News Briefs: Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fallen tree branch

KRQE News Briefs for Wednesday, September 24, 2014.

Fallen tree branch lands on car

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A driver got an unwelcome surprise on an Albuquerque road Wednesday. It happened near Jefferson and Ellison northeast when a tree limb fell several feet onto a car.

A big branch from what appears to be a cottonwood landed directly on the driver’s windshield smashing it. The man behind the wheel was not hurt. No word on whether the aging tree will stay or go after this incident.

3D artists creates UNM homecoming artLobo art

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It’s celebration time at the University of New Mexico. The university is celebrating its 125th birthday and it is homecoming weekend. Renowned 3D chalk artist Chris Carlson made his way to the Duke City to draw up something special for the occasion.

Carlson spent the past two days putting together his latest artwork, which can be found near the duck pond on campus. The picture depicts the Lobos mascot.

Paseo/I-25 project on schedule for completion

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The state is sticking to its story on the Paseo/ I-25 Project, saying it will be nearly complete by the time Balloon Fiesta blows into town. They say by Oct. 3, the re-construction will be about 80 percent finished.

Right now, crews are working seven days a week and two shifts a day to get it ready for the extra traffic. The entire project is projected to be complete by December.

School nurse honored by students

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – An Albuquerque school nurse who is retiring after two decades on the job was honored Wednesday with a surprise celebration. After she was dressed as a queen, a couple of students walked her down a red carpet where she was given several awards.

Lillian Palmer has been a nurse at Taft Middle School in the North Valley for more than 20 years. Students say they’ve always appreciated her comfort and will miss her.

I-25 reopens following crash

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Northbound Interstate 25 at Comanche has reopened after a crash involving multiple vehicles. The Albuquerque Police Department says 5 to 6 vehicles were involved. Information about the crash has not been released.

Man leaves 124 bags of marijuana in rental car

David Ung
David Ung

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Police have arrested a man who forgot nearly 140 pounds of high grade pot in the trunk of his rental car. It happened Tuesday when 40-year-old David Ung returned the car to a rental company near the Sunport, then left.

Police say Ung eventually returned, saying he left a bag in the vehicle, but officers had already been alerted of the find.

There were 124 individually packed black bags in the trunk.

Police arrested Ung at the scene.

ABQ couple arrested after feds find illegal steroids

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – An Albuquerque couple who were already on probation for trafficking steroids are accused of doing it again. Deputies arrested Ruben and Claudine Jaramillo after someone at the post office’s inspection office found a box of an illegal substance being shipped to an Albuquerque address.

Homeland Security agents did a controlled delivery of the package, which contained 200 milligrams of the steroid. Agents arrested Ruben when he picked up the package.

After a search of their home, more than 100 vials of anabolic steroids were found in his freezer and in the bottom of the stove. KRQE News 13 checked their court records and found that the couple was already on a five-year probation in a similar case for selling steroids.

Hundreds of ABQ students participate in artifact dig

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Hundreds of students got a chance to excavate buried artifacts right here in New Mexico without having to travel to ancient cities. More than 150 eighth grade student from Albuquerque Academy took part in the 30th annual dig activity.

Students studied cultures from the ancient civilizations of Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Groups got the opportunity to create artifacts that represent things that would have been used by people living during that time.

Tuesday the group dismantled and buried them and Wednesday the group spent the entire day unearthing them. Along with practicing archaeological techniques, they get to measure the artifacts and record their findings.

Man gets life sentence for abusing boy

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The Albuquerque man who killed his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison. Domenic Howe was arrested in 2011 after calling 911 claiming the boy had drowned in the bathtub.

The boy was barely alive and rushed to UNM hospital where he died. Police and hospital personnel had noticed signs of extreme abuse including scars, bruises and burns.

Howe eventually confessed to kicking and punching the child over a four-month period. On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death and was sentenced to life. The boy’s mother was also charged in the case for not doing enough to protect her son. Her trial is scheduled for next month.

Airport equipment damaged by lightning storm

CIBOLA COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – Lightning has caused significant damage at a New Mexico airport. The manager at the Cibola County Airport in Milan says weather equipment, runway lights, a computer and radio systems were all destroyed..

The damage is estimated at about $15,000. Until the equipment can be fixed, night landings are not permitted. The manager says they have borrowed some equipment to get the weather system up until they can replace the damaged equipment. It’s unclear how long that will take.

Suspected auto thief arrested again

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Another man has also charged with auto theft, and it’s not his first time. Albuquerque police arrested 27-year-old Adolpho Griego-Martinez around 10 p.m. Tuesday. Detectives tried pulling over Griego-Martinez near Morris and Menaul in the foothills, but police say he took off and ditched the vehicle nearby. Officers found Griego-Martinez and arrested him. He has a significant criminal history with several auto theft charges and drug charges.

NM gas plant fined $1M for exceeding emissions limit

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A New Mexico gas plant company is set to pay a penalty of almost $1 million. The Empire ABQ Gas Plant in Eddy County was accused of exceeding permit limits for carbon monoxide and several other emissions.

The New Mexico Environment Department reached the settlement with Frontier Field Services over the violations at the company’s plant. Frontier has taken corrective action to prevent future violations.

Racino policies change to help ensure horse safety

RUIDOSO, N.M. (KRQE) – Ruidoso Downs has announced new policies to ensure integrity during next year’s horse racing season.

The announcement comes following the recent arrest of a jockey for allegedly using an electronic device to make his horse run faster. Also, four horses tested positive in July 2013 at Ruidoso Downs for a prohibited drug.

Now all horses must be present 10 days before racing, and if a horse qualifies for a derby or futurity, they must stay there while finals are run. Horses can be subject to roll calls during their stays.

The track also will install new surveillance cameras at the stable gates along with barns and stalls of qualifying horses.

Presbyterian Hospital hosts kids health fair

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Thousands of kids got an up close look at Presbyterian Hospital at an annual health fair.

The kids learn what it’s like to be hospitalized or visit someone there.

“Our overall purpose is to educate children and even some of our adults accompanying the children because they’ve never been in the hospital. So truly, we’re educating generations about what happens in the hospital,” said Childlife Program Director Rebecca Armstrong.

There were a lot of activities planned for kids. They got to dress up as doctors and nurses and care for teddy bear patients.

They also learned about medical equipment, helped put on a cast and looked at X-rays of broken bones.

Man accused of stealing four vehicles

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Police arrested a 50-year-old man they say was in possession of four stolen vehicles Wednesday.Glen Edwards

Officers were dispatched to a trailer park at 10600 Central SE in Albuquerque, after an anonymous caller said there were stolen vehicles in front of a residence. Upon arrival, officers found two vehicles and two motorcycles/scooters in front of the Glen Edwards’ residence.

Police were able to talk with Edwards, 50, and arrested him. He’s been charged with four counts of receiving/transferring a stolen motor vehicle and two counts of tampering with evidence and changing engine numbers.

Facebook tip leads to arrest

SAN JUAN COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – A Facebook tip led detectives to a man with multiple felony warrants and who was suspected of attempting to sell food stamps online, according to the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office.Shayne Chavez

In early September, detective said they located Shayne Chavez, 24, of Grants in Aztec after posing as interested buyers in jewelry he was selling. When Chavez arrived at the site they decided to meet, he ran when he saw deputies. They were able to locate him and arrest him without incident.

Detectives said the warrants were out of Grants and Colorado. The investigation continues.

Rains ease state’s short-term drought

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – Heavy rain and flooding have hammered parts of New Mexico over the past week, but all the moisture hasn’t been enough to scare the drought away.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque say the southern third of New Mexico has seen 200 percent or more of its average rainfall so far this month, but nearly 70 percent of the state is still dealing with some degree of drought.

Despite September’s rains and close-to-average precipitation in August, New Mexico is still behind 6.86 inches when the last three years are factored in.

Forecasters say there’s at least a 60 percent chance of an El Nino weather pattern developing this fall and winter. That means New Mexico could be in line for some more moisture.

NM probes gas prices in Farmington area

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) – The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office is investigating whether gasoline prices in the state’s portion of the Four Corners region are too high.

The Daily Times reports that the office says it is investigating because it has received numerous complaints about extremely high gas prices.

Office spokeswoman Lynn Southard says the office doesn’t release details on open investigations and she cannot specify how many complaints were made.

According to Southard, the investigation’s findings will be released after the investigation is completed.,

The Attorney General’s Office conducted a similar investigation in the Hobbs area about a year ago.

ABQ diagnostic test company files for IPO

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – An Albuquerque company which markets diagnostic tests for lupus and other autoimmune rheumatoid diseases has filed for an initial public offering.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that Exagen Diagnostics Inc. recently filed its registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Exagen President and CEO Ron Rocca says the company has to wait for around three weeks and then officials will visit with bankers and investors.

Exagen uses software to identify key genomic biomarkers to better diagnose and treat disease. It released its first lupus test in January 2012.

Launched in 2002, the company has raised about $40 million in venture capital, including about $6 million from Sun Mountain Capital in Santa Fe.

NM settles emissions violations at gas plant

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – The New Mexico Environment Department says it has reached a settlement with Frontier Field Services LLC over alleged emissions violations at the company’s gas plant in Eddy County.

The Empire Abo Gas Plant was accused of exceeding permit limits for carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and other emissions on several occasions between July 2011 and December 2012.

It also was accused of flaring gas that should have been rerouted back into processing.

The settlement requires a civil penalty payment of more than $938,000.

The Environment Department says Frontier has taken corrective action to prevent future violations.

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