PORT OF ENTRY
NM senators want expanded hours for port of entry
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico's U.S. senators are asking the federal government for 24-hour daily operation of a port entry at Santa Teresa along the international border with Mexico.
Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich requested the expanded hours of operation Friday in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
Commercial traffic currently can use the border crossing from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. The port is open daily for non-commercial users from 6 a.m. to midnight.
The senators said extended hours of operation could increase trade and help create jobs in southern New Mexico.
The request came as New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Chihuahua Gov. Cesar Duarte attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Santa Teresa for newly expanded port facilities, including more vehicle inspection lanes.
NAVAJO HOUSING FUNDS
Feds warns Navajo about unspent housing funds
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - The Navajo Nation has had trouble spending hundreds of millions of dollars in federal housing funds over the past several years.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says it's now at an unacceptable level of more than $434 million. The department recently warned the tribe that if it doesn't explain how it is complying with federal regulations or return more than $105 million, the tribe could see reductions in grant funding or be replaced.
The chief executive of the Navajo Housing Authority says the warning came as a shock and she'll work to have it rescinded. Aneva Yazzie says it contradicts the results of performance evaluations.
Yazzie says HUD should share the blame for the unexpended balance that the tribe plans to reduce through large-scale development.
ALBUQUERQUE POLICE CRASH
Officer involved in fatal crash fired
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The Albuquerque police officer involved in a February crash that killed a 21-year-old woman has been fired.
Police Chief Ray Schultz said in a statement Friday that Sgt. Adam Casaus was terminated after an internal probe found he violated several sections of department protocol in the late night accident.
A Bernalillo County sheriff's investigation found Casaus was speeding and ran a red light when he hit an SUV driven by the sister of Ashley Browder on Feb. 10. Browder was killed and her sister was seriously injured.
Browder's family is suing the department, contending the Albuquerque Police Department has a history of illegal and unsafe driving by officers.
Casaus has been on administrative leave since the accident and faces criminal charges.
FRATERNITY CHARTER REVOKED
UNM revokes frat's charter over conduct violations
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The University of New Mexico has revoked the charter of a fraternity over several violations of the student code of conduct.
School officials made the announcement Friday concerning Sigma Alpha Epsilon, which had been suspended since April when a rape allegedly occurred at the frat house.
Officials say the charter revocation was made because of numerous violations of the student code of conduct at an April 1 party that included the alleged sexual assault and alcohol consumption by minors.
The Albuquerque Journal reports a UNM investigation found that two underage women had been offered drinks by members of the fraternity at the party.
The revocation means SAE won't be able to reapply for charter until August 2017.
Man found at NM motel died from blunt force trauma
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico State Police say a man found dead inside a Fort Sumner motel last weekend died from blunt force trauma.
They have been investigating the death of 21-year-old Anthony Sandoval since De Baca County Sheriff's deputies discovered the body Sunday at the Coronado Motel.
Investigators say Sandoval and another man had a physical altercation last Friday and Sandoval went back to his motel room.
They say no arrests have been made in the case at this time.
5 men honored to helping stop attack at NM church
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Five men have been honored by the city of Albuquerque for helping stop an assailant during a stabbing attack at a Catholic church.
The men were recognized Friday for their efforts last month in holding down a 24-year-old man who authorities say stabbed three people at St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church at the end of Mass.
A grand jury indicted Lawrence Capener this month on attempted murder, aggravated assault and three counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon
Among those honored were Albuquerque police officer Daren DeAguero, Albuquerque Fire Department Lt. Greg Aragon, Department of Corrections Sgt. Gilbert Flores, FBI Special Agent, Charles Metzler Jr., and Rio Rancho Police Officer Chris Maestas.
Authorities say Aragon was stabbed in the head during the attack.
Judge keeps trustee on Vaughan case
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A federal bankruptcy judge has rejected an attempt to remove the trustee seeking clawbacks against investors in a Ponzi scheme that bilked hundreds of investors out of $75 million.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Jacobvitz this week rejected a motion to convert the bankruptcy case of Vaughan Company Realtors from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7. The move that would have effectively removed Judith Wagner as trustee.
The motion to convert was seen as an attempt to short-circuit the roughly 100 so-called clawback lawsuits seeking repayment from investors who appear to have profited from the investment scheme run by former Albuquerque real estate executive Doug Vaughan, who is serving 12 years in prison.
The motion was filed by retired Albuquerque lawyer Julius Wollen, who is contesting allegations he made more than $400,000 in the scheme.
COUNTY JAIL CONDITIONS
Judge to Bernalillo County: Fix jail conditions
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A federal judge has ordered New Mexico's largest county to prepare a plan to bring the jail population down and to take steps to improve conditions.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that U.S. District Judge James A. Parker recently gave the Bernalillo County until July 1 to submit the plan and until Sept. 1 to carry out most of its components.
Parker's four-page order notes that the county has agreed voluntarily to meet the deadlines.
The Metropolitan Detention Center now holds about 2,530 inmates, roughly 300 more than its design capacity of 2,236.
Parker's order is part of a civil-rights lawsuit over conditions inside the county jail system. The suit was filed in 1995, and the parties are trying to get it resolved.
Police: Flasher targeting women at NM park
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Police are on the lookout for a mystery nude man who residents say is flashing females at an Albuquerque park.
KOAT-TV report that the alleged flasher has struck at least four times at Mariposa Park on the city's west side since last week.
Albuquerque Police Sgt. Trish Hoffman says the flasher is targeting young girls and women who are alone.
Police say the man is in his 20s, has orange and yellow hair, gauged ears and carries a skateboard. Authorities say they hope to catch him on camera with their mobile surveillance unit.
No arrests have been made.
Officials: NM ranch had 1,000 emaciated cattle
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - State officials are considering seizing a herd of cattle after around 1,000 emaciated cattle were found on a drought-stricken ranch near Fort Sumner.
Albuquerque Journal reports that New Mexico Livestock Board officials served a search warrant at the sprawling Double V Ranch on May 17 and found at least 25 dead animals and many others at risk of starving to death.
The owner, Richard Evans, has been charged with 25 counts of cruelty to animals.
If a judge orders the seizure, officials say the case would mark the first large herd seized by the Livestock Board.
A number listed for Double V Ranch was a fax number. No other number was listed for Evans.
New Mexico is in its driest 2-year period in nearly 120 years of record-keeping.
Smoke, dust and humidity produce Albuquerque haze
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A combination of wildfire smoke, dust from windy conditions and higher humidity is combining to produce haze and poor air quality in Albuquerque and areas north and south of the city.
Albuquerque issued a health alert for poor air quality Friday morning due to wildfire smoke. Contributing sources include fires in northern Mexico and one in southeastern Arizona near Nogales.
That smoke has been combining with dust from windy conditions.
Finally, a weather front has increased moisture in the area.
The National Weather Service says the haze extends along the Rio Grande Valley from Santa Fe on the north southward to Socorro, and westward to the Continental Divide.
High winds damage roof of VFW hall in Carlsbad
CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) - A 47-mph wind gust peeled back part of the metal roof on a VFW hall in Carlsbad.
About 120 people were playing bingo inside the hall at the time of Thursday night's storm and all escaped unharmed, although many were shaken by the experience.
Cris Sing is the kitchen manager of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8703 and wife of the post commander.
She told the Carlsbad Current-Argus that says "people started yelling and screaming like crazy. Then the electricity went out and everything went black. We couldn't step because the wind was so strong and the dirt was so thick we couldn't see outside."
Sing says the thick, swirling dirt subsided after a few minutes and everyone then left the hall.
Damages were still being calculated Friday.
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