AG: Santa Fe within rights to decriminalize pot
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico Attorney General Gary King's office says Santa Fe is within its right to decriminalize marijuana and it has no plans to challenge the city's new ordinance.
Phil Sisneros, a spokesman for King, said Thursday that the attorney general supports decriminalizing marijuana laws and believes Santa Fe acted within its authority.
Those comments come after Santa Fe city councilors voted 5-4 this week to decriminalize marijuana, making the city the first in New Mexico to make possession of small amounts of pot a civil infraction.
The new ordinance makes possession of an ounce or less punishable by a fine of no more than $25. Previously, it was a criminal misdemeanor.
King, a Democrat, is running for governor against Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican.
$350K buyout for Albuquerque ex-school chief OK'd
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A state district judge has approved a $350,000 buyout for former Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Winston Brooks who resigned earlier this month.
The judge ruled Friday that the settlement was in the best interest of the public and New Mexico's largest school district.
Brooks resigned after board members said he was being investigated for a personnel matter. Both sides declined to elaborate.
The school board then approved a $350,000 settlement to buy him out of his contract.
The settlement now goes before the state's Public Education Department for final approval.
HOMELESS TASK FORCE
Mayor appoints Navajo to homelessness task force
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry has appointed Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly's former chief of staff to chair the city's new Native American Homelessness Task Force.
Berry says Sherrick Roanhorse joins the task force with extensive knowledge of Native American affairs. In addition to his role with Shelly, Roanhorse has worked as a policy analyst for the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department and as and a government and legislative affairs specialist with the Navajo Nation in Washington, D.C. He currently works in the state government affairs office of PNM.
Berry and Shelly agreed to create the task force following the brutal beating deaths in July of two homeless Navajo men in a vacant lot on Albuquerque's southwest side.
Police: Lovington student dies from accident
LOVINGTON, N.M. (AP) - Police say a 17-year-old Lovington high school student has died from an apparent accident on campus.
KRQE-TV reports that the female teen badly hurt her head Wednesday and was airlifted to a hospital in Lubbock, Texas. Authorities say she died Thursday night.
The student has not been identified.
Police says a car driving another student was involved and the girl was not hit or run over.
No further information was available.
Complaint: 3 New Mexico guard had sex with inmates
TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M. (AP) - Three Sierra County Detention Center jail guards are facing charges they harassed and threatened female inmates into having sex with them.
KOB-TV reports a criminal complaint filed Thursday says 38-year-old Virgil Eaton, 22-year-old Miguel Herrera and 23-year-old Joshua Corley had sex with inmates and harassed them in spots hidden from security cameras at the Truth or Consequences jail.
According to the complaint, Eaton sought oral sex from inmates in exchange for prescription pills, and in one case, told an inmate he would get her charges dismissed if she had sex with him.
Documents say Corley and Herrera had separate sexual encounters with inmates both in and out of jail.
All three face criminal sexual penetration and other charges.
It was not known if the men had attorneys.
Costs of NM coal power plant proposal challenged
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Renewable energy advocates say the state's largest electric utility is underestimating the costs that will be passed on to customers under a proposal to shut down part of an aging coal-fired power plant in northwestern New Mexico.
The Santa Fe-based group New Energy Economy in a filing with the Public Regulation Commission on Friday accused the utility of withholding from regulators key information about the plan's price tag.
The group says PNM didn't include more than a half-billion dollars of ongoing capital expenditures in the calculations and failed to weigh the costs of environmental regulations and the disposal of coal ash waste generated by the power plant.
PNM says it stands behind the science used to craft its plan.
State regulators have scheduled a hearing in October to consider PNM's proposal.
UNM to use grant to help student journalists
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - University of New Mexico will use a $35,000 grant to help student journalists get their work published and read throughout the state.
The Daily Lobo reports the school's Communication and Journalism Department recently received the Online News Association grant and have used it to build an online news portal called New Mexico News Port.
Michael Marcotte, a visiting associate professor, says the portal will serve as a platform where students can experiment with the new tools of journalism.
She says students will cover the upcoming New Mexico elections and will partner with KUNM, KNME and the Daily Lobo.
Sheriff's Office: Man fatally shot during robbery
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Bernalillo County authorities say an armed robber was shot and fatally wounded by an employee at an Albuquerque-area Dairy Queen.
Sheriff's Sgt. Aaron Williamson says deputies in the area on a traffic stop heard the gunshots, went to the business and found the wounded man outside with apparent gunshot wounds late Thursday. He later died.
Williamson says the robber pointed a gun at a worker at the counter, demanded and received money but continued to point the gun. Williamson says that's when a second employee shot the man multiple times.
According to Williamson, employees of the Dairy Queen were shaken up but uninjured. He says they sheltered in place and locked the business down until deputies arrived.
County changes policy on immigration checks
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico's most populous county no longer will keep inmates in jail while their immigration status is being checked if there's no order to keep them in custody once they've posted bail.
Bernalillo County officials say the new policy means the county won't keep inmates confined at the Metropolitan Detention Center merely on the basis of a request from immigration authorities.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, County Attorney Randy Autio said the policy change is a result of court cases around the country.
He said authorities can't violate somebody's civil rights for the convenience of a government agency.
Autio says the county will still communicate with federal agents and notify them if there's been a release order.
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