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Around New Mexico

Cops: Man Killed His Friend

Taos police say they are holding a 19-year-old man accused of gunning down a friend who he thought was seeing his ex-girlfriend.

Police say Charles Suskiewich of Arroyo Hondo drove to the 21-year-old man’s house in Taos early Christmas morning and shot the man multiple times. The victim’s name has not yet been released.

Police say the suspect and victim are believed to have been friends.

Suskiewich is being held without bond at the Taos County Adult Detention Center on charges of murder, tampering with evidence and possession of a stolen firearm.

Santa Fe Water Bills To Rise

Living in Santa Fe is about to get a little more expensive. Starting Jan. 1, residents’ water bills will go up another 8.2 percent.

It’s the city’s fourth water rate hike in as many years. A fifth and final 8.2 percent increase is scheduled for January 2013.

It’s part of a plan, agreed upon by the City Council in a controversial vote in 2009, to generate money to pay for water infrastructure projects, notably the Buckman Direct Diversion on the Rio Grande west of Santa Fe.

“These were carefully arrived at decisions when we were financing the Buckman Direct Diversion Project, which is a project that has really put Santa Fe in a strong place in terms of water sustainability for our long-term future, for preservation of the aquifer, for the Santa Fe River and for the economy of Santa Fe,” Mayor David Coss said.

In real terms, the average residential user’s water bill should increase from the current $39 or so a month to about $43.15 in 2012.

Residents paid about $31.51 a month before the first rate hike in 2009.

Santa Pays Off Layaways

A Secret Santa and Mrs. Claus have given a dozen military families in Albuquerque a very special Christmas gift by paying off layaway lists that included toys for children.

Marie Vigil, manager of the Kirtland Air Force Base’s store, told KOAT-TV that a retired military couple who wanted to remain anonymous walked into the base’s store over the weekend and paid off the lists of 12 families. Each family’s items ranged from $200 to $400, and the couple wrote each family a note thanking them for their military service. The notes were simply signed: Santa.

Vigil called the families with the good news, and Vigil said that several of them are passing the blessings along by using the money they saved to help others. Some of them also wrote “thank you” notes to the couple in case they ever go back to the store.

In all, Vigil estimates that the couple gave away at least $1,500.
— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal