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ABQ Free Press Local Briefs

ABQ Free Press Local Briefs

A roundup of local news


New boat rules proposed

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish seeks public comment on proposed rule changes to aquatic invasive species rules to require all out-of-state boat owners to pass an inspection before launching a watercraft in New Mexico. The proposed rules also would make it mandatory for all boaters to stop at aquatic invasive species inspection and decontamination stations to ensure their watercraft are free of zebra and quagga mussels, which grow quickly, clogging water-supply inlet pipes. New Mexico is one of only six western states that remain free of the invasive mussels.

APD union chief arrested

The president of the Albuquerque police officers union, Stephanie Lopez, has been arrested on child abuse charges for slapping her 14-year-old daughter, pulling her hair and throwing her to the ground for failing to tell her mother about a utility shutoff notice that came in the mail, according to a criminal complaint. Vice president Shaun Willoughby was named to replace Lopez.

Trading desks for cars

APD Chief Gorden Eden announced a reorganization that gets dozens of headquarters personnel out from behind desks and onto the street. The shift will occur over the next few months through reassignment and attrition. To combat the retirement of APD officers, the Albuquerque City Council sweetened the pot for police officer raises, bonuses and back pay to $8.2 million in a bid to get APD pay back to levels called for in a 2008 contract that Mayor Richard Berry broke upon his election to office in 2009.

Winning with gingerbread

The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center announced the winners of its seventh annual gingerbread house competition. The winning adult entry (pictured) was submitted by Denise Dorn of Alto, N.M. The winning children’s entry was submitted by Jericho Terrazas of Albuquerque. All entries will be on display at the center, at 12th Street and Menaul Boulevard Northwest, through Jan. 6. Voting for the “People’s Choice Award” remains open through Jan. 2.

New secretary of state appointed

Gov. Susana Martinez has appointed Albuquerque City Councilor Brad Winter as secretary of state, replacing Dianna Duran, who was sentenced for fraud and embezzlement for spending hundreds of thousands of dollars from her campaign fund to gamble in casinos around the state. Winter, a career APS administrator, briefly served as interim superintendent of the Albuquerque Public Schools until Raquel Martinez Benavides Reedy was appointed to replace ousted former superintendent Luis Valentino.

Teacher evaluations

A Santa Fe District judge found a substantial likelihood that Gov. Susana Martinez’s and Hanna Skandera’s method for evaluating New Mexico teachers is a sham. District Judge David K. Thomson issued a preliminary injunction against the evaluation method known as VAM – for Value Added Method – that states it lacks the scientific certainty needed to justify its use in deciding the professional fate of thousands of New Mexico public school teachers. Martinez also announced a proposal to pay a $10,000 stipend to top-performing teachers.

DWI fight

Gov. Susana Martinez said Monday she will try again to convince the state Legislature to enact tougher penalties for repeat DWI offenders. Martinez wants lawmakers meeting in the 2016 30-day session of the Legislature to pass legislation that would include more jail time for people with four or more DWI convictions. She also proposed expanding the state’s habitual offender laws to include felony DWI convictions.

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Dan Vukelich is a writer and former editor of ABQ Free Press.

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