Wednesday News Roundup: Hedge Fund Owner Buys Taos Ski Valley

Dec 11, 2013

Hedge Fund Owner Buys Taos Ski Valley-

Associated Press

One of New Mexico's top ski areas has been sold.

Taos Ski Valley officials announced Wednesday that wealthy conservationist and hedge fund owner Louis Bacon has agreed to buy the ski area. The sale price wasn't disclosed.

Taos Ski Valley CEO Mickey Blake says the ski area needs improvement, but the company doesn't have enough money for renovation.

Bacon has enough capital to buy new lifts, rebuild the base area and construct a hotel.

Blake says Bacon "shares our vision for the future of Taos Ski Valley."

Company officials say the deal could be completed by next month.

Taos Ski Valley Inc. isn't traded on the stock market, but has about 100 stockholders who would need to approve the sale.

The ski area was founded by the Blake family.


Trial Over NM's Assisted Suicide Law To Begin - Associated Press

Two doctors and a Santa Fe woman with advanced uterine cancer are challenging a decades-old New Mexico law that prohibits assisted suicide.

Lawyers representing cancer doctors Katherine Morris and Aroop Mangalik and patient Aja Riggs are scheduled to deliver opening statements Wednesday in a state district court trial in Albuquerque.

The trial was prompted by a lawsuit filed in March 2012.

The suit seeks to clarify a New Mexico statute that states whoever assists with suicide is guilty of a fourth-degree felony.

Lawyers with The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico and the Denver-based group Compassion & Choices argue that the law is vague and doesn't encompass the conduct of a licensed physician who is helping competent, terminally ill patients who want to end their lives.

Legal Group: Farm Laborers Covered For Injuries - Associated Press

A legal advocacy group says farm and ranch laborers in New Mexico are covered by workers' compensation protections because of recent state court decisions.

The Center on Law and Poverty applauded on Tuesday a decision by the state Court of Appeals that the Workers' Compensation Administration must follow an Albuquerque judge's ruling in favor of agricultural workers.

The judge in 2011 declared unconstitutional a state law provision excluding agricultural workers from coverage for back wages and medical expenses for job-related injuries.

The appeals court two weeks ago said the workers' compensation enforcement agency is bound by the judge's ruling although the court didn't directly rule on the constitutional question.

A spokesman says the agency is still trying to determine the effect of the Court of Appeals ruling.

Suspect In Latest Albuquerque Police Shooting ID'd - Associated Press and The Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque police have released the name of the suspect shot and killed in the city's latest officer-involved shooting.

Officials say 37-year-old Andy Jack Snider was shot by police Sunday after authorities say he charged officers with a weapon in an alley.

Albuquerque police has seen five office-involved shootings in six weeks as the department faces a federal investigation over allegations of excessive force.

Interim Police Chief Allen Banks told the Albuquerque Journal that the criminal justice system is allowing dangerous suspects to roam Albuquerque streets and putting officers in positions where they have no choice but to shoot. The city has seen eight officer-involved shootings in 2013. That's around the city's yearly average.

But Albuquerque has seen nearly three dozen officer-involved shootings since 2010.

Panel Considers College Scholarship Changes - Associated Press

A legislative panel is considering possible changes to a lottery-financed college scholarship program so that awards aren't tied to tuition.

Legislative Finance Committee Chairman Rep. Luciano "Lucky" Varela outlined the proposal Tuesday during a hearing on the scholarship program, which faces a shortfall because lottery revenue isn't keeping pace with rising scholarship costs.

A proposal by committee staff would cap scholarship amounts depending on where a student attends college, such as $800 a semester at a two-year school and $2,100 a semester at a research university.

Another possible change would increase the minimum grade point average for students to qualify for a scholarship, which currently covers 100 percent of tuition.

The committee will decide later what changes to recommend to the Legislature, which meets in January.

Los Lunas Prisoner Flees From Albuquerque Hospital - Associated Press

Los Lunas police are looking for a prisoner who escaped when she was briefly left alone after being taken to an Albuquerque hospital for medical attention.

Police say 28-year-old Mary Selmeczki was arrested Tuesday on several warrants, including one charging her with felony commercial burglary.

According to police, Selmeczki walked off and left the University of New Mexico Hospital when a police officer who'd accompanied her to the hospital stepped away from the room for a moment.

She was last seen wearing a blue Dallas Cowboys shirt and black pants. She is described as 5-foot-5, 105 pounds and green eyes and brown hair.