Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 1:20 a.m. MDT

Aug 3, 2019

1 charge tossed against judge in secret recording case(Information from: The Daily Times, http://www.daily-times.com)FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — A criminal charge against a former New Mexico magistrate judge accused of surreptitiously recording of private conversations has been dismissed.The Farmington Daily Times reports a state district court judge recently tossed out a misdemeanor count of contempt of court against former Aztec Magistrate Court Judge Connie Johnston.However, Johnston still faces 13 criminal charges filed by the New Mexico Attorney General's Office. She has pleaded not guilty.In 2017, the New Mexico Supreme Court removed Johnston from office for misconduct. A state commission said the misconduct included dishonesty, surreptitious recording of private conversations in the courthouse and abuse of her judicial power of contempt.Prosecutors say Johnston recorded telephone calls involving former Aztec Magistrate Court manager Lori Proctor that were likely made in a private.___


Highway to be closed in Otero County to remove crash debrisALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) — Federal and state officials plan to temporarily close part of a highway in southern New Mexico's Otero County for a day later this month to remove crash debris from an adjacent canyon.Lincoln National Forest officials say U.S. 82 will be closed Aug. 14 for nearly 7 miles (11 kilometers) between High Rolls and North Florida Avenue on the outskirts of Alamogordo.The driver of a tractor-trailer rig was killed May 7 when the truck crashed into a side of a tunnel and then caught fire.Officials say removing the debris will help maintain the area's scenic nature and ensure that unwanted materials don't enter the nearby waterways.


Video shows inmates beating officers at New Mexico prisonLAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Video of an assault on two corrections officers at a New Mexico prison shows inmates rushing them inside a pod before the altercation moves into a hallway.Officials released surveillance video showing the July 16 altercation at the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility on Thursday, the same day prosecutors announced seven inmates had been indicted in the 30-second attack on charges that include kidnapping and conspiracy.Two of the inmates — 32-year-old Rico Sena and 47-year-old Gabriel Sedillo — have been charged with attempted murder.Authorities say Officer Alex Benecomo and Sgt. Mitchell Lamb were accompanying a nurse delivering medication to the pod.Video shows inmates throw punches and kick the officers after they fall to the floor.Officials say the officers were treated for non-life threatening injuries.


Utility's tree trimmings becoming food for zoo animalsALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico utility's trimmings are becoming food for plant-eating animals at Albuquerque's zoo.Public Service Co. of New Mexico says it is collaborating with the Abq BioPark to have branches trimmed from trees routinely delivered to the zoo for donation as food for grazing animals such as giraffes and elephants.Utilities such as Albuquerque-based PNM routinely trim trees around power lines to maintain proper clearances under circumstances such as strong winds and sagging of wires because of heat.


Hopi Tribe takes over law enforcement from federal agencyFLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A small northeastern Arizona tribe now is the primary law enforcement agency on its reservation.The Hopi Tribal Council voted last month to take over some duties from the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs police. The tribe says it's a move to promote self-governance.The Hopi rangers had long assisted the BIA in policing. They were created in 1989 to enforce natural resource laws but have expanded their role over the years.All emergency calls now go to the Hopi Law Enforcement Services, instead of Bureau of Indian Affairs dispatchers. The BIA will continue doing criminal investigations and oversee a temporary holding facility.Hopi police Sgt. Glenn Singer says much of the crime on the Hopi reservation is tied to substance abuse and family violence.


Bill would expand health care options for Native veteransFLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A bill introduced in Congress would expand health care options for Native American veterans.New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall and California Rep. Ro Khanna announced the bill Friday. A bipartisan group of lawmakers has signed on as co-sponsors.The measure would allow the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to reimburse about three dozen health care facilities in 20 states for services provided to Native veterans in urban areas. California leads in the number of urban Indian health centers.A reimbursement system already exists for about 185 hospitals and clinics run by the federal Indian Health Service or by tribes in more remote areas. Udall's office says those agreements helped more than 9,300 Native veterans last year.Census figures show about three-quarters of Native Americans live in urban areas.___This story corrects the number of states to 20, not 19.


Lawsuit: Urgent care center missed cancer that later spread(Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.santafenewmexican.com)SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Santa Fe singer-songwriter says an urgent care center failed to diagnose her condition in 2017 and 2018, leading to a terminal cancer diagnosis.The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Elizabeth "Betsy" Scarinzi recently filed a lawsuit in state district court against Presbyterian Medical Group over the diagnosis.According to the lawsuit, medical staff at Presbyterian Medical Group's urgent care facility in Santa Fe examined her three times between 2017 and 2018 and failed to notice an early indication of lung cancer.The lawsuit says the lung cancer went undiagnosed and untreated for nearly a year.Presbyterian Healthcare Services declined to comment on pending litigation.The complaint alleged medical negligence, breach of warranty and breach of contract.___


New Mexico seeks concussion safeguards for more youth sportsSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is seeking to shore up safeguards against brain injuries in youth sports beyond schools in non-scholastic athletic leagues and clubs.Coaches and many youth athletes automatically would undergo training to detect signs of a concussion and potential consequences of a brain injury, under rules proposed by the Department of Health.State Sen. Bill Soules of Las Cruces helped enact similar safeguards for school sports and on Thursday applauded the new, expanded effort.Young athletes who receive a brain injury would sit out at least 10 days and return only with a written medical release. Annual education would be required of parents and children over 10.In 2015, a New Mexico judge overruled concussion protocols to allow a high school football player to play in a title game.