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

Sep 14, 2021

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — State Rep. Debbie Armstrong has decided against running for reelection. The Albuquerque Democrat made the announcement Tuesday, saying she wants to focus on her family and other projects. Armstrong has served four terms in the House of Representatives and is the chair of the chamber's Health and Human Services Committee. She has played a role in expanding health care and prescription drug coverage during her tenure. Armstrong pointed specifically to the passage of legislation to legalize cannabis for recreational use and a law that provides a legal pathway for terminally ill patients to choose when and how they die.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque police say preliminary information gathered indicates an employee of a Subway restaurant fatally shot a person attempting to rob the business early Tuesday. No additional information was released about the dead person. Department spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said officers were dispatched to the restaurant at about 5:20 a.m. in response to a report of an attempted armed robbery and a shooting. Gallegos said the investigation would include interviewing employees and searching the business. 


BERNALILLO,. N.M. (AP) — A former head of the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department has been sentenced to five years of probation in an embezzlement case involving her accounting firm. A state judge last week sentenced former Secretary Demesia Padilla on convictions for embezzlement and computer access with intent to defraud or embezzle. The Albuquerque Journal reports that Padilla faced up to 18 years in prison but that Judge Cindy Mercer suspended all prison time. Along with the probation term, Padilla also must complete 200 hours of community service and pay over $25,000 in restitution to a Bernalillo family which owned a grading company that used Padilla's accounting firm.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Election officials are deploying ballot drop boxes across New Mexico for people who choose to cast absentee ballots without walking indoors during the upcoming Nov. 2 election for public offices, including for mayor of Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver told a legislative panel Monday that county clerks are required to provide one drop box for every 25,000 voters and at least two per county. Exceptions can be made at the request of county officials. Ballots must be collected at least once a day from the boxes, video surveillance of drop boxes is required and recordings must be retained by county clerks.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Santa Fe's incumbent entrepreneur-turned-mayor defended his handling of conflicts over historical monuments and stewardship of a COVID-battered economy at a candidate forum Monday amid stinging criticism from two Latina challengers. Mayor Alan Webber was vying against Democratic City Councilor Joanne Vigil Coppler and Republican Alexis Martinez Johnson. Webber is seeking a second term after leading New Mexico's fastest growing major city through the pandemic and state emergency health orders that all but shut down the crucial hospitality and tourism industries. Vigil Coppler says the mayor has neglected city finances and bedrock parks-and-recreation obligations. Webber has embraced vanguard progressive initiatives such as universal basic income.


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A 17-year-old boy has been arraigned in the shooting death of a man at a Las Cruces house party this summer. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports the teen pleaded not guilty Monday at a hearing. He is one of two people charged in the July 31 killing of 23-year-old Nicodemus "Nico" Gonzalez. The teen is being charged as an adult. His attorney asked if he could be released from jail in order to complete his high school studies. Authorities say the teen and a 19-year-old suspect shot almost a dozen rounds at a group of people during the party after a fight erupted. Police say Gonzales was an innocent bystander.


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico State University professor has been traveling to advocate for audits of the 2020 presidential election amid a paid suspension for rejecting coronavirus health mandates from the school. The Las Cruces Sun News reports that the public university on Aug. 27 extended its emergency suspension of professor David Clements. Several complaints were received from students after Clements rejected campus mask and vaccination mandates. The university requires students and staff to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or provide test results for the virus on a weekly basis. Its indoor mask mandate mirrors the New Mexico public health orders. Clements could not be reached Sunday.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico health officials in late June briefly opened a window to submit applications for lucrative licenses for pot production and then approved the only application received. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the Health Department issued the license June 28 to Albuquerque-based GH LLC after minimal public notice. The episode is prompting allegations of favoritism and calls for an investigation. The state had not allowed pot producers to apply for licenses in the previous six years, as the new Cannabis Control Division of the state Regulation and Licensing Department prepared to assume oversight of cannabis licensing.