News Briefs: ABQ restaurant settles labor dispute

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ABQ restaurant settles labor dispute

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Federal officials have settled with an Albuquerque restaurant they say ripped off its workers. The Department of Labor says the Saint James Tearoom on Osuna near Edith, was breaking minimum wage laws and wasn’t keeping accurate records of when employees worked.

In the settlement, the restaurant agrees to follow the law, and pay 42-employees a total of more than $50,000 in back pay and damages.

Texas couple weds at Balloon Fiesta

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Balloon fiesta is beautiful so it was the perfect backdrop for a couple’s wedding. Brenda McClain and Randy Paul, from Texas, tied the knot Thursday morning at Balloon Fiesta Park then flew away in a balloon.

Randy sped things up after meeting a minister who said he would marry them at the park. Congrats to the newlyweds.

5th annual NM Beerfest returns Saturday

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The New Mexico Brewfest is on-tap for this Saturday at Expo New Mexico. There will be tons of New Mexico craft beer highlighted during this 5th annual event. Beers from places Marble Brewery and Santa Fe Brewery and many others will be available. There will also be food trucks on location, as well as live music.

New Isotopes, Colorado Rockies gear for sale

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Some new Isotopes, Colorado Rockies gear is rolling out at the team’s pro-shop. A T-shirt is the first item for sale with the new triple- a affiliate design that includes the Rockies “CR” logo.

The duke city learned last month that the Dodgers were leaving town. Soon after, the minor league baseball team entered into a four year contract with the Rockies. The new shirt costs $30 and you can buy it at the Isotopes pro-shop.

Four Corners methane leak larger than originally thought

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Officials made a surprising find in Four Corners, a hot spot of the potent global-warming gas, methane. In a new study released Thursday, a satellite found methane levels in the area were more than triple the amount previously estimated by European scientists.

That result hints the feds considerably underestimated leaks of methane, or natural gas. Scientists say the methane likely comes from leaks when workers extract natural gas from coal beds.

Former jail guard indicted for DWI crash

SANTA FE (KRQE) – A Santa Fe County grand jury has indicted a former jail guard on two counts of vehicular homicide. Justin Romero, 26, is accused in a fatal DWI crash back in June.

Authorities say Romero was driving in the wrong lane on Highway 84 near Española when he collided with this red car killing the two men inside. Police are still waiting for the results from his blood draw to see how drunk Romero may have been.

He was a Rio Arriba County jail guard at the time of the crash, but later resigned.

Santa Fe approves new transit center

SANTA FE (KRQE) – People who travel by bus in Santa Fe, will soon have a new transit facility. The city council signed off on a plan Wednesday to move a transit center on the south side from the Santa Fe Place Mall, to a location near the Santa Fe Police Department.

The project includes upgrades like an indoor waiting area and new restrooms. The Santa Fe Police Department will occupy the rest of the space. The project cost is estimated at nearly $750,000 and will begin next year.

H&M now hiring for ABQ store

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – H&M is now hiring at Coronado Center. The popular store is looking for everything from store managers to clerks. The store sells clothing for men, women and children. H&M will open on the south side of the mall later this year. If you’d like to apply visit their website.

Signs remind drivers to watch out for motorcycles

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Watch out for motorcycles. That’s the message from the city after they say there has been an increase in motorcycle accidents. Several new signs are now going up in Albuquerque warning drivers to be on the look out for motorcycles.

Officials say riders have as much a right to be on the roads as other vehicles and drivers need to be cautious. The city is hoping the signs will save lives. A local Harley dealership paid for the signs.

KRQE News 13 is told drivers will see even more of them going up across Albuquerque by the end of the year.

Suspect sought in Roswell stabbing

ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – Roswell police are asking for the public’s help in finding a stabbing suspect. The victim told police he and 52-year-old Paul Andrew Contreras were arguing when he punched Contreras.

That’s when Contreras stabbed him in the stomach. Police say the victim was taken to the hospital for surgery. Contreras is about five-foot-six, he has black hair and brown eyes. He has tattoos on his arms, left hand and chest.

Anyone with information is asked to call Roswell police.

WIPP recovery plan moves forward

CARLSBAD, N.M. (KRQE) – The recovery plan for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant is moving forward with the repair of a 2100 foot hoist. Its primary use was transportation for equipment, waste containers and people into the underground facility.

The Department of Energy says it hasn’t been used since February. The DOE says soot had built up on its electrical components, which they’ll address before it’s used again. They say they’ll also fix the steel ropes that support it.

Navajo Nation candidate removed from ballot

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It’s unclear if a presidential candidate on the Navajo Nation can run since he doesn’t speak Navajo. The tribe’s chief hearing officer, made the decision to take Chris Deschene off the ballot after he saw him in videotaped deposition.

Deschene declined to answer any of the questions in Navajo. Deschene is now challenging the decision. He could end up on next month’s ballot if the ruling is overturned. .

NMSU honored for Hispanic degrees

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – New Mexico State University has something to boast about. The university’s been honored for the five consecutive year by “Diverse: Issues in Higher Education” for awarding degrees to Hispanic students.

The magazine published the Top 50 Hispanic bachelor’s and master’s degree awarding schools in September. NMSU came in seventh and 25th for bachelor’s degrees to Hispanic engineering students. In master’s degrees awarded to Hispanics NMSU was 16th in engineering.

Vehicle rolls near Menaul, Pennsylvania

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Police and firefighters responded to a rollover crash near Menaul and Pennsylvania on Thursday.

Details on how the crash occurred, how many people were involved and if there are any injuries are unknown.

Spanish team flies 1,188 miles in America’s Challenge race

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The final team aloft in the America’s Challenge gas balloon race has touched down. Anulfo Gonzalez and Angel Aguirre, a team from Spain landed in Kentucky.

They flew 1,188 miles in 53 hours and 27 minutes making them the unofficial winners. The Polish team behind them landed in Missouri.

Taos murder suspect to spend 18 years in jail

TAOS, N.M. (KRQE) – One of the suspects in the murder of a man inside the old convent in Taos will spend 18 years behind bars.

The Taos News reports 30-year-old Deborah Jaramillo was sentenced Tuesday.

She and William “Boxcar” Smith beat a man with mental disabilities named Christian Payton to death, then set the historic holy cross convent on fire in 2012.

Last year, Smith pleaded no contest to second-degree murder.

A third suspect, known only as Cherokee, has never been caught.

Santa Fe Trails to get new transit facility

SANTA FE (KRQE) – Santa Fe Trails bus passengers will soon have a new transit facility.

The City Council signed off on a plan Wednesday to relocate a transit center on the south side from the Santa Fe Place Mall.

The project includes upgrades like an indoor waiting area and new restrooms.

The Santa Fe Police Department will occupy the rest of the space. The project, estimated at nearly $750,000, will begin next year.

Taos Ski Valley plans to open its season Nov. 27

TAOS, N.M. (AP) – Taos Ski Valley plans to open its season on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27.

The ski area in northern New Mexico says it expects to initially operate on a limited schedule, with lifts open Thursday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Seven-day-a-week operations are scheduled to start on Dec. 11.

New this season will be a chairlift to provide skiers with access to Kachina Peak at about 12,450 feet. Also opening is new hike-to terrain that will provide 35 acres of tree skiing that can be reached from the West Basin Ridge.

The ski area, which is about 19 miles from the community of Taos, also is renovating its base area and will have a new location where skiers are dropped off from parking lot shuttles.

Company said it felt forced to settle fraud case

SANTA FE (AP) – A Santa Fe-based behavioral health company says it felt forced by Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration to agree to pay a $4 million settlement to the state to resolve Medicaid fraud allegations in order to stay in business.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Presbyterian Healthcare Service executives told legislators during a hearing in Albuquerque on Wednesday that their company was innocent but settled to avoid being shut down.

A state Human Services Department said Presbyterian didn’t have to agree to the settlement to repay the alleged overbilling.

Department spokesman Matt Kennicott said Presbyterian was informed of its options and made the decision to settle.

While Presbyterian and another company settled, numerous other behavioral health providers accused of Medicaid overbilling were replaced by other companies during a shake-up last year.

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