Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MDT

Apr 17, 2019

New Mexico seeks energy savings in state building upgradesSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is pushing forward with energy-saving upgrades to its portfolio of agency buildings in the state capital.The General Services Department that oversees more than 800 buildings across the state announced Tuesday that it plans to invest $32 million on projects to improve the energy efficiency of state buildings in Santa Fe and generate renewable electricity with photovoltaic solar panels. Solar installations are planned on 19 buildings.The Legislature and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham have dedicated $20 million to the initiative. Permission is being sought from the New Mexico Finance Authority to borrow an additional $12 million.The contractor hired to implement the project is guaranteeing energy-related savings of $1.1 million a year, and actual savings should be higher.


High-profile defense lawyer in New Mexico faces DWI chargeALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A high-profile defense lawyer who also served as a former prosecutor for U.S. Attorney's Office in New Mexico has been arrested on a drunken driving charge.Court records show Robert Gorence was arrested late Saturday in Albuquerque after an officer spotted his vehicle swerving and going below the speed limit on Interstate 25.Officer Keith Curry wrote the 61-year-old Gorence had bloodshot and watery eyes and had an odor of alcohol coming from his breath. Curry says Gorence then performed badly on a field sobriety test.Police also reported finding a partially empty bottle of Jim Beam under the driver's seat of Gorence's BMW.Gorence was charged with DWI and possession of an open container. He was later released on his own recognizance.Gorence did not immediately return phone messages.


Body of 10-year-old boy found after apartment complex fireALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque authorities say a child found dead after a fire in an Albuquerque apartment complex was put out was a 10-year-old boy whose two siblings ages 2 and 13 were hospitalized in critical condition for smoke inhalation.Police spokesman Gilbert Gallegos says discovery of the boy's body accounted for all 31 residents, some of whom jumped from balconies and windows to escape the flames early Tuesday morning.No identities were released.Police and firefighters went to the complex in response to a call about a fire and that the call included a female voice saying, "Please don't hurt me."Lt. Tom Ruiz, of Albuquerque Fire Rescue, says officials don't know who made the statement or anything about its origin.Cause of the fire is under investigation.__This story replaces a previous version to correct the title for Gallegos.


Former Tucumcari fire chief pleads no contest to 5 charges(Information from: The Eastern New Mexico News, http://www.easternnewmexiconews.com)TUCUMCARI, N.M. (AP) — A former fire chief in eastern New Mexico accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a city employee has been convicted of five criminal counts.The Eastern New Mexico News reports 42-year-old Shane Warner pleaded no contest Tuesday to charges that included assault with intent to commit a violent felony, attempt to commit extortion, felony tampering with evidence and misdemeanor embezzlement.Prosecutors say the former Tucumcari fire chief drugged and sexually assaulted a female ambulance worker in March 2016.Prosecutors are expected to recommend a suspended sentence and five years of supervised probation.A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled for Warner.Warner was hired as fire chief in January 2015. The city fired him in March 2017.___


Lawsuit: Corrections officers sexually abused inmateALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An inmate has sued the New Mexico Corrections Department, saying two officers sexually abused her in 2017.The American Civil Liberties Union said in a lawsuit filed on behalf of the inmate that the assaults occurred in a prison system and facility that have fostered "an environment rife with sexual abuse."The lawsuit filed Tuesday also says that authorities retaliated against the inmate when she reported the abuse by revoking her phone privileges, placing her in solitary confinement and taking away a year of "good time."The former officers accused in the lawsuit are Michael Martinez and Eluid Stan Arguello. They were charged with criminal sexual penetration.Martinez pleaded guilty last year. A jury trial for Arguello is scheduled for July.State officials did not immediately provide comment in response to the lawsuit Wednesday.


Feds seek dismissal of plutonium lawsuit; no quake concernsRENO, Nev. (AP) — The U.S. Energy Department is asking a federal judge in Reno to dismiss the state's lawsuit challenging plutonium shipments to Nevada while an appeals court considers whether to overturn the judge's earlier refusal to temporarily block the shipments.Department officials have also stepped up their explanation of why the site housing the weapons-grade plutonium north of Las Vegas isn't vulnerable to dangers posed by earthquakes despite concerns raised last month by an independent safety board.Bruce Hamilton, chairman of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, said in a March 21 letter to Secretary Rick Perry that "a seismically induced high explosive violent reaction could result in unmitigated" radiation exposure to the public.But Hamilton told a House subcommittee last week his warning was directed at a type of testing that no longer occurs at the Nevada site.


Congresswoman Torres Small outraising GOP opponentsALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Xochitl (SOH'-cheel) Torres Small is outraising her Republican opponents in her re-election bid for a key Congressional seat in southern New Mexico.Federal election records show the Las Cruces Democrat pulled in $444,000 during her first three months in office after winning the seat in November. Record show she had around $519,000 cash on hand.Republican Yvette Herrell, who lost to Torres Small last year and is seeking a rematch, raised $211,000 during the same period and reported having $285,000 cash on hand.But to win the GOP nomination Herrell will have to go through Las Cruces businessman Chris Mathys who is also running. Records show Mathys loaned his campaign $76,000 and had $67,000 cash on hand.No other candidates have declared for the seat.


California irrigation district challenges river drought planFLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A California irrigation district has filed a legal challenge to a plan designed to protect a water source that serves 40 million people in the U.S. West.The drought contingency plan seeks to keep two Colorado River reservoirs from dropping so low they cannot deliver water or produce hydropower.The Imperial Irrigation District didn't sign on to the multi-state plan over concerns about a massive, briny lake southeast of Los Angeles.Imperial is alleging another powerful California water agency, the Metropolitan Water District, violated environmental laws in pledging to contribute California's share of water under the drought plan.Imperial's petition filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday came the same day President Donald Trump approved the drought plan.MWD did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.