Local News

  • 3 Santa Fe High students arrested over threatening letter

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Authorities say three Santa Fe High School students have been arrested for a letter that described plans for a school shooting.

    The Albuquerque Journal reports that the students told Santa Fe police that the letter as a joke.

    Santa Fe Public Schools spokesman Jeff Gephart says students found the letter Tuesday and notified school officials.

    The Journal says the letter had a list of student and teachers names that were intended "targets."

    It also reportedly included a map of the school showing where the shootings would take place and noting the best location in the school to kill.

  • House speaker: Session to focus on public safety, budget

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico House Speaker Brian Egolf says his Democratic colleagues hope to consider legislation during the upcoming session that will help cities hire more police officers.

    Another consideration for the 30-day session will be legislation that will make it easier for the state's courts to keep certain defendants locked up while they await trial.

    The Albuquerque Journal reports that Egolf made the comments while addressing a group of business leaders Wednesday in Albuquerque.

    Egolf expects the session to focus on public safety, the budget and tax policy.

    He said Democrats also will push for a scaled-back plan to put an extra $50 million into early-childhood education programs. Unlike previous plans that called for tapping New Mexico's land grant permanent fund, the new plan will involve severance tax funds.

  • State Rep. Dennis Roch says he will step down

    CLOVIS (AP) — State Rep. Dennis Roch says he will step down from the New Mexico Legislature after 10 years.

    The Eastern New Mexico News reports the Logan Republican announced Tuesday he will not run for re-election when his term expires on Dec. 31, 2018.

    He said his chief reason for leaving state politics is the imminent birth of his fourth child.

    Roch says he's also facing difficulty in balancing his political career with his duties as superintendent of Logan Municipal Schools.

    Roch worked to pass an array of legislation, including one that rescinds worker's compensation for those injured while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

  • Sandia Labs looks to boost recruitment of employees

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The head of Sandia National Laboratories says the research facility has recently made changes aimed at bolstering recruitment and diversifying the workforce.

    Lab director Stephen Younger told members of a state legislative committee on Wednesday that Sandia has dropped its grade point average requirement for non-intern positions.

    Younger says the change adopted in August is part of an effort to look at the whole person, rather than just transcripts or what kind of degree a person might have.

    He says the change opens up the field to prospective workers who might have struggled early in college but went on to earn degrees. He says the lab is looking for people with grit and determination and it plans to work more closely with New Mexico's colleges and universities.

    Sandia is among the state's largest employers with about 12,000 workers.

  • New Mexico political corruption trial details private talk

    SANTA FE (AP) — A former top-ranked New Mexico lawmaker told a jury he was confronted in his state Capitol office in 2014 by a senator for interfering with the proposed sale of a state-owned building.

    The sale of the building, over objections of then-House Speaker Ken Martinez, is the focus of a corruption trail in state district court against former Sen. Phil Griego.

    Griego is accused of using his elected office to help collect a $50,000 real estate commission without properly disclosing his involvement. He has pleaded not guilty to charges including bribery, fraud and perjury in a trail that began last week.

    Former House Speaker Ken Martinez testified Wednesday that Griego entered his office alone on April 9, 2014, and asked him, "Why did you screw up my deal?"

    Martinez says he did not initially understand the question about a decision that day by a state buildings commission to delay authorization of the sale of the building in downtown Santa Fe — but he quickly deduced that Griego was representing the intended buyers. Griego would eventually earn a commission of just over $50,000.

  • UNM-LA’s Nadler gets grant

    University of New Mexico-Los Alamos Instructor Kristy Nadler, adjunct faculty of Psychology and of University Studies, was awarded a grant from the Office on Violence Against Women at the U.S. Department of Justice.

    The OVW grant to “Reduce Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking on Campus” provides $300,000 over three years to organize effective sexual misconduct prevention, education, and response for the UNM-LA community.

    Nadler has worked in the area of sexual misconduct for over 10 years. Her dissertation in organizational leadership, which she will defend later this fall, focuses on the beliefs professors hold about sexual misconduct on campus.

    Nadler has been an adjunct instructor at UNM-LA since 2013.

    “Kristy is a popular, well-respected instructor, and clearly a very motivated individual,” noted UNM-LA CEO Dr. Cindy Rooney.

  • Federal judge sides with New Mexico ranchers in water case

    Associated Press

    ALBUQUERQUE — A U.S. court has sided with a New Mexico ranching family in a decades-long battle over access to water on national forest land, providing more certainty that state law allows for the protection of water rights dating back more than a century.

    The case of the Goss family has been closely watched by thousands of ranchers who hold grazing permits across the West. Attorneys and others say the outcome could have ripple effects on ranchers and rural communities that have often complained about federal land managers trampling property rights.

    The Goss family claimed the federal government violated its constitutional rights by not providing just compensation after condemning property – in this case water rights that had been established before Lincoln National Forest was created.

    U.S. Court of Federal Claims Chief Judge Susan Braden agreed. On Friday, she ordered the family and the U.S. Forest Service to determine whether alternative water sources are available that can allow the family – operating as the Sacramento Grazing Association Inc. — to operate a viable cattle business.

    Braden must still determine how much compensation the family is owed.

  • AG Balderas files brief to seek out-of-state taxes

    Attorney General Hector Balderas announced last week that he filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to grant review and reconsider the court’s outdated “physical presence” rule, which restricts states’ ability to collect certain taxes from out-of-state retailers.
    “New Mexico is in a budget crisis and it’s critical that giant, out-of-state corporations pay their fair share of taxes to New Mexico municipalities and state government as they reap millions of dollars in profits from selling goods in our state,” said Attorney General Hector Balderas.
    Balderas was joined in the brief by the attorneys general of 35 states and the District of Columbia.

  • LAPD sgt. completes 10-week program

    A long-time Los Alamos Police Department official recently graduated from an intensive 10-week program that prepares law enforcement employees for senior positions.

    Sgt. Chris Ross graduated from the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety as a member of Class 420 of its

    School of Police Staff and Command. The school combines academic principles with practical applications, according to a press release from the Los Alamos Police Department.

    Ross, who started work at the department in 2009 and was promoted to sergeant in 2014, took courses in budgeting, contemporary policing, project management, as well as many other subjects, during the 10-week intensive program.

    Students who complete the program are expected to be better prepared for several modern challenges, such as thinking globally while remaining task-oriented, service deliver effectively and efficiently, as well mitigating legal exposure and develop systems of accountability, according to the press release.

    Ross is currently assigned as the supervisor of school resource officers, the community liaison unit and victim’s assistant with the department.

  • Students, staff gather to pay tribute to teacher

    More than a hundred Los Alamos High School students and faculty on Monday wore pink, waved plastic pink flamingos and stood on one leg for a moment – many with tears in their eyes – to recognize Joy Handsberry, a popular math teacher who died of ovarian cancer on Friday.

    Hansberry, 49, loved the color pink and the lawn ornaments. Several pink plastic flamingos decorated the grassy area in front of the high school’s administrative office throughout the day.

    Many wore pink t-shirts created a few years ago with icons showing peace, love and pi, to recognize Handsberry’s health struggle and to bring a smile to those around her, a fellow faculty member explained.

    There was also a nearly-life-size cutout photograph of Elvis – Handsberry was a fan – plus banners and photographs and drawings of pink flamingos.

    “We’re sad,” said fellow math teacher Ethan Honnell, who sported a pink wool ski hood.
    After a photograph was taken, many hugged and continued to weep.