Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. MDT

Oct 31, 2019

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Teacher vacancies in New Mexico have dropped, but school districts are still struggling to fill open positions.KVIA-TV reports a 2019 New Mexico Educator Vacancy study recently found that teacher vacancies have declined around 13%. However, the report also found that school districts in Las Cruces, Gadsden, Deming and Hatch Valley saw a 59% jump in vacancies.The report was compiled the Southwest Outreach Academic Research Evaluation & Policy Center at New Mexico State University. Researchers collected data from public schools throughout the state.The state currently has a total of 1,054 educator vacancies, including the 644 teacher vacancies. Last year's report found 1,173 total educator vacancies.


GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — Prosecutors say they intend to try a 15-year-old linked to a New Mexico skate park shooting as an adult.The Gallup Independent reports the McKinley County District Attorney's Office gave notice this week it will seek an adult sentence for the teen suspected of firing a gun during the Oct. 14 Gallup Skate Park shootings.Police say the shooting left three people with non-life threatening injuries.The 15-year-old suspect is facing charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and unlawful possession of a handgun.Police say 18-year-old DeShawn Yazzie is still wanted for his alleged involvement in the shootings. 


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Groups dedicated to tribal conservation and helping veterans transition from military to civilian life are getting federal funding to provide training in agricultural practices.Members of New Mexico's congressional delegation announced the awards Wednesday.The Not Forgotten Outreach organization will receive just over $200,000 for training and the Indian Nations Conservation Alliance will get more than $224,000 for outreach programs to improve access to tribal grant assistance through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.U.S. Sen. Tom Udall says supporting veterans when they come home from deployment is a priority that often lacks the proper financial resources.He says tribes also face significantly greater barriers to accessing federal resources, so the effort will help bridge that disparity.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — At least a dozen protesters voicing concerns about climate change have been cited for criminal trespassing and escorted out of the Capitol by New Mexico State Police.Environmental activists thronged the entranceway to the governor's office at the Statehouse on Wednesday afternoon. It was the latest in a series of protests by the group Youth Unified for Climate Change Crisis Action urging Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to declare a climate emergency and place a moratorium on fracking for oil.Group spokesman Josue Martinez said younger protesters left to avoid arrest as the building closed. Mostly elderly and middle-aged protesters declined to leave when instructed by police and were declared to be under arrest.They were escorted out of the building without force and given trespassing citations at the exit.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — School districts and parents are reviving litigation that accused the state of failing to provide a sound education to vulnerable children from minority communities, non-English speaking households, impoverished families and those with disabilities.Two groups of plaintiffs filed motions Wednesday to revive a dormant lawsuit more than a year after a district court judge ruled that lawmakers and state education officials failed to ensure an adequate education.The Democrat-led Legislature and first-year Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham have authorized a nearly half-billion dollar increase in annual spending on public education. They raised teacher salaries, channeled money toward at-risk students and extended academic calendars.Center on Law and Poverty attorney Gail Evans says the money missed the mark and was soaked up by salaries without a long-term plan for transformation.


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State and University Degrees Abroad have announced they have agreed to establish a developmental men's soccer program at the university.KRQE-TV reports the announcement Wednesday means New Mexico State will soon begin recruiting state, regional and international players to take part in the program.Under the agreement, European-style academy with professional coaching environment will be established on the New Mexico State campusUniversity Degrees Abroad operates a year-round developmental soccer academy in England.The move comes after New Mexico this year disbanded its men's soccer program amid budget concerns and controversies around overall athletic spending. It was among the school's most successful athletics program. 


MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The man who kidnapped Jayme Closs and killed her parents got into a fight in a New Mexico prison with an inmate who asked about the case.Wisconsin prison officials quietly transferred Jake Patterson to New Mexico in July. Press-Gazette Media reports that New Mexico Corrections Department records show two inmates at an unnamed prison approached Patterson on Aug. 28 and told him to leave the pod because of his case. Patterson punched one of them, triggering a fight.Patterson was disciplined at Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun in June for threatening to assault another inmate.Records show the company that transported Patterson to New Mexico had to drive straight through because no other state would assume responsibility for him, even briefly, while the transport team rested.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The governor of New Mexico has created a special law enforcement unit to arrest hundreds of fugitives across the state.Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Tuesday that the Fugitive Apprehension Unit would be responsible for finding people charged with violent crimes who have failed to appear in court.Authorities say this unit would help reduce the more than 1,600 outstanding bench warrants for people charged with violent crimes.Authorities say New Mexico has the second-highest violent crime rate in the nation.Grisham says the unit would be made up of at least seven state police officers and at least seven state corrections department staffers chosen by Public Safety Secretary Mark Shea and State Police Chief Tim Johnson.Grisham says the unit must make monthly reports to her documenting arrests.