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

Nov 26, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has signed an executive order creating a White House task force on missing and slain American Indians and Alaska Natives.The task force will be overseen by Attorney General William Barr and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. It is tasked with developing protocols to apply to new and unsolved cases and creating a multi-jurisdictional team to review cold cases.Trump on Tuesday called the scourge of violence facing Native American women and girls "sobering and heartbreaking."The National Institute of Justice estimates that 1.5 million Native American women have experienced violence in their lifetime, including many who are victims of sexual violence. On some reservations, federal studies have shown women are killed at a rate over 10 times the national average.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Homeland Security and Emergency Management Secretary Jackie Lindsey has resigned, effective immediately.Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's office announced Lindsey's resignation Tuesday, saying she informed the governor that she wanted to focus on her family and health.Lindsey said she made the decision after careful consideration and that she was honored to have served New Mexicans over the last year.The governor's office says Deputy Secretary Kelly Hamilton will serve as acting secretary to ensure that operations continue as normal as the state braces for wintery weather.A search will begin immediately to fill the role permanently.Lindsey has served as secretary since Lujan Grisham took office at the start of the year. She previously worked as a captain with Albuquerque Fire Rescue, overseeing security and emergency management for that department.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — About 15,000 Rio Grande silvery minnows are now swimming in the river as part of a decades-long effort to keep the tiny fish from disappearing.Staff from Albuquerque's BioPark released the latest batch of fish last week. In all, more than 800,000 minnows have been released since 2000 as part of a partnership with an endangered species collaborative.The minnow had a chance this year to rebound since the river got a boost from healthy snowmelt in the higher elevations.The favorable flows resulted in spawning so no captive-bred fish were needed to augment the wild population.Still, some environmentalists are concerned that without changes in the way the Rio Grande is managed, the minnow won't have a chance to make it on its own without continued human intervention.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque officials say they're launching a new operation that will target the 15 most violent criminal offenders in the city.The "Metro 15 Operation" announced Tuesday will be conducted by Albuquerque police in conjunction with state and Bernalillo County prosecutors and investigators from multiple agencies.According to the announcement, an apprehension team will go after offenders on a continuously updated list prepared by the Bernalillo County District Attorney's Office.Mayor Tim Keller said the operation is intended to focus on "the worst perpetrators of violent crime" with a narrowly targeted approach to reduce crime in the city.Participating agencies also include investigators from the state Attorney General's Office, the state Office of Superintendent of Insurance and the state Office of Probation and Parole.


ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) — A former New Mexico foundation director has pleaded guilty to tax evasion after authorities say he didn't include more than $1 million allegedly embezzled on his taxes.Alamogordo Daily News reported that 65-year-old former Robert W. Hamilton Foundation director Marion Ledford entered his plea Monday in Las Cruces federal court.The Internal Revenue Service says Ledford filed tax returns for 2011 to 2016 but did not report an additional $1,785,300 allegedly embezzled through more than 60 personal checks.Ledford agreed to pay the foundation restitution for the embezzled funds.Authorities say the plea agreement requires Ledford to pay the IRS about $629,000 in lost tax revenue. He faces up to five years imprisonment.The Robert W. Hamilton Foundation provides scholarships to Otero County high school graduates. 


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has convoked a second meeting of legislators and law enforcement officials in response to the August mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.In a statement on Monday, the first-year Democratic governor described a meeting with the state attorney general, state House speaker and U.S. Congressional delegation on possible action to decrease the risk of home-grown terrorism in New Mexico.Lujan Grisham says the discussion centered on access to weapons, possible tougher penalties for "domestic terrorism" and more robust data tracking. She stressed the importance of evidence-based reforms.The Aug. 3 shooting at an El Paso Walmart killed 22 people and took place within 10 miles (15 kilometers) of New Mexico. The state Legislature convenes in mid-January to consider possible safety reforms.


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State University is getting a grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to study how to make cattle ranching more sustainable.The $8.9 million grant has been awarded to NMSU's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.The work is geared toward improving the sustainability of beef production in the southwestern U.S., where environmental conditions are driving up the cost of raising cattle.The researchers will be looking at cattle genetics, the use of sensors and technology to more accurately understand what's occurring on the range and options for marketing Southwest beef.The grant will support research for the next five years and involve as many as 50 people from 12 institutions. That includes five cattle ranches located in New Mexico, Utah, California and South Dakota.


LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) — Los Alamos National Laboratory says it's committed to breaking down gender barriers and making equality a reality when it comes to nuclear policy.The northern New Mexico lab made the announcement last week, saying it's the first national laboratory to make an official pledge.The lab joined the national Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy group, a leadership network that brings together heads of organizations working in nuclear policy.Lab Director Thom Mason says nuclear policy, like many technological fields, has long been a male-dominated space and as a result, woman in the field have too often been marginalized.With the commitment, Mason says the lab will work to bring more women into the field and foster a culture of respect.About one-third of the lab's 12,000 employs are women.