forest officials are reopening popular hiking areas in the Sandia Mountains east of Albuquerque. And the city is reopening most of the Rio Grande bosque.

Forest Supervisor Elaine Kohrman says moisture levels in vegetation have increased to the point to be able to limit the spread of wildfires.

Kohrman also says the long-range weather forecast predicts cooler weather and more rain for the area.

The forest says its only district still closed is the Mountainair Ranger District, which remains dry despite receiving scattered precipitation.

Former Police Officer Acquitted Of Murder Of WifeThe Associated Press

A former Albuquerque police officer has been acquitted of murder in the death of his wife after a trial that contained a series of salacious revelations about his extramarital affairs with co-workers.

Jurors returned the verdict on Tuesday against Levi Chavez in the shooting of 26-year-old Tera Chavez. Prosecutors contended that she was shot in the mouth to make it appear to be a suicide.

Jurors reached their decision after listening to weeks of testimony detailing the couple's crumbling marriage amid a number of affairs by Levi Chavez with co-workers and acquaintances.

Witnesses testified that Tera Chavez also had an affair with a police officer who was married to the maid of honor at her wedding.

Prosecutors alleged that Chavez killed his wife in October 2007 after she learned about an insurance fraud scheme involving a staged stolen truck.

Defense attorney David Serna said Tera Chavez was depressed and committed suicide.

Prosecutors had sought life in prison.

San Juan County Switching To Four-Day Work WeekKOB and The Associated Press Another New Mexico county is adopting a four-day work week for some of its employees.

KOB-TV reports that San Juan County in extreme northwestern New Mexico in September will go to a Monday-through-Thursday work week for some county departments.

The county hopes that the change will save on energy costs and improve employee morale.

The change predominantly affects administrative employees, so potential impact on the public is expected to be limited.

The sheriff and fire departments will remain on normal hours along with the county clerk's office, detention centers and county park facilities.

Torrance County in central New Mexico switched to a four-day schedule in 2010.