Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. MDT

Jun 11, 2019

Police arrest motorcyclist accused of Pride crosswalk damageALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque police have arrested a motorcyclist days after they say he vandalized a rainbow-colored crosswalk ahead of the city's PrideFest.A criminal complaint says 31-year-old Anthony Morgan faced charges Tuesday that include felony criminal property damage. Video showed a couple bikers taking turns burning rubber over the crosswalk on June 5.The crosswalk on a stretch of Historic Route 66 near the University of New Mexico cost the city $30,000 to install as a sign of inclusiveness for the city's LGBT community.Police say they received tips saying Morgan was part of a motorcycle group known as the Malicious Riders.Video shows the riders who burned their tires on the crosswalk were among about 40 who slowed down at the intersection.It was not immediately known if Morgan had an attorney.


US to use Army base in Oklahoma to shelter migrant childrenLAWTON, Okla. (AP) — The federal government will be opening a facility at an Army base in Oklahoma to house migrant children and is considered a customs port in southern New Mexico as another option as existing shelters are overwhelmed.The Office of Refugee Resettlement said Tuesday it's dealing with a dramatic spike in the number of children crossing the border without parents. The facility at Fort Sill near Lawton, Oklahoma, would be capable of holding 1,400 kids.Bases in Georgia and Montana were passed over, but officials also are weighing the possibility of establishing an emergency shelter at New Mexico's Santa Teresa port of entry.Under fire for the death of two children who went through the agency's shelters, the agency says it must set up new facilities to accommodate new arrivals.


New Mexico proposes new cap on cannabis productionSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is proposing new cannabis production rules designed to shore up supplies to its medical marijuana program without flooding the rapidly expanding market.The Department of Health published a proposal Tuesday to limit medical cannabis cultivation to 1,750 mature plants per licensed producer.Immature seedlings shorter than 8 inches (25 centimeters) won't count toward the limit so that producers can experiment with plant strains.The production cap could increase starting in June 2021 if demands outstrip supplies.Participation in the state's medical cannabis program has grown rapidly in recent years after chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder were added to a list of qualifying medical conditions. Last week, the list was expanded to include opioid use disorder, Alzheimer's disease, autism spectrum disorder and several degenerative neurological disorders.


Facebook is building a massive solar project in TexasALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Facebook is building a massive solar farm in West Texas that's believed to be one of the largest solar projects in the nation.Boston-based renewable energy developer Longroad Energy recently announced it was partnering with the social media giant on the $416 million project.It comes as Menlo Park, California-based Facebook is finishing construction of a data center near Albuquerque.Longroad Energy says the Prospero Solar project just north of Odessa, Texas, has enough capacity to power an estimated 72,000 homes.The project is Facebook's first direct investment in a renewable energy project.Longroad says Shell Energy North America also signed a 12-year power purchase agreement for the solar farm's power.


Judge dismisses lawsuit targeting school district policy(Information from: Gallup Independent, http://www.gallupindependent.com)ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit that claimed a New Mexico school district was discriminating against charter school students by excluding them from its campus events.The Gallup Independent reports the judge ruled last week that Gallup-McKinley County Schools' exclusion policy was "rationally related to its promotion of safety" and not intentional discrimination.The ruling noted the policy applied to all students outside the district's nine regular schools.Parents of Middle College High School students filed a lawsuit in August 2018, claiming the policy "singled out and intentionally discriminated" against their students.The lawsuit sought to stop the policy that barred charter school students from district events like dances and pep rallies.The parents' attorney, David Jordan, says they were disappointed by ruling and will likely pursue an appeal.___


New Mexico pays $700K in prison workers discrimination suit(Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com)ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico has agreed to pay $700,000 to state prison workers who claimed they were discriminated against because of their age and faced retaliation after reporting the allegations.The Albuquerque Journal reports the settlement agreement filed last week allows the state Corrections Department to deny the allegations while agreeing to two years of monitoring.U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission supervisor trial attorney Loretta Medina says about 70 employees will get a share of the settlement.According to the complaint, two employees at the Los Lunas prison claimed they were passed up for a promotion or a job change because of their ages. They claimed the prison promoted and hired younger, less experienced employees.State Corrections Department officials did not return the newspaper's calls and emails Monday.___


Ex-New Mexico governor, NMSU chancellor to join ethics panelLAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Former New Mexico State University Chancellor and President Garrey Carruthers has been appointed to the State Ethics Commission.Carruthers, a former Republican governor of New Mexico, was appointed to the commission by Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle.Carruthers was co-chair of Gov. Bill Richardson's Task Force on Ethics Reform in 2006 when Carruthers was dean of NMSU College of Business. He also served as special assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.Voters approved the creation of the commission by statewide ballot last year to oversee conduct by public officials, political candidates, lobbyists and government contractors amid a string of political corruption scandals.Detailed provisions for the seven-seat body were signed into law last month and outline investigatory powers and public disclosure. Subpoenas must be approved by a judge.


Border state challenges quick-release asylum practicesSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico and its largest city are suing the Trump administration to stem the quick release of asylum seeking migrants into local communities while demanding reimbursement for humanitarian efforts to shelter migrants.Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday announced the lawsuit against acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan and top federal immigration officials.The lawsuit is the first of its kind by a state. It resembles a suit by San Diego County in April also challenging the cancellation of an immigration program that helped migrants with phone calls and other travel logistics as they sought out final destinations throughout the United States. Now asylum seeking migrants typically are released almost immediately.The U.S. Justice Department declined to comment on the lawsuit.