Western Govenors Agree On Electric Car Charging Stations, NM Quiet On Changes To Science Standards

Oct 4, 2017

Western Governors Agree To Build Charging Station NetworkThe Associated Press

Western governors say electric vehicles will be able to travel easier across 5,000 miles (8,050 kilometers) of highway under a new agreement promising to build a network of charging stations in seven states.

The governors of Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming announced Wednesday they had signed a memorandum of understanding to create a regional electric vehicle plan.

According to the agreement, governors will coordinate charging station locations and create voluntary minimum standards for station operations and management.

Idaho Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter says the initiative will allow locals and visitors to explore the West using the vehicle they prefer.

The agreement was signed at the Energy Innovation Summit hosted by the National Governors Association.

Currently, more than 20,000 electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are used on roads in western states.

State Quiet On Origins Of Proposed School Science StandardsThe Associated Press & The Santa Fe New Mexican

The New Mexico Public Education Department is not providing specifics on the origin of proposed changes to the state's science standards.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Tuesday that department officials say several different groups provided input, but they have declined to name the groups. Critics have questioned the agency's transparency as a result.

The standards are based on a set developed by a consortium of states and the National Academy of Sciences, but the state has proposed several custom additions and deletions that have drawn criticism. The standard changes substitute references to climate change, omit the age of the earth and limit references to evolution.

Department official say they are forming an implementation plan, and they will consider any feedback from a public hearing scheduled for this month.

District 5 City Council Candidates Face Runoff Albuquerque Journal

Incumbent candidates in the Albuquerque City Council races retained their seats in Tuesday’s election but two candidates for District 5 will go to a runoff election.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Robert Aragon and Cynthia Borrego will face each other on Nov. 14 after a third candidates, newcomer Catherine Trujillo, scooped up 23 percent of the vote.

Candidates must get at least 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff.

Borrego, a former planner for the city of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County who calls herself a conservative Democrat, got 38 percent of the vote.  Aragon, a former state representative who switched to the Republican party in 2012, got 39 percent. District 5 covers the far northwest part of Albuquerque.

Incumbents Ken Sanchez, Klarissa Peña, Diane Gibson and Don Harris held onto their council seats.

Tim Keller, Dan Lewis In Runoff For Albuquerque MayorBy Russell Contreras, Associated Press

New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller and Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis won the top two spots in Albuquerque's mayoral race and will now face off in a November runoff, according to unofficial results Tuesday.

The open election listed all candidates' names but not their party affiliations. The top two vote getters, regardless of political party, move onto the general election.

With more than half of the city's voting centers reported, Keller, a Democrat, garnered around 39 percent of the vote Tuesday on a platform to revamp the city's police department and tackle Albuquerque's rising crime rate.

His campaign had galvanized the liberal wing of New Mexico's Democratic Party for promising to address gender-pay disparity in city government and resist calls by President Donald Trump to work with the federal government on immigration enforcement.

Lewis, a Republican, came in second with about 23 percent of the vote and also promised to reduce the city's crime rate while pressing district judges to be harsher on repeat offenders. He was able to hold off former New Mexico Democratic Chair Brian Colón, who came in third, and Bernalillo County Commissioner and fellow Republican Wayne Johnson, who came in fourth.

Police: New Mexico Woman Stole Money From Children's LeagueLos Alamos Monitor, Associated Press

New Mexico woman is facing charges of embezzling funds from a nonprofit football and cheerleading league for children.

The Los Alamos Monitor reports that Tabatha Jones of White Rock, New Mexico, was arrested last week and charged with embezzlement over $2,500 and under $20,000.

Her arrest comes after Jones began facing questions in August regarding fees and other financial issues in connection with the Los Alamos Youth Football and Cheerleading League. Jones was a board member of the group.

The Los Alamos league includes about 80 children, ages 4 to pre-adolescent 13-year-olds.

Los Alamos police say Jones faces faced a similar charge in 2005, but prosecutors did not pursue the case.

It was unclear if Jones has an attorney.

FBI: Navajo Man Slammed Baby's Head On Bookcase For CryingAssociated Press

A Navajo man is facing aggravated assault charges after authorities say he slammed a 2-month-old boy's head into a bookcase because the infant wouldn't stop crying.

Court documents say Oneal Vicente was arrested last month following medical reports that the baby suffered severe head trauma and seizures.

According to a complaint, the boy's great-grandmother asked the 23-year-old Vicente to babysit the baby near small Navajo Nation community of Alamo, New Mexico.

But the great-grandmother told FBI agents the boy was non-responsive when she returned. She also said the boy had multiple bite marks on his body.

Vicente told agents he was frustrated the baby wouldn't stop crying and slammed his head into a wooden bookshelf.

Vicente is being held without bond in Albuquerque.

It was not known if he has an attorney.

Forecasters Warn Of Heavy Rain, Flash Flooding In New MexicoAssociated Press

Forecasters with the National Weather Service are warning that the northern two-thirds of New Mexico will likely see heavy rain and flash flooding over the next couple days.

The forecast calls for anywhere between an inch and 3 inches of rain across eastern New Mexico through Friday along with a flash flood threat Wednesday east of the central mountains. Severe thunderstorms also will be possible east of the Continental Divide on Wednesday and Thursday.

Many rivers are already running above normal due to recent storms, and forecasters say the heavy rainfall expected through Friday could result in rapid increases.

According to the weather service, September ended up being wetter than normal for much of New Mexico. Several communities received more than 4 inches of rain over a 10-day period.

New Mexico Health Clinics Fret Over Federal Funding DelaysAssociated Press

Operators of community health centers in New Mexico are on edge after Congress missed a Sept. 30 deadline to renew crucial funding for clinics that are a mainstay of rural health care in the state.

Presbyterian Medical Services CEO Steven Hansen said Tuesday that he is nervous and also optimistic that Congress will renew expired funding to federally qualified health centers before the end of the year, when medical care could be affected. The centers also provide dental and mental health care.

Bills moving through the U.S. House and Senate also would renew expired funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program. Without those funds, New Mexico state government would need an additional $31 million a year to maintain the program for children of low-income families.

New Mexico State Police Investigating A Shooting In RoswellAssociated Press

New Mexico State Police say they've been asked to investigate an officer-involved shooting last month involving Roswell police and Chaves County Sheriff's deputies.

The Sept. 24 shooting left 30-year-old suspect Jose Diaz wounded. He's now in custody on federal charges and awaiting state charges.

The incident began when authorities were called to investigate a possible drunken driver passed out behind the wheel. Once police got there, the suspect drove off.

There was a brief standoff before the suspect fled, driving through fences. Authorities believe Diaz fired at officers as he left.

Diaz stopped again, gunfire was exchanged and his last attempt to drive away was unsuccessful.

Authorities say Diaz has a record and he was wanted by federal authorities on a drug trafficking charge at the time of the incident.

Santa Fe Reaches Settlement With Couple In SWAT StandoffSanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

The city of Santa Fe has reached a settlement with a couple whose run-in with a city animal control officer turned into an hours-long standoff with a SWAT team after the officer wrongly accused one of the plaintiffs of pulling a knife on him.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Stephen Cummings and Heather Sessa will receive $165,000 from the city for the incident that started over a loose dog. Cummings was arrested and charged with aggravated assault upon a peace officer with a deadly weapon after the standoff, but a jury later acquitted him after the officer admitted under oath that he lied about Cummings having a knife.

City spokesman Matt Ross says the officer whose false report sparked the standoff is still employed by the city.

New Mexico, Arizona Tribes Added To US Information ProgramAssociated Press

Five Native American tribes with reservations in New Mexico and Arizona are among 15 nationwide being added to a federal program for accessing national crime information databases.

New Mexico tribes added to the Tribal Access Program include Mescalero Apache Tribe, the Pueblo of Acoma and Zuni Tribe while those in Arizona are the Colorado River Indian Tribes and the Yavapai-Apache Nation.

The Justice Department announced the additions Tuesday, saying they allow tribes "to more effectively serve and protect their communities by ensuring the exchange of critical data."

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the program provides tribal governments with access to helpful information such as criminal background records, outstanding warrants, and domestic violence protection orders.

Rosenstein says that information helps solve crimes and makes communities safer.

Clovis 16-Year-Old Accused Of Threatening Shooting At SchoolAssociated Press

Authorities say a 16-year-old juvenile has been arrested and accused of threatening on social media to conduct a mass shooting at the high school in the eastern New Mexico community that was the site of an August shooting at the municipal library.

Clovis police say the suspect was arrested Monday on suspicion of juvenile charges of assault with intent to commit a felony, assault and interference with educational process.

The suspect's identity was not released.

Two library employees were killed and several people wounded in the Aug. 28 shooting at the Clovis library. A 16-year-old has pleaded not guilty in the library shooting and awaits trial on charges of murder and other crimes.

Albuquerque Democrat Drops Out Of Congressional RaceAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

An Albuquerque Democrat says she has halted her campaign for Congress because of health concerns.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Annie Chavez, who worked as an aide to then-Sen. Jeff Bingaman, said Monday she dropped out "due to unforeseen health circumstances."

Chavez's departure leaves eight Democrats in the race — all seeking their party's nomination to succeed U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Democrats have held the seat since 2009.

The remaining Democratic candidates are attorney Damian Lara; former U.S. Attorney for New Mexico Damon Martinez; Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis; former University of New Mexico Law School Associate Dean Antoinette Sedillo Lopez; Edgewood Town Councilor John Abrams; former state Democratic Party Chairwoman Debra Haaland; physicist Dennis Dinge; and John Flores, a former journalist and military veteran.

Police: 2 Dead After Attempting To Cross Silver City CreekSilver City Sun-News, Associated Press

Two Silver City residents died while attempting to cross a creek in the southwestern New Mexico city, authorities said.

James Morales (Chamo), 47, and Laura Ortega, 57, were found dead Saturday in an arroyo east of the crossing where they attempted to cross, Silver City officials said.

Police and firefighters found the bodies while investigating an abandoned white car stuck in the San Vicente Arroyo, the Silver City Sun-News reported.

Officials discovered that the car lodged up against the north side of Highway 180 belonged to Ortega and called her home. Ortega's family told officials that they tried to call her cellphone but could not reach her. The family reported Ortega missing after she did not show up to work.

Searchers found Morales half a mile south of where the car was located while they were searching for Ortega. Her body was found about three hours later near the Highway 90 S bridge.

The pair was returning from a concert at the Flame Convention Center when they attempted to drive past the arroyo crossing, according to a preliminary investigation.

It is unclear who was driving the vehicle and whether they attempted to get out of the car or were washed out by the fast-moving water.