- THE CASAGRANDES
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Nickelodeon's "The Casagrandes" premiered this week and became one of the first cartoons in U.S. history to feature a multigenerational Mexican American family.The long awaited spin-off from the network's popular animation series, "The Loud House," comes as more networks take chances on Latino-themed shows.The series centers around an 11-year-old Mexican American, skateboarding girl trying to survive in the fictional town of Great Lake City. Her apartment is above The Casagrandes bodega, owned by grandpa and in front of a subway track.Unlike some previous cartoons with Latinos, "The Casagrandes" seeks to tackle family-oriented themes like love, friendship, and jealousy.Supervising director Miguel Puga says creators wanted to show how normal and relatable Latino families are.
- NEW MEXICO COMPOUND
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A federal judge has ordered a woman charged with kidnapping, firearm and terrorism-related counts to be hospitalized, saying she suffers from mental illness.The decision Thursday orders up to four months of hospitalization for Jany Leveille, with plans to reevaluate later whether she might be competent to stand trial.Leveille has been among five suspects awaiting trial in the case after officers raided their Taos County compound last year. Authorities say they found 11 hungry children there living in filth, and the remains of a missing Georgia boy who had suffered from untreated disabilities.The boy's father, Leveille and the three other suspects are accused in court documents of conspiring to attack officers, military members and government employees.All, except the father, are charged with kidnapping the boy.
- BABY SHOT IN FACE
GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man who reportedly admitted to accidentally shooting an infant girl and trying to arrange the killing of the baby's mother may be near a plea agreement.The Gallup Independent reports Tyrell Bitsilly's attorney Christian Hatfield and special prosecutor Bill Snowden are negotiating plea deals for pending cases.Bitsilly is facing charges connected to three violent cases involving his girlfriend Shayanne Nelson.The 21-year-old Bitsilly and Nelson had told police the girl's 3-year-old brother found a gun left in a Gallup, New Mexico, motel room and accidentally fired the gun.Bitsilly is facing new charges after authorities say he tried to arrange the killings of Nelson and a retired military medic who helped saved the infant girl's life.
JUAREZ, Mexico (AP) — Mexicans are increasingly the face of asylum in the United States, replacing Central Americans who dominated last year's caravan and a surge of families that brought border arrests to a 13-year-high in May.Border arrests plummeted as U.S. policies targeting asylum have taken hold. But Mexicans are exempt by virtue of being a neighboring country.U.S. Customs and Border Protection figures show fewer Mexicans are crossing, but the drop in Central Americans is much sharper, making Mexicans the biggest part of the mix. Mexicans arrested or stopped at the border fell 22% from May to August, but border crossers from Central American countries were down from 63% to 81%.It is unclear precisely what is driving the change, perhaps a mix of U.S. policies and violence in Mexico.
- UNM-FACULTY UNION
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Professors and adjunct teachers at New Mexico's largest university have voted to unionize.The University of New Mexico announced Friday the adjunct and faculty endorsed two proposals in favor of union representation after two days of voting.Results show members of the school's regular faculty voted 500 to 304 in favor of unionization. Adjunct faculty voted 256 to 26 in favor of forming their own union.The move comes after a faculty union petition was filed in February.Faculty members have complained that University of New Mexico professors are among the lowest paid in the country.
- NEW MEXICO-STUDENT TESTING
ALUBQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart has announced the SAT will become the official statewide standardized test for high school juniors.Stewart said Friday all New Mexico high school juniors will be required to take the SAT in the spring of 2020. He says the exam administered by the non-profit organization College Board is aligned with New Mexico academic standards and all New Mexico colleges and universities accept the test.The move comes after a task force convened by New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said any new assessment should have meaning beyond high school.Lujan Grisham called for the taskforce after announcing days into her term her administration was scrapping student assessments developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC.
- TAXES-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is seeking advice on how to make the state's tax system more fair and efficient.The first-year Democratic governor on Friday announced the appointment of a new committee to evaluate New Mexico's tax code.A second appointed committee will examine tax enforcement and auditing by the state.New Mexico's corporate income tax rate was lowered to 5.9% under Lujan Grisham's Republican predecessor. Reforms this year increased tax rates on vehicle sales, nonprofit hospitals and personal income for top earners.Lujan Grisham says this year's changes chipped away at some inequities and that more reforms may be needed.State government spending relies heavily on gross receipts taxes on sales and business transactions. Critics of the system says it is rife with exemptions and loopholes.
- NATIONAL PARKS-CAMPGROUNDS
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Food trucks. Wi-Fi. Hot showers.Those campground upgrades could be coming to a national park near you.The Interior Department is considering recommendations to modernize campgrounds within the National Park Service.The recommendations posted this week come from an advisory committee created under former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. It has been looking at ways for private businesses to operate on public lands.Derrick Crandall is the vice chairman of the Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee. He says many campgrounds fail to meet visitors' expectations and allowing the private sector to run them would free up money for maintenance elsewhere in the parks.National parks have more than 1,400 campgrounds combined. About 6% are operated by concessionaires.Environmentalists say the proposal would price out some visitors and benefit special interest groups.