Tuesday Morning Roundup
Kirtland AFB Begins Furloughs Under US Budget Cuts - Associated Press and The Albuquerque Journal
Kirtland Air Force Base officials say nearly 2,100 civilian employees began taking unpaid days off later this week as a result of the federal government's automatic budget cuts.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, Kirtland officials say the furlough day off each week through September amounts to a 20 percent pay cut.
Kirtland spokesman John Cochran says the furloughs don't affect active-duty military personnel or workers employed by the Department of Energy and Sandia National Laboratories.
Chief: NM Police Fired 9 Shots At Man With Knives - Associated Press
Police Chief Ray Schultz says two Albuquerque officers fired nine shots at a knife-wielding man who refused to follow orders to drop his weapons.
Schultz told reporters Monday that it's still unclear how many shots hit 67-year-old Vincent Wood but the Vietnam veteran later died at a hospital from gunshot wounds from the officer-involved shooting Friday night.
Schultz says a preliminary investigation showed that officer Katherine Wright shot Wood first and then first-year officer Jeff Bludworth discharged his weapon.
According to Schultz, Wright unloaded her gun when she saw Wood aim two hunting-style knives at Bludworth.
Police say Wood had a lengthy arrest record and a history of mental illness.
The shooting comes as the Albuquerque Police Department faced a federal probe into alleged abuse cases.
Gov.'s Office Evacuated Over Suspicious Mail - Associated Press
Authorities say a suspicious substance found in mail sent to the New Mexico governor's office turned out to be non-toxic.
The top floor of the Capitol was evacuated for several hours Monday afternoon,
Santa Fe Assistant Fire Chief Jan Snyder said the white powdery substance found in an envelope wasn't dangerous but the FBI will have additional tests performed at a laboratory in Albuquerque.
A spokesman for Gov. Susana Martinez says front office staff was processing and sorting incoming mail when the powdery substance was found. A second suspicious package also was reviewed by hazardous materials emergency responders.
Authorities evacuated the governor's office and the rest of the Capitol's fourth floor. The governor was not in the Capitol when the letter was found.
NM Governor To Attend Firefighter Memorial - Associated Press
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez plans to attend a memorial service in Arizona for 19 firefighters killed in a wildfire a week ago.
A spokesman for the governor said Martinez will travel to Arizona on Tuesday for the memorial in Prescott and then return to New Mexico.
The firefighters were members of the Prescott-based Granite Mountain Hotshots, who recently helped fight the Thompson Ridge wildfire in northern New Mexico that charred more than 37 square miles.
The firefighters were killed when flames overtook them as they fought a wildfire near Yarnell, Ariz.
Chimayo Eyes Security System To Fight Vandals - Associated Press
A popular northern New Mexico Catholic shrine that attracts thousands each year is working to fight persistent vandals.
Officials with El Santuario de Chimayo are planning a fundraiser next week aimed at drawing support for a new security system.
In recent month, officials say the shrine has been vandalized by someone throwing wax on a Native American sculpture. An Our Lady of Guadalupe statue also was stolen in April.
World-renowned cellist Michael Fitzpatrick is scheduled to perform outside the Santuario on July 19 as part of a benefit concert.
Chimayo is a National Historic Landmark and some 200,000 people are estimated to visit each year, with the bulk occurring during Holy Week.
The shrine is known to possess Holy sand, which believers say can help cure illness.