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Today's News

  • Grand jury indicts former head of New Mexico MLK commission

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The former director of New Mexico's Martin Luther King Jr. Commission has been indicted on more than a dozen charges stemming from allegations of financial impropriety.

    A grand jury has indicted Kimberly Greene on charges of fraud, embezzlement, larceny, conspiracy and other counts. It wasn't immediately clear if Greene, who was removed by the commission in 2016, had an attorney.

    Indictments also were filed this week against a former commission employee and the director of the nonprofit Educational, Research, Evaluation and Design Inc., or eREAD. A phone message left at the eREAD office in Albuquerque wasn't returned.

    The indictments follow a lengthy investigation that first became public two years ago when agents with the New Mexico Attorney General's Office seized bank records, invoices, emails and other documents related to the commission's financial activities.
     

  • State of County speech previews future

    Los Alamos County Manager Harry Burgess’ State of the County speech Thursday morning gave listeners a view of how the county was preparing for the future.

    All the efforts the county put toward tourism, housing, code enforcement and amenities this year is laying the groundwork for better things to come for residents, businesspeople and residents, Burgess said.

    Burgess spoke Thursday to the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce at the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos.  Many members of County Council, Chamber of Commerce and the public attended.

    Burgess talked first about tourism, and how the county had capitalized on the National Park Service’s recent addition of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. The Los Alamos section is one of the park’s three sections, the other parts being in Hanford Washington and Oak Ridge Tennessee. The Los Alamos section in downtown Los Alamos.

    He said that the 20-member Tourism Work Group formed last year will soon release a plan on how Los Alamos County will better be able to capitalize on the thousands of visitors and tourists that come to Los Alamos every year, whether that be for lab business or to visit Bandelier, the Valles Caldera or the  Manhattan Project Historical Park.

  • White House doctor: Trump in 'excellent health'

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's White House physician declared him in "excellent health" after the president received his first medical checkup at Walter Reed military hospital on Friday, undergoing a physical examination amid suggestions in a recent book and by his detractors that he's mentally unfit.

    Dr. Ronny Jackson, in a statement released by the White House, said the examination "went exceptionally well. The President is in excellent health and I look forward to briefing some of the details on Tuesday." Trump spent about three hours at the medical facility in Bethesda, Maryland, outside Washington, for the Friday afternoon checkup, his first as president, before departing for Florida for the weekend.

    The fairly routine exam for previous presidents has taken on outsized importance in the age of Trump, given the tone of some of his tweets, comments attributed to some of his close advisers and Trump's recent slurring of words on national TV.

    Some of the comments were published in a new book about Trump's first year, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" by Michael Wolff, which White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has denounced as "complete fantasy" for portraying her 71-year-old boss as undisciplined and in over his head as president.

  • 2 state lawmakers propose criminal justice reforms

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A pair of New Mexico lawmakers put forward a series of public safety proposals Tuesday, aiming to strike a bi-partisan tone in addressing rising crime rates as more people cycle through the criminal justice system and the number of officers — especially in Albuquerque — has declined in recent years.

    At a news conference, Rep. Nate Gentry and Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto touted their proposals as representing a sweeping approach to the city's crime problem with measures that target nearly every level of New Mexico's criminal justice system — from boosting police staffing levels to trying to trying to ensure more access to behavioral health treatment for inmates leaving prisons or jails.

    Gentry is a Republican and Ivey-Soto a Democrat. Both represent districts in Albuquerque.

    It's not clear ahead of the bills being debated in the 30-day legislative session that begins next week in Santa Fe how much support the measures would garner among lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, though they so far have gained the support of Bernalillo County sheriff and the Albuquerque police union.

    "It's a common sense approach to a very dynamic problem," said Shaun Willoughby, president of the Albuquerque Police Officers Association.

  • New Mexico Supreme Court overturns domestic violence ruling

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — In the case of a man arrested numerous times on domestic violence charges, the New Mexico Supreme Court has determined that prosecutors should have been allowed to use previous statements made by the victim despite her later decision not to testify.

    At issue was the constitutional right for a defendant to be able to confront an accuser. That right can be forfeited as a result of wrongdoing by the defendant to keep a victim or witness from testifying, but up for debate was whether that wrongdoing has to come in the form of a blatant threat.

    The court in an opinion issued Monday clarified that coercion and intimidation can have the same result as making an overt threat to ensure a victim's silence. The case was ordered back to the district court for further proceedings.

    The ruling stems from domestic violence charges that were first leveled against Joshua Maestas in 2009. At the time, prosecutors sought to keep him in custody and cited a history of domestic violence that included being arrested seven times between 2003 and 2009.

  • State representatives help get veterans' Fisher House project moving

    Veterans and their families may soon get a place to stay in Albuquerque while they wait for their loved ones to get care at the VA Medical Center.

    U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs officials joined with officials from the state Historic Preservation Office, the Fisher House Foundation and state legislators Wednesday to agree on final plans to build a Fisher House on the campus of the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center in Albuquerque.

    The agreement provides the framework for construction to proceed on a proposed facility that will house the families of military personnel and veterans while their loved ones are receiving medical care.

    The agencies and the foundation reached the agreement at the urging of the Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) and New Mexico House Republican Caucus. Pearce and state representatives reached out to state and federal officials to resolve obstacles blocking construction.

  • Gov. seeks more police immunity

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez’s proposal to grant broader immunity to police in use-of-force lawsuits is being met with criticism from attorneys and others on both sides of the debate.

    The Albuquerque Journal reports that Martinez plans to push for a measure during the upcoming legislative session that would provide somewhat of a legal shield for law enforcement officers sued for actions in the line of duty when they had followed their training.

    She said she doesn’t think officers should be under a “constant threat of lawsuits.” Martinez, a Republican, is a former prosecutor.

    Albuquerque has reached settlements in a string of wrongful death and excessive force lawsuits filed in recent years.

    The city also is under federal court order to reform its police department after a U.S. Justice Department investigation four years ago found a “culture of aggression” among officers.

    Randi McGinn, who has litigated lawsuits brought against police, was the special prosecutor who tried two Albuquerque officers in the 2014 shooting death of homeless camper James Boyd. The officers’ 2016 trial ended in a hung jury, and the second-degree charges against them were later cleared by a new prosecutor who decided not to retry them.

  • State hosts AMC’s ‘Better Call Saul’ for another season

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico is hosting another season of AMC’s “Better Call Saul.”

    Production work on the television series is underway in Albuquerque.

    The network had initially announced last year that the “Breaking Bad” spinoff would return in 2018 for a 10-episode fourth season.

    Starring Bob Odenkirk, the series follows Jimmy McGill, who eventually becomes Walter White’s lawyer Saul Goodman on “Breaking Bad.”

    Officials with the state film office say about 150 crew members and several dozen principal actors from New Mexico are a part of the production.

    “Better Call Saul” season three was among the more than 60 film and television productions shot in New Mexico during the past fiscal year. Others included “The Night Shift,” ‘’Longmire,” and Netflix’s “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.”

  • Legislative Council to review anti-harassment policy

    The New Mexico Legislative Council is scheduled to review and possibly adopt a new anti-harassment policy Monday for the state Legislators.

    But during a review of the policy by the State Bar of New Mexico Jan. 5, given by Reps. Nate Gentry (R-Bernalillo) and Antonio “Moe” Maestas (D-Bernalillo), some lawyers questioned what qualified as harassment.

    Richard C. Minzner, the emcee of the event, and an Albuquerque attorney thought the new anti-harassment policy could interfere with the legislative process.

    “My concern about adopting this general harassment policy as opposed to just sexual harassment, it seems to me to outlaw the job of whips, of which both of you have had, which is to try to get people to vote the way you want them to when they don’t want to,” Minzner said.

    Minzner, a former state representative for 10 years, gave examples of that type of harassment, such as threatening to remove committee chairs that aren’t towing a certain political party’s line, or not supporting a candidate in the next election if they didn’t change their point of view or lend their support to legislation.

  • States rethink sexual misconduct policies after complaints

    By DAVID A. LIEB, Associated Press

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — After a tumultuous few months that saw numerous lawmakers accused of sexual misconduct, a majority of state legislatures across the country are considering strengthening sexual harassment policies that have gone unheeded or unchanged for years.

    A 50-state review by The Associated Press found that almost all legislative chambers now have at least some type of written sexual harassment policy, though they vary widely, and many are placing a greater emphasis on preventing and punishing sexual misconduct as they convene for their 2018 sessions.

    This week alone, lawmakers in Arizona, Idaho and Rhode Island underwent detailed training about sexual harassment, some for the first time.

    Yet about a third of all legislative chambers do not require lawmakers to receive training about what constitutes sexual harassment, how to report it and what consequences it carries, the AP's review found.