News Briefs: Friday September 5, 2014

APS copy rules

KRQE News 13 headlines in briefs.

APS temporarily removes photo copy limit

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – APS is changing its tune and temporarily taking back its rule on how many photo copies teachers can make. The district says teachers went $700,000 over their $2 million copy budget last year.

But teachers say they had too because schools are now teaching common core standards not covered in textbooks.

APS says, for now, there will be no limits on copies. They’ll be working with teachers and principals to monitor usage and determine patterns amongst schools to look for ways to cut costs.

Commissioners could put pot proposal on ballot

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – There is another twist in the push to reduce pot penalties in the Albuquerque area. The question could go on the November ballot after all but it won’t change any laws.

The Bernalillo County Commission will decide Monday if wants to put the marijuana question on the November ballot just to see what voters think about decriminalizing pot possession for less than an ounce.

The vote would not be binding. They may also ask voters what they think about a sales tax hike to fund mental health services.

This comes after Albuquerque’s mayor vetoed those ideas after city councilors passed them.

Even if the county commission goes through with the plan the poll questions might not fit onto an already stuffed ballot.

Former law firm employee accused of embezzeling

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Clients of an Albuquerque attorney thought they were paying their bills but, detectives say the money was ending up in the pockets of a former employee.

Jennifer Elliott, 40, allegedly stole more than $5,000 in cash payments from clients of the Robert R. Cooper Law Firm at 12th and Lomas. According to the criminal complaint, Elliott would accept the payments then would forge their receipts but she would never actually deposit the cash in the firm’s account.

APD arrested Elliott and charged her with embezzlement. She has already bonded out of jail.

Viva NM Chile Festival kicks off Saturday

LOS LUNAS, N.M. (KRQE) – If you have a love for red or green then Los Lunas is the place to be this weekend. The 3rd annual Viva New Mexico Chile Festival is taking place at Wagner’s farm.

There’s something for everyone including pony rides and a corn maze for the kids and beer garden and live music for adults. Participants can also pick up their favorite chile by the sack, pound or even ton.

The event runs through Sunday. Children under four get in free. It’s $5 for ages five to 12 and $10 for adults.

Woman pleads not guilty to fatal DWI crash

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – An Albuquerque woman has pleaded not guilty to a drunk driving crash that killed one of her passengers. Crystal Vanchaik, 27, was allegedly driving drunk on a revoked license last November.

Police say she made a turn near Zuni and Dakota without yielding and was hit by an oncoming SUV. One of her passengers was killed and a 16-year old inside the SUV was seriously injured.

A grand jury indicted Vanchaik last month on charges of vehicular homicide and DWI. She was immediately taken into custody after Friday’s hearing because she had an active arrest warrant stemming from the crash.

Magistrate: No wrongdoing in Glorieta Baptist purchase

GLORIETA, N.M. (KRQE) – A U.S. Federal Court Magistrate has found no evidence of wrongdoing in last year’s sale of the Glorieta Baptist Conference Center to a Texas group.

Kirk and Susie Tompkins of Arkansas have been living in the faith-based community near Santa Fe and they sued after the sale saying the center’s current operator, Lifeway Christian resources can’t sell the property because it really belongs to the executive committee of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Lifeway is an arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. The Texas-based Glorieta 2.0 paid only $1 to acquire the Glorieta Center from Lifeway.

The magistrate recommends the lawsuit be dismissed but it will be up to a federal district judge to make the final ruling.

The Tompkins’ and several other homeowners have been given the option of leaving in 12 years, take $40,000 to leave in a few months or donate their home to the church.

AFD invites public to 9/11 memorial

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Fire Department is inviting the public to be a part of its September 11th Memorial Stair Climb. The 55-story climb will be take place in the stairwells of the city/county building at Civic Plaza.

The number of stories is half the height of the World Trade Center and the 8:46 a.m. start time signifies when the first plane hit the North Tower.

If you plan on attending the event you must register. It costs $20 which will go to the American Red Cross of New Mexico to help for disaster relief.

City honors APD detectives, employees

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The city honored two Albuquerque Police Department detectives Friday for their kindness. Back in March Detectives Koury Church and Dave Taylor came across a stranded motorist from Ohio.

He was on his way to Tucumcari for his brother’s funeral when he ran out of gas in Albuquerque. The detectives paid for the man’s gas, using their own money, to he could be with his family.

About two dozen employees with the city’s Parks and Rec Department were also honored Friday. They hired and mentored young adults during the renovation of Los Altos Skate Park. The employees along with NMX Sports and the Youth Conservation Corps helped the group learn construction and leadership skills they can use in the future.

They helped with landscaping and irrigation and painted a massive mural.

Heavy rains cause flash flooding in Abiquiu

ABIQUIU, N.M. (KRQE) – Many areas of New Mexico are bracing for more rain Friday. The National Weather Service posted a photo of flooding in Abiquiu on its Facebook page.

The photo shows a river on Paloma and Duane Drive with water spilling onto County Road 142. County Road 142 was washed out all the way from Highway 554 through the Village of Medanales.

Grants man cleared of murder

GRANTS, N.M. (KRQE) – A Grants man who claimed a fall on the ice killed another man has been found not guilty of murder.

Augustine Chavez was accused of beating 25-year-old John Rains to death outside a party in 2012. Chavez claimed he had fallen, but investigators say rain’s injuries were so severe, it was clear he was beaten. Some people say they saw Chavez do it, others say he was no where near the victim.

3 Valencia County deputies honored for saving man

VALENCIA COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – Three Valencia County deputies were honored Friday for pulling a man from his burning home. Deputies James Sanchez, North Kanyuck and Roque Fernandez were first on the scene back in June when a home on Oney Lane started on fire.

When deputies got there, neighbors told them there was a man trapped inside and together they worked to get the man out The deputies say by the time they rescued the resident, Arthur Santa-Maria he was barely conscious. Santa-Maria says without their help, he thinks he would have died.

The three were honored by the sheriff with the life saving medal.

After a four day trial, a jury found Chavez not guilty.

Pooch Plunge planned in Rio Rancho

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – A special doggie day at the pool is planned for Saturday. The Pooch Plunge and adoption event is happening at the Haynes Pool in Rio Rancho. Only dogs are allowed to swim.

It’ll cost $5 to take one dog, $8 for two, $12 for three and $16 for four or more. There will also be an adoption event during the plunge. Dogs that take part will need to have proof of vaccination.

For more information»

USDA: NM farmland value, milk production up

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – There is some good news for farmers, federal statistics show the value of farmland is increasing substantially.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s says the average value of farmland in New Mexico is $540 an acre. That’s an increase of 8 percent over the previous year.

The average values of irrigated cropland and pasture land were also up and milk production is up too.

Between 2008 and 2012, New Mexico produced about a million gallons of milk a year. The state also led in milk production per cow with more than 2,800 gallons per cow.

NM holds world record for largest antelope hunted

SOCORRO COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico now holds the world record for the largest antelope ever hunted. The antelope was killed in Socorro County last year. At more than 18 inches long, the horns are an inch and a half longer than the previous record holder.

The hunter who took it down was Mike Gallo.

The previous record was in Arizona. Pronghorn were once close to extinction, and prompted a major wildlife recovery operation but the species is now thriving.

NMSU to unveil Pete Domenici exhibit

LAS CRUCES (KRQE) – New Mexico State University is set to celebrate the opening of the Pete Domenici Archives.

The school has scheduled a ribbon cutting ceremony next Tuesday to unveil the collection of unique artifacts and memorabilia from Senator Domenici’s extensive career in New Mexico. A photo exhibit will also highlight his work in Washington.

Domenici, a republican, served in the U.S. Senate from 1972 to 2009. He is the longest serving senator in state history.

Paseo Del Norte weekend closures

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Drivers using Paseo Del Norte to get around this weekend should be aware there could be some closures. Both west and eastbound Paseo will be closed from I-25 to Second Street between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m., every night.

Access will also be cut for drivers trying to get to Jefferson from Paseo. That closure, once it happens will last for 30 days.

For the latest information on closures»

KRQE News 13 programing note

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Due to CBS’ coverage of the U.S. Open, KRQE News 13 at noon will air at 10 a.m. KRQE will be live streaming the show here»

Crews to begin paint cleanup on Saint Francis Drive

SANTA FE (KRQE) – Efforts to clean up a huge mess left by some vandals on a stretch of road in Santa Fe could start Friday. Officials said that clean up won’t be cheap and traffic could be affected. Paint was seen splattered everywhere on Saint Francis Drive exit of northbound I-25. It was first reported on Tuesday.

The Department of Transportation said removing all the paint from the asphalt will cost about $7,000. DOT officials said the money will come from its maintenance fund.

ABQ Heading Home delivers 100 mattresses

ALBUQURQUE (KRQE) – Homeless men and women who are now getting a place to live can rest a lot easier thanks to another big donation. Wednesday, Mattress Firm delivered 100 mattresses and box springs to the Albuquerque Heading Home charity. It helps get the city’s homeless off the streets.

“Recently we made a commitment to Albuquerque heading home and the mayor that we would make sure that everyone housed under this program would get a brand new mattress,” Alan Cronick, Mattress Firm general manager said.

Mayor R.J. Berry helped with the delivery at heading home’s downtown warehouse. The organization has helped more than 400 people by giving them places to stay since 2011.

New town possible northwest NM

FARMINGTON, N.M. (KRQE) – A new town could be established in New Mexico. Kirtland residents living in northern San Juan County want their community to become an official town.

According to the Daily Times, County commissioners authorized a proposal that would allow voters to decide on the matter in January. The state Department of Finance and administration is also preparing to review the petition.

It’s estimated that more than 420 people live in the area.

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