Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. MST

Feb 10, 2020

GOP House hopeful in New Mexico to launch 6-figure TV blitzALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A Republican candidate for a crucial U.S. House seat in New Mexico is launching a television advertisement blitz. Oil executive Claire Chase is scheduled Tuesday to release her first ad aimed at positioning herself as a political outsider and an avid anti-abortion activist. Another ad will highlight Chase's stance on border issues. Chase is seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small for a seat that represents southern New Mexico. Torres won the Republican-leaning seat in 2018 by less than 3,000 votes. Chase's six-figure ad buy comes less than a month before the New Mexico Republican Convention. 


Albuquerque councilor's $6K trip to NYC, DC raising eyebrowsALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Albuquerque city councilor's trip to three East Coast cities cost is raising questions over her $6,300 bill to taxpayers. KOAT-TV reports Albuquerque City Councilor Klarissa Pena recently took a trip to Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington to attend a conference for city council presidents in Philadelphia. Records show Pena billed the city $3,290 for train tickets and another $2,082 for hotels. Pena told the station she took a train because she's afraid of planes. She also took her husband and two grandchildren and defended the move since she said the family rarely travels. Paul Gessing, president of the taxpayer watch group the Rio Grande Foundation, called the expenses "brazen." 


Rain, snow expected early this week over New Mexico, ArizonaALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Winter weather is returning to parts of New Mexico and Arizona early this week. National Weather Service meteorologists say cold temperatures and snow are coming to New Mexico on Monday and Tuesday. Authorities say driving will be difficult in eastern and northern New Mexico because of high winds, cold temperatures and moderate to heavy snow. Weather Service officials say Arizona could see moderate to heavy rain Monday and Tuesday. The snow level will drop to around 6,000 feet on Tuesday in northern Arizona and a few inches of snow is expected to fall along portions of the Mogollon Rim. The storm system should leave Arizona by Wednesday morning.


New Mexico State to close its Mandarin Chinese programLAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State University has announced it will close its Confucius Institute, a program designed around Mandarin Chinese. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports the decision is part of a wave of closures of Confucius Institutes at American universities in recent years. New Mexico State cited low enrollment and "funding issues" with the Office of Chinese Language Council International, the institute's headquarters in Beijing, in its decision. Confucius Institute was founded in 2007 in partnership with China's Shijiazhuang University of Applied Technology and, later, with Hebei Normal University.


Police offer reward to solve 1990 bowling alley shootingLAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Police in New Mexico have offered a $30,000 reward for information about a shooting at a Las Cruces bowling alley in 1990 where five people were fatally shot and two others survived wounds. Authorities say Monday marks 30 years since police were dispatched to the bowling alley where investigators believe two men walked in, opened fire and stole about $5,000 in cash. Police say four people died that day and a fifth person died from complications years later. Police say the shooters were never located, but they hope to still solve the case. 


Man charged in 2019 killing in New Mexico arrested in NevadaCARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico homicide suspect is in custody in Nevada. Authorities say 21-year-old Preston Thompson is jailed in Las Vegas and awaiting extradition to New Mexico's Eddy County to face a murder charge in the shooting death of 26-year-old Carlie Overturff last September. Clark County Detention Center records indicate Thompson is serving a jail sentence for grand larceny auto and that he faces a hearing Monday on a fugitive warrant. The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports that Thompson had been missing since September. Eddy County sheriff's Capt. Matt Hutchinson told the Current-Argus that investigators received information that Thompson had left Carlsbad and might be in Nevada. New Mexico court records don't list a defense attorney for Thompson in the murder case.


Focus turns to Latino authors amid 'American Dirt' debateALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Latino activists say they hope the controversy around the novel "American Dirt" brings more attention to recent and overlooked works by Latino writers. Advocates say these books rarely get the attention of the general public since publishers don't promote them liker other works by white writers. Latino advocates last month took to social media to complain about "American Dirt" by Jeanine Cummins for its alleged stereotypes about Mexican immigration. Advocates suggested on Twitter and Facebook works by Latino authors that boosted sales. Houston-based Arte Publico Press publisher Nicolas Kanellos says some of his books by immigrant writers have sold out.


New Mexico Senate endorses red-flag gun billSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico state Senate endorsed a red-flag gun bill Friday that has been prompted by concerns about the a mass shooting last year in El Paso, Texas, and suicide prevention efforts. The bill would allow law enforcement officers to petition a state district court to order the temporary surrender of firearms. Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham supports new tools she says will help law enforcement prevent gun violence. Rural sheriffs oppose the Democratic-sponsored legislation, arguing that officers can already intervene in the event of mental health crisis and detain people for their own safety or who present a danger to others.